To Blog … or not to Blog?

There are many reasons for maintaining a blog, but before I offer my view, this is a good time to be honest.

Why do you personally have a blog?
1. Do you like to be a part of an international community of like-minded folk?
2. Do you like being able to air your opinions or grievances and occasionally receive support from others?
3. Is it simply a pastime and a regular part of your social life?
4. Are you perhaps particularly good at something, or have an interest in something and like to write about it?
5. Do you use your blog as a sounding board for thoughts and ideas, but also as a platform?

As I suggested in my intro, there are many reasons to blog, but it doesn’t make any difference if you’re honest about your reasons. The only way anybody will ever know your true reasons is if you tell them … and they believe you.

*

Why do I have a blog?
Before answering that question I’d like to say that I now have a blog for different reasons to those I had when I started.

For many years I haven’t been the social animal I was in my military career.

At about the time I took up writing I was advised to try writing a blog. I used it as a social connection, and as a means of learning about the internet and also aspects of writing.

It took me about a year to gain around 25 followers with my first attempt at blogging, so a couple of years ago I closed it down. I started again with a new theme, a fresh attitude … and a couple of books to my name.

My reasons for having a blog changed from social to business. I have a blog quite simply because it is one more way of promoting my books and my brand as a writer. The whole concept of ‘brand’ is a topic for another day, so I don’t want to get into it now.

This blog for me is a practicality. Since stepping down from my retail management role about three years ago, I only work three days per week to support my writing ambitions. I’m serious about my writing so I owe it to myself to conduct a strenuous and ongoing self-marketing campaign. I know there are many who don’t like the idea of ‘self-marketing’, and it may come as a surprise, but I count myself in that group.

Self-marketing for the indie author is a necessary evil. I’ve dealt with necessary evil in my life before so perhaps that’s why I can get over it and get on with the job in hand.

There is a nice side effect of having a blog, in that I have gained some social contact online now with a handful of other writers who blog. We don’t commit to checking each other out every week. We comment on each other’s words occasionally, which to me is more important. I’d rather have 10 genuine contacts than a few hundred names of folk who have registered their names purely so that they will attract attention for a mutual comment feed.

Along the way on this second attempt I’ve somehow managed to gain 140+ ‘followers’. Okay, maybe I have a figure displayed that suggests 140+, but I know I have an intermittent following. No, I don’t expect to be followed and not reciprocate, but there are only so many hours in a day for any of us.

*

Does the intermittent following bother me?
No. The reason it doesn’t bother me is quite simple. No matter how hard I try, I know I’ll never manage to maintain my commitment to writing and checking out 140+ blogs every week, or even every month. I’ve tried catching posts by email, and I’ve tried checking so many per day and so many per week, but it’s all far too time-consuming. There are also many who click the follow button on my site, but they blog about topics that hold no interest for me.

I do make an effort to repay any visit from those who are kind enough to check out my thoughts, like this post.

Sometimes I’ll find a post that captures my imagination or I’ll find a post that I didn’t know had been made, so I write a comment.

I’m probably not using my blog the way the ‘User’s Guide to Blogging …’ would suggest, but that doesn’t bother me. I’m an author, so my main interest is creative writing. I drive a car but I’m not a car enthusiast. I eat, but I’m not a lover of fine foods – it’s a necessary part of life. There are many things that we all do that become a part of our lives – for me the maintenance of a blog is one such thing.

*

Do I give anything back to my followers or occasional visitors?
1. I do try. Yes, in my main menu there are my book titles, but there are also topics which I hope will help to guide my peers. It took me a considerable time to learn many aspects of my writing craft so one of my personal aims is to help other writers in any way I can.
2. As I’ve said often before, I’m not an expert in the field of writing but I’ve gained masses of experience and read widely on the subject. When I see a fellow scribe whose writing is perhaps a little below par in one or two areas I respectfully offer some advice.
3. When I review a title I endeavour to get the word out there for the author, so apart from sharing the review as widely as possible elsewhere, I review on Goodreads so that it appears on the Homepage of my blog.
4. I may not write a post every week, but I make an effort to produce meaningful content. There are those that will consider this post an apology for not blogging ‘properly’, but I’m sure there will be others who find this a meaningful post – because like all I do, it is written with sincerity.

I’m presently working on a variety of projects, but I will get out there and visit a handful of blogs. If I cruise through my followers and find a topic I am in tune with, I’ll comment. On the other hand if the main subject matter is of little interest to me, I’ll move on.

As always, I am grateful for any visitors and comments.

***

 

Advertisements

25 comments on “To Blog … or not to Blog?

