part 3: why I blog // insights & tips

{A continuation of the discussion on blogging.  Part 1, here & part 2, here.}

♥  Martha Stewart:

“I don’t sleep much.  It’s just not that interesting to me.”
[Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York), March 24, 2000]

I’ve often felt the outsider.  You know?

I have all of this energy & it must be channeled somewhere, and hopefully a positive somewhere.  Sometimes my creative energy just comes out as pure craziness.  Like a neurotic cat, I’ve got to get this energy out somehow.  Not a lot of people understand this.

After I read Emily’s 11 attributes of creative people though (I nodded in agreement with each point, especially #’s 3, 5, 8, 10, & 11), I felt validated.  A bit more at peace with my existence. Yes, there is a purpose for this itch that I have to create and, I’m not alone.

Artists, writers, musicians–we are tormented people.  We just can’t accept what is.  There’s the constant striving for something better, or dwelling on how things could be or should be.  We find it hard to be content, it’s true.  Perhaps this is why so many of us creative types struggle with perfectionism &/or depression.

It’s hard to be a creative soul.

And perhaps we make our lives harder, & more complicated than it needs be.  (Joseph accuses me of this all the time.  I’m afraid I’m guilty as charged.)  But often, we just can’t help ourselves.  (Also true.)  We’re willing to be generous,  if it means creating something beautiful & helping others along the way (as Emily points out).  We’re willing to toil, lose sleep, suffer all sorts of deprivation for our art & dreams.

As mentioned in parts 1 & 2 of this series, blogging is hard work.

I know, I know, I make it look absolutely effortless, don’t I?  (You’re too kind.)  But you don’t know about the late nights, the botched recipes (or DIY crafts, or photos, as the case may be), the actual hard, cold statistics.  The hours spent in front of a computer, that could easily be spent elsewhere (sleeping, say?).  It’s not glamorous, & can often feel like a lonely, thankless job.  (I know, get ready to throw us poor, poor bloggers a pity party.)

Yesterday, Wendy of HGK, wrote about this dilemma with blogging, wondering if she should give up her blog, or at least put it on the back burner because her life is full of so many other, more important responsibilities.

The fact is, there is no way around the time factor.  Sure it takes a reader 1-3 minutes to consume a post, but hours for the blogger to put it together, especially if it’s a recipe, a how-to, or a DIY post.  As Joseph once noted, “only a spouse or a roommate of a regular blogger or another fellow blogger really knows how much time & work behind the scenes that is involved.”

There is much more to blogging than just the time quotient, although that does play a major part. There’s editing, knowing the technology, the writing & content itself, photography, & design.  I have learned much this past year about many of these things.  But what I’ve come to terms with is that I still lack much.  What I lack however, at least for now, I know I can make up for in work ethic & drive.

I won’t stop learning & I won’t give up.  I think that is what is going to be my saving grace in the end.  It won’t be my amazing talent or skill (of which I hope to accumulate a bit of that along the way).  It will be the fact that I made creativity a habit.  (Twyla Tharp talks about the discipline & consistency of creativity in her book The Creative Habit, which I highly recommend.)

So why blog?  Why bother?  You’ve got to answer those questions.  You, & only you.

For me, I want to create & I want to share.  Also, I want to publish someday.  I can think of no other better medium (currently) where I am forced to be creative & disciplined on a consistent basis than through blogging.  Add some truly amazing & lovely people (like you), to the mix, &  it’s totally worth the effort, despite the sacrifices.

Here are a few tidbits to round out the discussion from some ladies who’ve been at this blogging gig for awhile (& found great success, by blogger standards):

♥  Tips from Joy the baker.

♥  Joanna Goddard, from a Cup of Jo, shares what it’s like to pursue blogging as a career.  I also appreciate her discussion on the work/life/baby balance (is there such a thing?).

♥  Katie, of CCK, shares a day in her life as a blogger (& shows that it’s a lot of work!).

Why I blog, Part 1
Why I blog, Part 2

♥♥♥

If you blog, why do you do it?  What is your goal(s) in doing so?
Do you consider yourself a creative person?
Could you relate with any of the items on Emily’s list?


