So lately, it’s been bugging me that I seem to have forgotten why I started blogging in the first place, as I got caught up in the numbers game… stats, followers, page views.
Yes, it is nice to have more readers now, and I am really truly grateful for the ones who truly seem to like what I have to say. THANK YOU. I love having you here.
But the thing is, I have become too caught up in trying to be popular that I have let that dictate what I want to write about. And while that is okay, to a point, the moment that I started thinking, “I shouldn’t write about that because no one wants to read about things like that and I’ll lose readers” and “THAT” refers to a very important chapter of my life, it is clearly NOT okay, because it means I have completely lost track of the reason why I started this blog in the first place.
So today, I am reminding myself of the reasons why I blog.
(1) To preserve memories.
For some time, that above quote by Anais Nin was my blog’s tagline, because it was the main reason why I blogged. I wrote to preserve my memories, so I can have something to look back on, like a diary and album in one. In fact reading my past entries is one of my favorite pastimes, and I know I’m not the only one because I have a friend who does the same thing.
This week, there were two instances that made me remember just how useful my blog is in this regard. First, my hometown friends decided to create a group T-shirt for us and this conversation happened in the group chat:
Jean: What year was Little Zamboanga established so we can put it on the shirt?
Cate: Ummm I don’t know. But Dee should.
Me: Hold on, checking the blog. (Pause) 2009.
The second instance was when another friend asked me for pictures of our friend Ivy, who is leaving Singapore. She said she was making a scrapbook of pictures like a timeline and needed to know the dates they were taken as well. I just directed her to my blog with the search term “Ivy” and it is all here, pictures and dates and even stories. “Wow, your blog is so useful!” she said. Isn’t it, though.
It is my brain’s backup disk. It is my autobiography. If I suddenly had amnesia, all anyone would have to do is say, “Just read your blog. It will tell you everything you need to remember.” I need to make sure that it always will.
(2) For the love of writing
I am with you, Isaac! As an ENFP, I find it hard to be consistent with anything, so the fact that I wrote in this blog for over 8 years, without skipping any month (go ahead, check the archives to prove this), is proof that I actually love this.
I’ve moved cities and countries and changed friends and jobs and likes and dislikes, but writing is my one true constant. I fell in love with it when I was 11 and I never stopped. If I go too long without it, I get ugly withdrawal symptoms. It’s an addiction, one I’m glad I have, because it makes me love life more.
Side note: I know people who started blogs and quit after a few months because they wrote not for love of writing, but other things. Love for something, really, is the only thing that will make doing it sustainable.
(3) To keep in touch
I started my blog as my diary, for me, but I soon realized that I can actually share it with other people, especially loved ones who are far away from me and who wants to know what I’ve been up to. Blogs tell a fuller story that mere Facebook pictures could never do.
My friends read it to be updated about what’s going on in my life, back when Facebook and Twitter and Instagram were not in yet. “It’s just like being with you everyday!” they said.
It was kind of disconcerting to go to reunions and have conversations that went like this:
Me: As for me, I went to Baguio this year and –
Friend: Right, I read about that on your blog!
Me: Oh, you already know about that. I also met up with our friend when he was on a vacation in Manila and we –
Friend: You went to that cool restaurant. I loved that funny pic of yours!
Next time, people, leave comments so I know you’re stalking me reading my posts and I don’t need to repeat myself! LOL.
(4) To improve friendships
There were also some friends whom I weren’t really that close to, then we started reading each other’s blogs and suddenly we were closer than when we were actually closer physically. Sometimes you know people but don’t really talk to them because you have your own sets of friends, not knowing that you have a lot more in common than you thought.
(5) To make new connections
When I started this blog I had no idea that there was a community of wonderful people out there who had the same interests as me. I’ve made lots of new friends thanks to this, and I am really really grateful for each one. Who knew that I’d make friends outside of my own continent? The internet is the best invention EVER.
(6) To make a difference
I like writing about my experiences in a way that not only tells my story, but could also help other people. And I don’t just mean inspirational messages, but giving reviews about restaurants and books and movies and talking about my trips so they can get tips… these all help people, right?
In real life, I’m always pushing people to try things I enjoyed, and I love being able to do the same on a bigger scale, thanks to this blog.
(7) For Introspection
I love to think. Not problem-solving left brain stuff, I mean philosophically. You know that movie Before Sunrise? I loved it because the guy Jesse, he talks the way I do, as my friend Mildred pointed out to me when she first saw the movie.
I’ve had conversations like those, actually. I would spend hours on the phone gabbing to a friend about hypothetical, philosophical topics (and we’d only stop when my mom got mad at me for still being on the phone when I had school the next day oops).
When I watch a movie or read a book or experience something in real life, I always think about its lessons, and relate it to my own life. I love analogies a LOT. Then I take to this blog to hash it out like I would on a journal.
So starting today, I’m going to stop worrying about the numbers. I will no longer check on my stats on a daily basis and watch my numbers of followers only to freak out whenever people unfollow me, because it’s just not healthy.
I will continue to write on this blog about what I want to write about instead of what I think people would want me to write about. Why would I want to be “popular” for something that I am not, anyway?
In real life, I’ve always tried to be as genuine as possible. If people don’t like me, I don’t force myself on them. Why would I want to, right? Whatever for?
Instead, I keep those people who like me for ME, flaws and all. That’s what I really value anyway, REAL relationships. I’ve never wanted to be popular in real life, so why should I do so in the virtual one too?
I just need to be myself, and those who stay inspite of it, they are the ones worth having.