Monday, July 22, 2013

Why Do We Do This?

When I started this blog, I wrote a post questioning what the point of blogging was. I think I came to the conclusion that a blog was a place to share my thoughts as well as explore something I used to really enjoy - writing. Now, when I think about what this blog has become, I'm not sure it's what I expected. When I was in college, I used to think of myself as a "writer." Then I went to graduate school and they beat the creativity out of me and taught me the horrors of "technical writing." So does this blog allow me to delve back into words and phrases and twists of thoughts?

So far, not so much.

There is very little delving into creativity, deeper thinking, or profound moments. In fact, when I try to write posts like those, they tend to get less views and even less comments. Instead, my blog is filled with pictures of my bare belly and comments about water intake and oh-my-gosh-I'm-having-a-baby. And those posts get the comments and views.

So what has this blog become? I think it fits into a place. A place in a small community of other women who are going through the same thing as me and need an outlet to find sameness in someone else. For me, it allows me to throw my silly little thoughts on "paper" so I don't drive everyone (aka my non-pregnant friends) around me crazy talking about burp cloths. So, yes, the blog definitely fills a niche for me. I am surprised by how much your comments mean to me and how much your advice helps me. I remember the outpouring of sympathy when Monte was diagnosed with cancer, or when we lost Indy, or when I was in the hospital in Mexico. I cherished the advice you all gave me when I couldn't decide about the midwives versus doctors or when I was struggling with first-trimester-apathy. Basically, this blog helps me.

So, am I happy with what it's become? I think so. It's good for me. But, I am a little disappointed that I haven't used it as the creative outlet I hoped it would be. And that my Blog Reading List has dwindled from a range of interesting blogs about a variety of topics, to a slimmer community of people. I guess...I guess I should accept that this is where I'm at right now. Pregnancy is exhausting and all encompassing. So, I write about it. I write about it and don't try to make very many pretenses about writing about deep and meaningful thoughts. Because this is what I need right now.

So my question to you is - Why do you do it? What do you get out of writing your own blog? What do you get out of reading others' blogs? What are your favorite types of blogs? Do you think blogging is narcissistic or is it insightful? Have your reasons for blogging changed over time? Give me your thoughts.

Oh, and specifically, if you haven't commented before (ahem, lurkers...), I'd love to hear from you. I'm particularly curious about the silent readers. What do you get from reading?

Oh, and on a closing note, and so I can keep with my all-encompassing-pregnancy-theme, I am going to throw a few more narcissistic photos of my belly at you. The witty and clever Sarah at Fallopian Groove asked me a question about what I am wearing to work. Oh Sarah, you had no idea what you were getting yourself into did you? But here it is - a photo montage of what I wore to work last week (yes, I only work FOUR days in a week...forty hours in four days). All of these are maternity clothes except the striped maxi dress. Dresses are my friend now.

I have got to stop buying so many things with stripes!

32 comments:

  1. I would say that the primary reason I write on the blog is to keep myself motivated to write. I enjoy doing it, but all of my attempts to sit down and write in a journal have failed. Somehow, writing in the open, on the blog, keeps me accountable.

    As for the types of blogs that I enjoy, I would say it is mostly a split between DIY blogs and lifestyle blogs. What really draws me in is the voice of the blogger, and the subject matter is less important.

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    1. That's so true. Writing in a journal isn't the same thing. Putting it out there gives more purpose to the writing. I wonder how that changed? In high school, I was perfectly content with my own private little thoughts in a private little journal.

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  2. Such a good question. I started my blog because I was adopting from Colombia. I knew it was going to be a very long process & writing about it would keep me feeling like I was doing something while waiting for my baby. When we switched to IVF I didn't want to stop writing so I just kept going.

    Like you, there are many times when I want to write about something other than my journey to motherhood, but those posts don't get many views or comments and that is a little disheartening. I think the reasons for writing change over time, and so does the blog. I hope someday to write a blog that is full of things like "How to hike Machu Picchu with a baby on your back"

    I always get excited when I see a new post from you in my reader, Bits & Peaces is one of my favourite blogs. I'm excited to see what you will be writing about next summer :)

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    1. First of all, I would TOTALLY read "how to hike to Machu Picchu with a baby on your back." No, wait. Can I COME along on that trip?? Since I've done the hike once before (sans baby) I can offer you a comparison opinion.

