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!