    • Thank you Patrick. I’ve found that it’s a divisive issue, but if we don’t open up the occasional debate with an opinion piece we’ll all just trot along to the ‘guidelines’ given by the few.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Well written piece Tom. I’ve considered starting a blog several times, even if it ends up being somewhere to post my reviews but with me its a time problem. Writing a blog would be instead of writing my books and reading other people’s book. I do follow about 20 blogs. I’m one of those intermittent ones!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha! It’s easy to get started Diana and you put into it what you decide. I aim to keep mine related to writing so that it doesn’t become some sort of rambling diary. I feel happier in the belief that although I’m not on here every week, at least my content is reasonably focused.

      Like

  2. Hi Tom
    I’ve found it difficult to keep up with the number of blogs I follow. I just dip in and out.
    My time seems to be taken up with book reviews but I’m hoping to add more variety soon.
    Penny

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’ve got it right Penny. As I just replied to Diana, it’s a personal thing when it comes to input, plus of course, if like yours there are a few titles available – so much the better. It’s an extra platform.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Must be in the air, am making myself post for the first time in awhile to say what & why I’ll be blogging in the near term 🙂

    “I make an effort to produce meaningful content. There are those that will consider this post an apology for not blogging ‘properly’” –

    If the content is meaningful for you, I believe that’s all that counts ultimately. And in your case, I think many folk find your content helpful as well.

    As for not blogging properly – ha! bullcorn! The whole point was for self expression. The whole concept of “proper” is similar to creating art or writing fiction. Sure, some folk won’t like your style or content, but if one wanted to be something every single person on earth wanted and needed, you’d be air, an element. We’re much too complex for that 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you for the visit and thoughtful response Felipe. Yes, I guess you’re right, it doesn’t matter how much effort we put in, we can’t be ‘all things to all people’.
      I wish you luck in getting your posts up and running as you’d want them as you get underway again. I’ll be watching.:)

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I originally started blogging as a means of getting back into more creative writing, so I used to post about a variety of topics that interested me (books, TV shows, small excerpts or short stories I had written, etc.). Now that I have my books out there, I’ve tried to be more focused on my blog and only discuss books (my own and others), writing, and marketing. I think you have a great blog, Tom, and I’ve found it to be helpful on more than one occasion. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello again Shaina. Thank you for dopping by and leaving a relevant comment. Many thanks also for your kind words about my efforts on here.
      I do believe that we owe it to ourselves to be a little bit selfish as authors, because it’s okay having somebody else making the occasional nice remark about our books, but nobody is going to push them as much as we will, or try to. You’ve got some good writing out there now, so keep it going. I’ve visited a few blogs today so I think I’ll have to add yours to today’s hitlist. See you in print.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Tom. I did write a comment earlier, but somehow it’s disappeared into the blogosphere … it’s like magic … 😉

    When I first started blogging, I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing, I just knew that if I wanted to move my writing on, it was a vehicle to do just that. These days, I see it as an opportunity to write shorter pieces – most of my writing time is spent on much longer projects. I also love reading about other people’s thoughts and views. One of my favourite blogs to visit at the moment is that of an Australian, now retired, who shares stories about his life, often referring to his youth just after WW2 when his family emigrated from Denmark. Fascinating and often quite hilarious tales.

    You are right, there’s no “right” way to blog, and if it’s a burden, maybe it’s time to stop?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Julia and thanks for dropping by. I like the sound of your interesting WW2 chap. I think sometimes when we’ve survived hardship it tends to hone our sense of humour – and I mean that as it read. It doesn’t produce something that wasn’t there, it simply gives us an appreciation of what we have. Okay, enough on the philosophy.:)
      I totally agree with you – a blog is wonderful vehicle for producing shorter pieces, like this post today, or perhaps like one of yours about how your characters evolved and the locations used.
      I would also agree that there are some folk out there who should go to the ‘log off’ button, use it, and then promptly forget their password to get back in.
      When the day comes when I can’t think of a little snippet to pass on, or a good link to give out for the greater good – I’ll drop it.:)
      I think I most enjoy my blog when I find comments from those like yourself and the other authors today, but I also like see other writers making progress, and many a time that comes through in their blog posts – again, like yours.

      Like

      • Thanks, Tom. Generous as ever with your encouragement. You and Paul are two of the bloggers who cheered me along my early journey and I appreciate that as much today as in earlier ones.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi, Tom. This is very candid article, the likes of which I came to expect from you 🙂 I too have started with another & website when my book came out, and I didn’t do too well. In fact I did really bad… One thing I would say, which I’ve learned from that experience, is that one should never ever employ the services of a so-called publicist (who, in my case, was also the administrator of my website & blog). When I experienced technical difficulties, I emailed her too many times to count and never heard back. The website was eventually suspended because of those technical difficulties and I couldn’t do anything, having no login data and, at the time, no knowledge of how to fix the problem.