      But yes, isn't it weird/sad how the less topic-focused posts get less attention? I wonder sometimes if it just takes people too much effort to compose a thoughtful response? I know I am guilty of it sometimes. I want to say something meaningful and so it takes longer to respond.

      And thank you for saying you like reading my blog! I have no idea what will happen to it after he is born...we shall see.

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  3. Ooh...good questions. You may have just inspired a blog post. Haha! When it comes to TTC, I blog so that I don't drive my husband crazy. =) Otherwise, I do it because I enjoy it. And I like the fact that I've had the opportunity to start building a few good friendships through it. As for you...I love hearing your updates!!

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  4. Because I've been blogging for so long and had my core readers way before I announced I was pregnant, it's been surprising to me just how much they respond to baby/pregnancy posts. I sort of figured that writing about baby stuff would be MY indulgence, but I guess most people just like talking babies. I would be more frustrated, though, if I didn't already have those years of non-pregnancy blogging behind me, which let me still talk about my garden and pets and things.

    I think that good personal blogging is more about sharing than shining the spotlight on oneself. I have a lot of interests, and it's very enjoyable showing people how my garden is growing or what I've made -- without the blog outlet, very few people would see these things. I don't feel like I'm asking people to see what *I* have done or that it's all about me, me, me, and I really hope that comes through on my blog.

    I read a wide variety of blogs, and I tend to read them in groups -- a bunch of gardening blogs, some pregnancy/baby blogs, lifestyle/personal blogs, etc. It would be jarring to open them all at once and hop from topic to topic, which I guess it what I basically do to my readers by writing a little about everything. I think people get to know YOU and are then (I hope) interested in all those different aspects, even though only certain ones might bring them out to comment!

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    1. First of all, I'm loving reading your blog because it's the perfect mix of baby, garden and pets. All things I love (though the garden part is missing from my life in LA). I think you're right that it should be about sharing. But sharing honestly also means we have to share a lot of ourselves. Maybe that's why people are drawn to authentic voices where the writer is sharing truthfully about themselves, their lives and their projects.

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  5. I do this for a lot of reasons. I've been doing it for almost four years (four years next month) and the reasons why I've kept it up change all the time. I wish I could write more now but I have to head out to run errands and tutor. Here is a post I wrote in honor of my 1000th entry on my blog. It explains a lot about why I do this.

    http://esperanzasays.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/my-1000th-post/

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    1. Wow...I just commented on your post. It's beautiful!

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  6. Those outfits are so cute! My current lifestyle just doesn't call for dresses, but I think I need to check out what MM has to offer. :-)

    I started blogging when the discord of R's vasectomy and my wanting another child was the worst. I was really trying to figure out my feelings and work out whether I could let the desire go for once and for all. I didn't expect the journey to be so healing and so spiritual. I didn't expect to focus so much on my previous marriage. And, since I was only on the fringes of the IF community as a donor, I didn't expect the outpouring of support that I've received from those who were in the midst of their own journey to parenthood.

    For me, blogging is about community. My blog is rather self-focused, my own mirror that I can throw my feelings at and see where they end up. But commenting is about the relationship. Following others on their journey, offering love and support as I can, and lifting them up in prayer. Being there for the tears and the laughter, you know?

    Mostly, this community is a wonderful reminder that we aren't alone.

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    1. I'm SURE your current lifestyle calls for leggings though!

      I think you're right. I had no idea the power of the community of blogging (that sounds so cheesy, but true). To be honest, when I started blogging, I never really thought about commenting on others' blogs, nor did I think about people commenting on mine. I just wanted people to read what I had written.

      I was shocked when I got my first comment. Then I became addicted. Because the comments help us feel connected, heard, and give us advice and insight. So cool.

