Monday, July 16, 2012

Why do I blog? Why do you?

My friend Talya asked me why I have the kind of blog that I do. 

Why poetry?  Why contests?  Why do I want to have guest bloggers, instead of letting my blog go silent, for the week after my surgery?


The following are excepts from my email to Talya.  I wanted to share this on the day before my surgery, before all of my wonderful guest bloggers start sharing their fabulous posts.  I am so glad that I have wonderful blogging friends who have stepped up to help me out!



Let me start with why I started poetrysansonions, and where the name came from in the first place. I have been allergic to onions since I was a teenager.  Since then, my sensitivity has gotten worse, and so anytime I go to a restaurant, I have to make sure my meal doesn't include onions.  When I am at Mexican restaurants, I usually end up saying "Comida sans onions."  Since I make most of my soups and sauces from scratch to avoid onions, it seemed that poetrysansonions was a good place to express the major creative parts of my life, writing and cooking. 

When I started this blog, the legal "crap" that took up over a year of my life, was in full swing. My lawyers didn't want me to continue posting to my previous blog(s) since they were coming under a lot of scrutiny.  However, since I didn't have anything to hide, they didn't want me to delete those blogs either.

For a while I didn't blog at all. I read and commented on other people's blogs, but didn't post anything. 

It drove me nuts.

I wanted to stop having my only real creative talent, writing, to be bottled up on my hard drive, with no way to share it. The compromise, with my lawyers, was to create a poetry blog that did not focus on specific aspects of my life. So, initially it was about finding a way to be me, but not the me that was being attacked.






As the legal stuff calmed down, and then was dismissed, I considered going back to my original blog. Emotionally I didn't want to go backwards, and that desire to go forward, but cautiously, is what inspired the "My New Favorite Blogs" series.

The contests came from several conversations with several people, about how sad it is that personal blogs get so much less attention than group blogs.  Lots of people know and read larger blogs like BCC, Cake Wrecks, or Wheat and Tares.

As I started looking around even more, I felt even more strongly that while there are blogging communities that are successful, there are very few personal blogs that have large followings.  My goal was not to make a blog with a large following, but to have fewer bloggers who have very few or no comments left on their blog(s). 

Pintrest seems to have made this even more common. Even personal blogs that have lots of followers are getting more hits from Pinterest, but fewer comments. While comments aren't everything, they do help personal bloggers keep motivated to move forward when they are frustrated, or lonely.

While my contests don't have huge prizes, and don't always have a lot of entries, they all focus on expanding the number of blogs that readers are exposed to, and/or giving incentives to people sharing a little slice of who they have been, are, or want to be.

If nothing else, having that focus has pushed me to spend time finding new blogs and meeting new people. Almost all of my "guest bloggers" are people who have personal blogs that I have connected with. I wouldn't have found them if I had spent a lot of time lurking before I jumped in and commented, which was what I used to do a lot of.  I realized that if comments on MY blog meant a lot to me, that most people probably felt the same way!

Does that make sense?  Why do you blog?



I wanted to have guest bloggers while I am "taking a break" for two reasons. First, I am hoping that I will get some different perspectives, since a lot of the blogs and bloggers I have found, and connected to, are very diverse. I want to have that diversity evident, because I think that it helps everyone, to hear new voices that may be outside their immediate comfort zone.

The second reason is that I have time to plan ahead, and I don't want my blog to go "dark" for a week or more. If I had an unexpected emergency, not having any posts would make sense. Several bloggers I know have left a post that essentially says, the is happening all of the sudden, so I won't be able to blog for a while. While I won't be able to blog, I do have the time to set up interesting things for me, and my readers to learn about.


I am not super smart about how blogs work, but recently I figured out, how to find out, how many people have me on an RSS feed, who follow me privately, and who have my posts emailed to them when a new post goes up. Since I only have five official followers, I was really surprised that when you include those other forms of "following" the blog, I have almost 90 additional people who have signed up in some way. With each contest I hope to engage them a little more, and maybe they will take the challenge to find and listen to other view points. I guess I see guest posts as another way to do that.

Do you like finding new blogs, or do you find yourself staying to the same several blogs?  Do you add more bogs to your blog roll, if you have one?  How often do you add new blogs?


(Don't forget the contest going on now!  Click on the contest button at the top of the page!)

7 comments:

  1. I blog because I need a creative outlet and because I feel my story needs to be told. I felt so alone when I left the church - I don't ever want anyone to feel alone again. Which was what prompted me to go public, rather than just writing for the sake of writing. I will posting a similar post in a few days that goes into further detail.

    Good luck on your surgery! I will be thinking about you and hoping for a good outcome.

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  2. I started bloggimg because I was tired of being silent and shamed in my struggle to heal and survive the affects of sexual abuse and betrayal. I had to do so much research and weeding through so many resources to evaluate what had merit and what didn't. There is so little current, accurate and well documented information regarding sexual abuse within the Mormon culture, and I thought I'd share what I was learning. I also use the blog simply to dump and organize my thoughts throughts writing. It's a good source for friends and family to figure out where I'm at in my healing journey. I also learn through dialogue, and am often interested in hearing other's views or experiences regarding the subject of my posts. I don't have a lot of time to find or follow other blogs. Usually I'll provide links to resources rather than to other blogs. I try to keep all of them in context of sexual abuse, and mental health within Mormonism.

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  3. Love, love your post and you're doin a fantastic job on the blog!! Good luck with your surgery(!!!) and when I get a chance in a couple days I'll get back to you in email!

    ~ SoACTing

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  4. Thanks for all your love and support. I am off to the hospital. I have high hopes that a few days from now I will start feeling like a new woman. I don't have time or energy to respond to all the emails in my inbox this morning, but I want to thank you for your prayers, meditations, reiki energy and the love that comes with all those well wishes.

    Tina - Yes, I will be a jumping frog soon!

    Love you all,

    Julia

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  5. We can go jumping together, and maybe next summer you will finally teach me how to do cartwheels. (Probably not, I am still as uncoordinated as ever.)

    I hope the surgery goes better than you hope, and that you get to go home today instead of staying in the hospital.

    Tina

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  6. I blog because writing is one of the gifts God gave me. I like blogging better than facebook because a blog post can be longer and more focused, and it's more about writing than networking. I also blog to keep my family members updated about my life, since many dear ones live very far away.

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