A Blog’s Purpose

I’ve been struggling with my blog for the past few weeks.  I’ve been putting off writing posts, and when I finally did sit down to write something, I was struggling to clarify just exactly what it was that I wanted to say and then struggling some more to come up with just exactly the right words to say it.

At first, I put it down to the hectic schedule of Christmas, knowing that I was existing on too much rich food and drink, too little sleep, and a “to do” list that was growing longer by the day.  I figured that my tiny little brain just couldn’t keep up with it all, and that probably had something to do with it, but also I thought there was more going on that just holiday stress.  Then I began to worry that after two years of writing this blog, I was getting tired of it and ready to quit, but that didn’t feel quite right either.  I love writing, and at the moment, this blog is my only creative writing outlet.  And I knew I wasn’t really ready to quit writing.

And then I read the post  Finding My Purpose: Why I Blog  on my friend Jodi’s blog and  had what I believe is called an “ah ha!” moment.  I felt that Jodi had not only read my mind, but had also thoughtfully written a post that spelled things out for me, since I was having so much trouble figuring it out for myself.  (Friends, blogging or otherwise, can be very helpful that way, especially for those of us who can be a bit slow on the uptake.)

Like Jodi, I started my blog as a form of personal expression, and honestly, I only settled on the subject of middle age because I thought that was something about me that other people could easily relate to.  But once I got over the initial thrill that there were people out there who were actually willing to read my posts,  I found that it became very important to me to write posts that actually offered something to my readers.  More importantly, I wanted my blog to be positive.

I knew there is a lot in this world, and in each of our lives, that is scary and depressing, but I also knew that I didn’t want to dwell on that in my blog.  If people want bad news, they can simply turn on their TV or log onto the internet.  And we all have stuff in our past that isn’t pretty, and that can leave us angry and bitter.  But I can’t change the world, I can’t change the past, and I can’t truly fix anyone else’s life.  What I can do is exactly what Jodi describes: offer encouragement, remind people of the beauty that is still around us, share hopeful insights, and maybe give others a chance to laugh at, rather than rage against, the mundane challenges of our lives.  And I can do all that, in my own small way, through this blog.

I think in the back of my mind, I always wanted my blog to be a source of encouragement, entertainment and/or inspiration, but I just hadn’t found the courage to admit it until I read my friend’s post.  All I know is that now I see what the purpose of my blog has been all along, and I have a hunch that my struggles with writing it are over.

71 thoughts on “A Blog’s Purpose

  1. I’ve been feeling the same way, Ann. I think it is the holiday season that can feel overwhelming. I’m also following more blogs and it is quite time consuming keeping up with them, as much as I enjoy them. I have a creative project I need to get started on, too, with a deadline, so I’m considering posting once a week instead of twice a week, but haven’t committed to that yet. Hang in there, the slump will pass. Your blog is always a tremendous source of pleasure for me to read, so thank you for that.

    Liked by 5 people

    • It’s a hard balance, isn’t it? We want to stay committed to our blogs and connected to our readers, but it takes a lot of time. As for me, know that I will be happy reading your posts whenever they appear, so just work around your schedule, and know that I’ll always be a faithful reader…and friend!

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  2. Hello Ann – I’m glad you’re coming out of your blogging slump. I always enjoy your posts, especially because of their positive feel. I understand the lull in blogging. I’m going on 4 years, and have not lost my enthusiasm, but sometimes I get so busy with my life that I have to put blogging on hold. And I can’t blog book reviews unless I’m actually reading books! I always come back, though, so I know it’s right for me. Happy blogging!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think that’s the way I feel, too! Sometimes I need a break, but I’ll always come back to it. The writing, the relationships with other bloggers….these things are just too good to give up! And now that I more fully realize what I’m trying to accomplish, I think it will be easier. Thanks for all your support, it means a lot!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Oh Ann. I am so honored to have encouraged and inspired you just as you do to me so very often. Thanks for ending my day today in such a positive way with this lovely post my friend!!!! 😊

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    • I hope you don’t mind me mentioning you by name (I checked that your blog was public before I posted this, just to be sure), but honestly your post that day was just what I needed to hear. I know you were speaking from your own experience, but it really resonated with me. And I think that is the joy of writing: you never know how it is going to impact others. Your blog always makes me happy, but this particular post really, really helped me!!! Thanks so much for that, and for all of your support…you have helped model what a blog should be!!!

