why blog?

February 17, 2011

well, why not?
my across-the-pond kindred spirit angie wrote yesterday suggesting that i blog about . . . blogging. as in: what are the benefits? the negatives? and what keeps me motivated to continue pouring my thoughts out into the cyberspace [ha, such a 90s term!] for the past nearly-seven years?

after all, it doesn’t look like i am about to become a professional any time soon. i have no book deal (jealous much? but of course!) and while hits/subscribers have been (very) gr-a-a-dually building over the past few years, my readership has yet to skyrocket to the point of any sort of commercial success. put another way, my monthly checks from BlogHer aren’t even quite enough to cover a massage. maybe one anthro top — from the sale section!

or a few copies of michelle’s book. because despite my chartreuse skin tone, you know i’ll be buying it!

frustrating things about blogging
let’s start with the downside, so this post can end on a positive note!

getting caught in the comparison trap. i have to admit that there are times that i become frustrated that my blog HASN’T grown to mammoth proportions despite the amount of thought and time i put into it. is it my hatred of capital letters? my wordiness? what do i not have that XYZ-blogger does? but then again, i often find myself amazed at the success of some blogs that don’t seem to ‘deserve’ it and the obscurity of others that i think are pure genius . . . so clearly the whole thing isn’t so simple, and it’s unfair to assume that the global online ‘audience’ has the same tastes and preferences as i do. so most of the time, i try not to focus on this and to just write what i feel like writing about. sometimes it is hard to ignore these things completely, though!

mean-spirited comments. i’m not talking about constructive tough-love criticism here (i appreciate that!!). the truth is that the true barbs are actually quite few and far between — and yet they are always the most memorable comments to me. they sting. they can make me censor myself (and i don’t really want to do that!). because after i get one, i am paranoid about getting another one for quite some time.

it takes a lot of time — although this has actually never been a downside for me because it is truly a hobby i LOVE. i am never bored while writing and i almost never dread writing a post (if i do, then i’ll throw together some cop-out! the plus side of not being a ‘big’ blog is not having much to lose by doing that once in a while!).

the good side: why i’m still here after nearly 7 years . . .
processing. every time i write a post, i think that it helps me to deal with my own feelings in some way. it gears me up for the day, helps me organize my thoughts and allows me to put things into a bit of context. without meaning to, in writing many of my posts i end up analyzing why i’m feeling a certain way about certain things, and this almost allows me to be slightly detached from it all. a conscientious observer of sorts . . . perhaps bordering on zen.

the ability to look back. i can’t believe i have captured thoughts from ages 24 – 30! i am already at the point where i can look back at my younger self and either think:

OMG, i was SO immature!


OMG, i am still EXACTLY the same

(depending on the situation, of course). in restarting back in the lab, i was moved to revisit posts from my first stint at the bench — back in 2004! reading posts like this one, this one [same: falling asleep in confusing seminar; different: bitching about the price of gas in ’04! ha, if i only knew what was coming . . .], and this one are helping me to see that i wasn’t miserable in the lab before, and that there was a serious learning curve between clueless and competent.

pure love for the craft. as i mentioned above, i love my posting time. period. if i didn’t, there is no way i would have kept up with this. i do someday hope to make this kind of writing some part of my future career.

community. as in: YOU ALL who read this, and those of you whose blogs i read! i still treasure each and every comment i get (going back in time also reminds me that for years, i got almost none!), and have met many more-than-virtual friends through the blog-world. i also believe that i have learned a lot from those of you who have offered me advice, and i feel so lucky to have such a smart and worldly population of readers. so thank you!

a little photo booth action just to prove you all make my morning!


workout: rest day!

cooking: rest day there, too. i guess making cDNA all day took a lot out of me. i might have eaten ice cream for dinner. can’t win ’em all!


  • Reply Lee Becknell March 10, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    I have some trouble with the comparison thing too. Not so much in comparing myself to the actual blogger, but wondering why my blog that I’ve had for three years doesn’t get much of a following while some blogs that I consider really boring have a huge following. Maybe mine is boring too and I just don’t realize it!

  • Reply onewhitetulip March 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    Your blog is one of the favorite ones in my google reader! Particularly becuase there is so much text! I’m a reader at heart, and while I do love lots of blogs that use pictures, more often than not I find myself scrolling past to get to the ‘meat’! It also makes me feel better about my own more-text-no-pics approach!

    I like your blog becuase you are open and honest, I find your thoughts interesting, and you seem like a real person, not just a blog personality. I always check in with my reader right before my workday starts, and theshubox helps it get off to a good start!

    Hope you have a fantastic Thursday!