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  7. Oh, and before I shove off, to answer your question about why I read other people, including you, is I guess I'm just looking for some kind of connection. Part of it is voice. Part of it is experience, relate-ability (although I read a lot of women that it would seem I have nothing in common with). I guess mostly I'm just looking for women who speak to me in some small way, though I can't always articulate what it is about a certain person that draws me back to their blog, nor can I explain why some blogs don't draw me in at all (when religion is laid on thick I'm usually out of there; capitalizing "His" is just not my thing). But yeah, I think it's harder to me to map out why I read than why I write, which I suppose suggests that the writing is more narcissistic than the reading. And I do believe writing a blog is a narcissistic endeavor, but then again, so are so many things we do with our time. We are self-obsessed creatures, it's in our nature to navel-gaze and wax philosophical about our own problems.

    I started my blog when the pain of my ectopic became too much for me to bear alone, when I realized that my IRL friends just could not be there for me in the way I needed them to be. It helped me through a very anxiety-ridden second pregnancy (first successful pregnancy) and then it helped me through new motherhood and finally it has been an amazing resource as I tackled secondary infertility (DOR and MFI). Now it's helping me through a second (hopefully) successful pregnancy and I'm sure it will see me through the difficulties of transitioning to life with two children.

    Mostly I think we blog because we feel alone, at least on some level, and we're looking for a connection. That is the biggest reason I've always blogged and it's probably the reason I'll keep coming back to it.

    But now I really must go. Tar.get and Cost.co are calling my name. ;)

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    1. To be honest, when I first started reading others' blogs, it was solely to get people to read my blogs. Pure self-interest. Now, I have pared down the blogs I read to those that I truly enjoy. I look forward to reading each post and I learn something from it. You could say I've refined my palate ;)

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  8. Hi there from Lurker-ville (well, I commented on the Mexico post, but generally I lurk).

    I blog because I have come to ADORE my followers. I rely on them so much for support when bad stuff happens and for excitement when good things happen. I'm just as excited to tell my bloggy friends what's going on as I am to tell my real life friends (sometimes even more so). It's such a good outlet, and more than that, I've gotten some great advice that I never would have found on my own. It makes me feel so much less alone in this sad world of infertility. I read all these blogs and I think, these are my sisters. These women GET me.

    I like your blog a lot, and it's been interesting reading what to expect during pregnancy. I wouldn't want to read a play-by-play from a fertile person because, well, that would just piss me off. But you don't piss me off at all. So thank you for that.

    You made me laugh with your observation that the insightful posts get fewer comments than the silly ones. My posts announcing my miscarriages got MORE THAN DOUBLE the views of any other posts. I guess it's human nature - we like entertainment, and apparently, we can't look away from blatant tragedy, either. But keep posting the insightful stuff, because plenty of people like that, too. It's just harder to think of an appropriate comment, perhaps?

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    1. Yes, you are so right. I also adore my readers and the comments they leave me. Honestly, I get a bit too excited to check for comments the morning after I post something. Ha.

      It's funny that you say it's been okay for you to read about my pregnancy, because I AM a person writing about her pregnancy that didn't struggle to get pregnant. But I try not to take that for granted. So it means a lot to me that you enjoy reading. :)

      And you are SO right about the sad or emotional posts getting the most views. My Mexico-post is by FAR the most read post I've written (hey, it drew you out, didn't it?), followed by another scary bleeding episode I had, and the one where I found out about the gender switch. I think we want to see how people can get through things like that.

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  9. Ooooh, love the nude pumps in the last pic -- tres Kate Middleton! :)

    It's an interesting question, why we blog... I used to not even be able to say the word "blog" without cringing and rolling my eyes. But I really started mine because of the infertility stress, and also because there were very few IF blogs that managed to find the humour in this world (Stupid Stork was one of them -- she's great). I just found that I couldn't really find people IRL that were able to relate to having a dildo-cam shoved up their lady bits at 8 am on a Friday morning or the obsessiveness of tracking a menstrual cycle or whatever. So it was a way to feel less alone, for sure.

