“I blog. Writing about what I’ve been learning about, and my successes as well as my failures, has been an amazing tool for learning. I highly recommend it, even if you never want to be a writer or make a living as a blogger. Don’t worry about growing your audience, but just blog and share it with friends. Why? Because to write a blog post, you have to reflect on your life. You have to push yourself a little and experiment. You are motivated to learn something useful, so you can share it. You dig deeper and find new things you didn’t realize before. You hold yourself accountable for changes, because other people are watching.”
from Leo Babauta, ‘My Most Effective Learning Tools’, Zen Habits
I so wholeheartedly agree. As a blogger of some four or more years now, sometimes you do wonder why you bother. With the big gaps in my blogging patterns, because of managing a full-time job and a long commute, it’s so easy to give up, think of giving up, put my feet up and not blog but I love my blog and what I have created here over time and the act that is blogging.
It’s the ongoing creative heart of my days. Sometimes when it’s hard going at work, I find a few minutes to look at my blog, this almost other self it seems when I am in the work realm. I breathe more easily seeing my creative other self there in words and images on the screen, the pink blossoms shining out.
As Leo Babauta sums up, it’s about learning, about creativity, about reflecting and pushing and making deeper connections. It’s finding the right photograph for the words that you are pulling together. It drives you to take those photographs in the first place and see the world differently.
I had a rare mid-week day off from work recently and took a long walk around my local streets and beaches. I took 150 photographs on that walk of what I saw and experienced. I’m thinking how to pull them into a photo-essay here. The act of thinking about that is making me reflect on my love of where I live, the value of time to recharge, what standing in the water looking out means to me, the therapy of walking and the recharging power of sunshine and solitude.
Leo is so right when he says: “…to write a blog post you have to reflect on your life.”
Whether it’s what it’s like being an introvert, the importance of family history, the struggle to write and publish poetry, the value of what you choose to read and what it means to you, the symbols that keep recurring in your life that you are noticing, learning what sustains you, the travel to new places and what you feel there, thinking about how you can be more productive, the images that inspire you or the act of blogging itself, the act of catching those random thoughts and crafting them into a piece of writing, a blog post that becomes public is a creative, reflective and life-affirming act.
One of my earliest posts, ‘The value of howling into the wind‘, still holds so true in my experience. It’s so easy to fall into focusing on the size of your audience (or the lack of) and feeling like it’s just not reaching very far and has no point. But to blog, to write creatively and publicly is an act that has great personal value of heightening experience, digging, discovering, connecting, tuning in and shaping something that might not otherwise find itself.
Blogging might, and still does for me, feel like howling into the wind but it has its own intrinsic value of strength and uniqueness that just might be of value to others as well:
So ‘howling into the wind’ is about running with the wolves and the ‘longing for the wild’ as Estes calls it. It’s about stoking the creative fire with winds that might feel a bit uncomfortable and cold at first. It’s about the strength that might come from tuning into such intuitive sources, making connections and finding that to which we belong. And through whatever means – writing, photography, a business idea, a new perspective, the shape of a poem – forming something unique that is your voice that others may also tune into, relate to and take something away from. So let’s keep howling.