Comments


  1. google
    on June 24, 2014 at 4:17 pm said:

    When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment
    is added I get several e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Thank you!

  2. Gena
    on September 22, 2012 at 6:16 am said:

    I think blogging is what you make of it. Yes, there are people like Katie, who are quite virtually full time with blogging and recipes. But then there are a lot of people (like Janet of TasteSpace, who is a resident, and probably works 30 hour shifts pretty frequently, and STILL makes spectacular food and leave insightful comments) who somehow cram blogging in amidst a full time job. Or you, who manages to do it with four kids. Or me: full time pre-med, MCAT in January, blog, hospital volunteering, and I’m soon to be doing research work in a GI doctor’s office. We could all ditch the blog if we wanted to, or needed to for mental health sake, because the truth of the matter is that it’s not the most important thing in our lives.

    But for me, I come back to CR for a) community, and b) because it’s the only creative force in my life right now. It’s the only thing that’s not a carbon molecule, and it’s entirely for me. I won’t be able to keep up with it at the same pace when I get to med school and residency–I know that–but I’ll just adjust and do what I can. I try to remember that no one is making me blog: it’s something I do for the joy of writing, communicating, connecting.

  3. Candy @ Healthy In Candy Land
    on September 20, 2012 at 1:29 pm said:

    Oh my goodness, did this post ever resonate with me. It is very nice to know I am not the only one. I guess I never realized I *needed* to create–I always thought it was just because I wanted to. But I totally *need* to. And when you said, “…we are tormented people. We just can’t accept what is. There’s the constant striving for something better, or dwelling on how things could be or should be. We find it hard to be content, it’s true. Perhaps this is why so many of us creative types struggle with perfectionism &/or depression.” That is so me. Thank you for the perspective.

  4. Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family
    on September 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm said:

    I had to go through the post twice because the pictures just captivated me. They were taken in such a way that I can almost feel myself present in them.
    I do blog and decided to take it up when I felt I had something that I wanted to share.
    Food is a passion and finding a way to share the passion without being overly preachy is where I am right now. I feel strongly about how food is prepared and how animals are treated yet I don’t want to come off too strong for readers (after all what good is writing if there is no one to read).
    I am glad that you haven’t made a crazy decision to stop blogging because you have a very enjoyable blog and one that has such a good variety (kids one day to a delicious recipe another).
    High five to keeping up the dedication a blog takes and to having a spouse that supports that.

    I know you’ve mentioned him a couple of times, but I hope Joseph is doing well.

  5. Candice
    on September 20, 2012 at 11:34 am said:

    Thanks Janae. I needed this reminder today. I know why I blog. It’s not for popularity, it’s because I have all of these things going on inside my head that I want to tell people, but my kids don’t want to hear them, because they are kids and they just want to play. It’s about having a voice for me. I need to have a voice. So I’ll keep going.

    • Janae Wise
      on September 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm said:

      YES. Blogging can be about so many things, & so many reasons, but if the passion for doing it is not there, if you don’t *need* to do it, then it will most likely fizzle away to make room for other things. I’ve found it true that everyone needs an outlet, a voice, there are many ways to do this & blogging happens to be my favorite vehicle (at least for now), for doing this.

      & you have a great attitude–keep going, keep sharing 🙂

  6. Dreena Burton
    on September 20, 2012 at 7:24 am said:

    So much of what you have written resonates with me Janae. When you are that creative type, it is very hard to ‘stop’… and why ‘stop’ when it fuels something inside? Yet, it DOES make life more complicated – far more, especially with young children. And, it’s clear your post here has connected with many of your readers too. Keep up the good work. xx’s

    • Janae Wise
      on September 20, 2012 at 8:25 am said:

      Dreena, you know almost better than anyone, this struggle of life vs. creativity. Which I don’t think they always have to be in conflict, as in your case, I’m sure all of your culinary pieces have been a blessing to your family (who needs to eat anyway, might as well eat your amazing food!). But, you’ve gone above & beyond & given our world just a little bit more light & goodness with your amazing cookbooks, all the while raising your girls.

