“Hank, why do you blog?”

Rome, 2007

Does everyone know the country music song “Family Tradition” by Hank Williams, Jr.?

Part of the refrain: 

Hank, why do you drink?
Hank, why do you roll smoke?
Why must you live out the songs that you wrote?

It’s a very popular song among certain bar crowds.  As I am not a country music aficionado, nor a bar crowd devotee, you’re wondering–aren’t you?–how I know this song and why it’s crooned its way into this blog?

I know the words to this song because my husband, Barry, is in a band.  They usually play classic rock, but lately more country songs have been sneakin’ their way into their song list.

Several times, in the past months, he’s broken into unexpected song at the kitchen table when someone–usually me–asks a question which starts with “Why…?” 

Me. Rome. 2007.

Hank reveals that the answer to his “why” is that it’s a Family Tradition.

Lately, about once a month, I have been wondering why I blog.  Suddenly it doesn’t feel clear.  Why?  What’s the intent?  The answer feels fuzzy.  Unknown.  Uncertain.  I have no idea why I’m blogging any more.

“Why do I blog?”  I ask Barry.

He rolls his eyes.

“Hank, why do I blog?” he sings.

Yesterday I started two blogs and discarded them both.  The first blog discussed spiritually “growing up” on my baby blog, Simply Here.  (Oh pardon.  It’s no longer a baby blog.  It’s an adolescent blog.  I talk about spiritual things over there.) 

The blog started, gathered steam, and then just stopped.

“Why am I even writing a blog?” I asked.  And pushed “delete”. 

Roman forum~~crumbling ruins

Three hours later came a window-washing session.  How many of you LIKE washing windows?  How many of you HATE washing windows?  And how do 80-year-old women perch on kitchen counters washing the outside of their windows without losing their balance, falling out the windows and dying?  How come we don’t hear more about elderly women falling out of windows while attempting to wash them?

Pretty soon I was writing an internal monologue about window washing.  Scampered over to the computer to jot it down.  But, alas, the thought intruded, “WHY do I do this?  Why am I writing blogs?”  And that blog too, stalled with indecision.

“Barry, why do I write blogs?” I asked when he came in the door after work.

“Hank, why do you blog?” Barry sang in reply.  (There’s a wise guy in every crowd.)

My old answers would have been:

1)  To share stories.

2)  To share photos.

3)  Because my heart goes pitter-pat pitter-pat when I write.

4)  To show people what it’s like to live in the Upper Peninsula woods, near Lake Superior.  Oh, and the six other places I visit each year.

5)  Because I’ve wanted to write since penning the words at age twelve “I want to be a writer” in a small gold heart locket.  Wore that locket around my neck for three years.  So this is fulfilling karma.

6)  I cannot tell a lie–another reason for continuing to blog regularly is because people seem to like these blogs. 

Colosseum. Rome.

Currently, all of those reasons are being re-considered.  I’ll let you know what answers–if any–ever arise.

In the meantime, here’s my question for you, fellow bloggers.  Hank, why do YOU blog?  Has your reason changed over time?

P.S.  But, then again, why do we do anything?  Why did I post Rome photos in a blog about blogging?  Why did the Colosseum exist?   Hank, why…?

P.S.S.  Thank you, Kiah, for letting me use all your old pictures from our trip.  You are the best to share your photography.  I won’t even ask why you do it.  🙂

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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40 Responses to “Hank, why do you blog?”

  1. Elisa's Spot says:

    I blog, because it’s an expression of the me I am in any moment. Sometimes there are reasons behind the expressions, that I share clearly, other times they are mere nudges, to see if anyone else that is walking alongside of me notices and then shares their own manner of expression about the thing.

    • Kathy says:

      “an expression of you in any moment.” That is a good reason, Elisa. How often do people respond to your nudges?

      • Elisa's Spot says:

        hehe pretty frequently…and sometimes even in a non-disgruntled manner 😀

        Ok, so I suppose your response has me thinking of the more snarky responses from people who saw something in a mirror that they might not have cared for much and they wish to eject it back at me. Badminton(omg! after 43 years I found out that Badmitton isn’t at all it’s Badminton) anyone? pssst…I am very spritely today.

  2. Sybil says:

    Kathy, I started Blogging initially to keep in touch with friends and family back in Ontario. I’d moved to Nova Scotia when I retired. I still count that an important reason but add to that many of your own reasons.
    Sometimes I feel I’m writing a book — in tiny pieces. I observe new things and daily rituals in the light of sharing in a post. It’s very satisfying. And honestly, I like to get comments and know that people are reading an enjoying my blog. Right now, it’s an important part of my life.

    I look forward to reading the other responses.

