Lately I’ve being coming across a lot of ‘why I blog’ posts. A lot of bloggers cited their love of writing, freedom of expression, creating a diary for their future self, remembering important things, and even money as reasons for blogging, but I think for most people it goes a lot deeper than that, subconsciously or not.
Even the most seemingly emotionless blogger is using the form for organising their thoughts and turning things that have made them feel strongly (good or bad) about something into a format that allows them to think things through, and this is true whatever you blog about – how tos, tutorials, fashion, food, technology, your life.
But if you’ve never consciously blogged therapeutically before, where do you start? Here are some tips to get you started.1
01. Forget about the ‘Publish’ button
As a blogger, you’re conscious of the ‘Publish’ and ‘Schedule’ buttons as standard necessary features, but if you’re blogging therapeutically, put them out of your mind. Don’t write with the intention to publish; write with the intention to make sense of your thoughts and how you feel.
02. Go back to diary days
Back when I started blogging in 2001, all blogs were personal diaries, most of which focused on reports of daily life. It’s much less common now, but diary blogging can be really useful for tracking your moods and feelings about things over time, even if it’s just a few sentences when you have some spare time.
03. Don’t be afraid to start something new
If you feel like your existing blog isn’t the right place for very personal thoughts, even if you don’t publish them, create another blog somewhere and keep it private. This is really helpful if you write a lot or you want to keep different mindsets for different websites.
04. Find a format that works for you
You may want to just write freestyle prose, or start with a photo, or create a bullet list, or create an open letter, or interview yourself. Not sure where to start? Here are some simple questions to get you going:
- How do you feel right now?
- What’s making you feel like this?
- What would you change right now?
- What would you keep the same?
- What’s your biggest problem?
05. Focus on how you feel
This could be how you feel right now about a particular situation or person, or how you feel about your life generally. You don’t have to think about how you’re coming across, be concerned with what other people think, or explain yourself to anyone. You don’t even have to look at (or even keep) your post ever again.
06. Just write
Don’t think about spelling, grammar, images, or making sense. By all means review your writing after you’ve finished if you want to, but think about that after you’ve got your general thoughts down.
07. Think about what else you can get out of it
If you’re feeling like this, chances are you’re not the only one. Rewriting your post as an advice piece suitable for publishing, or even creating a separate piece aimed at helping someone else, is a great way to find solutions to problems and turn your thinking from emotional to practical.
08. Consider your audience
Your audience might just be you. It may be one specific person that you trust. It may be select regular readers. It may be the whole world. Password-protected posts are great if you do this thing occasionally; user registrations are great if you do this thing a lot.
09. Let it go
When you’ve finished writing, take a deep breath and hold it. Hit ‘Save draft’ (this is the part where you hope your hosting is up to scratch), wait for confirmation your draft is saved, then consciously exhale. You’ll feel more relaxed straight away. Now go and do something completely different (and preferably fun!)
10. Leave it to sit
Never hit publish right away. If you’re considering making your post live, leave it to sit for a while and revisit it in a few days when you’re less emotionally charged to see if you still think it’s the right thing to do.
Do you find blogging therapeutic? Do you prefer to go public or private?
- Disclaimer: I’m not a mental health professional. I use the word ‘therapy’ loosely ↩