  7. Tiffany @ She Loves Yoga
    on September 19, 2012 at 11:47 pm said:

    Janae, what a beautiful blog you have. I love the aesthetic, and love that you are sharing your vision with the rest of the blogosphere.

    I recently started blogging (ie: JUST launched it this week), and did it as a way to share my story of my eating disorder past, and how/what items in my life helped me overcome it. I followed quite a few blogs for several years and each blogger was an integral part of who I am today. I’m stronger, healthier, and most of all, have a better understanding of what nourishes my body. I hope that my stories/point of view would be able to help someone who is/was going through a similar situation. I’m excited about this new blogging chapter in my life! 🙂

    Thanks for this post, it really hit the nail on the head for me!

    xo,
    Tiffany

    • Janae Wise
      on September 20, 2012 at 12:14 am said:

      Hi Tiffany! Congrats on launching your blog. It’s the beginning of something big for you. Sharing your life via blogging has it’s ups & downs, but ultimately, if you’re honest about it & if you love it, it’ll transform your life in ways you could never have imagined.

      That’s super sweet that blogs have touched you & helped you over the years–proof that when it comes down to it, blogging is about connecting with individuals. That’s why it works. People crave that intimate connection with other individuals, something you can’t get via a magazine or many other forms of media. Thanks for stopping by, I’ll be sure to keep a look out for you to see what you’re up to the next few months, & if you ever have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email. I know how intimidating blogging can be when you’re just starting out!

      • Tiffany @ She Loves Yoga
        on September 23, 2012 at 5:29 pm said:

        So sweet of you, thanks Janae! 🙂 xxoo

  8. Julie G
    on September 19, 2012 at 5:16 pm said:

    Well, I’m the opposite of most of the creative list, which I knew already:) That’s why you creative people inspire me. Coming to your blog and many others are a way to experience the word in a different way. Thanks!

    • Janae Wise
      on September 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm said:

      Thanks Julie! I have hunch you are a lot more creative than you give yourself credit. I believe everyone has creative potential, & that everyone, with some effort & discipline can develop creative talents. Creativity may come more naturally to others, but it is most definitely, first & foremost (in my mind) a learned skill, not a gift from the gods to only the “lucky” ones. And great point about blogging–it enables us to experience the world from different perspectives.

  9. Louise
    on September 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm said:

    Why do I blog? I’ll start at the beginning…you know I started blogging because I saw it as a huge opportunity….to turn an unfortunate situation, into something great! I didn’t want to head back into the work force, and lose sight of what really mattered. When I was laid off, I realized all the great things in my life that I was missing while I was working 9 to 5…my children. Blogging has helped me stay creative & productive while I’m at home with my kids. Granted, I’m not making oodles of money (YET!), but blogging everyday has given me a place to channel my voice and my creative energies. I’m a creative soul for sure…ever since I was a kid, I always thought differently than the other kids in my class…and everything on Emily’s list I can relate to. Where most people see the mundane, I always see the extraordinary. And I think A LOT…too much sometimes. I’ve been known to space out during dinner time, lost in thought…with my husband snapping his fingers in my face, asking me to come back down to earth. Funny, but true! But my main goals/aspirations with blogging, has always been…one)monetize and then… two)start a legit retail business (either a clothing line/home related goods). But my HUGE goal surrounding all that, is to be an example for my girls…that you can DO & BE anything! I hope I don’t disappoint! =)

    • Janae Wise
      on September 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm said:

      “But my HUGE goal surrounding all that, is to be an example for my girls…that you can DO & BE anything!”
      Louise, you’re an awesome mom. That drive to provide & care for our kids (& set a good example of work ethic & achievement) really kicks in when we need it most (like when there’s unemployment, as in your case). I know I was never so motivated to work & really become excellent at what I do (so I could get more teaching jobs), was when Joseph was unemployed & we had to rely on all the money I was bringing in. Pressure, yes, but also a healthy dose of motivation! Totally know where you’re coming from, Louise. I know you’re going to do great things with your blog & business.