    • Kathy says:

      Blogging to keep in touch with far-away family seems a fine thing, Sybil. Your loved ones get to know you in a way they wouldn’t without your blogging. I like what you said about writing a book in small pieces. A great perspective!

  3. Charlotte says:

    You asked the question why do I blog? I want to tell you why I read your blog. I love the UP but live in Northern IN. We go north once a year but it’s not enough for me. I found your blog–don’t remember how long ago. I read to find out about living in the UP. I would love to be living in the UP but that’s not to be and get live in the UP through your blogs. I can understand that it can become tiring to write everyday. No matter what you happens, I’m grateful to have found your blog and all it offers.

    This is the first time I’ve written on your blog but I’ve been out there.

    • Kathy says:

      Charlotte, it is so nice to meet you. I am glad you enjoy reading and seeing pictures of the Upper Peninsula. I wish that someday you, too, will find yourself living here. (Please write more often~~it is nice to hear from you.)

  4. Karma says:

    How about because blogging is fun? Isn’t it fun sharing and reading stories with people you may otherwise have never known or ever communicated with? Heck, I met a person right here in my own town because of blogs. Photography is a big reason for blogging for me also. As it has grown for me into a more serious hobby, I love getting feedback and tips and ideas and inspiration through blogging.
    Whatever your reasons, Kathy, I hope you’ll continue for a long time! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Good one, Karma! I know you think blogging is fun. 🙂 (That’s what I meant about my heart going pitter-pat, pitter-pat. Because it’s so fun.) It has been fun to watch your photography skills develop. And it does sound like an excellent way to get feedback and inspiration from other photographers.

  5. Susan Derozier says:

    You blog because you CAN?

  6. jeffstroud says:

    Kathy,

    This has become your mantra of late!!! Why do you?

    I blog to record my journey as a photographer, to inform, and to inspire other artist to know that being creative is part of who we are.

    The Photos of Rome are wonderful, Thanks Kiah for sharing them!

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, it’s only been my mantra once a month, as regular as PMS. lol! The other 29-30 days have been filled with other subjects. I liked hearing why you blog. It sounds like creativity is a high priority in your life. And your photographs are wonderful, too.

  7. holessence says:

    Kathy – My blog is the INSIDE of me, on the OUTSIDE. Sometimes it just needs to come out for a little fresh air…

  8. Susan D says:

    Well, I don’t blog but that little detail doesn’t prevent me from commenting. I journal. Sometimes, posts appear on facebook that come from the journaling. I am like Elisa – sometimes the posts are clear expressions and other times I want to see if anyone else is of the same bent, ilk, whatever. The intent fluctuates.

    I found myself laughing over Barry’s singing answers to you, and also over why elderly women don’t fall while washing their windows! Thanks for the usual hilarity always tucked into your blogs. Thanks for deeper thoughts and splendid pictures, and, and, and … daily surprises. You know I love you and your blogs! I also continue to love reading everyone’s comments. And, I think that’s about it for me today.

    • Kathy says:

      I should have also included the question: Hank, why do you read blogs? lol, Ms. Susan! I think that the fluctuating intent is what is interesting. And then when, suddenly, you can’t figure out what the intent is any more. That is interesting, too.

      I LOVED Barry’s singing answer. Except, now, can’t get that song out of my head, no matter what. Hey, see you at 5:45!

  9. I used to have spirited debates with a friend of mind over the purpose of things. She claimed if something didn’t have a purpose, it was not worth doing. Now, purpose is a funny word. It means different things to different people. Must one always have a purpose in mind to, say, blog? Take photos? Read?

    I think your wanting to blog and me wanting to photograph comes down to your twelve year old self, Kathy (and my 16 year self one I was given my first real camera)…you wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a photographer. We are both doing both and the purpose is to please ourselves AND to share ourselves with others. Does a purpose need more than that?

    Interestingly enough, the woman I had these discussions with has found her “purpose” and while it changes (as does most of ours) over time, I think she understands my “purpose” better. And, that makes me happy.

    • Kathy says:

      These are such interesting thoughts, Scott. Do we need more of a purpose that to please ourselves and share with others? I think, what feels so intriguing lately, is that something is shifting within me and it’s not at the any place of comfortable resolve. Maybe it’s not supposed to be. Maybe it’s more about learning to live with the not-knowing. Doesn’t it make you feel good when you can have conversations with folks that bring us closer together?

  10. Kathy, I share something with you and your history. When I was very young and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always answered “a writer.” I couldn’t think of a cooler job than making up stories and having people read them. Life took a very circuitous route and it wasn’t until my kids were almost grown that I finally took the leap and quit the actual paying job to write full time. My reward is to finally have several books published and more on the way.

