I enjoy writing. I know I write fairly well and that some people enjoy reading what I write. But getting read isn’t the most critical aspect for me. The three main reasons I blog are reflection, communication, and learning.
It challenges me to reflect
I enjoy reflection. Whether it’s critical reflection on individual games or problems with spending time on hobbies, I enjoy the act of starting with a nearly subconscious idea, bringing it up into the conscious, pondering on it to get at the core, researching it, and refining it until it both sounds good and is consistent. Writing forces me to do that. I could do that in a personal journal, but publishing it ensures I don’t skimp on the quality, and makes it possible that other people can benefit from what I write and respond to it.
I often have opinions, but without having reflected on them it’s not always that easy to talk about them. For example, I always know what I feel about a game, but I may have trouble putting those feelings to words unless I deliberately sit down and really try to get at what I think. Normally I’m content letting feelings be feelings – it’s the easier route, to be sure – but I have never regretted the times I have actually put my thoughts to words for everyone to see, whether that be a game review or a critical post on some topic.
I get better at communicating
Communication is the art of converting a particular set of neural pathways and firings in your unique brain into some system of transferring information agreed upon by a large number of people (a highly lossy process!) in order to elicit the same idea in the mind of the recipient, who has different neural pathways which need to be triggered differently for the idea to get across successfully.
It’s quite remarkable that it works at all, let alone the apparent success with which humans can communicate abstract ideas. Even at a higher level, communication doesn’t sound easy – it’s about understanding your recipient, from existing knowledge on the topic down their current mood, in order to get across an idea as completely and clearly as possible. Clear and concise communication definitely doesn’t come free, and there’s plenty of room for improvement.
Writing is all about communication. The more you write, the better you become at it. Communication is an essential skill which benefits you in all areas of life, from job hunting to relationships (especially relationships!). Thus I’m sure we can agree that practicing writing is a Good Thing(tm).
I learn stuff more deeply
There’s this saying that you remember only a little of what you hear and see, but almost everything of what you explain to others. I have frequently experienced this myself – explaining stuff to others really help cement the concept in my mind. Furthermore, explaining something is a great way to quickly recognize areas where your understanding is lacking.
In order to be effective at explaining a thought or idea to others, you really need to understand it. In that way, blogging is a really great learning opportunity for the writer. And I love learning new stuff.
I could mention other reasons, too – a web search for “why blog” will produce all kinds of good reasons for blogging, several of which I’m sure would be applicable to me. But the main reason I’m blogging is to get even better at reflecting, communicating, and learning.