I’ve continued thinking about the introductory questions of Who Am I? and Why Am I Here? that I was encouraged to answer as the kick-off to Blogging 101. Last night I offered a glimpse, at least, into who I am, but the question I was struggling to answer was why I am here. Why do I blog? What are my goals for the blog, and where do I hope to take it in the next year? These are the questions that I think will help me clarify and focus in ways that will help me become a better blogger.
First, I want to thank those who have commented, whether on my own blog or in the Blogging 101 discussion space, and encouraged me not to try to limit myself. What I have been looking for is clarity and cohesion, and what I seemed to be trying to do was to divorce some aspects of my life and my self from those pieces that I thought were worth writing about. For all my years of studying intersectionality, I was doing a pretty good job of ignoring it and pretending I could talk about my family without talking about my job or school or even housekeeping. Thank you all for the reminder that all of the pieces of myself are worth sharing.
But back to those other questions. Why do I blog, instead of just keeping a private journal? What do I hope this blog will become over the next month, six months, year? Who do I hope will read it? In pondering these questions, I realized that the answer to the first leads directly into the answer to the last.
I blog because I want to find and create community. I do keep a personal journal, as well, but blogging allows me to connect with people I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to know. Mothers, and perhaps especially non-heteronormative mothers, are frequently isolated in our culture. Once the novelty of a newborn wears off, it can be hard for mothers to feel supported, and like they are part of a network of others who understand what they’re going through. Blogging, and the internet more generally, can be an important space in which to find that community. I can connect with lesbian and other non-traditional mothers in Canada, the UK, and India at the click of a button. Our issues may not all be the same, but there is enough overlap that we can hear each other, support each other, and offer advice and encouragement. Further, as a lesbian mother, there are limits to the pool of local friends who experience the intersections of family and sexuality/sexual orientation in the same or similar ways as myself. Thus, blogging has helped open up opportunities for community in some exciting ways.
So, then, who do I hope will find this blog? Who are those individuals with whom I hope to create an online community? Well, that’s a hard question to answer fully, because as soon as I designate the ‘ideal’ reader, I am limiting myself and my potential community. I would like to connect with other mothers, including non-gestational parents, adoptive mothers, allomothers, political mamas and other parents who don’t fit the traditional mold. I would like to connect with artists, students, feminists, and critical thinkers. I want to talk to people like me, and people who will challenge my assumptions. If you are respectful, open minded, and willing to challenge and be challenged, then I want to connect with you.
Finally, where do I see this blog going? What do I hope to create with it? This is harder to answer, since I expect it to be an organic process that isn’t necessarily predictable. But I know I thrive when I have clear goals and some sort of structure, so I’ll put out a few general ideas.
- I want to still be actively blogging a year from now. I have a tendency to start projects and then let them fizzle. I don’t want that to happen here. I’m not going to set specific post numbers or a schedule for posting, but at least once every month or two. At *least.* I’ll be finishing up my first year of my doctoral program by then, so I can’t make promises about available time, but if I’m able to keep up the blogging at all, then I’ll be happy!
- I want to be more active in the blogging community. I read other people’s blogs almost daily, but I rarely comment or even ‘like’ their posts. Community isn’t one sided, so if community is what I want, I have to participate. To this end, I’m trying to spend more of my blogging time on the computer and less on my phone. I hate typing on my phone, so that’s an obvious limiting factor.
- I’d like to organize my blog a little better. I think the Blogging 101 course will help with that, but I can start utilizing tags and categories more efficiently now. This will help me keep track of trends in my writing, but more importantly should also help my readers more easily find the posts that grab their interest. If anyone has any particular suggestions regarding blog organization, I am interested in hearing them! What has worked for you? What hasn’t? What would make my blog more readable and accessible for you?
If I am able to keep these three goals in the forefront of my mind, and remember that content is only one small piece of the blogging experience, then I think I’ll be on the right track. I look forward to seeing where the blog takes us from here, and to building that community with you, my readers, as we go.