  10. Dana
    on September 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm said:

    For the record, Janae, I DO think you have amazing talent and skill and I bet your other readers would agree in an instant! Your photos, your stories, your great outlook and kindness- well, its a package that completely energizes and encourages me. I don’t have the time I’d like to read many blogs, but yours is one I won’t miss. Among other things, you help me bridge the gap between the day-to-day of the life I lead on the 9-5(++) side and the interests that really drive my heart- kids, the beauty of God’s earth, good food, literature, fitness and more. Thank you for sacrificing as much as you do to bring us your daily thoughts. For this reader, you do indeed create something beautiful that helps others!

    • Janae Wise
      on September 19, 2012 at 9:12 pm said:

      Thank you Dana. If/when I ever get published, I will make sure to include in the acknowledgements you as my #1 believing fan. You are awesome & I appreciate you.

  11. Sandra
    on September 19, 2012 at 2:55 pm said:

    Creating – whether it is writing or photography or making music or art – it is who I am. I can’t separate myself from it. I need it. I always have many more projects on the go than I have time to execute. And things that I want to learn. Gah….

    So, yes, I can relate to ALL of that list!

    The blogging is great because it’s writing, photography and also community. It’s like having your own little magazine where you can write whatever you want – no matter how obscure the topic. And SOMEONE will relate to it or like it or comment on it.

    If only it existed when I was that 11 year old dreaming of NYC and watching Chaplin movies….in a smallish prairie city. I love how you can find your tribe now, no matter what your interests or passions.

    And it has learning points for me too – how to deal with envy and channel that positively to motivation to better my skills. How to balance real life with online life. How to pace myself with learning photography. How to write better. Etc.

    It’s all good. When I don’t let myself stress about it!

    • Janae Wise
      on September 19, 2012 at 11:04 pm said:

      “It’s like having your own little magazine where you can write whatever you want – no matter how obscure the topic. And SOMEONE will relate to it or like it or comment on it.” Yes! I love the independence of it all. I choose what I want to talk about. I do what I want. There’s such freedom in that.

      “If only it existed when I was that 11 year old dreaming of NYC and watching Chaplin movies….in a smallish prairie city. I love how you can find your tribe now, no matter what your interests or passions.” Isn’t that amazing? There’s a place for EVERYONE–I love that.

  12. Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit
    on September 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm said:

    And perhaps we make our lives harder, & more complicated than it needs be. >> ha Joseph sounds like a wise man… Kevin reminds me of it, too. I do it constantly. All the time. So guilty. So, so, so guilty. Loved this post!

    • Janae Wise
      on September 19, 2012 at 11:06 pm said:

      Yes, but it’s our quirks, our attention to detail, our inability to be comfortable with the way things “are” that makes us create & find a new, fresh, way of doing something. Glad I’m not alone.

  13. Alissa N
    on September 19, 2012 at 11:27 am said:

    First of all, those photos are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen.

    This is another amazing segment in this series. I always love reading what you have to say. I have actually never seen myself as a creative person, but I definitely have a lot of those attributes. Since starting my blog I am learning more and more about myself. I work a super demanding, crazy stressful job during the day. I don’t think some people believe me when I tell them what I put up with regularly at work. I am not complaining though, it helps me afford to do things I love, like the site. Blogging is my passion, it makes me happy and fulfilled. With the “day job” and blogging, my day is usually about 12+ hours of work. I don’t really see it that way because blogging doesn’t feel like work. But obviously, as with anything, I do have tough days where I worry if I am interesting enough or anyone cares. I blog because I love it and it makes me very happy. It also makes me appreciate all those “you can do it!” messages like the one you have above (which is my new favorite btw) 🙂

    • Janae Wise
      on September 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm said:

      “First of all, those photos are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen.” That just may be one the most amazing compliments I’ve received. Thank you Alissa.

      While we’re at it, I think your little corner of cyberspace is something quite amazing. I don’t know how you do it with a full-time job as well. But I agree, when you love something, it doesn’t feel like work. You just *have* to do it. I totally get that.

