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Blogging – Why Bother?

January 29, 2011
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OK.  So Marc asks me, why do I need to blog?  What’s the point?

When I was a kid, from a town which used to get very excited about Christmas, I would start keeping a diary every year.  Even if there wasn’t a diary in my pile of presents, I’d buy one in the New Year’s Sales (is that a proper noun, now?  Feels like one.)  and diligently write in it every day until the 4th.  Of January.

Until, that is, the release of Adrian Mole, aged 13 and 3/4.  He was a few years older than me, but it didn’t matter – I totally identified with him.  I wanted to be as funny as him, and as eloquent as him.  I was old enough to know he wasn’t real, a fiction of Sue Townsend’s imagination; but it didn’t matter.  My step-brother’s best man had to turn down the role of Adrian Mole, as he’d just signed another contract – so I knew even his TV character was played by an actor.  It didn’t matter.  I wanted to be like him.  So I put extra effort into my diaries, and they started lasting until at least the 8th.

Then, at grammar school, we were all given a blank exercise book, and told to cover it. It was to be our journal, to keep track of my emotions.   I foundout that you didn’t have to keep a diary every day, but could write in it when you had emotions you wanted to analyse.  That lasted for one entry, and that was something along the lines of “I don’t know what to say, I’m writing in my journal….”

At 16, I started exploring the attic, and found diaries left over from my dead grandmother.  A memorable one detailed her experiences whilst travelling in Scotland.  I thought, “I could write this well”, and realised I had nothing to remember any of my travels by.

At the age of 20, when I was doing a yoga diploma, I kept track in a diary of how yoga and meditation made me feel (homework).  I wrote chants in it, and drew hippy pictures to decorate the mantras.  Then I started writing about real life feelings in it.  Years later, when reading it, I realised there were two sides to it.  The happy side – where I tracked yoga things; and the miserable side, where I tracked relationships.  I realised, I only wrote in the journal when I was experiencing extremes of emotion.  And that it wasn’t funny, but it did help me to understand more about me.

Nothing worked.  Until, at the age of 37 and 7/12,  it finally happened!  I started a blog.  I didn’t mean to – but I was yet again trying to lose weight, and had started tracking my diet at Sparkpeople.  The first twelve entries are all titled with some type of food – since that’s what I was thinking of at the time (clearly exercise wasn’t high on my priority list)!   Then I started to digress, and blog about diving, sailing and the garden.  A visit to the Door Handle Souk made me realise what an enchanted life I was leading, so I blogged about it.  Then I realised I could share these experiences with my mum and the rest of my family, so I started blogging about almost everything.  But I couldn’t categorise it.  It was all in date order.

Then  I started studying at the OU.  And opened a blog on the OU site as a repository for homework.   That was fine, but there was no way to personalise or categorise blogs into the seperate courses.  Then I found WordPress, thanks to Sylvia, and I opened my own account.  A few weeks later, I imported my blogs from both Sparkpeople and OU, so it’s all in one place.  But categorised.  My homework is filed under H810, H800 or H807; depending on the course.

The blog feels more tangible than Facebook, and longer lasting.  So now I finally have that diary.  ANd I hope that it is sometimes funny – but more importantly, I hope it gives my family an insight into who I am, and what my life is like.

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