Thursday, September 28, 2006

Blogging as a Hobby

By Janie Blank

For years I have written as a hobby. Call it therapy. Call it a creative outlet. Call it something to pass the time. Then came blogging for pay. How clever that we can actually earn a few dollars rather than spending money on our hobby!

And funnier yet is the idea that while others write about their hobby, be it stamp collecting, knitting or painting, mine actually combines the two. Writing is my hobby. I have kept a journal on vacation for years. Usually it is handwritten and I would try to make an entry every night before turning out the light. I can remember clearly the first time I did a ravel journal. It was over twenty-five years ago and we went to Europe for three weeks. I wrote down everything we ate, where we stayed and how much we paid. I listed the currency exchange. I described in great detail every thing we saw. I enclosed receipts and brochures. Once in awhile my writing would be a little wavy if we finished a bottle of wine before retiring. To this day I can go to that book and recommend a gasthaus in a small town in Germany, Switzerland or Austria. From then on I would always buy a little journal before we went on vacation.

One year we acquired a new laptop and took it on a two week driving vacation across the country. I even managed to type entries while my husband drove. When we got home I printed it all out but somehow it was not as satisfying as the handwritten kind.

Since acquiring a digital camera a number of years ago I started to add photographs. Several times I have written on the right side of the page and used the left side to add appropriate pictures that correspond with what I am describing. This is my favorite method to date. For the last five years we have gone to Mexico each winter and I have kept a number of journals. I always add pictures to these although last year I kept the journal online and added pictures with the text. These are invaluable in remembering what we did, what we enjoyed, how much we spent and the like.

Now we are getting ready to spend a week in California and three weeks in Europe, followed closely by three more months in Mexico. I am debating whether or not to keep a journal or just to blog about my experiences instead. In essence it is the same thing. Of course a journal, be it online or handwritten, tends to be much more personal. And it can contain many pictures that a blog would not.

My husband loves my journals. I think I do them with him in mind as my reader and he cannot wait to read the next entry. Sometimes we will have a lot of company and I won't write for several days. Then I will have to sit down and write all afternoon to catch up! Usually I wait to print out the pictures to add to the book when I get home. I print a size called Japanese postcard and it fits nicely on the page.

Once a dear friend of mine lost her dad and we were going through his belongings and found a box containing diaries her grandfather had written around the early 1900s. He wrote a daily entry as to how many eggs his chickens laid that morning, how much the streetcar fare to downtown cost or how much he paid to buy his son a new suit. What a joy these were to read almost one hundred years later! I can almost picture my journals stacked in a box, being pulled out by my great grandchildren around the year 2100! Or maybe I flatter myself! Possibly no one will be interested in my prolific blogging at all!

But regardless if anyone reads my musings or my travelogues they still are able to satisfy my creative need to express myself. I may imagine others enjoyment but I might never know if they really read my blogs at all. What is the old saying? If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it does it make a noise? And heaven knows my husband would rather I put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard than just babble away at him all day!

So while others write about their hobbies, my hobby is writing itself. Seems like a pleasant twist.

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