Why Blog?

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photographs a green fern in the forest at Lime Hollow Nature Center in Cortland, NY.“Why do you do this blogging thing?” a friend once asked me. After tearing up a half dozen different dirges I wrote this week, I came back to this question. Why blog? Why would anyone want to blog?

In June of 2012, a year after my daughter died, I was writing a memoir. I created a website in order to show potential literary agents I could gather and grow an audience. Each week I wrote my heart out. Soon the benefits of writing became clear and my reasons for blogging changed. Now, four years later, I have not missed a single Monday morning blog.

Blogging adds structure to my life. I pretend it is work. I force myself to get out and do stuff so I can have things to write about, and I block out time at the end of every week to type up my report. Then, on Monday mornings, when everyone else goes off to their jobs, I sit at the computer and publish “my work.”

I blog because I love to work. And I love the pride that comes from producing something.

I blog because my daughter blogged. It is a connection to her, one of the ways she continues to shape my life.

Blogging is a weekly evaluation, a review of my current emotional state. It’s an opportunity to remember what made me smile that week, what hardship or fears I overcame.

I blog to know I’m not alone. To reach out. To hopefully offer comfort to someone else. To hear from people and make new connections in a world where I was once, simply and happily, my children’s mom. Like so many others, I’ve had to reinvent myself. “I’m a blogger and photographer,” I say now, when asked what I do.

Mostly, I blog to remind myself, and others, that even when we’ve lost what we thought we could not live without, there is yet more joy and beauty and love to sustain us. “I’m looking for joy,” I tell my friends, as I search for the highlight of my week. Something fresh, and green. Something that stands out and slaps my heart awake. Blogging keeps me on the lookout for people, events, and moments that make me feel alive. If all I find is sadness, I write another lament. But when I discover something joyful, however small, I celebrate it. I love the heck out of it. And then I share it with you in a blog.

Thank you for being out there and listening. What do you do to keep moving forward?



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6 thoughts on “Why Blog?

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    In searching for something I love in a life without my number one love, I decided to become a better writer. I’d been a writer much of my life, but mostly for myself. An occasional submission here and there. So I focused on the skill of writing and on writing as a way to figure out what had happened and where I stood when the dust settled.

    I started writing classes and worked on my story long before I imagined blogging, helping the bereaved at Hospice, or publishing a book. All that came after the focus on articulating my experience through writing. Connecting with readers is a huge part of why I write now. I always learn to look at life from a new perspective. Thank you for sharing all of it, Robin.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Well, I seem to always be following you, Elaine. The writing, blogging, photographing. I’ve come to love Facebook and reaching out to people in grief groups. And, did you know I’ve been doing bereavement phoning for Hospicare? Connecting. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what helps the most. Of course, it would be neat to follow you through the hallowed halls of The Published one day as well.

  2. Laurie Botie

    This was a very thought-filled piece. A wonderful work of self reflection, beautifully expressed. Bravo!!

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Thanks, Lau. It came to me when I was driving home from The Weekend. I was panicking because the thing I’d planned on writing about suddenly seemed too trivial. In the car, with notebook and pen by my side, I scribbled out what-the-heck-am-I-doing and this is what came out. Sometimes, driving in the car, I find the bottom line to things, to my life. Cheers!

  3. Lucy Bergstrom

    Maybe when someone asks, “Why do you blog?” what they really mean is, “Why do you assume that anyone would want to read your blog?”
    Any writer struggles with the idea that no one would want to bother with reading what writers write. Often famous writers relate that they figured a few hardy souls might read their first book, and that they’ve written with those few hardy souls in mind. They didn’t find out until after publication that hundreds of thousands of ordinary and quite varied readers love their book.
    Bloggers can get feedback right away! Your particular blog, Robin, hits a nerve. Many of your readers have lost a child, just like you, and can explore their feelings in the wake of deep loss along with you. You have a gift for expressing yourself, unlike most people. You are good at telling what it feels like, which also helps the rest of us, who haven’t yet suffered a great loss. It’s one of the conditions of life, that we all will die, so loss is inevitable. You help us all to face it.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Oh Lucy! Thank you so much for being “out there.” I needed to hear this, this morning, as everyone else nearby gets ready to celebrate a beautiful Labor Day and I sit at my computer, not wanting to start playing until I’ve posted this week’s blog. The feedback I get from you and others, especially when I put the posting on Facebook the next day, means so much to me. I wish it could be light and joyful each week, but really, I’m sharing the real stories and emotions that stay with me. The real-life sorrows and joys and questions that others will be visited by, sooner or later. And yes, I still struggle with the idea that maybe people won’t want to read what I’ve written, that maybe it will be too sad or too scary.


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