To keep a diary or journal
To make money
To make friends
To express yourself
To generate interest in a project
To talk to yourself
To publicize (or analyze) some subject you care about
To interact; to discuss things; to debate things
There are more, of course. These just come to my mind. I don't know why YOU blog, so this post is an analysis of why I blog. I hope, though, in the comments, you will talk about why YOU blog as well as make observations about why I blog.
In addition to liking to write, I also like to take photos and collect music (mostly old music.)
One time I was on a photography forum and the question was posed to photographers, "Why do you like to take pictures?" The first answer that popped into my head was the same as it would be if the question had been about writing or collecting music. All three things bring me joy.
If I dig deeper though, and ask WHY those things bring me joy, then I get a better idea of why I do them. I'm not sure I can tell you why I enjoy collecting music. One the one hand, it has the same attraction as collecting coins or stamps or butterflies or anything else: to own examples of each variety and variation.
On the other hand, music satisfies a larger need in me that collecting coins probably couldn't satisfy: listing to it stimulates memories and invites dreaming. I have read that if you expose your young child to Mozart, he will do better in mathematics. I don't know: I really like Mozart, but I am not good at (or even particularly interested in) the higher mathematics. I do know that when I am alone and listening to music (in the background, so to speak) I am aware that I seem to get greater clarity and more original ideas. I must admit I am not talking about rap or hip hop music here.
This is not necessarily true with writing or with photography. Of course photography can be used to document examples of varieties and variations. Before photography, Audubon painted beautiful pictures of all the varieties of birds he could find. He documented them. His paintings often show even more idealized detail than a photograph would have.
You can buy reference books on many subjects. A reference book on trees, for example, would have photos of many varieties of trees, with close ups of their leaves and their seeds and their fruit.
So, one reason people take photographs, or write, is to document things; to tell what a thing consists of, either by describing it in writing or by taking a photograph of it.
Another reason, I think, is to represent a larger meaning than may be immediately evident; to try and convey some larger purpose by taking a photograph or creating a painting. Often paintings are created from the inside out in that respect. When you look at something like Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night", you just KNOW you are looking at more than a rather primitive, even hurried, picture of a dark night with stars in the sky. It might take you a few moments to contemplate what that "something" is, but you FEEL something inside when you look at it. Suddenly it becomes very personal indeed. Even if you are never able to explain it to others with words, you somehow KNOW what it means to you. You, in some weird way, are able to connect your own life experiences with Vincent's, and identify with him for a brief moment.
This can be accomplished with skilled photography as well, although I don't think you see that many great photographs like you used to see with the so-called masters of early photography. This, I think, is because in its infancy photography was STILL almost like painting. Painting with light. It is still that today, but most people now use it to simply capture a scene which they want to later share with others. There is not nearly as much artistic effort made to create photo essays or photo collages or photo series which together carry a larger meaning. Using a series of photos to expose a social injustice (such as child labor, or the plight of immigrants) is almost becoming a lost art.
So I return to my original premise of why I blog and why I take photographs and restate that the reasons, for me, are the same: I want to explain things clearly. I want to present the larger makeup of things through the unique filter of my own eyes and my own life experiences.
Some of us have an uncontrollable urge to find out the inner meaning, or, at least, the TRUE meaning of things, if we can. Some of us spend our entire life as investigators, as lifelong learners. Like the child who takes things apart to see what makes them tick, we have never grown up in that respect. We are not always so interested in putting them back together again once we learn their secrets.
We soon learn, however, that there is not much money to be made with learning more and more information to the point of being walking encyclopedias. No, the only way such people as we can earn a living is by SHARING what we have learned. So, long ago, I have learned to be an interpreter by trade, not just a gatherer of facts for my own delight. I share by writing stories and analyses; I share by documenting the facets of things - exposing their essential makeup; describing with words and describing with photographs.
The urge inside me that I cannot shake is the will to translate life as I pass through it, and so I write and I think and I document the makeup of things with photographs and even more writing, and sometimes with musical backgrounds to those things.
And I blog.