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  4. I really like this post. I relate to it so much. I’ve started several blogs with the same intentions as you mention here. then, when I realized that with my life’s journey it was impossible to always put on a happy face and inspire others, I deleted my blogs. Now, I’m trying really hard to just be myself, be human, and I think it works okay. It also helps others to know we’re human and not everything things is rainbows and lollipops. I love your voice, it makes me want to read you for sure! 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you, Mandy. Honestly, I think that if you post what you are honestly feeling, then that will resonate with others. It is true that I sometimes have to struggle to find a positive spin on something, but I don’t write it until I know it is honest and true. So, I am not just making up fake positives, I am forcing myself to see the good that it always there. And that helps me as much as, if not more than the readers. But I think you have to do what works best for you, and just be your authentic self. Not everyone’s blog has to be positive all the time. Be true to yourself, and you will be doing your readers a favor!

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  5. Ann, your writing has been uplifting and always unassuming. I like that. But even more meaningful to me are your comments. Each of us needs to know that we are ‘relatable’, that someone else in this world understands. Of course there’s always the cursed writer’s block. You know…..sit at your computer for hours, write, delete, rewrite, check e-mail, read, try again, nothing, take a nap, finally give up and eat a giant bowl of ice cream…..hmmmmm, ice cream. I’ve got chocolate chip in the freezer. Bye

    Liked by 2 people

    • I relate to you very, very well! That is exactly how my writer’s block goes, just throw in some Facebook and online solitaire. But you are so right, the essence of reading and writing is discovering that someone else out there feels and thinks the same way we do, at least about one issue. And that kind of connection and understanding helps keep us all sane. Thanks, Larry!

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  6. Ann, thank you for this blog. I too have been searching for my blog’s current purpose. For 4 1/2 years, it was about self expression and most of the time I enjoyed blogging. But the last few months, blogging has been a struggle and I have wondered if it outlived it’s usefulness. I’m not ready to give up, but like you, I have have had difficulty finding topics that are true and timely, but not negative. Often what’s on my mind are worries about politics, but I haven’t wanted to make the blog’s focus political. I’ve written and set aside positive blog when I realize that they are more aspirational (how I want to feel) that how I truly feel. Seeing your questions, dilemma, and solution encourages me to find my own. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I understand what you mean. I think the trick, at least for me, in keeping this blog positive is also keeping it honest. So, I don’t want to write what I don’t really believe or feel, which means that I have to look hard to find the positive in whatever I happen to be dealing with. Sometimes that’s hard, and with some subjects, it’s impossible, so I am limited in my subject matter. But the upside is that before I can write something positive, I have to actually discover it, so my blog actually helps me cope with the tough things.
      I don’t think everyone’s blog needs to be positive, and that we all get to decide what are blogs are going to be. Maybe it’s time for a change of direction for your blog, or maybe it’s okay if your blog reflects your worries. Whatever you decide to do, I’m thinking that there will be many people who will benefit from your posts!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I always enjoy your posts and find food for thought in them. I understand the shine can come off blogging sometimes though – I’ve been in the doldrums myself a bit lately. But these things pass! And if they don’t, no-one is forcing me to carry on so I can just stop. (Though I don’t think I will, I usually perk up before then.)

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  8. Your posts are great and they usually make me laugh but you also provide the voice on subjects that sometimes many of us find hard to articulate. Keep at it. You have many loyal followers. ❤

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  9. Great post, Ann. I’d love to struggle with my writing like you do..:)
    Blogging is not easy sometimes, is it. So many people we’d like to please, that we sometimes forget about ourselves and lose our way.
    Knowing what to write and how it might be received is not always easy. We second guess ourselves and suddenly there’s nothing there. No thoughts. No words.
    I’ve always felt your words were some of the most honest I’ve read, here , Ann and I’ve always believed you were true to yourself but only you know that for sure.
    But no one loses when they follow their heart so if you’ve found your passion or niche I’m sure we’ll all continue to enjoy your humor, and uplifting attitude toward life.😊
    The most important thing is that you’re still here and happy doing what you’re doing..:)

