But What’s the Because?

So, I didn’t intend to write a blog post for today, even though I usually do post on Thursdays. But, as you might’ve noticed, I moved last weekend, so my new home looks like a hoarder lives in it. I need need need to fix that. Plus, I’m cooking birthday dinner for my mommy today! Therefore, no blog post.


Then, I read/watched From Inspiration to Creation, today’s blog post by Chris Brogan, and I got all inspired to share a brief thought with you.

What’s the What?

In his post/video, Chris talks about taking an idea — and then deciding what to do with it. Does he want to use it to generate more interest for chrisbrogan.com? Or does he need to expand it into something more business-y for kitchentablecompanies.com? Or is this idea better fodder for something else entirely?

So, the first question he asks himself is: What’s it for?

Keep It Simple

Chris’s question reminded me of one of my favorite movies: The Boys Next Door with Nathan Lane, Robert Sean Leonard, Courtney B. Vance, Tony Goldwyn, Michael Jeter, and Mare Winningham. (I list them to distinguish the movie from another with the same title.)

In this movie, Tony Goldwyn plays Jack, a social worker who oversees the care of four mentally challenged men who are trying to live in a non-facility home. Just thinking about this movie makes me tear up, because it’s so sweet, so funny, so heart-warming, so devastating, and so triumphant.

And I haven’t watched it in far too long, so I can’t remember what’s happening in the scene I want to quote from. All I can remember is that Jack is trying to communicate something to Lucien, the most severely challenged of the four men.

Lucien (played by Courtney B. Vance in a stunning performance) can’t understand the reasons behind what Jack is telling him. In his simple way, Lucien asks:

What’s the because, Jack?

What’s the Because?

Combining Lucien’s simplistic worldview and Chris’s business sense, I come to this conclusion:

Whatever you’re publishing online — especially if it’s a blog post, an article, or a piece of creative writing, first ask yourself why you’re doing it.

Do you want to help someone?
Is this the answer to someone’s question?
Did you read something someone else wrote, and you think your spin would benefit others?
Are you marketing yourself? Your services? Your product?

Are you just listening to yourself talk?
Have you seen others post on this topic, and you want to ride someone’s coattails on the bandwagon?
Did you write this because it seems like the popular thing to do (but you don’t really have a passion for it)?

You put something together in a nifty package, and you want to share it with the online world.

But why?


Answer that question — find your because — and you’ll gain clarity about all sorts of things. Your target audience. Your writing process. Your thinking process.

If you’re honest, you might even gain clarity about yourself. And gaining that kind of clarity enables you to serve others better.

It makes you a better human being — and a better human living.


So, what’s your because?

Why do you do what you do? Write what you write?

Have you always asked yourself the whys? How has this habit made you a better person?

Let’s talk. : )

7 thoughts on “But What’s the Because?

  1. Chris Brogan says:

    It’s funny how many people pay me for “how” when what they really need is “why.”

    You’re spot on. : )

  2. Pamela Davis says:

    This post made me stop and think. My reasons for having a blog are varied. Because…I’m a writer–and need to get myself out there. Because…I’m a writer–and what writers do is write. But it’s more than that. When I am working on a book, as I am now, the story is the because. Because I can’t get it out of my head. Because I think it would be fun to write it. Because I want the challenge of finding out whether I can actually write this story. Blogging about writing is different. I forget to blog…a lot! I don’t feel compelled to write blogposts like I do about writing the book. I think maybe the because in blogging for me is simply to get myself out there–out of myself, and maybe connect with others.

    • Pam, I think you’re spot on with your final analysis: that the purpose of blogging is to connect with others. That’s my purpose, as well. Sure, there are other motivations attached to that (including what you said about being a writer and getting oneself out there) — but the foundation of it all is the desire to connect.

      And I can also relate to what you say about blogging vs. storytelling. The Story as the because calls me more than the blog does, too. ; )

  3. Patricia says:

    I loved doing the play at OC, but I’ve never seen the movie…I shall redouble my efforts to find it!

  4. […] last week’s post But What’s the Because?, I pondered writerly reasons for blogging or for sharing other types of writing with the […]

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