As you might have noticed, this blog isn’t being posted to very regularly. And posting regularly is one of the key pieces of advice given to those who want to blog well. So why have I not been posting? In a nutshell… Life. Contrary to popular opinion, bloggers do have them. In my own case, I am a single mother with a small child. I am a university student. I am renovating a house to sell and trying to orchestrate a move. I am in the process of setting up a charity. I have real life friends and family who require some of my time. I get sick. I get tired. And so on and so on…
This blog was an unrealised dream for quite a while before I started it, and I started it when I did, not because it was the perfect time for me, but because I was fortunate enough to receive the domain name and hosting as a prize from All For Women, for which I am extremely grateful. But it is still to a certain extent an unrealised dream, because I have expectations of myself as a blogger, of which posting regularly is only one. This raises an interesting question about blogging, for me at least. When I don’t meet my own expectations as as a blogger, I feel as though I haven’t met my responsibilities.
Why is this so?
Many personal bloggers start by blogging “only” for themselves but once readers come into the picture, the dynamic changes. It took me a long time to get that first reader but as soon as I did, I realised that this art form is not like most others. It is not only interactive: It is social. And it brings with it, I think, social obligations. That is one of the reasons why, in my very small blogroll, I list the Reader Appreciation Project. They are all about meeting those obligations: Doing those simple things like replying, like saying thank you. I have a lot of respect for their blogging philosophy and the writers, and other bloggers like them, are what makes being part of the blogosphere so rewarding.
The blogosphere is about giving.
Other art forms are about giving too, of course. If art is a form of expression, it is also a way of sharing; sharing ideas and emotions and ways of perceiving the world. And sharing in this way elicits a response. Few mediums have the ability to appreciate the response directly the way that blogging does. And actor can take a bow to acknowledge the audience’s applause. A blogger has many more options available. But one thing which perhaps doesn’t get discussed so frequently, is that other kinds of artists show their appreciation by performing well.
Obviously, this is a complicated form of appreciation, because it is also it’s own reward and the art is practised for the love of it. But it does generate a responsibility to perform as well, and especially so in blogging where the audience involvement is so immediate. Other bloggers, with a different character than mine, might use different language to express this idea, or might strike a different balance between the satisfaction of private creation and the joy of communicating, but I do feel it as an obligation, as a responsibility I took on when I decided to communicate this way. So I’m wondering, do you? Or are you able to draw a defining line between blogging just for the love of it and the audience who rewards you?