    Liked by 4 people

    • You are exactly right, George! Sometimes I think way too much about what people want from me, or how they will react to what I write, and boy, does that create writer’s block! Then I read something like Jodi’s post, and realize that the trick is to keep my focus on what I want to write, because the only thing I really have to offer is my own, authentic voice. If I can stick to that, then I’m okay, and the words and thoughts return. Others may or may not appreciate them, but either way, I’ve been true to my own beliefs and viewpoints.
      Sometimes, especially spending so much time at an open-admission animal shelter, it’s hard to find the positive. But the shelter has also taught me that there is nothing to be gained by constantly focusing on the negative, either. I grow so tired of the people who constantly complain, blame and lash-out. I have honestly found it’s so much easier to cope if I try to encourage others, to see the best in people, and to try to understand their point of view. It helps me just as much as it helps others, and the older I get, the more I understand that being as kind and as understanding as I can possibly be is probably one of the most important things I can do. Jodi’s post validated that as well.
      Thanks, George, for your ability to always “cut to the chase” and say (okay, write) just the right thing. You are right up there with Jodi as someone who consistently helps me (and many others) get back on track!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t know if it’s at all relevant, Ann, to the way you view blogging, but I find there’s no need at all to stick to a schedule, nor to post regularly, and that readers still appear, ‘like’ and comment. My last post, which I made at the end of November, appeared four months after the previous one in late July, and yet has received more views and comments than any other post I’ve made. This indicates that I can write when I like, and post when I like, so as I go through those inevitable and recurrent phases of thinking of deleting the blog (as many here have referred to), I can just ignore the impulse. To be perfectly frank, I would rather see less frequency from many other blogs (I don’t mean yours!) if it meant the content could be richer or better crafted – an obvious preference for quality over quantity. But perhaps that’s not the in the spirit of blogging?

    Liked by 3 people

    • It’s very relevant, and very helpful, thank you! When I started blogging, all the advice I read was the same: post every day. I knew I couldn’t do that, because I wanted my posts to be short essays, and I knew I couldn’t write a decent essay every single day and still get on with the rest of my life. So I resolved to post as often as I could, and on a schedule to make sure I didn’t give up on the blog.
      I do think that schedule probably helped when I was just starting out, but two years into this blog, I think it has become a burden. I’ve noticed that some of the best written blogs (not all, of course, there are plenty of people who are posting high quality material on a daily basis) are not on any schedule at all, and that I am more than happy to read and comment on their posts when they do come out. A prime example is yours!
      Thanks for sharing that perspective. From now on, I hope to focus on the purpose of my blog much more than the quantity of my posts!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. For as long as I have been reading your blog, I felt that with your honesty and willingness to tell the truth about how you feel about yourself in particular and others in general you always had something positive to say. Keep it up and your blog will continue to inspire, Ann!

    Liked by 4 people

  12. To encourage, entertain and inspire – I think those are excellent reasons for writing a blog, Ann. I’m always surprised how different blogs can be from each other and how over the weeks, months and years they give us a real sense of the person writing them. I like your blog because I find it entertaining, but never in a nasty or mean-spirited way. You speak (or I guess I should way write) a lot of good sense too. Finally, I second all the stuff Peter said about honesty and positivity.

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  13. A wonderful post, Ann! And I can also very much relate to the subject. When I worried if people would still come and visit my blog if I only post once a week, a good blogging friend told me it’s the content that matters not the frequency. If course she’s right but seeing so many other bloggers posting everyday made me feel I might be doing something wrong. The other thing is I also intend my blog to be a source of positivity but found it can be hard sometimes to stay attuned to that tune when I myself don’t feel very happy. It’s a kind of struggle I’m in and to read that you’re having the same doubts helps me very much indeed. So thank you Ann for this post and I am so glad you found your way back! It can be scary how we sabotage ourselves at times with doubts…

    Liked by 2 people

    • It really can! Especially when we worry to much about what others will think of what we write, which is hard, because with blogging, people do tell you. But I think it’s okay not to be positive when that’s not what you feel, as honesty is very important. For me, I try sometimes to just think, “what can I learn from this situation?” and that helps, sometimes. It is a struggle at times, though! Thanks for your comment and keep on blogging!

