Every once in a while, I get asked why I blog. Admittedly, it’s a question I ask myself now and again too. Not including all the writing I did before on my old websites or the blogging I’ve written from my freelance clients over the years, I’ve published 3,500 blog posts on Beyond the Rhetoric alone. That’s a lot. And I keep doing it, more than ten years later. Count those old sites and I’ve been “blogging” for almost two decades.

So, why do it?

An Insatiable Compulsion to Create

For as long as I can remember, I liked making things. This is true both in a physical sense and in a figurative sense. As a kid, I’d mock up architectural drawings (no joke) of what my future mansion would look like, complete with multiple elevators and an indoor aviary, plus a separate building for all my employees.

As a kid, I loved building things with LEGO bricks. Or cardboard. Or whatever I could get my hands on. As a kid, I loved sketching the most random of things too, from cartoon characters to cans of Coke (also no joke). As I got a little older, I became more and more enamored with the written word and that’s largely how I got into my current career. Accidentally on purpose, I like to tell people. Blogging is a natural extension of that.

The Instant Gratification

But if the primary motivation behind why I blog is simply because I feel compelled to create something, why have I not pursued a different kind of career where I am physically creating something? And even if we stick purely to the sphere of the written word, I could just as easily write poetry only for myself and have it sit in a notebook somewhere, perhaps only to be published upon my demise. If ever.

To some extent, you could say I am the product of the times and of my surroundings. The Internet was in its relative infancy when I first discovered it. My initial point of access was through a purely text-based interface (telnet) on the computer terminals in the public library. But as I made my way through high school and university, the web got more advanced. And it became far more accessible for the average person to have a legitimate online presence.

When I write a blog post and hit that publish button, I immediately unleash it upon the entirety of the world. That’s a tremendous amount of power to yield, for better or for worse. It opens up the content both to a sense of instant gratification for me, but via the more social nature of blogging, also the opportunity for instant feedback.

From page views and comments to “likes” and social shares, the world tells me what it thinks of my writing. Again, for better or for worse.

I Blog, Therefore I Am?

If a blog post is published on the Internet and no one is around to troll the blogger, does it really exist?

It has been said countless times before that your sense of happiness or self-worth should not be contingent on the opinions of others. I perfectly understand this insight on an intellectual basis. Internalizing it is a different matter altogether.

Like so many other social media addicts, I thirst for validation. I yearn for acknowledgement. Blogging confirms my existence, so to speak, while a lack of engagement encourages me to seek it.

It’s So Loud Inside My Head

Ever since starting Beyond the Rhetoric in 2006 and deciding on using Rodin’s Thinker as the primary logo, I’ve half-jokingly stated that I think I might think too much. I might even think that I think about thinking too much. All kidding aside, I do think a lot. About everything.

That’s a big part of the reason why it’s so hard to nail down my identity as a blogger. I’m a tech blogger, a food blogger, a travel blogger, an entrepreneurship blogger, a dad blogger… the list goes on. It’s because I feel like I have so much to say about all these topic areas.

But it’s not like I sit down to write a blog post with all of my thoughts clearly laid out in a logical manner. Realistically, blogging gives me the opportunity not only to get my thoughts on “paper” as a sort of “mind dump,” but also the chance to work through my thoughts. In my head, they’re a jumbled mess. The process of writing can provide clarity.

And the feedback loop validates that clarity. Truth be told, I have a habit of giving advice to myself. Many of the blog posts I’ve written over the years are really just directed back at me. The hope is that you, the audience, can derive some value from my journey too. That’s why I blog. That’s why I will continue blogging for as long as I am able.