A Blogger's Guide to Why Blogging Matters

Hello everybody! It's been a long time since I've taken the time to sit down and write a blog post, but here I am. So much has gone on in my life in the last year and half, but one of the main things is that I started my first year of college (or university) in the fall! Moving out from home and into a new place was something really different and scary for me at first, but now that I'm halfway done with my first year, I can honestly say I love where I'm at and I'm so thankful for everyone I've met.

Exhibit A: (left to right) Raae, Hallie, me, and Leah (left to right)

Exhibit B: me, lol.
Now, I wish I could tell you that I hope to get back into regular blogging (something I seem to say almost every time I make a reappearance here, lol), but I'm just going to let the posts come when they come.... in other words, when I have the time and motivation.

Recently, I was prompted to reflect on how I fell in love with writing, and for me, the answer was simple :: blogging.
Not only has blogging changed my view of the world, but it has also affected how I approach writing today. Let me explain...

On a blustery Saturday morning in mid-February, a shy, twelve year old girl holed up in her bedroom under the covers and opened the screen of her chunky, white laptop. She immediately typed “blogger.com” into the search bar and waited expectantly as the page loaded. When the website finally popped up, her mouth dropped in awe at the screen as she saw the bright orange notification that forty three comments were awaiting her moderation. That meant that not only had at least forty three people noticed her blog and had taken the time to read her previous post, but that they had also found it meaningful or challenging in some way and decided to leave feedback. With every message she read, she could see her dream becoming more and more real.
This girl, of course, is me, and at the beginning of my sixth grade year, I had decided to start a blog that mainly consisted of various ramblings and commentary on books that I had been reading. I was several months into running this blog by then, and I had developed a wonderful community of blogging friends from all over the world who shared my passion for reading and writing. Even now, 7 years later, I still run the same blog. Throughout the years, it has morphed into a hodge-podge of topics ranging all the way from books, movies, poems, short stories, and music to politics, anxiety, hockey, traveling, and more. Starting my blog was one of the key moments where I realized how much writing means to me. I have learned so many lessons about the process and importance of writing from running a blog, and these lessons carry over to academic writing as well.
First, I learned that writing is relevant in all situations. If I wanted to write a blog post about the origins of palm trees, I could go ahead and do that. If I needed to challenge a widely accepted idea or concept, I could. If I was lost and needed work through something difficult, I found that writing a blog post about it helped me sort it out in my head. If writing about the most recent Harry Potter film or about the presidential election struck my fancy, those were also free game. Writing about these things challenged me to learn about a whole slew of topics and think things through on my own. They also helped me understand certain points better through feedback and discussion I found in comments. Ultimately, writing for a blog has taught me that I can use writing for an unlimited number of purposes and situations. On account of its versatility, writing will always be relevant.  
Second, writing blog posts about a wide variety of topics has definitely helped me learn  how to write in all different formats and genres including open letters, poetry, reviews, stories, opinion pieces and more. In writing, the presentation of what is being communicated is very important. It probably would not be appropriate to write a letter to a congressman or congresswoman in the form of poetry, and it also would not be a good idea to write a light-hearted short story about a recent family vacation as a formal essay. Running my blog helped me explore all different kinds of writing and how to determine which type is most effective for what topic or desired result.
From all of my blogging experience, I also realized that successful writing takes effort and consistency. In order for people to be interested in what I have to say, I obviously would not be able to write with broken sentences, incomplete thoughts, poor spelling, or catastrophic organization. In everything reading-related, people engage with the text to get something meaningful out of it, whether they are trying to understand a topic for the first time, expand their knowledge, or just read for pleasure. That is why I learned the importance of clarity in writing; nobody is going to be interested in what a text has to say if they cannot easily understand it. Effort comes into play here as writers have to work hard to make sure that everything they are trying to communicate in writing comes across clearly and resonates with their readers. I have found that reading, rereading, and revising is extremely vital to do before pushing that “post” button on my blog or printing out that final draft copy for a professor so that I can make sure everything comes across exactly how I intend it to.
Another thing blogging has shown me is the power of writing. If somebody would have asked me seven years ago if I thought that something I wrote could make a real difference in the world, I would have laughed. However, through writing for my blog, I have realized that even if I am not physically making a concrete difference in anything, I can use my writing to get people thinking and starting to have meaningful conversations about certain topics. Just by getting people engaged through reading could make a difference. One of my favorite things about blogging is that I can write a post sharing my opinion, whether that be on something light-hearted like a movie or heavy like the action to rescind DACA, and expect comments from people responding to my thoughts and sharing theirs in return. Without simply writing a blog post and sharing it, these discussions probably never would have occurred. In some cases, without writing, real differences may never even happen at all.  
For the past seven years, blogging has played a significant role in my life. Not only have I been integrated into a community of people around the world who share my passions and hopes, but I have also been able to learn a ton about different writing practices and beliefs that shape who I am as a writer today.

So I guess I just wanted to say thank you. To the few of you that still check my blog, thanks. Your friendship and encouragement has made a huge impact on my life and I am so grateful that you're here. While I suppose I am writing for an audience (duh...my blog is easily accessible on the public web), I've also learned that this blog is mainly for myself. It's a place where I can look back and have a catalog of thoughts and memories. It's a place where I can watch myself grow as a person, as a writer, and as a learner. Starting my blog has been one of the most enriching decisions I have ever made, and I cannot imagine how different I would be if I grew up without this community as a major influence on my life.

Anyway, that's all for today, but I hope to be back with some more content for you soon!
Mischief Managed,


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