Sunday, October 5, 2014

Thinking again about why I blog

I read some great stuff about blogging last week - in particular, a piece on Zen Habits - which got me thinking about this blog and where I'd like to take it.

It started as a place where I could explore ideas about life, the universe and everything. Why are we here? How should we deal with various life challenges? What's the best way of putting values into action?

It quickly developed into a blog that's primarily about running and the lessons it's taught me, with occasionally posts on travel, food, cats, photography, writing - pretty much everything really.

I don't have a problem with that, except that it breaks the #1 rule of blogging, which is to pick a topic and stick to it. According to those who know, a blog is much more likely to find and keep an audience if it consistently offers good information and advice on a relatively narrow range of subjects. 

But the truth is in the 7 years I've been writing this blog, I haven't been all that concerned about "building an audience". Naturally, I hope readers will find it interesting/enjoyable/helpful but, at the end of the day, it's more like an on-line diary - a place to record random musings and explore my creative side. I'm happy when others find a post interesting and join the conversation by responding in some way but, even when they don't, it's satisfying to put pen to paper (so to speak).

I've also come to enjoy using it to share my photos. Let me be clear, I don't have any illusions about my talents as a photographer. (How could I with so much evidence of photography far better than my own available online?) Nevertheless, I enjoy using photography to see and share the beauty around me and, every once in awhile, I capture an image I'm really happy with - like this one:


Speaking of photography, if you find yourself in Nova Scotia this month, be sure to check out some of the wonderful exhibits that make up Photopolis, a celebration of all things photographic  On my way home last night, I stopped in at the D'art Gallery to see "D'ance: A Dancer's View of Dartmouth". It's a terrific show for anyone who loves dance and/or Dartmouth. The exhibit is the result of the combined efforts of a photographer, a choreographer and numerous dancers - who together made beautiful, evocative images that have a lot to say about the power of dance to shed light on human experience. I especially loved the series of a dancer interacting with Dawn MacNutt's sculptures at Alderney Gate, and a group of ballerinas at Two if by Sea.  

Another show I'm looking forward to is a series of portraits taken by Aaron MacKenzie Fraser in the Roy Building shortly before it was torn down to make way for new development.  I've had many opportunities to visit and work in that building over the years so was greatly saddened to see it reduced to rubble and am hoping the portraits will capture some part of the soul of the place.

Where was I? Oh, yes, the blog. (See what I mean? No focus at all.)

In a post last summer, I noted that there are lots of topics about which I don't write - though the reality is they take up quite a bit of real estate in my head - family, marriage, work, aging, sex, for example. My reasons for avoiding such topics are obvious. They're too personal, I'm embarrassed, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and (most of all) I'm not sure I have anything much worth saying. (Like that's ever stopped me.)

On my long run today, I decided that maybe it was time to write about some of those subjects. After all, I've gained a fair bit of wisdom and experience in my 52 1/2 years on the planet - some of which might actually be useful to someone. And, who knows, maybe if I open up, others will too and we'll all learn something.

It's an intriguing to think about but scary as well. It's sure to feel downright uncomfortable at times and, of course, there are others' feeling to consider. On the other hand, my New Year's resolution for 2014 is to "plunge boldly into life" so the timing seems right to change course. Look for my first Painfully Personal Post later this week. 

1 comment:

  1. Ignore those people that tell you how to blog to build an audience. I think there are two paths to blogging, broadly speaking. 1 is to "build your audience" pandering to some template, topic, and hope to get lots of readers. This is commercial blogging, done to monetize, and it will kill your soul unless you are that kind of person. 2 is to blog about the things that you want to blog about, when you want to do it. Maybe you won't get many readers, but I'll guarantee the ones you get will keep coming back because they value what you say. I blog like you do, and some days I'm surprised at what's on the page ready for the publish button. I've had the occasional comment that something I've written really struck a chord, and that's worth more than a million readers that don't care about me.
    I dabble a bit in photography as well, and think I'd like to learn more, and get a better camera, and, and, and, but there are other things that fill my time now. Like reading blogs, I like looking at interesting photos. Maybe they aren't technically proficient, but they show a bit about what the person was thinking, and that's often more interesting than some 'arty' shot.
    As for the more personal topics, my thinking is that as long as you aren't invading someone else's privacy, have at it. Which reminds me, I just looked at your labels, and they're way better than mine. I should redo mine. #whenistheretime?