This morning I started thinking about the reasons why I blog…and to be honest, I couldn’t come up with one single, logical answer.
In the beginning I did it largely because it was the “thing to do.” Certainly during the past few years blogging has experienced such popularity and has been “in vogue” in our on-line society that today you can find bloggers recording their thoughts on just about any subject imaginable. During the past election cycle, for instance, bloggers wielded so much political power and influence that even the major candidates for office could not overlook blogging as an important part of their campaign strategy. Some might even say it was bloggers that changed the political winds and ultimately the outcome of the presidential election.
Yet, I’m not running for public office…so why do I sometimes spend more than an hour each day devoted to creating a web log?
In the beginning I did it because it was fun to put thoughts out there for the world to see. This quickly evolved as my cousin, Gary, suffered through the late stages of Lou Gehrig’s Disease (or ALS). For the final months of 2004, my blogging was a way for him to continue thinking about an outdoors life as he neared the twilight of his life. Gary lost his ability to talk as well as most of his motor skills, but he could still move a computer mouse and was a daily visitor to my blog. I even paid tribute to Gary before he succumbed to the disease in December of 2004. My blogging was a way to say thanks to a man who made it possible for me to experience the outdoors as a youth and to eventually earn the title of being a sportsman. I was “connecting” with a person who was once very important in my life…and blogging was the way it happened.
After Gary’s death I’ll be honest in saying that my purpose for blogging had to take a major refocus. Oh sure, I knew that occasionally a few dozen people would drop in on my site daily to read my entries…but I suddenly had to find a new motivation for writing. When Gary was alive…I always knew there was at least one person who would read my efforts. During the past 13 months since his death, however, I have largely been writing to an anonymous audience who knows as little about me as I know about most of the readers.
Still, I realize that when people land on my blog site these days it is likely because of some Google search and the search words that were used somehow pointed to one of my daily entries. Today, I connect with folks through my blog ONLY when they leave me comments…and fortunately more folks are doing that all the time.
Take for instance some comments that were made on my recent entry discussing Diamond Dog Food. Check it out…someone who was actually personally affected with the death of his dog took the time to read my blog and to comment. Even though I would have hoped to connect with this person under much happier circumstances, it was through this blog site that maybe he took a bit of comfort and some guidance on where to turn next with his legal situation. I hope he stays in touch.
Not too long ago I wrote an entry sort of ribbing two Minnesota Conservation Officers (game wardens) for performing CPR on their dog. Another CO took issue with those comments and decided to “straighten me out.” That was great. I still disagree with his statements…but I accept the fact that not everybody is going to see things the way I do. I suspect I have many others who shake their heads in disagreement with what I say from time to time, but they are not moved enough to leave a comment. I applaud everyone who takes the time and effort to jot a few words whether in agreement or in disagreement with what I say.
The summer of 2005 was not a good one for this blogger. In fact, the better portion of last year was not good as I had many things going on in my life that left little time for blogging or for sportsman activities, for that matter. I pledge that 2006 will be much different…and so far that is turning out to be true.
So, almost 16 months into this online journal experiment…why do I still find myself blogging today? It’s quite simple. When you look at the outdoors as a journalist or outdoors writer you force yourself to see things and to think about the world in ways you ordinarily wouldn’t consider. Hey, let’s face it…there are some days it’s hard to know what to blog about in this space.
But when you keep your eyes and ears open looking for blog material…it makes you more of an aware sportsman. It’s not that I profess to have any vast knowledge of the outdoors or writing abilities uniquely qualified describe it. Nope, I’m just an average sportsman who cares about his heritage and wants to see hunting, fishing and other similar activities shown in a positive light. We have lots to lose…and so much to gain by taking pride in being who we are in the outdoors world.
So that’s why I enjoy blogging. In most cases it’s a labor of love to write about topics and describe the very activities that define most of our lives as sportsmen. Besides, if I blogged about politics, pop culture or competitive sports…nobody important would really care to read it!
© 2006 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.