When Why Blog Goes Beyond Why Not

Friday, September 17, 2010

“Of Woods and Words” was a thought long before it was a reality. In the summer of 2009, I decided saying I wanted to be a freelance writer was kind like saying I wanted to take up skydiving. It was a perfectly fine idea, but until I started to prove myself, until I started jumping out of planes, whenever I mentioned that “I’d like to write,” everyone was going to give me a slightly pained look that can allude to only two things: suspicion or bad gas.   

I read everything I could about starting out as a freelance writer that summer and everything I read seemed to allude to something magical called “a platform.”  Without a platform, we freelance writers were apparently heading up a certain creek with no paddle to be found. Not only were we writers supposed to be filling up our portfolios with clippings, we were also supposed to enter into a nearly endless barrage of promotion via Facebook, Twitter and, of course, our personal blogs.   

I thought, “I’d better get on that train!” But it always seems like a poor idea to jump on a train before you now where it’s headed exactly . . . 

I moved into the Shack (a poorly insulated 12x20 building that was once the laundry house for a resort) with Andy last fall to spend the winter separated from the nearest grocery store by 25 miles of often icy highway, while waiting tables at a nearby roadhouse-style restaurant. This wasn’t how I’d imagined my post-college life working out at all and I knew I might need an outlet just slightly larger than my living space as I balanced the economics of life with my dreams. With that “Of Woods and Words” was born and through it, I started to capture the ramblings of this rural writer.

Today’s Back to Blogging challenge asks, “why do you blog?” I don’t know that I could have told you exactly what prompted me to type out that first post last October. I knew I needed a place to ponder the perplexities of making a living writing while maintaining a rural outlook on life. Over the course of this past year, I’ve work to build a concrete answer to the “why do you blog?” question.
  • I blog because if I didn’t, who knows when I’d actually get around to writing. I like to act all focused and with it, but in reality, I’m a big slug of a writer who has to deluded herself with real and often arbitrary deadlines to get anything on the page.
  • I blog to better understand what’s eating at me. I’ve journaled since my tween years, but during college I’d moved away from keeping a handwritten diary. I found I missed the process of writing a rant (like in “You Know I Don’t Speak Spanish”) to sort through a particular issue. The blog offers a slightly more focused forum for problem solving.
  • I blog to reason through my experiences as a person who writes, who tries to live locally, who lives in the woods.
  • More than anything, I blog to keep connected blogging connects me with a larger world around me. I learn much from the experience of being a member of the blogging world: about myself, others, and technology. 
Still not sure where the train's going. But I hope you'll stay with me to find out. 


  1. I love how you say that you blog to reason through your experiences. That is so well said and, for me as well, so true.

  2. I have friends and family who do not even understand what a blog is. My online blogging community has made me realize the value of our blogs. They aren't silly anymore! No, even big businesses use them now. My blog keeps me focused on my accomplishments and helps me put my mistakes to sleep. Once I write about them, they don't seem so bad.


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