Why do I do this?

This is one of those days where I wonder why I do this. Do you ever have a day like that? I start thinking about how much time all this blogging, commenting, writing, and promoting is taking, and it makes me wonder. Why?

Sometimes I think it’s the stats and the comparison to others that gets me down.

Then I think about how it might feel if I quit. I would have to face not only the opinions of people who might think I was a quitter, but also I would have to face the void of no writing. I don’t know how I would feel if I wasn’t writing, but I’m fairly certain I would regret giving up what I’ve started.

So I continue.

Do you ever have days like this?

Besides, I have promises to keep. When my dad asked me when I was going to write his story several years ago, I told him I would. With each passing day, that promise becomes more important to me, even if his story is only typed on a stack of hole-punched papers in a three-ring binder.

A group of women wanted to tell their stories about children they placed for adoption, or in the less politically correct terminology, gave up for adoption, because regardless of what you call it, these women were bereft of a child they bore and could no longer hold, or see, or even know if he or she was happy and healthy, choosing this path only out of shame and lack of support. They held on to a firm belief that their child would be better off without them, that someone else was in a better position to care for them, that, in some cases, they didn’t deserve to raise the child. I promised them I would help them  tell their story.

So write I must.

There are promises to keep.

And books to write before I sleep.

I have garden photos I hope to post tomorrow, and a ghazal to squeeze in before poetry month comes to a close. And I still have to answer the question, “Where in the world is Dancing in Heaven?” I also want to show you photos from the Our Lady of Victory National Shrine and Basilica in Lackawanna, New York (just outside of Buffalo) from our trip there last weekend. And let’s not forget this year’s butterfly show. Which reminds me, below I copied a very short, 41 second, video of the wind chimes at Krohn Conservatory from CincinnatiParks.

I’ll end with a question I read on Touch2Touch, “Do you know what you are doing?” or “How good are you at knowing what you’re doing?” It’s a short post over there, I hope you’ll take a look. Would love to see your response.

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39 Comments on “Why do I do this?”

  1. Cathy says:

    So now’s not the time to ask you to help write my memoirs? Did I ever tell you about the time I danced on stage with Jim Nabors?

  2. eemoxam says:

    Great question, I have no idea what I am doing, though there are brief, fleeting moments of clarity that sometimes suggest otherwise. I never know whether to believe them or not.

  3. Beth Ann says:

    You have so many great “projects” to work on!!! I can not imagine how you can do all of that with all of the other stuff you have going on!!! I will anxiously watch to see how it all unfolds!!!

  4. I think writing to keep promises is a wonderful reason. So is writing because you need to write. All the rest, the stats and comparisons and stuff, are just gloss over what really matters. To me write because everyone has a story, and everyone learns from each other’s stories. You are an amazing storyteller, which is why I read what you write.

    • CMSmith says:

      Thanks, Lisa. I thought about you as I was writing this, with all the soul-searching you’ve been going through. I hope things are clearing up for you.

  5. These days haunt everybody….its these days that inspire inspiration; its these days that challenge us to be passionate about our craft. We never know who is reading yet we know we feel the words and will capture anyone that does read them. If regret will come from walking away then that’s a good enough reason to stay. Will the world crumb without us? No! Will we crumb without our world? Of course! This is a great day to write and fulfill your promise; its a great day to write and fulfill what you have promised yourself.

    I not only know what I am doing but I continue to believe in why I am doing it!!!!

  6. suzicate says:

    I ask myself that question now and then, not because of stats but because I feel like much of that time could be used to do other things like living. This is why I’ve cut my posts on both blogs to three days a week and am spending time doing other things I enjoy as well like art quilting, gardening, photography, and writing on other projects. I feel a great sense of freedom since doing this. I want to write my blog because I enjoy it not because I’ve set posting requirements for myself. Just let it flow if and when you want with what you want…I say let freedom ring! I enjoy your blog whether you post often or seldom…

    • CMSmith says:

      I know you do. I’ve read some things about that on your blog. I love your attitude. Part of the reason I’ve tried to write every day (and now every weekday) is that I’ve read if you want to write well, you need to do it every day. But I don’t believe what I am posting is necessarily good writing. I do it anyway. I’m kind of caught up in it now. And I do like photography. It gives me a forum for taking photos.

      I’ve already shirked the rest of the blogging advice about picking a subject and sticking with it. I suppose I could cast off the post reliably advice too.

      I’m probably the only person who would notice.

      If I didn’t enjoy it, most of the time, I wouldn’t do it. Peer pressure, opinions of others or not. It wouldn’t be the first thing I’ve quit. But then if you never quit anything, you would be stuck doing things you chose to do when you were 12. Am I right?

  7. YES, I ask myself that all the time, but I suppose most artistic types do. In this society, there is little ‘physical’ reward for all the hours and hours of thought, scribbling, more thought, typing, editing, worrying, wondering, and more writing. Yet. Like you and all those who commented here, the writing is our soul-line. It defines us, moves us, and keeps us going in this (sometimes) hard cruel world. AND even better, it defines for us the beauty we live with every day.

  8. Touch2Touch says:

    I think I’ve always felt that answers don’t matter so much — they’re temporary, they change, sometimes they’re dead ends.
    What matters is to have really good questions that will keep you going —

    Thanks much for the pingback, and spreading the question!

