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?

20 comments:

  1. I started blogging over eight years ago because my publisher told me to get my butt online. I've continued because I've made a ton of friends in the process. The IWSG keeps me connected with writers. And for some reason, people keep coming back for my movie reviews.
    Glad the three of you connected early. Look where that's led!

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    1. An online presence is always helpful! I think the friendships I've made is key for me, too. (Obviously in the case of SK and Raymond.) I can't keep up with the quantity some people are able to, but I try to make sure my comments are not obligatory.

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  2. Thanks for sharing.

    JUST KIDDING!

    Why do I blog? Lots of reasons, really. I do several kinds of posts, so each main type has its own purpose. Sometimes it's a fictional story that I want to "get out there," and hopefully get comments on it. Sometimes something is ticking me off in a major or minor way, and I need to vent, and hopefully get comments on that. Sometimes I'm being nostalgic about something, so I share that, and hopefully get comments on it. Sometimes I'm bragging... I mean, sharing... my knowledge about something (like comic book history), and I'll hopefully get... Oh, you know the rest, right? (What can I say? I'm just a comment whore. I really do like the feedback.)

    But even though I do share occasional stories of my life experiences, I decided before my first-ever post that I would not write the "I just broke up w/my g.f. and I'm rilly rilly pissed" kinda blog. I once had a friend's spouse say he didn't know much about my personal life because he didn't read my blog. I replied "Obviously not, or you'd realize that I don't write that kind of crap anyway!"

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    1. Ha! You're honest, anyway, David. I think we'd be lying if we said comments don't matter. They really do. For me, it tells me that people are actually reading. It also gives me a little insight into the person who comments. There are things that come out in the comment dialogues that wouldn't find a place in the typical post. It helps to round out personalities, I think. I love that my commenters all seem to have a great sense of humor, because that's my favorite way of getting to know someone.

      Your blog provides enough variety that I can always find something to comment on, whether it's an "I hear ya, man," or "I have no idea what you're talking about, but that was cool to learn." Variety being the spice of life and all that . . .

      I would love to figure out a way to get more genuine followers (I'm sure I have plenty of 'bot numbers that bump my stats) who read and interact, mostly because each time a new person engages here, my world expands a little bit more, and my worldview becomes a little more colorful. Maybe we should have a "share my blog with one person you know would enjoy it" day.

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    2. I know just what you mean by genuine followers. That's why the followers widget in my sidebar is titled "People Signed Up to Follow This Blog... NOT to Be Confused with the People Who Actually READ it!!!"

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    3. I have such a hard time determining who actually signed up, who reads it, who may or may not see it because they follow me on Google+, or who stumbled across it because it was on someone else's sidebar. I now add people tentatively to my sidebar in the hopes that a smaller number in the list will allow people to pay more attention to those mentioned.

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  3. Why do I blog? Well, I don't blog often anymore, but I think it's because I already found what I needed from the blogging world, you, Raymond, and Brandon. WHAT??? I thought that was a decent excuse! :P

    Okay, while that's true, I've fallen off the wagon. But when I do, it's because it's just freeing and one of the best outlets for my soul. I've been blogging over ten years, and as time has passed, I've seen the big evolution blogging has gone through. It's not what it used to be so I have a better appreciation for quality over quantity, both as a reader and as a blogger.

    Thanks for saying such great things about us! (The check is in the mail) And while it's true there are geniuses in our group, we all know it's being led by you. And okay, I'll confess now: I'm just a leech who feeds off your brain . . . and your glasses! ;)

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    1. Hey, I'm cool with you stopping after finding the BBBBFFFs. I mean, other people might miss you, but I have you, so I only have so much sympathy for them.

      I think a break is healthy now and then. And you've had plenty of blogging experience on many fronts, so you're the best judge of where you spend your time and efforts now.

      For what it's worth, my brain does bring out the best features in my glasses. It's no wonder you're drawn to it. (I'll use my check to get us more Edible Creations.)