    But as much as I love being a writer, there is no doubt that sometimes it can be grueling. The ideas come rapid fire to me, and for my current project the research is fascinating, but to actually sit down and transfer that stuff from your head to the page isn’t always gangs of fun. When I get in that funk of wondering why I put myself through the process I remind myself how rewarding the end product is.

    Is it possible you just need to change your product for a while? Maybe instead of contributing to a blog (our loss) you need to start putting your writing talents to use on a book? Or an article to submit to a magazine? Are you feeling that you need to get something different out of your efforts? (Like a check?).

    Maybe just a little twist on your routine will bring back the spark you’ve been missing.

    • Kathy says:

      Lynn, congratulations to having several books published and more on the way. I can imagine that the work is grueling at times and that you can get in a funk actually moving through the process. That the end-product must be kept in mind. I have thought about writing a book~~have written a couple of unpublished ones before~~and have published once in a local magazine. It would be nice to have a check. Something to think about…thank you for your viewpoint.

  11. Donna says:

    I blog in the ‘old fashioned’ sense of it being MY journal; snippets of my day, thoughts about work, family, faith…all the seemingly disparate parts of my life – the detritus – gathered in one place and given a place to ‘be’. I post photos I’ve taken and want to remember… capturing moments which, for whatever reason, speak to my heart.
    My blog was a private one for a long time – by invitation only.
    That’s only been changed for a few months… and I have mixed feelings about it. I only recently ‘enabled’ comments since I don’t blog to hear from other people… I blog to more clearly hear and see myself.

    • Kathy says:

      Donna, hello, it is nice to meet you. It is good that you are blogging. The “disparate parts of our lives”. Yes. I like that you write to speak to your heart. I recognize the gifts–and challenges–of going public. Our tender hearts can be threatened. Yet we can grow from these challenges. Blessings to you–and your blog.

  12. gigi says:

    I blog because I’m bigger on the inside and living alone, can go some days/weeks talking to no one.

    I blog to write because I am a memoir-list, not a fiction writer.

    I blog because I cannot always speak (I keep losing words).

    I blog because it keeps me whole.

    I blog to share.

    • Kathy says:

      Gigi, I can almost–sort of–understand why you blog. One of the main reasons I started blogging is because I live in the middle of the woods and am not surrounded by 100 people to talk with. Blogging has been a gift in wholeness, in creativity, in speech. It can be so quiet with only the birds to chat. I am glad you blog. Thank you for sharing yourself with us–it is enough.

  13. Dawn says:

    I started reading your blog because I was lonesome for ‘up north’…REALLY up north…can’t remember how I found it. But I guess the question wasn’t why I read, but why I write. Some of it is the same as you. I love to write. I like to meet new people. I like to share thoughts…but I have learned to filter some of those thoughts because, well, you know…it’s out there forever if you put it out there..but still it’s nice to have a readership of some sort so that I’m not just writing for myself. It’s an odd thing,certainly, this blogging. We like to write but we want someone to read it too…and this is one way to get both.

    • Kathy says:

      It is so interesting reading your response, Dawn. I know youhave a hankerin’ for these north woods that you left behind so many years ago. Also interesting thinking about filtering out thoughts. Not sure how much I do that. Hmmm…. It IS an odd thing, this blogging. Would we be writing if no one read? Hard to say, but probably not. (in my case.)

  14. Martha Bergin says:

    I don’t blog ’cause I’m too scattered. I THINK my blogs, and think that I COULD write them down, but hey, why work that hard? Kathy, you already write beautiful blogs. If I only have X hours in the day, I can just barely read yours. Thank you for your blogs. We all, if we are lucky, live to our deepest nature. I don’t think it’s WHY we do what we do, but rather do we do WHAT we do because it is our most exquisite (expressive of the inner YES!) dance to which we are MOVED? Or do we settle for a quite chacha in the corner?

    • Kathy says:

      Martha, I always admire that people who work full-time jobs (like you) find time to wander in the blogging world at all. I am always SO happy when you comment, just thinking about you in Arizona. You have provided a new dimension to this discussion. Do we do WHAT we do because it is our most exquisite dance to which we are MOVED? WOW, that answer zings for me. There are so many choices…thinking more about this.

  15. Robin says:

    I blog, therefore I am…? 😉

    I started blogging, before it was called blogging, because I was trying to quit smoking and I found a website that allowed me to connect with others who were doing the same. They called ’em diaries, though, not blogs. Same difference, if you ask me. We were in flux then, so to speak, moving to London (England) for a summer and then making a big move to northeast Ohio eleven days after we returned from England so having an online way to connect seemed like a good idea.