  9. I’m afraid these kinds of days are way too common for me. Sometimes even in the wake of the biggest blogging successes. Why? God only knows. But I’m with you. I know the feeling. This will pass, my friend!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    • CMSmith says:

      I had a big let down after I got Freshly Pressed this last time. I didn’t understand it.

      Write for yourself. It’s difficult to keep that mentality when you’ve self-published a book and then made a big reality blog about the self-publishing process, ha ha, but I’m trying to steer through the noise and keep true to myself. I need to do it for myself, regardless.

  10. I would suggest that one of the reasons you continue to do this would be the number of comments you’ve received in the roughly three hours since you posted this. It is in the reaction of others to what you write–I believe–that tells you what effect you have.

    Of course, there is always the investment to consider. According to your archives, you’ve been doing this for over a year. And, yes, you could use the time for other things, but I suggest weighing the loss of human contact over the “gain” of time.

    For me, blogging is a daily habit. I cannot end the day without having set up four posts for Uphill Writing and at least one for Planet Wonder. As a writer I believe that any scheduled writing must be a good thing. Having pre-set deadlines on a daily basis is something I find to be invaluable.

    Finally, I would assume you, like me, will always have those “I dowanna” days. The trick is to plunge on ahead anyway. To me, those days are just a chemical imbalance in my brain or body, and the feelings of futility that sometimes accompany them are just a passing thing. In the end, staying with it simply because you said so can make all the difference.

    Good luck!!

    • CMSmith says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful response, Richard. The companionship and understanding I get from other bloggers does go a long way towards keeping me going and would be difficult to give up. I know I would miss it.

      You also make a good point about the discipline of writing, which is one of the main reasons I started the blog to begin with. I find myself constantly thinking of blog-worthy material when I am working here at home or traveling about.

      So far, I am still plunging ahead.

      Thanks for the luck. I’ll take all I can get.

  11. Some commenters become that extended family. They come and go but there are loyal ones and new ones and wanna keep the interaction going. Most comments are beginning to entertain me and I enjoy the play off the post wit. Making the rounds visiting one or two hundred other blogs is an ordeal however. I am surprised how many non USA have subscribed. I wonder how they pick up on me ?

    • CMSmith says:

      I don’t know how they pick up on you, Carl. Some people follow other people that the people they know follow. Did you follow that?

      The comments on your posts are quite entertaining. It does keep your mind sharp trying to banter back.

      I don’t think it is feasible to read every blog that every follower writes. I try to check in periodically and read through headlines, choosing those that I am most interested in.

      Of course, your posts are quick and easy. I look at all of them, though I don’t usually comment. My brain isn’t sharp enough to keep up. Maybe I should start, it might be good exercise for my flagging gray matter.

  12. I think we all have moments/hours/days when we question the value of blogging. I know I do, especially at the times in my life when my priorities lie elsewhere. But I continue because I simply enjoy writing. I used to care about the stats until I realized that whether five people read what I write or 500, it doesn’t change what I write or the joy I derive from writing. And I have no schedule. I simply write when I am moved to write. This is what works for me.

    • CMSmith says:

      I’m hoping to move more in your direction of writing when I am moved to do so. Right now I still use it as a discipline. I agree though a bout the five or 500 comment. Some of the best things I’ve written have received little notice, while things I just slapped up get famous. Well, maybe not famous, but in my small world where everything is relative, famous.

  13. JoDee Luna says:

    There you go reading my thoughts again. I just had one of those “Why am I doing this?” days yesterday. I like the way you put that, “I have promises to keep.” Today, I gave one of my students a signed copy of my book. This wonderful teen has told me about her ambitions to become a writer and an artist. She was overwhelmed with appreciation and said, “Mrs. Luna, this is the first autographed books I’ve ever received.” Christine, I, too, have promises to keep. Thanks for reminding me of that.

  14. [...] have promises to keep.” This sentence from Christine M. Grote’s recent post, “Why do I Do This,” captivated me. I poured over her words and then sucked them into my soul as if nectar from [...]

  15. carolsueflowers says:

    It may be that you write because writing is a gift you have and using that gift is your passion. In my opinion ~ life without passion is hardly worth living. In order to find true fulfillment and meaning in life, one must follow their passion ~ even if it doesn’t always make logical sense to do so.

  16. Slamdunk says:

    Visiting from JoDee Luna’s place.

    Thanks for inspiring us. I have a long “to do” list that needs to be addressed.

    And, I am always game for wind chimes. They remind me of my father’s home near the beach…

  17. I’ve had many discouraging days… not as much now as it’s been. The key is to keep moving forward, despite those kind of days.

    Thanks for the wind chimes link!

  18. Robin says:

    Love the wind chimes video. Wonderful sound. :)

    I ask myself that question all the time, especially when it comes to the time spent blogging, commenting, etc. There are a myriad of reasons, including writing and photography. I’m glad you’re writing, blogging, and keeping your promises. I’d miss you if you left blog world. :)

    • CMSmith says:

      That’s very sweet, Robin. I don’t believe I would be able to just leave. I would miss you and others. I live a fairly solitary life except for my husband and occasionally visits with family. I used to be quite involved in volunteer activities through our children, but that has really changed. This provides some social interaction for me, which I need.

      I’m thinking about reducing the frequency and upping the quality of my blog posts. (I think what might happen is I would just reduce the frequency. :) )


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