Thursday, March 1, 2018
Why Do You Blog?
Bloggers tend to be a unique group. Introverts or extroverts, we somehow manage to talk online with strangers on a variety of topics.
We write because we love to write.
We write because we have something to share.
We write because we think you'll be interested in what we've learned.
And we comment because we want others to know we appreciate their efforts, too.
I love knowing that I have blogging friends all over the world. Some, I may never meet in real life, but interacting with them has opened doors to other cultures, other traditions, new ideas, education, arts, and more.
My last three posts have been intense book recommendations, so I thought I'd open up today's blog post to you, and ask the burning question: Why do you blog?
I blog in two places: here, and over yonder at Wordpress (my personal blog's link is in my sidebar if you feel like visiting—Life As Only I Know It). The personal blog is mostly a "dear diary" for me. I write whatever's on my mind when I sit down with my laptop. Something timely, like a family birthday; something I've been learning in a class; observations on regular life, happy and sad.
Here at ERE, I write about things that interest my readers—and that usually involves reading, writing, or editing. I mean, hey, that's what I do, so that's what I write about.
Why I blog is a whole 'nother animal, as we say in the backwoods of Pennsylvania.
I started this blog when I started my editing business almost five years ago, in 2013. I thought it would be a good way to get my name out there to drum up some work, and to explore the blogging community. I read a few blogs here and there, but I never commented because I didn't think I had anything worthwhile to say. After all, bloggers were Somebody and I was just me.
Two people broke my fear of commenting. The first person was S.K. Anthony, an author I'd started working with very early in my editing career. She introduced me to a lot of terrific bloggers by sharing her favorites. She taught me good blog etiquette (e.g. no "thanks for sharing!" comments, which we can all relate to) and shared my blog with her followers to help me get a leg up.
The second person was author Raymond Esposito. I'd run into him on some Goodreads threads and thought he was hilarious and sarcastic, so I followed his blog. I tentatively commented on a couple of his posts, adding that I felt like a pest by commenting each time, and I'll never forget his response: "You're supposed to comment. Otherwise, I'm talking to myself."
Well, needless to say, I took that advice and ran with it. And now the two of them are award-winning authors who are some of my best friends. They own a business together, Writers After Dark, and they work hard to provide essential resources for writers. I’ve also discovered over the years that they each have genius-level IQ, which could be intimidating except that they don’t rub it in my face. But I digress . . .
I now follow a number of blogs and try to thoughtfully comment on all of them when there's a new post, and I don't hesitate to comment even when I'm reading a post written by a complete stranger. I know, you're all gasping with shock and perhaps admiration, but this was a serious thing for me to overcome. I had to get past the idea that I didn't have anything to contribute . . . that someone would point me out for a fraud if I said something stupid enough.
Fast forward to today, when I say plenty of stupid things and don't look back. I own my words, good or bad, but in general I try to not start internet fights with strangers. I enjoy the blogs I follow and try not to overextend myself by following so many that I can't keep up. Confession: I will give up on a blog with okay content but no interaction. On the other hand, I will stick with a blog that holds dubious interest for me, as long as the blogger interacts with followers. I see it all as a community, and I don't want to spend time with those who don't care to spend time with me. I'm not offended; it's a busy world and no one has time to waste on pointless things.
Funny thing about the "why" when I started this blog: I've almost never gotten a client through it. People have found me in other places and have come here to contact me, but I can only think of two people, ever, who said they found me through my blog alone. So I guess all that community stuff really does matter.
I ask again, then: why do YOU blog?