Admit it: you only update your blog when you feel guilty. Twitter reeks of blog neglect and half-hearted attempts at updating:
@OhThatStevie: @JennyBec1969 I honestly am going to try to update my blog a little more often than once every blue moon.
@littleponderer: Watching Underbelly. I should update my blog but I’ve been soooo busy – hopefully will update it tomorrow.
@jacksonstf09: It is amazing how awesome a person can feel after a 2 hour workout…I feel AMAZING…I really should update my blog. I think I will 2day.
@defiantprincess: I wanna update my blog.. but too lazy to type. Should I ?
@farchadhilahmoh: so bored. i think i should update my blog to chase the boringness away.
@noeminoems: i should update my blog..but that can wait, like how it has waited for months now x:
@Huizhenpawnyou: Should I update my blog?
You get the point. If I had a penny for every time someone used the words “should” and “blog” in the same sentence, I would be a very rich woman.
When I was in grad school for creative writing, one of my favorite professors asked, “What’s the point of doing this if you’re not having fun?”.
Remember: she was speaking to a room full of writers, people so determined to complete a manuscript and publish a book that they would drag themselves through miles of mud littered with glass shards and syringes to do those things. But I will never forget the question she posed.
Have you ever wondered why my blog is so entertaining (ha ha ha)? If I had to write about social media in a formal way, if these posts were homework assignments, I would not last more than a week. I have to constantly reinvent this website to keep the work fun for myself.
You need to imagine that your blog is a game you play with yourself. Consider the ways you amuse yourself when you’re stuck in traffic, when you’re waiting forever in a doctor’s waiting room, when a flight is delayed, when you can’t sleep at night.
Your blog should be the most fun you’ve had since marathon Monopoly sessions with your next-door neighbor.
I know you’re laughing right now. You’re thinking: “Going out with my friends is way more fun than blogging” or “Playing with my new puppy is way more fun than blogging”. Well, if you think those things are more fun than blogging, then you should be doing those things and not blogging.
Okay, I admit that was kind of harsh. You should be doing those things, blogging when you can, and not complaining or feeling guilty about it.
Before you play with your new puppy, though, consider these points:
1. Blogging is a great way to experiment with an idea before you fully commit to it. A blog post is hardly ever a fully realized and realized piece of writing. Anyone who believes that his/her blog posts are written at full potential really needs to give true writers more credit. Good writing takes many drafts to develop and perfect.
However, if you really like an idea and want to pursue it further, you should consider taking it off your blog and to another venue. My Comma ‘n Sentence blog posts have become longer-form articles (see “Too Shy to Schmooze: Creative Networking” and “Business Owners Building Networking Bridges“). Currently, I’m working on expanding the ideas I first shared in “The World Wide Web Is the New Water Cooler“.
2. Blogging is a great way to discover and reinvent yourself. After blogging for a few months, you might actually enjoy reading your old posts. You will start to notice how you’ve grown as a writer and a person, and you can use this knowledge to gain greater insight into yourself. In addition, you can also use your old posts to help you brainstorm ideas for new posts.
3. Blogging can give you motivation (as long as you have enough motivation to blog). Whether or not you actually have an audience for your blog, blogging makes you think that you’re writing for an audience. Someone, somewhere on the Interwebz, expects you to write clearly and creatively. This knowledge will challenge and motivate you.
I recently started a creative writing blog for this very reason. I was having trouble motivating myself to tackle revisions, and I hoped that blogging would hold me accountable. In grad school, I was forced to write and revise for my professors and workshop-mates; blogging for an “audience” mimics that feeling. I don’t want to disappoint my loyal readers!
4. Blogging can give you hope. Half the fun of blogging is sharing what you write! I don’t know about you, but one thing that gets me out of bed every morning is the excitement I feel when I think about promoting and sharing my work with my current and potential friends.
Don’t get me wrong: life is great for so many reasons. But I’d rather not imagine my life without writing and sharing.
(Photo by kevinspencer)
Very good advice, the whole “having fun with your blog” thing. I keep running into people, as I explore social media outside of my blogs, who spend countless time telling people they need to be more worried about SEO, graphics, learning code to abandon templates, process their analytics, accrue the proper ad-clicks, and a million and one other things that take up more time and energy than the actual blogging.
I want people to come to my blog, and to read it. I want to increase my traffic, because like you said, there is a good feeling in knowing people are reading what you are writing. But that other stuff tends to make my head spin. And the more people tell me that “anyone serious about being accepted as a writer MUST do this,” the more likely I am to resist looking into such things.
One place we do part company is with the time spent on a post. I readily admit that I write drafts of posts, edit them, re-read them, and all of the other things that are usually reserved for more “official” writing. I still have fun posting ideas, but I think I would break out into hives if I didn’t present my full writing potential on the blog posts. Most of them are not profound, but they are polished.
Hell, I edit my tweets as well. I never abbreviate, even there. Ha.
Lastly I also admit it’s hard for me to enjoy it as much if I don’t think/know others are reading my stuff. I was never one of those people who “write because I simply lost it, or I simply must write.” I write to move people. I wonder if you could share how you get over that feeling of caring whether or not people read what you write.