    I'm actually a writer by profession, so fortunately I feel ZERO compulsion to make my blog smart or deep or anything -- I have to pay attention to all the words I write from 9 to 5 each day, so my bloggy stuff is really for me to let loose and not care so much about style or substance.

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    1. Yeah, me and Kate Middleton actually go shopping together. At Target and Steve Madden. ;)

      Stupid Stork's blog is amazing. But she is a good example. Sometimes I am so amazed by her posts that I don't even know how to write something meaningful enough back. It takes me more time to process what I want to write.

      I can tell you are a writer by profession. I love reading your blog. Your style of writing and your humor shine through, without you trying. I really struggle to read blogs that aren't at least semi-well written. Yours is much more than semi :)

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  10. You look adorable! How do you stay so chic? I'm lucky, I just throw on scrubs and go. No thought needed! :)

    I started blogging because I didn't want to forget what it was like going through the process of starting a family. I just had no idea it would become an infertility journey. So it's really just a journal, I had no idea there were "blogging communities" when I started. I was shocked when people started talking to me!

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    1. I WISH i could wear scrubs. That sounds so much better!

      I too was shocked when people started commenting. I asked my husband, "How did these people find me??" and he said, "What did you expect when you started writing on the Internet?" Oh, ok.

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  11. Such good questions! And a very insightful post, my dear. :) And also, I love your adorable bump outfit pics. It makes me weirdly excited to dress my bump when it shows up.

    I love reading your blog, and if I had to try and figure out why, I think it's because you feel real to me, like someone I can relate to or would be friends with in the real world. I think that is what all my favorite bloggers have in common -- I imagine that if we got together for a night out we would have an awesome time.

    As for why I write a blog, there are lots of reasons. One is that writing gives me so very much pleasure -- it's my favorite creative outlet. I've had a handful of blogs over the years, but I started this one because there was SO much going on in my head about infertility and trying to get pregnant, I found it therapeutic to get it out of my head. I also saw how supportive bloggers are of each other, and I wanted to give and receive that kind of support.

    Like Yeah Science said, I also felt like I had trouble finding blogs that could pick out the funny things about infertility and not just the sad/frustrating things, so I wanted to write the kind of blog that I would want to read. And even though my blog is generally all about ME ME ME, the reason I choose to write about the things I do is because I'm hoping that people who read it will find their own experiences mirrored in what I write, and they'll feel the comfort and connection that comes with discovering you're not alone. I love reading someone's blog and thinking, "Oh my gosh, me too!" so I always hope people will have that feeling when they read my blog. And if I can make someone laugh or smile while doing that, then that is my ultimate, ultimate favorite thing.

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    1. I can't wait to see your bump pics and cute outfits :)

      I think you're right that blogging can give an outlet to write about things that have become funny, but no one else would understand in that way. It's being part of the inner-circle. In my field, we make jokes about clients that we probably shouldn't make. But it's ok, in the inner circle...it's how you get through dealing with the trauma that we see.

      YOUR humor specifically is so right on because it is what everyone is thinking but no one is saying. I know there is a lot of sadness and heartbreak in the land of infertility, but sometimes people just want to scream about the dildo wand getting jammed up their hoo-ha.

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  12. I'm late here, but here goes. I write to process things, to get them out of my system. Originally it started because I was going through a difficult time (unemployment, IF) and as a way to cope I decided to start noticing the happy things, to write about them.
    Very fast though, it became about community, about connections, about being able to relate with other people in similar situations (or not), and being there for each other. For me , I think it is right now the most important aspect. And it is also a way to share fun stuff (like recipes or travel) which are things I like to read about in other blogs.
    I read blogs where you are able to get a glimpse of the person behind, to really know them... there are some nice blogs that read more like a magazine because they are not personal, but I think what draws me (and maybe that makes me really nosey) is the personal side.
    I really enjoy your blog, your insights, sharing the journey with you (in a way) and reading about your pregnancy (like I think I told you before) gives me a glimpse of hope.