      You know, it’s funny how well we can see the successes & strengths of others (I know that’s an actual, bonafide talent of mine) but don’t see our strengths, our goodness, in ourselves. Also, I think we women, need to collaborate (not compete) & build each other up. We need each other. I think our greatest strength lies in our ability to nurture. And contrary to what some may think, I believe this is why women can make excellent CEO’s, leaders, & politicians, (& of course, mothers) because when we set our minds to it, we have so much strength in our inherent desire to help & serve. Anyway, great thoughts & yes, you CAN do it Alissa!

      • Alissa N
        on September 21, 2012 at 12:15 pm said:

        Thanks Janae, I read this reply like 5 times because it made me smile every time. I totally agree about we women needing to collaborate and not compete. Everything you said here hit home and was so, so true and beautifully put. You seriously rock!!

        • Janae Wise
          on September 22, 2012 at 1:47 am said:

          I’m so happy. Thanks for letting me know that my response helped. Thanks for your gratitude & kind words, Alissa.

  14. Joy
    on September 19, 2012 at 10:23 am said:

    Oh yes, oh yes, I can relate. I started my career by writing for magazines and newspapers, but the beautiful thing about writing online and especially on your own blog, is the fast pace of publication. Aside from that, blogging has created a sense of accountability for my work, creating the kind of discipline you wrote about here. However small my circle of readers may be, they’re there, and I just disappearing for awhile is just sort of disrespectful. Every writing book I’ve read has encouraged daily writing. For me, the blog presents this opportunity. But what’s more, it’s given me a sense of community and the advantage of nearly instantaneous feedback, and both of those things are priceless.

    • Janae Wise
      on September 19, 2012 at 10:48 am said:

      “Every writing book I’ve read has encouraged daily writing. For me, the blog presents this opportunity. But what’s more, it’s given me a sense of community and the advantage of nearly instantaneous feedback, and both of those things are priceless.”
      Yes, I completely agree. Daily writing is for a writer, what water is to a plant. You cannot grow without it. That feedback from the community is what makes it so rewarding & helpful, in terms of improvement & finding a voice, & your own style. Thanks, Joy!

  15. lfwfv
    on September 19, 2012 at 9:37 am said:

    Boy do I resonate with your first several paragraphs about creative people.

    I too am usually filled with energy…constantly creating more tasks, and more goals for myself to complete that are technically not “must-do’s”. But, i can’t stop. i need to keep getting better, I am never content with where I’m at. As my life changes, and I (hopefully) gain wisdom and new life experiences, my art and my work evolve as well. I need to keep doing and creating.

    I am a very disciplined person with my music, my exercise, my teaching, my cooking….it’s just who i am, not something i really strive for. It is unsettling for me not to be able to practice enough, move my body enough, prepare enough for teaching, or prepare enough nourishing food for my family.

    My husband also tells me that a lot of what I’m so “busy” with is technically not “necessary”. My actual work demands could be minimal if i just wanted to get by, but that’s not the way i do things…i am always pushing to improve, to create, to set goals and challenges for myself… I do agree it’s my way of giving to my others, spending my energy, and just feeling “right” with the fact that I am completing the work God has given me to do in this lifetime.

    I also agree that people have no idea the amount of turmoil and hard work and time that go into being creative. And the discipline. They see me perform a 1 hour recital and think “wow, you’re so talented”. And i think, “well, maybe, but really, i think i’m just willing to work like a dog and be disciplined because I am passionate about what i do”. They don’t see the literally months of daily 3-4hour focused practice sessions on top of my other work/home/life commitments. They don’t see the process, just the finished product. It might look “easy” at that point, but that is simply the result of many, many hours of careful work, mistakes, and toil. I do believe that most of creative success boils down to commitment, discipline, passion (often somewhat irrational), and being willing to create without getting compensated nearly enough for all the time and energy you are investing in your work.

    • Janae Wise
      on September 19, 2012 at 9:48 am said:

      “It might look “easy” at that point, but that is simply the result of many, many hours of careful work, mistakes, and toil. I do believe that most of creative success boils down to commitment, discipline, passion (often somewhat irrational), and being willing to create without getting compensated nearly enough for all the time and energy you are investing in your work.”
      You have hit the nail right on the head, Tanya.

