I was discussing blogging with a friend recently who told me that their blog was their biggest therapy.
I explained a little bit about my blogging motivations, but now it's been about two weeks and I've been thinking more about why I blog. I've had a few thoughts rattling around my head and I'm not going to use this post to explain those thoughts, I am going to use it to explore them. (Since I don’t totally know what I am trying to say here)
As far as therapy goes, I don’t think I use my blog for that. I use my actual therapist (I think a little therapy is good for everyone no matter how mentally stable they are), and I talk to friends or family about it, or I am pretty good at just working through things on my own.
I think that there is a bit of a cathartic element to blogging. It is good to get things out on paper and to work things out through words. Things, thoughts, and emotions look a lot different to me when they are written out on paper and not just sitting in my head. It gives me a chance to go back and read through my thought processes and look for gaps in my logic or to see how I might look at an issue differently, or just to gain a better perspective. That is where the “therapy” part comes in, I suppose.
But then, blogging isn't my only venue through which I do that. I posted about my life notebook a while ago. That is also a place where I can find the release I just talked about. Yesterday, I got to class at 9:30, and I did not feel like taking notes, so I started writing in my notebook and just listening to the lecture. Pretty soon I was in my next class and was still writing. Then I went and observed two choir rehearsals and kept writing that whole time. That's a good 4 or 5 hours right there. It took so long because I was working through something that has been on my mind lately (well, for about a month). I tried to write about every aspect of it that I could think about, and so it took a long time to cover all my bases properly.
It was really good for me to do that and it helped me to realize some important things that have helped make the issue I was writing about more manageable and workable for my life. I suppose I could have blogged about it and achieved the same ends, and for many a blog probably is the outlet they would have used. Personally though I would not have felt comfortable letting other people read what I had to say, which is fine--there isn't anything forcing me to post things I don't want to.
That's another thing. Often I have thoughts and emotions that are very important or meaningful to me, but when I try to write them down or post about them or whatever I find that language limits my ability to express them. I find that emotion or thought to be slightly violated after that, because justice has not been done to it, or people misunderstand it or whatever. I would feel more comfortable discussing them in a face to face situation, because there is real communication going on there and it is more fluid than writing a blog post, which allows for greater expressive flexibility.
I guess I don't really have this blog just for me; my notebook is just for me (though I share portions of it with a few people). Having readers totally shifts what I say and my rhetorical stance. If I have a satisfactory outlet for my thoughts in my notebook where I have perfect freedom, don’t need it for therapeutic purposes or input, what then is my real reason for blogging? How do I decide which issues to post on here and which not to? What are the ends I hope to achieve by maintaining a blog and what function does the blog play in my life as compared to my notebook?
I don’t use my blog as some place where I can work through issues that I have and receive input and help from other people on. (Even though I am sort of doing that with this post... So maybe it just depends on how personal I feel it is?) I think I am in a very good place in life in that I have a decision making process that I am happy with. I have done a good job of learning to manage my life in healthy way and learning what works for me. If I do need advice or to bounce and idea off of someone, I have friends and family that I will go to to talk with. My blog is not the place I go to for things like that. If I am feeling distraught over something, or a very strong emotion, this blog isn't going to be the first place I go to to talk about it.
I’m generally a pretty private person and I value the process of working things out on my own and figuring out what is best for me. Once I have had a chance to gain my bearings though and some knowledge, I love to discuss it with other people. What is my reason for posting things on here, then, for everyone to read?
Do I even need a “reason” to do something?