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  4. I started blogging because t'interwebs told me writers have to blog - and it was SO HARD at first! I found it so scary, putting myself out there for the first time (even though there were crickets for about 6 months). Now I find it fun most of the time - sometimes I still struggle to think of things to write about, but I love interacting with people, and sometimes I even say things that others find useful, which is the best feeling. I do need to comment more on others' blogs - I definitely have a fear of it, and tend to only comment on the posts of people I already know through social media, because I figure if they're going to laugh at me, they're already doing it...

    And I love your blog, btw. It's always so entertaining and helpful!

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    1. Isn't it funny that we're so scared to put ourselves out there at first, and no one's even reading our stuff for probably the first dozen posts? By the time anyone's reading, we've gotten semi-comfortable with the whole deal.

      Thanks for the compliment! Yours is one I enjoy, too, for so many reasons. I think we share a similar sense of humor, which is always a good start.

      As far as commenting on strangers' blogs, I remember what a shock and thrill I got the first time someone actually responded to my comment on a blog. I was like, oh my gosh, someone doesn't think I'm an idiot, and they bothered to answer me. ME! hahaha I know, it's dumb, but I sometimes still feel like that—like someone really important took the time to bother with the commoners, and I'm just so tickled by it.

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  5. I started blogging, thanks to the push from a friend. It's a wonderful creative vent and it has truly evolved my writing and me as a person too. Blogging communities are great for networking and the support from its members is amazing. Commenting is important as it helps to form bonds with other bloggers.

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    1. I'm glad your friend pushed you. I enjoy the variety of things you blog about, and have so enjoyed getting to know you through your blog over the past year! It really helps to make the world a little bit smaller.

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  6. Hi Lynda - I started as I wanted to learn more about the internet and then quickly realised that interacting brought a great deal of pleasure via meeting new friends ... and learning loads - so I'm still here and enjoying the interaction.

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Isn't that a great benefit? To make friends while learning something new.

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  7. Great post Lynda. I blog because I rose above the childhood violence I experienced with the help and encouragement of some amazing people. Now I'm trying to pay it forward by featuring Women of Courage in the hopes that other will be inspired.

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    1. Your blog is an incredible way to get stories out there and to show support at the same time. We've talked about this, but I can't say it often enough: there is power in sharing our stories so others realize they're not alone.

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  8. I blog because it's fun! I also have a personal blog. I do like to use it to keep record of what's going on in my life etc.
    http://hopesthoughts.blog

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    1. You crack me up. I just read your "30 things" and the post where you say you're planning on A to Z with not one, but TWO blogs! That's insanity, but I'm looking forward to seeing you make it through. Thanks for the visit and the comment!

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  9. Ulterior motives: my blog is my outlet to the world, an online magazine that publishes anything I decide to write about.

    I serialized my debut novel on it, made many friends who are mostly still with me, and get out of my shut-in existence a bit.

    The most interesting part to me, in retrospect, was that the posts about process and formatting are ones I go back to when I need the information again - I made an effort and cleaned things up as I figured them out, and they serve me as an extended form of memoroy.

    Those posts are not quite the kind you can just gather up and publish - extensive reviewing would be necessary first - but may serve as the basis for such a book if I run out of material or become famous enough to make it worth the effort (How I write by Nobody, won't quite make it, will it?).

    But I really blog because I need my brain full on to be creative with it (i.e., write fiction), but sometimes it's on enough to need to write something. Non-fiction (blathering or mildly ranting) when I would much rather be writing fiction, but literally can't.

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    1. Blogs are such an incredible outlet for so many reasons. Authors as a group tend to be introverted, and it's amazing to me that they can often produce such creativity in print while agonizing over meeting up with someone face to face.

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I love comments, and will always answer them, partly because I like having the last word and partly because I just like getting to know the people who read my blog. (Note: if the post is more than a couple weeks old, your comment will automatically go into the "needs approval" folder, but I will still publish it and reply!)