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    1. It's interesting how many people starting blogging to share about a difficult experience they were going through. In a way, it's like an online support group. That just tells me that maybe we're missing the type of support we need in real life. Maybe it's just because one thing we all have in common is that we are all very intensely focused on whatever is consuming us at the moment and we need to find others who are the same.

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  13. Oh man, thanks for the shout out! *blushes*
    You are an adorable pregnant lady - the bump really suits you and love the outfits, especially "day 4"! I'm with YeahScience in that when I begun, I could barely say blog without simultaneously making fun of all that is blogging - because honestly, bloggers and graduate students are the worst and I have now been both. Ha. I think I started blogging because I've always enjoyed writing and felt like infertility could be a lot lighter and funnier and more ridiculous and less heavy - although it's that too. There was just so much good material - early morning wandings? scheduled sex? As upsetting as it was/is, I have been so grateful to find this community of smart, witty, well spoken women!

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    1. "Bloggers and graduate students are the worst and I have been both." Oh god, me too...

      I think it's good that you decided to write about the inane hilarity behind such a serious situation. Because, really, you have to imagine you're just saying what other people are already thinking.

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  14. I love writing my feelings out. Granted I may not be the best when it comes to grammar and what not but I am ok with that. This blog for me is the only way I can just be who I am with no limits or weights. I blog because I can let my emotions out on the screen. I have my lovely wife whom I tell everything and anything to but its so nice to just let go. Im very private when it comes to things such as Facebook or just plain talking to people. Blogging is truly an outlet for me!

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  15. I used to have a lot more variety in my blogs as well- fitness, food, engaged, pregnant, single, etc. but my blog universe has definitely gotten smaller since having trouble conceiving. Reading other people's blogs has been ENORMOUSLY helpful as I have learned so much from others.

    As for why I write? Well originally it was because I needed some time off from studying for the bar (now that i think about it I have been blogging for 5 years- wow!). Then it because sort of an online journal and a way to process feelings and thoughts. It is still an online journal but I truly value everyone that leaves their comments on my blog. I have had a lot of great answers to my many questions about life in general, infertility, etc.

    Your bump is adorable!

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    1. Five years?? Wow. I don't know if I'll make it that long. And I agree with you, it's been amazing how helpful it is to see what others suggest or advise to my own questions or situations.

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  16. Two other things:

    1. It's really weird to see the picture of you with blond hair when your profile picture is of Audrey Hepburn (I think?) with brown hair.

    2. You left a comment on my page about BMD for family dogs. They are awesome and amazing dogs. Buster, our puppy, is more energetic than our older dog ever was, but is fantastic with kids. Bigger dogs don't know their size, but you will have that with your German Shepard as well. Let me know if you have any questions about BMDs!

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    1. 1. Yeah...when I first started the blog (and didn't think I'd do this very seriously), I didn't want to put a picture of myself and didn't know what to put, so I just thought "well, I like Audrey Hepburn.."

      2. So glad to hear it about the BMD. We probably would hold off on getting one until we move out of the city, and I can really see us having one on our ranch, running around the kids. Someday....

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  17. Please don't stop buying stripes. I love stripes, and you look amazing (in them and just in general).

    I love this post, because I've had very similar thoughts. I found this community through Stupid Stork's video challenge, actually, while I was experiencing my miscarriage. And I knew that I needed to be a part of it. Up until that point, I felt so alone in this process. Only a few of my friends have started the child-making phase of life. And all of them have gotten pregnant in a couple of months. So that left me. Alone and struggling. With no one understanding why I even WANTED children before 35, much less why struggling to conceive felt like a loss.

    This blog has filled a niche for me that I cannot find outside of this space. I feel close to the women who are a part of it, and this is a time when I need other women in my life who are experiencing similar things. I've also enjoyed the writing part. It's no Shakespeare, but it feels much more gratifying to write about my own experience than to write a manuscript. ;)

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    1. Glad you like the stripes too!

      I agree with you, about finding a niche. That's what's neat about blogging. Whatever you want to write/read about, someone else is doing it too. It seems like the theme of everyone's responses is that blogging decreases isolation and separation. Interesting.

      And YES, it is SO much better than writing a manuscript ;)

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