      I think you & I are cut from the same fabric. I’ve spent a lot of my life being frustrated with the fact that I always have to move & be doing. I’ve gotten a bit better at realizing it’s much better to work with my idiosyncracies, rather than against them. I think if you look at most great artists, from a “normal” person’s perspective, all they might see is a completely unbalanced person. But isn’t it our passion that creates great works of art. Again, it’s hard to have so much drive & creative energy, hard to channel it in the right way.

      A lot of people look at what I’ve achieved in my life, my blog, my kids & think, “oh gosh, you’re just so lucky, or you’re so talented,” when in reality it has very little to do with luck, & I’m confident I’m not more talented than the next. (In fact, I’m convinced I’m pretty mediocre at most things, which has been a blessing because it gives me the drive to learn & improve.) It’s mostly the grace of God, lots & lots of hard work & determination on my part, & mostly good choices. Success isn’t rocket science.

      I loved everything you said. So many good points that I can relate with. Thanks Tanya.

      (I’m would love to one of your violin concerts one day–I’m sure you’re absolutely amazing.)

  16. Ashlee Crozier
    on September 19, 2012 at 6:37 am said:

    Oh, and I think I could write a whole novel as to how (especially 4-11, actually I really like #1, okay, just the WHOLE THING) Emily’s list tells me I am not as “unique” as I thought I was. The whole attention span? The urgent need to make things? Working hard? My sisters and friends just think my recipes and posts just *happen*. Yet when they ask for help with any recipe or creative situation, I jump on the chance!

    I am never content with myself — the end of the day is torturous because I replay everything that happened, how I could make it better, what I will do better the next day. This paragraph of yours, particularly speaks to me: “we are tormented people. We just can’t accept what is. There’s the constant striving for something better, or dwelling on how things could be or should be. We find it hard to be content, it’s true.”

  17. Ashlee Crozier
    on September 19, 2012 at 6:18 am said:

    “Perhaps this is why so many of us creative types struggle with perfectionism &/or depression.”

    This morning I was just thinking I would quit. Or at least just decide to blog only once a month. My blog posts are NEVER good enough for me. If my recipe isn’t completely stellar, I won’t post it.

    You somehow know your readers inside and out. I am eating this post like candy.

    Somehow you keep me going, girl.

    • Janae Wise
      on September 19, 2012 at 9:42 am said:

      Oh, also, did I mention, you should blog because you *love* it? In the end, if you don’t love it, if it’s only a chore, or something you feel like you *have* to do, it’s time to reaccess. I put in every free minute away from my motherly duties to spend blogging, & I do it because when all is said & done, I enjoy the whole process–from creation to hitting publish. I love it.

      I know I don’t need to tell you this, but it seems you’re a bit hard on yourself. It took me 3 years to get to the point where I decided I even wanted to continue blogging on a more committed basis (up to that point I was very flighty–just look at last year’s archives. I think I posted once or twice a month.) Anyway, blogging should be fun, a natural way to share your discoveries & recipes. If it’s not, time to step away for a breath of fresh air. I remember all too well the feelings that you’re going through. After 500+ posts, I think it’s finally safe to say I no longer stress about the “perfect” post or worry about what to post. I have about half a dozen half finished posts, & a half-a dozen want-to-do post ideas. Anyway, my longwinded point is, if you love it stick with it. If you stick with it, it all gets easier, a more natural, organic process. Thanks for your thoughts Ashlee!

      • Ashlee Crozier
        on September 19, 2012 at 11:04 am said:

        Thanks for the reminder, Janae 🙂

        I do love it.

        Sometimes my intensities can get the best of me. Like perfectionism for example…it’ll be a lifelong issue I am sure.

        But the joy I find comes from helping other people. The feedback I get when someone has tried a recipe, LOVES it, and then incorporates it into their lives is awesome. The outlet it provides and the friendships it creates cannot be found in any other way. Otherwise it would be one lonely kitchen, and me.