Once upon a time, I joined Livejournal. I was a latecomer to the platform, and I already had a blog elsewhere in 2006, but I had a few new (younger) acquaintances on the platform, and I was interested in reading what they wrote about. Then I started writing there, too, and it became a great support for my mental health.
Blogging does not have to be a means to some kind of business goal or side hustle, though if you’ve ever taken a blogging course or read a book on the topic, you would think that’s what it is all about. Monetize your niche. Write like a professional. Add value for your audience. Sell ads, sell digital products, sell yourself.
I’m here to advocate for blogging just because it’s good for you. If you are a writer (and if you’re a blogger, you’re a writer), then it’s a good practice to keep the cogs lubricated in your brain, whether or not you have an audience. If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, it can be an outlet and a way to connect with others who have similar experiences.
That’s what I saw back on the day on Livejournal. It was a platform of self disclosure, and for the most part it was very supportive. There were privacy features that allowed you to limit your audience, which mostly kept the trolls out. This allowed people to be vulnerable in this semi-public space, and vulnerability is the first step toward healing.
I’ve wavered on my goals for blogging over the years, and I’ve found it difficult to find the right balance. I think blogging honestly about hard things can be a great boon to mental wellbeing and a sense of connection, but it’s hard to find the right place to do that, where it’s neither an empty void nor a dangerous troll swamp.
I am tentatively stepping back into more personal, vulnerable blogging now, but I still feel a bit unsure of what to write about. I mean, I keep a journal, too, so what I publish here I am writing for others to read.
All I can do is keep writing and pushing publish, and we’ll see where this goes. It may be somewhere I never expected.