    I graduated to a “real” blog (one that was called a blog) when the diaries shut down and we were once again in flux and off on another sabbatical adventure (temporary move). I thought it would be a good way to keep friends and family in touch with what we were doing. Turns out most of our friends and family don’t read my blog. Oh well. I’ve made new friends. And some new family.

    Now I keep it up because of The Commitment (which I owe you many, many thanks for because it has changed my life in ways I don’t have time ramble about right now and I’m sure you don’t need me writing a novel in your comments). I’ve made new friends, reconnected with old friends. And found new family. Old family, really, because it seems to me we’re all related on some level or another.

    But really, I don’t suppose it matters why. I just do. I’ve evolved along the way. Taken long breaks, short breaks, and now no breaks. I see a long break in my future, but who knows? And who cares? I blog because I blog. The evolution of it, the reasons of it, are constantly changing. There may come a day when I don’t want to blog. That day will be the day I don’t blog because I don’t blog.

    • Kathy says:

      I think I must be a little emotional these days because my eyes watered reading your blogging story here. I honor you and your commitment so much. I can’t WAIT to read the wrap-up after it’s over–to hear what you’ve learned and how it’s changing your life. Sometimes I have felt guilty encouraging you because it is such a pain in the a** sometimes to continue blogging day after day when part of you would rather be doing anything–anything–other than blog. Saluting you heartfully.

      I think I am finally figuring out why I keep asking this question about blogging. (Addressed to you and anyone who is still reading the comments.) I have usually been “all over” in this blog, but part of me wants to focus making this blog part of my spiritual commitment and work. Not in a way that will outwardly look much different to others, but in a way this needs to align more with what I am trying to accomplish in my own life in terms of presence. If this makes sense. Thinking more about this… Thank you SO MUCH for writing this longer answer. It filled my heart this morning.

      • Robin says:

        I’m a little emotional these days too, Kathy. Maybe it’s something in the air or the energy of the season. It’s not such a bad thing, most of the time, being in touch with emotions. 🙂

        There is no reason at all for you to feel guilty. I am enjoying this commitment and I really am grateful to you for inspiring and encouraging me to do this. It’s true that it can be a pain in the a** sometimes to have to blog every day, but that’s part of the learning experience too. It’s made me realize that I have to find a way to compromise with myself. I have this tendency to put my all into every blog post, which would be fine if that was all I had to do. In the winter months it was easier because there wasn’t as much that needed to be done each day. With the warmer weather and the garden to tend, it’s becoming more difficult so it’s time I learned how to do a quick post every now and then without worrying that it’s not “perfect.” I don’t know if that makes sense, especially since it’s not really perfection I’m going for when I blog. My use of the word “perfect” has more to do with what I think my blog posts should be like. I think I’m going to confuse myself if I keep trying to explain it. lol!

        I think it can sometimes be difficult to find focus in a blog. I’ve struggled with that for years (hence my multiple blog disorder). This commitment may have helped me find that focus to some extent, and it has also allowed me to finally (!!) find a way to combine my two main blogs (Life in the Bogs & Bountiful Healing). I’ve been trying to figure that out for a while, and it’s nice to see them come together.

        Your explanation of what you’re trying to do with your blog makes perfect (there’s that word again) sense to me. To me, that comes across in your posts lately so maybe you unconsciously already had that worked out. 😀

        • Robin says:

          Subconsciously. Not unconsciously. Unconsciously works too, but it gave me a silly visual.

        • Kathy says:

          This discussion has been so helpful to me, Robin~~I know you understand. (multiple blog disorder…ha ha…can totally relate!) It’s interesting that you are picking up a new energy in my blogs lately. I can’t discern that, yet. We’ll see how it plays out as it comes toward consciousness. Thank you again for sharing all this.

  16. I started blogging because a friend of mine was thinking of starting a blog and dared me to start one, too. I thought it would be fun, so I did 🙂 That was January 2008 and I haven’t missed a day! I really enjoy it, and I’ve met many wonderful people through blogging, who I now call friends.

    • Kathy says:

      EVERY SINGLE DAY SINCE JANUARY 2008? Oh my goodness, Micheala, you deserve an AWARD! I also truly enjoy the many wonderful people met through blogging. Thank you.

  17. nurse salary says:

    I blog as a way to give back. Of course, theres the other side of me thats also looking for a small side income, but making really good money on a blog takes a lot of work and a lot of time. Expecting to make a full time salary is very ambitious and requires a lot of business know-how and planning. Right now I blog because I’ve learned so much from other blogs and wanted to give back in my own way. I also find so much cool stuff around the internet and learn something new everyday, so I want a way to share that, beyond just social networking.

    • Kathy says:

      That sounds like a good reason to blog…to give back. In fact that sounds like a very admirable reason. Thank you for sharing (and visiting this blog.)

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