Submitted by Dee Nash, OWB Blogger of the Month
Why do I blog?
I thought about saying—tongue in cheek—that I do it for money and fame, but I feared someone in cyberspace might not get the joke. Garden bloggers don’t get rich. Lifestyle bloggers do.
I’ll go all serious on you instead. My first post from October 10, 2007 was titled “Why a Blog?” Why, indeed?
Here’s why. I’m a writer. I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember no matter what job I was doing at the time, whether I was a student, legal secretary, legal assistant, mommy, etc. I always wrote stories on the side, and I, frankly, see the world in stories. When my children were little, and I returned home full-time to care for them, I would tell them stories throughout the day complete with dialogue and voice changes. We even had sound effects.
I studied to be a writer in college. My degree is in journalism, but professional writing because I wanted to write novels, or so I thought.
I wrote three “bad” novels that sit in a drawer somewhere in my house. They were good practice, but each took a year to complete. To make extra money, I began writing articles for magazines, but I felt like something was missing. I joined the Garden Writers Association in 2007. They had a blogging session at their annual meeting. Blogging wasn’t new in 2007, but it was still in toddler shoes. Hearing the three writers and one photographer talk about being creative and having a voice through their blogs, resonated with me.
I missed telling stories. If I lived before written history, I would be the village elder who memorized the village history and then retold it, embellished of course, to the young people.
A blog is the perfect medium to write stories. I chose Red Dirt Ramblings for my first blog’s name because I wanted to be able to ramble about any subject in Oklahoma. Granted, I write mostly about gardening, but I also intersperse stories about our family, interesting sites within our state, and sometimes, I write fiction—especially in winter when I’m bored.
People responded favorably to my ramblings, and I can’t begin to say how grateful I am to power up the computer each morning with a cup of tea and get started. I may be writing for a magazine, or a company website, but I’m happiest when I write for my blogs.
I’m often asked about making money. I don’t do a lot of advertising. Occasionally, I’ll take on a company I trust. Even then, I don’t charge a large amount, just enough to pay my hosting fees. However, many writing jobs came my way through the blog. My blog is my hub on the web. I don’t have to produce writing clips for potential magazine work because my writing is up there for everyone to see.
This can be scary. What if I’m having a bad day, and it shows?
I decided a long time ago to let that go of performance anxiety. I just put up the best I’ve got on any given day.
As for fame, it’s fleeting. I won the gold medal for electronic writing at the Garden Writers Association in 2014, only seven years after I started RDR. I’m thrilled because having one’s peers recognize you is always wonderful. It’s not unlike an actor winning an Oscar.
Better Homes and Gardens listed RDR as one of their top ten garden and lifestyle blogs for 2014 too. That was exciting, and eventually the same list ended up in the Washington Post.
Honors are great, but once given, they are part of the past.
Each morning, every writer wakes up with a blank sheet of paper. The blank screen on our computer monitors is the 21st Century equivalent. We must go back into the trenches and start over.
This is scary stuff, but I find comfort in my blog. If I’m stuck or unhappy, I simply start there and then move on to the writing I must do on any particular day.
Why blog? I’m a writer. Every day, my heart tells me I must write. Otherwise, my insides will get quaky, and I fear I might not be brave enough to start again. My blogs give me the courage to start typing everyday. That’s why I blog.