Why are you doing, or even thinking about doing, this thing called “blogging?”
Oh so long ago in blog years, back in December of 2008 sometime between the hours of midnight and 3 am, I started my first blog.
After ten clicks and minutes I had set one up with what I thought was the cutest default template available on Blogger. Later I would discover this template was a hallmark of a new Blogger blog. For my purposes it was perfect.
I didn’t realize it when I started, but the answer to the above question changes, sometimes constantly, and at other times only every few months. In the early weeks I am a natural born journaler who is tired of wasting paper and seems to have finally found her place.
Then the day after getting my first glowing comment from a virtual stranger, I feature myself as a humorist who is called upon to bring a daily dose of the funny to what will undoubtedly soon become a large readership. After entertaining this bold thought, I wake up the next morning so completely un-funny I wonder if I’ll ever be able to blog again.
Over the next year I reinvent myself almost daily.
I am an expert on France and sinus headaches, a ranter on bad television, a raver of books and films. I am struck by how different this form of writing is from writing features, fiction and essays.
Looking back on my December beginning, there are only two things I would have done differently: I would have sprung for the ten or so dollars to purchase the www.lifeintheshortlane.com domain name a little sooner. Secondly, especially early on I wouldn’t have worried so much about this thing called “niche” and rolled with what I was learning.
As a travel writer or enthusiast, maybe you simply crave a creative outlet for the words and images from your travels. Or perhaps you see a blog as a place to showcase a writing portfolio as a stepping stone to landing a book deal, or you’ve always wanted to start a business. Or maybe you are as scattered as I was. It’s all all right. For a beginning blogger I truly believe answering the question of “why” is easier than it is sometimes made out to be.
At first blogging was my own version of a shiny new bicycle, and until I learned to ride it without training wheels – which I wasn’t sure would ever even happen – I didn’t intend to share it. I bought one book, Blogging For Dummies. I mention this particular book because it was an excellent introduction to blogging jargon and the high learning curve that was to follow. More importantly a new edition (3rd) of this book was just released this month. I read through Blogging for Dummies twice, highlighted the heck out of it, then tucked it away on a shelf. The next day, I clicked the box that said “make visible to everybody” on the Blogger dashboard.
On the other extreme, I know of people who, from all appearances, approached blogging in the opposite manner. They had a “niche” from day one. They are mommy, travel, food, celebrity, fashion or craft bloggers. Sometimes they even have two “niches.” Often they were active in newsgroups and forums in the nineties. With exceptions they are almost always younger than I am. To have read books on the topic of blogging would have been unseemly, and besides, there probably weren’t any. Instead they read blogs about blogging, such as Problogger, Copyblogger and Read, Write, Web.
A few weeks ago I attended Blissdom, a blogging conference for women in Nashville, Tennessee. I got lost in the rainforest of the Gaylord Opryland hotel, which felt like a metaphor for my foray into the interwebs, but that’s another story.
One of the many things I learned was that most “successful” bloggers – in my mind bloggers who have been consistently blogging for a while – have started and maintained at least one or two blogs before finding the one that currently defines them, and the success they are experiencing right now. They wouldn’t dream of calling their earlier efforts “failures.” After gaining a little speed, my guess is most of these bloggers at any point in time could answer the question, “Why are You Blogging?”
People may begin blogging for either personal or professional reasons. If over a period of months or years, they find they actually love putting whatever it is out there on a regular basis, most likely it will evolve into a combination of both. By their nature blogs, much like the people who own them are a work in progress. Your answer to this question of “why?” will evolve.
Today why are you blogging? I challenge you to spend several minutes writing down your answer to this question. I’m starting a new blog that is scheduled to launch in March, and I’m going to do it too. I guarantee they will be words well spent.
Why do you blog? Share your thoughts!
I blog because it’s a great way for me to hone my writing skills and contribute my voice to the world. I blog because I want to add value to peoples’ lives, and I hope I do :)
The regularity of writing for an audience was especially good for me after having been away from it for a while – Even though it was self-imposed, it was a form of structure :)
.-= Margo´s last blog post: Blogging with My Thumbs =-.
First and foremost, I blog because I enjoy it. Sharing my writing is reason #1. If I can monetize my blog, that’s a bonus.
.-= JoAnna´s last blog post: Travel Tool: TravelGrove.com =-.
it was weird, at first I intended for it to just be a way to express myself, but the connection aspect of blogging quickly pulled me in. Enjoyment is first and foremost for me too. If it ever starts to feel too much like a chore (barring the occasional off-day)and my answer to “why” becomes, “I have no idea,” it’s probably time to quit!
.-= Margo´s last blog post: Blogging with My Thumbs =-.
You are so right-the reasons you blog *do* change as things go on. It seems they kinda take on a life of their own!
.-= Cherrye at My Bella Vita´s last blog post: Asked and Answered: Top Five Italian Curse Words and Flirty Terms of the Week =-.
I’m in agreement with JoAnna – I blog because I love to do so and I love to share what I know and learn with others. The day it ceases to be enjoyable is the day I’ll quit doing it.
.-= Trisha Miller´s last blog post: From Rock Art to Bits and Pixels =-.
I have several different blogs and is sometime hard to keep up with all of them. With my general blog I have gone through different phases of why I blog on that one, but now the main reason I blog is to make new friendships and network with other fellow bloggers. I have met several smart and nice people along the way, all willing to help each other succeed in our endeavors.
.-= Dan @ Florida Vacation Rentals´s last blog post: Where are the best beaches in Florida? =-.
Definitely the love for blogging is the reason for us. I don’t think it is possible to blog if you don’t love it. It is just too time consuming. We love it and when people stop by for a visit, that is a bonus. Now that things are starting to take off, it is the icing on the cake. I hope that we can blog for years to come. It is so much fun. Great article once again here at the Travel Writiers Exchange. Cheers.
Great article! We blog to share travel tips and hidden gems that are not included in any of our travel guidebooks. It has been a great way to meet and connect with people who share common interests.
.-= Jennifer @ Approach Guides´s last blog post: Where to Stay and Eat in Segovia, Spain =-.
Its a great way to share thoughts and experiences – recently I’ve open my blog up to encourage guest travel writers to share their travel experiences on guest blog posts.
.-= Europeeno´s last blog post: Jerez Horse Fair and Festival Feriade caballo =-.
I blog because I’m happy. I blog because I’m free….;)
Actually I fell into this by accident, starting with a running blog, then a book blog, then a “spiritual” blog, then a humor blog and now I’m collapsing them all into one.
The best thing about blogging: the millions of dollars I’ve made so far…okay, really, it’s been meeting people like you. The millions is just icing on the cake. ;)
.-= Unfinished Person/Rambler´s last blog post: Of “saloon treating” and getting “beautifully soused” =-.
Best laugh of the day – I’m still giggling!….”millions” – bwaa ha ha ha ha! I can see where you’d do well with a humor blog! :)
Stop by anytime!
great post. I also recommend conducting polls-helps alot when it comes down to finding out what your list wants, needs and desires.