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      • Thank you for your lovely reply, Ann! I will take a leaf of your book if I may and confront situations likewise now 😃 And I agree wholeheartedly honesty like decency is very important indeed and I truly believe people can always tell the difference of only on a subconscious level. Have a very lovely Sunday and a wonderful week ahead! Hugs! xxxxx

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  14. Very insightful. Made me think about my own blog and how I’ve been able to stick it out when I thought about quitting. Maybe the reason I continue blogging is that I had to find things to write about that interested me. Things I could not write about any other way and have a readership. At the end of 2013, I was reading a number of posts where the blogger had run out of things to say. It was at that point I turned my Wednesdays over to a work in progress. The first year I took on writing short stories, using another short as a prompt. Then I did Hamlet. And the latest has been a satire. All this is to say that it has been the variety that has kept me going.

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    • I think that expanding into a variety of formats and topics is a good idea. Again, so much of the advice is to have a single focus, but it can get hard to have something fresh and interesting to say about the same thing, year after year. I think that as long as you keep the quality good, then readers will appreciate whatever you are posting. And clearly, you do that! Thanks for the comment!

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      • Fortunately the focus of my blog is broad. The whole purpose is to entertain with stories,humor and such. I could see doing a blog about gardening with different themes, such as care and feeding one day, photographs one day and great gardens of the world one day. That is just an example. Mine is Sunday free for all, Wednesday ongoing story or work such as Hamlet and Friday creativity. I could see you easily doing three a week–1.How I got here, 2. Now that I am here, 3.Where do I go from here. Just a suggestion.

        Also I schedule. By doing that, I am able to write a Mother’s Day post when I get inspired. This is just an example. It also gives me an opportunity to vary my posts. Say I have been writing a bunch of humor posts. I can stagger them in and put a few serious ones in for variety.

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  15. Wow, I needed to read this today! I’m a relative newbie to blogging. What started as an economical means of communicating with friends and family during one of my adventures has turned into something…more. Maybe?

    I’ve been spinning my wheels recently trying to find my “voice,” suspecting that I’m just stammering awkwardly into an already noisy space, wondering if I should just focus my attention on less challenging vocations (the dishes aren’t going to wash themselves after all).

    After reading your post, I may still have doubts about what my voice sounds like, but I can say that I want (probably need) to keep looking. Because the thrill of writing, of maybe getting it right, is undeniable. Thanks

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you should write about what it important to you, and the rest of it will fall into place. It doesn’t happen overnight, but trust me, your readership will grow. Check out, and follow, blogs that are similar to yours and that speak to you. Eventually, you will find your niche. And even if you change your blog’s focus, people who like your writing style will stick with you. Enjoy the process!!! And thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog.

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  16. What a fantastic post Ann, again it’s one I totally relate to. I’ve struggled with my own issues too and wondering what my blog’s purpose is too, after all I can’t always be traveling. But I’ve worked it out and, like Jodi says in her wonderful post (thanks for the link by the way) I guess I just want to spread some positivity. Leave some sort of legacy. Just as you’re doing Ann. Love your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Miriam! Your blog is about so much more than travel. It’s also about finding direction in life, in finding joy in the everyday, and even finding ways to cope with the tough stuff! It is a very encouraging blog and is a gift to all who read it. Thank you for that!

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  17. I’ve struggled over the Christmas break as well, and found that when I came back to blogging I wondered if I wanted to continue. Like you I want my blogs to be relevant and helpful, or at least thought provoking, but my original reason for writing is still very strong for me. It is an expression of who I am, and must be something that means something to me, first and foremost. I made a decision that I would only ever post something that I was personally happy to post, and that way if no-one responded to it I could still say “Well I liked it!”.
    I don’t intend to stop blogging, and have just started back. Who knows how long I will last? But I appreciate your comments about your struggle to blog. It reminds me how similar we all are as humans. That’s a comforting feeling. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that what is most important about blogging, or any kind of writing, is to actually like what we write and to feel that we are doing the best work we can. Unless we’re trying to make money off of it, it doesn’t really matter what our stats are, I think. I’m glad you’re back to blogging, and personally, hope you keep it up!

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  18. I agree. I think a blog has to serve its readers by offering something. I tend to verge away from self-indulgent blogs. If I can read a blog post and come away with a simple, positive message that can translate into an action, I am happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Personally, I think if my blog is just going to be all about me with no consideration for readers, then I shouldn’t make it public. I think it’s fine to write like that, but that belongs in a private journal. Blogging is writing something for others to read, and we need to be making sure that we are always giving our readers something. Thanks for the comment!

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