    I learned from it, as I said. This time around, I did it all myself 🙂 It’s not as pretty, but I’m in control, which is actually pretty fun. Another thing I’ll say is that when my book came out I organized a monster blog tour, during which I became friends with quite a few YA bloggers. I was able to rekindle some of those contacts now, and that helped with the following (which is still pitiful, but that’s that).

    I blog as a part of a platform. I’ve long decided to try for traditional publishing and I know that when I’ll be ready, owning a successful blog will help my cause. I do four posts/week, all of which I write on Saturday. I do read a lot of blogs, partly because I do want to boost my own following, but also because I want to stay abreast of what’s happening in the YA market and these ladies are an invaluable source of information in that respect. I find out about new titles, and which are worth paying for. I like that.

    I do believe a blog can be a useful tool for networking and marketing. It’s a tad time-consuming, but it’s worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ramona. You my friend are the sort of person I think of when I hear the phrase ‘blogger’. You work at it and it shows, both in the content and the responses you receive, so keep it up.
      You come across as being positive and that’s what a readership like yours in particular must have. There is too much negativity out there, so keep a smile on faces and continue those daily forums!
      Yes, it’s time-consuming and we agree on that point, but where I use mine occasionally – yours is time spent on producing a week-long series of worthwhile articles for your readership. Keep it up!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. i am going to announce it very publicly in a day or so, but i would like to mention that Tom certainly DOES HELP other authors. He’s just got my web page up and running and i will be mentioning that in my blog tomorrow. Thank you Tom.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hello Lucinda. Thank you for the kind words my friend, and it was a pleasure, not a labour. All I’ve done is help you to produce what you might have managed on your own, but in a longer time period. We should all be there for each other, not in competition.
    The key area for you is your content, and that is already up there with the best I’ve read.
    Remember to do a rehearsal ‘post’ on Facebook. If I’m not sure how something is going to look – I set up the post on Facebook, press ‘post’ and then look at it for a few seconds. If I don’t like it, I delete the post and have a rethink.
    I’ll be off the radar for most of he week, starting from Monday afternoon, so don’t worry if I don’t show up to make any comments until perhaps Friday / Saturday.
    Personally, I think your new site will be great for you, and I wish you all the best for it. If you have any queries and I’m not around, remember we have a host of experience and good-natured guys on the IARE.

    Like

  9. My blog is all over the place, kind of like my mind some days. I originally intended to use it as a marketing tool but it strayed from that course pretty quickly and has wound up in the parts of the map that just read “here there be monsters”. Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing, whether it’s a waste of time, other times I’ll get good feedback or write something that’s actually useful to people, so I’ll keep it going. Working with IARE has given me some good ideas of areas to write posts in. Your blog has also given me some good ideas and new ways of looking at things, so thank you very much and keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Eric, and thank you for stopping by. I did go through a phase of ‘it’s all about me’, because I really didn’t understand the psyche of those who wrote, or read blogs. I think mine improved when I did what is more natural to me – and tried to help others.
      You are a font of knowledge in a variety of areas so combining that with your connections I reckon will make your blog a place to check out.
      Thank you for the kind words and I’ll work on mine if you promise to work on yours.:)

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m scrolling through the Reader today for the first time in a few weeks. The thing is so quirky on my iPad that I stopped trying. I saw this and decided to read. I appreciate your honesty and I agree with your approach Tom. Nobody can read every blog they follow and no one should expect every follower to read. Interestingly enough, as I was typing this comment, the Reader locked up and crashed. I was able to copy most of the text so I’m pasting it in now and I’ll be done. Nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Dan and thanks for the visit and kind comments. Yes, honest to a fault, but hey it’s less stressful than being a lying, deceiving … Your comment made me smile – technology has a mind of its own. Hope to see you again, if your equipment doesn’t let you down.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Initially, blogging for me was just a means of honing my writing skills, perhaps getting a bit of feedback (hopefully) on some of my stories, and tapping into the vast pool of free advice, short stories, and other topics of interest that the blogging sphere offers. Nowadays it’s just as much, if not more so, more of a book review blog and a means of sharing posts that I’ve found interesting or helpful, and which I believe others may find helpful or interesting too. Like most bloggers I find it impossible to regularly follow more than a few blogs, and I certainly don’t go in for the whole reciprocal ‘if you conmment on mine I’ll comment on yours’ all the time or swapping ‘follows’ as such. Although the content of and my reasons for blogging have changed somewhat since I first started my blog, I have been fortunate in connecting with a small number of very talented and genuinely nice people through blogging, so for that reason alone I’d recommend blogging for anyone who might be considering starting one.

    Liked by 2 people

Comments are closed.