Late last week as I was catching up on reading my aggregator, I found myself removing a blog I’d been waffling on for some time. What put me over the edge is that this writer (Nope, that’s seriously her profession.) went off on a LiveJournal user for scraping her blog to a LiveJournal and attributing it back to the writer. When everything shook out, it turned out that the LiveJournal user had created a syndication account at LiveJournal for the writer’s blog and was reading it through the feed. The way LiveJournal handles feed syndication is that the feed is given a public account. The feed’s page itself contains dates and headlines of posts, but when the feed shows up on the user’s Friends page, it shows as much of the feed as the originating blog syndicates out.
The writer was completely incensed that her blog was available in this public feed that anyone could read. As far as she is concerned, only the person who subscribes should be able to read the feed. All right, fine. That’s a valid complaint. She could just ask LiveJournal to remove the feed. They’re fairly good about that sort of thing. But she was screaming because people could learn about her blog from somewhere. That just flies in the face of the blog as conversational media, as a means of getting your ideas out there.
Needless to say, this self-proclaimed expert on blogging lost a lot of credibility.
It made me wonder why she even blogs at all, except that she feels she’s doing the web a great service. Of course, that then forced me to think about why I blog, or write at all for that matter.
The simple answer to that is: because I simply can’t stop myself. I’ve always written. I’ve only found one writing form I don’t enjoy writing, and that is poetry. (That’s not true. I’m not terribly wild about memoir or essay writing, either.)
I write fiction because I have fun weaving stories, experimenting with characters and situations. I write fan fiction for the exact same reason, except I want to explore putting established characters into unexpected situations. I write flash fiction and graphic novel scripts because I want to explore the challenge those art forms provide.
I write nonfiction because I’m a teacher at my core. I blog to record my own thoughts on things, or to record links. Occasionally, I even blog to make others aware of something. Other people find this information useful, so I’m glad to share it. I write how-to articles to help people when I can’t physically teach it to them, and now I share them online to make them available to a wider audience. I write statements of procedure or technical pieces for my work because I want my coworkers to have access to what I know, even if I’m at home with a major stomach flu.
I write to entertain, to share information. Sometimes, I write for myself, but if someone asks, I’ll share it with them. I write to reach out, to make new friends. For me, writing isn’t about the props. It’s about the resulting community, the chance to meet others who just can’t stop themselves from writing.
Why do you write?