On Blogging

One of the bloggers that I regularly follow just announced that he is ending his blog–or at least thinking about it. He hasn’t achieved the objectives he had set and is feeling the pressure of constant posting. He is witty and insightful. His posts make me laugh and reflect. Selfishly, I hope that he does not stop blogging.

It’s funny; I never really understood blogs when they first came out – and for many years avoided them like the plague (shhh, please don’t tell). Then I realized that much of what I was looking up on-line were actually blog posts – recipes, travel tips, how to fix this, what to do about that. Those on-line posts offered more than just information – they had a story and personality behind them. Then, when I began to plan my retirement, I was lucky to come across some great retirement bloggers. I loved the short, to-the-point snapshots of others who had retired ahead of me. Even when I disagreed, or couldn’t really relate to a particular experience, the posts made me stop and think.

Being a blog reader, I have found creative solutions to a variety of dilemmas. Blogs have offered voices of experience when I have ventured into a new territory. They have entertained me, made me laugh, and have had the power to move me deeply.

When I began blogging myself, I rediscovered the joy of creative writing – I had forgotten how much I had missed it. I was also able to keep in touch with friends and family around the globe and make new connections. I was able to shout to the hilltops my praise of another. My blogs have caused me to reflect deeply and to think things through in a new light. I didn’t have a particular goal when I started blogging – but I have been enjoying the process and the possibilities.

To me, starting a blog is like learning a language, playing a new instrument, or starting a new fitness routine. If you stop just because you reach a plateau, you will never know the rewards that may lie ahead. There have been a couple of bloggers I have followed that have now stopped blogging (or have taken a really long break). For me, it was like close friends moving away.

I get it…I do! It’s work and commitment. There are other things to get done. It is hard to constantly put yourself out there.  People may think that you stink.  But it is also exhilarating and challenging. And as the attached photos show, you can do it anywhere. I’ve actually composed several of my posts in the car, and two of them in the hospital waiting room. (Men over 65 + baseball = injury…irrefutably!)  Blogging can also give you something constructive to do when your spouse, for a random example, is caught up in watching too much Trump, or your youngest son (when back in town) is working on his research. And when you’re in the ‘zone’ there are few places better.

Of course, there is also the added dimension of reader comments. When sincere, and thoughtfully written, these comments have an incredible power to change writing from a solitary act to two-way communication and community building. Albeit, sometimes the community that we end up creating is not what we originally envisioned. The UK blogger mentioned at the start of this post, had set “the single goal of building an online community of retired men.”  While he may not have achieved that purpose (at least not yet), there is a community out there–and this response post is proof that it exists!

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18 Replies to “On Blogging”

  1. It is always so weird to me when my life is totally reflected in someone’s blog post! At my “mid-week foodie” monthly dinner the other evening, someone asked my why I blog…and I now wish I had your blog post to respond. I think I talked about sense of community with finding others who are in the same early retirement life stage, mentioned the joy of a creative writing outlet, and maybe even some validation of what I am doing/ feeling. I’ve often said my blog is my life coach – from deep thinking myself and reading others deep thinking for inspiration. But I also said I wasn’t sure how long I would do it…since my “theme” is retirement transition, and someday I should be transitioned!

    1. Thanks, Pat! Do we ever stop transitioning? Isn’t there always something new around the corner — no matter how old we are?

  2. I know how sad it can be to lose a blogger friend. One that I followed and felt like I knew although we had never met face-to-face, left “briefly” about six months ago. I have been tempted to email her to see if everything is OK, but I don’t want to bother her. I’ve also thought about stopping or cutting back now and then. I wonder if the time blogging takes (and we all know it takes way more than just the time to write the posts) is worth it. I love the community, but I don’t want to spend a single minute of my retirement doing something that I’ll look back on with regret (regret that I didn’t use my time in a way that was more meaningful for me).

    1. Thanks, Janis. Another blogger that I was regularly following (who was the first retirement blogger that I ever followed) took a 5-month hiatus from blogging but posted again last night. I wonder if it is the same writer?
      You have built up a solid blogging community. If you are enjoying the writing, and others are getting value out of reading your posts (which I can attest to), this sounds like a very meaningful use of time to me!

  3. A fascinating mathematical equation about age 65+ men. For my own sake, I just hope I don’t the same issue with the elliptical when I chronologically hit that particular milepost. 😉

    Your post is timely because just this morning I thought about putting a stop to my own blog, or at least an extended hiatus because of a couple of the reasons you listed. But after some moments of reflection, I decided to plow ahead and just deal with the occasional bouts of writers block (my main frustration). I think you hit it on the head with the knowledge that there could be future rewards in the offing — a call from Vanity Fair or The New Yorker, for instance. Unlikely, but then again I do also buy lottery tickets each week.

    1. Hi, Marty – As a regular follower of your blog, I am glad that you have made the decision to continue. A few of us may need to form a ‘blogger’s support group’ to help keep each other motivated when we have our doubts.
      Today my mom was visiting our small town (she lives a few hours + a ferry ride away). While wandering through our farmers’ market, she was recognized TWICE by people who had read my blog and recognized her picture from my recent post (even though I was not beside her at the time). So, it wasn’t exactly a call from the New Yorker — but it did make my mom very proud — which in itself was rewarding.

  4. Hi Donna:

    I am delighted to have discovered your blog. I am beginning the transition to retirement, and am fortunate to have a choice about the timeline, and whether to do it gradually or all at once. Nevertheless, it is a big decision, and one that I am spending a lot of time thinking about .

    When I retire, my husband (who has already retired) and I plan to move to the Island to be nearer to my daughter and grandchildren who live in Nanaimo. Also, I have blogged for a number of years. So I was interested to read about your perspectives and adventures as a blogger and retired person.

    1. Hi Jude –
      Great to hear from you. I am happy to wish you (an early) welcome to retirement and to Vancouver Island! It sounds like we have much in common. I have read through some of your blog posts—and found them to be absorbing. Some (like “Becoming Irrelevant”) offer great points for debate. I look forward to keeping in touch and following your blog further.
      Donna

  5. Thanks Donna. When and how to retire seems to be a perplexing problem to work through. For me it isn’t just about financial readiness. I am trying to picture what the retired life might look like.

    Jude

    1. You are absolutely right about this, Jude. As I prepared for my own retirement, it was the emotional side of retirement that most interested me. Many people who know me thought that I was “too driven” to be a successful retiree. They were totally wrong — and I absolutely love it. Retirement does affect different people differently. Please don’t hesitate to give me a shout if there is anything that I can help answer for you. Donna

    1. Hi, Leanne – I too wished I would have dived in sooner. I’m so grateful that I found blogging. My learning curve has been straight up…and I’m loving it! Thanks for dropping by and for commenting. I appreciate it greatly!

  6. I like that we can post to our blogs anywhere and anytime, provided we’re not too far away from an internet connection. Even then we can put our thoughts on a word document and later copy and paste to our blog. I have so much enjoyed meeting new “friends” all over the world since I started blogging. Makes me feel happy 🙂 Love the top pic of you and your tech connected family and also the one of you and your dog keeping you company :)Thank you Donna for attending the #WednesdayAIMLinkParty. I shared your post.
    Grammy Dee recently posted…Wednesday AIM Link Party #16My Profile

    1. Thanks for sharing, Dee. I am greatly enjoying the blogging community…especially AIM and Blogging Grandmothers!

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