In 2004, I started my first blog as an online journal to update my friends about what was going on in my life. It was very pink, very girly, but after a few years I grew tired of my cutesy online musings. I realized that I actually prefer writing long private emails and having phone conversations instead of a public narrative.
I also realized I like blogging and having regular readers. So in 2008, I started a new food blog called Confessions of a Chocoholic. My blog finally had a focus. My writing started to grow up—and so did I.
I write because I am opinionated. I want my voice to be heard. Whether I’m talking about my family or shoes or cupcakes or world peace, I want an outlet for expressing myself.
I write because I love to talk. My fingers may not type as fast as my mouth can speak (and never as fast my mind can think) but to me, writing is almost equal to talking. Sometimes it’s even better, because when I write, I can pause and think and edit. And spell-check.
I write because I want to document my thoughts, my experiences, my life. I write because it makes me think and it makes me remember. And I write because I want to learn. I want to learn more about the things I am writing about. I want to learn how many times I can use the word “about” correctly.
I write when I am bored and I have nothing else to do.
I write when I am stressed and I have too many things to do.
I write when I am sad. I write when I need to express frustrations and anger. I write because it helps me get in touch with my thoughts and “identify my feelings,” as Dr. Phil and Oprah might say.
I write when I am happy. I write when I am excited! I love being able to use an exclamation point! I write because it helps me expand my happiness multiple times by sharing it with others.
I write because it makes me feel good. And I want to get better at it.
Blogging has opened up a whole new world for me. Not only do I get to “talk” to my readers, but they talk back. While my childhood diary-keeping and early writing started off as very private endeavors, blogging keeps me exposed in a public domain. While I feel more vulnerable, I also feel more powerful.
I used to joke to my friends that I am the biggest word-of-mouth endorser. I like telling people about the things and places and food I enjoy. I like giving recommendations. I like acting as a “concierge” and having my opinion count as something. Blogging lets me do all those things in a bigger context. Especially now with the rise of social media, I can share my favorite finds not just on a blog post, but also as a tweet, a Facebook post, or a Digg entry.
This sort of publicity is exactly what marketers want to initiate and why some companies often reach out to bloggers. I work in social media and online marketing, so I understand the power of viral marketing.
However, I am much more of a foodie than a marketer, so I am inclined to try good, healthy, delicious-looking foods—regardless of where I heard about them or from whom (a fellow blogger, a sponsored ad). I have been fortunate to receive some food freebies myself, but when I do blog about it, I make sure to mention that I received it for free, “thanks to Brand X.”
I blog because it gives me a sense of community. It’s not just about publicity and getting free stuff, but about connecting with other bloggers and blog readers—or “bleeders” as Julie Powell of Julie & Julia fame calls them.
I blog because it is social. Most of my readers are women bloggers, and we share the same interests. We eat the same things, watch the same TV shows, visit the same restaurants. If they’re not the same, we encourage each other to try new foods, shows, restaurants.
I blog because I like to endorse things I believe in—and to endorse other writers I believe in.
I blog because I love chocolate. I love the happiness-inducing moment when it melts in my mouth and the memories I create with every new sweet concoction. And I don’t just love chocolate–I love cookies too. And pasta. And pork. Although not at the same time.
I blog because it makes me feel good. And I want to get better at it.
I used to write about random topics or trivial things that I encounter. Now I put more thought and effort into my writing. I take more time, I do more research. I find that when I am writing about something I’m passionate about, my writing becomes better, smoother, more robust. I love how writing—and blogging—are not just about the activity; they are about remembering, learning, connecting, sharing.
Bianca Garcia is a full-time advertising and media professional, and a part-time graduate student at Harvard University. She has worked for Leo Burnett, Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and Boston.com, and is currently a media planner at Overdrive Interactive. She blogs at Confessions of a Chocoholic and welcomes your comments. Bianca currently lives in Harvard Square, where she spends her days writing, running, and eating chocolate.