Thursday, August 16, 2012

Why I blog -- part 2

Cathy's questions went on:  "What motivated you to start, and what keeps you going?"

This question needs a long answer.  At the beginning of 2010 I had decided that my daily art project for the year would be to take a photo every day.  I'd done daily art projects for most of the past decade, and had become more interested in photography since I began carrying my camera along on long walks.  So on January first I started taking photos, choosing the best one for the day, and putting them into a folder on my computer.

January 1, 2010

Later that week a dear friend came to visit me and after I described my new project and showed her the first half dozen photos, she asked me what I was going to do with them.  I said I didn't know, maybe print them all out and bind into some kind of book, maybe something else, but I didn't have to decide just yet.

She said, "You need a blog!"

I said, "I have no clue about how to do that."

She said, "Well, I'll show you!"

Snow had fallen overnight and the steep hill leading to our cul-de-sac was impassable.  We certainly weren't going anywhere for a while, so we sat at the computer and she patiently walked me through every step of the way, from choosing a title to setting up a design template to deciding every detail of how the blog would operate.  By that afternoon, I had posted the first week of photos, along with a discussion of why I love daily art and why I chose this project for the new year.

Amazingly, several people read the blog post and left comments, which is like the rush from one's first experience with addictive controlled substances.  Oops, you're hooked!

At the start I didn't have any concept of what the blog might contain except for my daily photos.  But soon I realized I had something to say about another subject, and wrote about it.  A couple of weeks later we went on a museum trip to Los Angeles and I figured I'd write about the art we saw.  And so I oozed from a daily photo blog to a blog about many aspects of art.

What keeps me going?  Again, there's a back story.  When I retired from my day job in 2000 I resolved that I would now be an artist.  I spent most of the decade turning that boastful bravado into reality, and realized that I had developed a whole lot of opinions, expertise and insight that probably had some validity.  I had always been an active participant on the Quiltart list, sharing my thoughts on a wide variety of subjects with 2,000 or so of my closest friends, and moving those ideas to a blog was an easy transition.

But it all boils down to one thing: knowing that somebody out there in cyberspace is reading.

You hate to admit that you're a whore for comments, but it's true.  I have spent more than 40 years writing things that have been cast upon the waters, whether in a daily newspaper, a corporate newsletter, an email listserve or now a blog.  No matter what the medium, you always wonder whether all your hard work has been in vain, whether your ideas have actually connected with another person out there.  I suspect I've connected with tens of thousands of people over the years, but the evidence of that is skimpy.  I saved every one of the (relatively few) compliment letters that came to me in my journalism and corporate communication careers, but if they numbered more than 100 I would be surprised.  I do know that almost 2,500 people have left comments on my blog in the last two and a half years, which makes me feel both proud and humble.  

I bet that every other blogger will, if put to the third degree, agree with me that comments are the food that sustains us.  I try to be as generous in leaving comments on other blogs as I can, knowing that we all write to connect with other people.  And I will admit that the first thing I check in the morning when I turn on my computer is the comments page, to see if anybody has responded to what I have posted recently.  If this makes me sound like Sally Field before the Oscar was awarded, then so be it.

I write because I must, but I write for you.  I am profoundly grateful that you read it.


  1. I derive pleasure, interest, and information from your blog, thank you; but I must confess that I am mostly a lurker.

  2. Thank you for writing your blog. I may not agree with you all the time, but you usually give me something to think about.


  3. Your posts connect with me! I check your blog everyday.

  4. Toying with the idea of blogging, I found the timing of this discussion inspiring and have spent most of my free time checking out the bloggers from QA. I must confess that I have read your blog many times but do not remember having commented before. That said, I love it! I have always found an idea to contemplate, a spark that leads my mind onto diverse paths! Thank you for taking the time to blog.

  5. I, too, retired from my day job to see if I could be an artist. I read your blog everyday because I appreciate your intelligence and success as an artist. Thank you for always making the read worthwhile.

  6. I follow your blog and have recommended your blog to several artists I work with. That's how much I appreciate your thoughtful and thought-filled writing.

  7. I agree with you, the comments and interaction of one's readers is heady stuff. It definitely adds fuel to the to speak. Great topic.

  8. I love your work I love your honesty and I love how your words that you print are the words flowing freely to the blog page.

  9. Kathy,

    Good stories - we do sort of fall into blogging sometimes.

    Although I have to say that I disagree - I don't blog because I get comments - I do it for me. I'd do it even without readers.

    I write this article about a year ago talking about the benefits of blogging for an artist and the comment thing is only a part of reason #7.

    I suppose I should chime into the quiltart discussion....

  10. Kathy,
    From one comment whore to another, Thank You for all you write. Your blog gives me lots to think about when I take the time to read it. Your bravery in putting all your thoughts out there gives me to the courage to be a bit more of myself as well.

  11. You know, it's not the comments per se -- if I just wanted any comments, I coould turn off my spam filter and get hundreds suggesting sources for generic propecia. Comments are a currency by which to measure whether I'm connecting to people out there on the other side of the computer screen.

    I write to connect, to share ideas and frustrations. I'm so glad to know somebody is reading.

    Thank you all!

  12. Thank you for your blog! I confess to being a lurker... But I read your blog regularly and love to catch up on some of your older posts, tutorials, photos when I can. Thank you!

  13. I'm glad you write about art. I read blogs but don't always leave a comment. So there are probably more readers than you think.

    It's nice to get comments on my blog, but ultimately, I blog for myself, to share my artwork and keep a record of what's going on in my life.

  14. I blog for myself. I don't have a group of people to hang out with and talk to, so I blog. For the longest time, I blogged for myself as I had no comments.

    But the first few times someone left a comment--I was so excited and pumped up. I kept trying to get more comments. Which is a mistake. I lost myself for that period of time.

    Now I blog about what interests me. I read just about 10 to 15 blogs each day. Some daily. The others shift in an out of my interest zone. As I change, so do the blogs I read.

  15. Kathy,

    I stumbled upon your blog about one month ago. I have been reading it backward in time. Which why I am commenting on an older post. I really enjoy the your comments and your art. I am learning from you about art. I occasionally have to take a research break to lookup the things your are commenting on. Example: encaustic. Keep on blogging. Connie