Talking About Creativity - Why do you blog?

why do you blog? talking about creativity Sandra Harris
Jen Cooper of Classic Play

And we're back. Back talking about creativity, that is. Jen from Classic Play and I have covered all sorts of topics relating to being creative, making things, and living a creative life. Self doubt, making art and having a life, that sneak jealousy, and copying vs. inspiration

But how can you TALK about creativity - you Sandra are in Vancouver and you Jen are across the continent in Baltimore? Good question, my friends - I can see that nothing gets by you! 

Here's the deal - we have a topic. I email Jen about it. That's the first time that she has seen it. She ONLY reads the email when she can respond right.away. None of this editing or second-guessing or back-spacing to say it better, make it prettier or more palatable. I do the same.

And what you get in THIS series is the unvarnished, unedited truth. I've lifted word-for-word what we each wrote in our emails to each other.

Today's topic? With all the time and energy and effort and sacrifice it takes to make a go of blogging, to do original content, to network and collaborate - why.do.you.blog? Grab a coffee and let's go. And don't forget, we wanna hear what YOU think. We want YOUR unvarnished, unedited thoughts, okay?

Sandra

I've been thinking - you know me, always ruminating about SOMETHING - but seriously, I've been thinking about all the time that I put into this blogging thing. There have been a few posts floating around lately about whether it's really worth it. This one by Frugal Mama has struck a bit of a chord - she's pulling back from the moneymaking side of things on her blog. 

So my question for us to kick around today is - why do you blog? For all the time invested in putting together as good a site as you or I can, why do it?

Jen

Why do I blog? It's been kind of a strange path for me actually. And my reason for blogging has shifted over time. 

In the beginning I thought about it as a creative endeavor. I wanted to put into practice all the things I wanted to do, but didn't have the job to do them. So I'd come up with ideas and style them as best I could. I had no training. No real reason to do it. No one was asking me. But I had this desire or drive. But for a long time it felt kind of foolish. 

Why was I blogging? It was basically one big elaborate (and expensive) personal project. The practical side of me wanted to encourage parents to embrace this idea of creative play. But the truth was... I think I a large part of the reason I blogged was for myself. I wanted to create something. 

Then for a while I wanted to build a community of like-minded parents—ones who wouldn't make fun of me when I did something crazy like make paper mache racing helmets for my son's car-themed birthday party. ha! I guess I was looking for validation. Then for a while, I thought I could make an income at it. And I have a bit. Not a ton, but you know, little jobs here and there. 

Now, I simply can't seem to stop. I've developed a love for it. 

Right now what's the real REAL reason I blog? Probably because I can do with my blog whatever I want. It's essentially my playground. I've grown so much through blogging and that's something that... well, I guess that's what keeps me going now. I love the way it's helped me see myself. It's given me perspective. It's also become, in it's own kind of way, a piece of art for me. It's an extension of how I see the world, what's important to me. And I hope people connect with it. 

Why do you blog? 

Sandra

I started blogging because I had just moved back to Vancouver after ten years away in Toronto and to be honest, I needed something creative to dig my teeth into. I wasn't planning on a regular 9-5, 5 days a week paid work position but I did want some kind of creative and intellectual challenge. And REALLY needed to meet some people locally and elsewhere who shared some of my interests.

I did a crazy thing last January - I think I had been blogging for maybe TWO WEEKS and then went to Alt Summit in Salt Lake City (where I met you!). I had obviously BARELY started and didn't really know anyone in the design-y, lifestyle, creative-y blogging world. I remember meeting one of the big guns and had NO idea who she was. I hope she wasn't offended when I asked about her blog!

But it was a good jump start - that's me, I jump right into something new. 

So there's the community building and making friends bit. I DO get a thrill to see comments and especially when they become regular readers. And to be brutally honest, there's a bit of a kid in me that is saying, "look at me, look at me" with the blog. The performance aspect. 

Does that sound shallow? Superficial, much?

Jen

NO! It doesn't sound shallow. It sounds real. I mean a blog is a sort of art form and as someone who creates, you want people to have an interaction with what you produce. An author doesn't write a book hoping no one will read it; a painter doesn't paint hoping no one will ever see it; a musician doesn't play hoping no one will hear it. Why would a blogger blog if she didn't want people interacting with what she's done?

By the way, I greatly admire the way you jump right in. Was it intimidating? I had been blogging for a couple years and I was totally freaked out! 

Sandra

It WAS intimidating - hence me hanging around the edges of the room at the parties! At least I had my letterpress business cards to hand out. Or clutch onto.

Too bad there isn't money in "jumping right in" because that IS something that I can do easily. Even though I have grown more shy over the years.

Having been doing this for a while, do you ever think of throwing in the towel? Have you ever thought about that? I mean, I see blogs that I'd like to be like and where they are at and it seems sooo daunting at times. Will I get there? What does "there" even look like? Is anyone even out there?????

Jen

I'm out here! 

About throwing in the towel: I sometimes suffer from a defeatist attitude so yeah, I suppose there have been *cough*many*cough* times I've wanted to throw in the towel. But I'm pretty happy with where the blog is right now, which, kind of scares me. I'm one of those types that tends to get afraid when things start going well for me. 

I will say, something that helped me when I didn't feel I had a clear vision of what I wanted the blog to be was to realize that it was a kind of living canvas. When I first started out, I wanted it to be one thing, now it's more mature. Or at least, I like to think it is. I imagine there will come a point where I've done all I want to do with it, and at that point I'll probably walk away.

Of course, I've always been far too stubborn for my own good, so maybe I'll never walk away. 

You're on your first year and already kicking ass. I'd say you're doing a mahhhvelous job! 

Sandra

Thanks - and I wasn't sniffing for a compliment! I suppose you just hafta figure out what you want out of blogging and then build it to be that thing. And rejig as time goes on and things ARE working or aren't.

Time to hear what you think, to add your bit to the conversation. Why do you blog? Has that reason changed since you started? Ever thought of quitting? Why? What keeps you going? What makes it all worthwhile for YOU?