  • Reply Chelsea March 10, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    I don’t think your posts are too long either. My impression- right or wrong- is that many of the big time bloggers don’t have "real jobs" so all they have to do all day is post pictures of their green smoothies or whatever the fad is right now. I have no idea why what is so appealing to people, but it obviously is. I’m sure my blog will never make it into the big blog sorority (in part because I’m a huge cynic- yeesh), but I enjoy it for the community aspect- I only follow and get comments from a few bloggers, but I love feeling like I "know" them- and to have a diary of my life from this period to look back on.

  • Reply @CPrincessUK March 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    I LOVE your blog. I only discovered it november last year and you were very quickly included as one of my daily reads! I like the fact that you are so open and honest and you come across as a really lovely and genuine person 🙂 I dont think your posts are too long as I like reading and I feel like I learn something from your posts.
    I must mention all the yummy food pictures! I really enjoyed your guest post yesterday as well.
    take care

  • Reply Angeliki March 10, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I’m paranoid about mean comments sometimes as well but I try not to let that get in the way of my writing.

    I love your posts and I think you should write an ebook and we’re all going to buy it!

  • Reply Kristina March 10, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    That’s a great question – why blog?
    I have to say that I’m a text-driven person. I like images, of course, but prefer words, and I like the variety of topics that you present on your blog. While I think it would be cool in some regards to be a professional blogger, I also love my job and can’t imagine ever giving it up to blog. I recognize that I don’t have the personality that I think one needs to promote himself/herself as a ‘brand’.
    For me, blogging is a way to record random thoughts and snippets of my life.

  • Reply Christine March 10, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    I’m new to blogging, but I really like your blog and bookmarked it after my first read. I think you’re motivating and interesting. And I love a fellow Dukie.

  • Reply Julie March 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    I enjoy reading other doctors’ (and med student or pre-med) blogs both for the shared interests as well as clinical information or just to see what other like-minded docs are doing. I don’t have ANY colleagues in my day to day life who participate in social media professionally so blogs and twitter are my way to feel like part of the community. I’ve been lacking in posts myself lately, losing that steam due to low numbers and wondering why I’m doing this. But I think I just answered my own question – I’m cultivating community. BTW I’ve pretty much stopped following "professional" bloggers despite the fact that I found healthy living type blogs before med blogs. I feel like they’re just one big advertisement. I suppose I prefer to read opinions from others who also work a demanding job and blog on the side.

  • Reply Monica March 10, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    I LOVE your blog! I too love that you take the time to reply to comments and you seem genuinely interested in what people have to say. Of course, it’s hard not to succumb to the comparison trap (I even do it and I’m not a blogger!) but just know that your blog and YOU make me smile on a regular basis 🙂

  • Reply Libby March 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    I love your blog, Sarah. The other comments say what I would – you’re open, honest, real. I don’t stick around the "pro" blogs for too long. I love that you write a lot – it isn’t too much at all. Thank you for sharing some of your life with us.

  • Reply Caitlin March 10, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    I love your blog. I read it every day because I can relate to being extremely busy. I love to read your strategy and advice for balancing work success with a healthy lifestyle. Even though we have totally different career paths (I’m going to law school next year), I find your blog totally relatable to my life!! I mainly read running blogs and your content is such a breath of fresh air. Thanks for keeping up with it!

  • Reply hannahviolin March 10, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    I love your blog BECAUSE of its wordiness–and the no caps is super cute. I like that you are honest and seem real to me. Who knows why some blogs are popular, but I always remind myself that my taste in some things (music, especially) is very different than most of the population, so I am a unique and different person. I blog primarily because it saves me phone calls and emails to my parents, plus I love having an account of my life.

  • Reply andrea March 10, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    I love your blog. Fist one i check. And no way your posts are too long. Thanks for writing!

  • Reply Meghann March 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    Nothing more to say than this was a great post and I wanted you to know what. I’m bad at leaving comments, but I’m always here reading and I appreciate all the thought and effort you put in every post. 🙂

  • Reply J March 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    Hey :)))

    I really, really like your blog! I started reading it a lot these past few days and find you to be very real and lovely – your blog is one of my favourite ones now!

    I feel that some blogs don’t deserve the attention they have, like you said. I noticed some fashion/beauty blogs have a huge teenage (/younger!) following, some becoming very popular because of youtube. I don’t find these blogs useful, just a reason for people to procrastinate. Don’t be upset/disheartened! 😀 One glance at your blog shows plenty of people enjoy and love it! Your following will only go up :))

    I notice you read a lot – I really like the books I’ve seen you read and wondered if you could do a post on your reading journey? How does reading make you feel? What are the books that have had the most impression on you? (I’m reading a book called <The child that books built> by Francis Spufford at the moment, which is about his reading journey. Really interesting!)

    Take care and have an awesome day! 😀

    From England with love!

  • Reply jaymeelizabeth March 10, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    I love your blog! Your unique posts are what have me coming back for more! I just recently figured out google reader, so I’ve got you listed on there too 🙂


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