So today is the ninth day of my month-long blog writing challenge. I realized yesterday that I actually could use a blog post from my other blog, Ramona’s Voices, and didn’t have to write two posts in one day, so I went for it. Talk about freeing! WooHoo! (Am I taking this challenge way too seriously? Apparently I am.)
One post a day is a lot for me, let alone two. But not for some bloggers, apparently. I ran across a blogger who posts four times a day, on a tight schedule–something like 8 AM, 12 Noon, 4 PM and 8 PM. She was lamenting on a bloggers forum that she was running out of things to post about and she was having a hard time keeping to her schedule. (I shouldn’t wonder!) She wanted to know how other people managed to keep up their blogs. I didn’t comment and I admit I didn’t go to her blog. I didn’t even stick around to see what other people had to say. There was just something creepy about posting four times a day at rigidly specific times. A little too no-nonsense and OCD for me.
“What I had for breakfast” hasn’t become the no-no warning to bloggers for nothing. People do that. They write about unpleasant encounters in supermarket lines. They write about text message and email battles with really awful people who go after them for no reason at all. They talk to people we outside guests don’t even know about things they don’t care to explain. (Hey, Joey! Rough night, huh? Send that crazy lobster over this way!) They write endlessly about their pets. (Don’t hate me! I love pets! Honest!) And that’s okay. It’s perfectly legal.
A blog can be anything–words into sentences into paragraphs–voila! A blog. Not all blogs are created by writers who want to use them to showcase their work. They can be diaries or travelogues or even therapeutic outlets, and the authors don’t really care about a following. They just want a place to put down their thoughts. it’s an easy way to communicate and be creative in the process.
But then there are the rest of us: We take ourselves seriously, even when we’re having fun with our blogs. We do want a following. We even dream of being paid for our efforts. We want to make a name for ourselves and some of the time we even seriously believe that blogging is going to do it for us.
Up until recently we’ve been drowning under that word “blogger”. “Blogger” doesn’t have to mean “writer”, mainly because anyone can create a free blog that looks pretty good. Bloggers don’t need to be writers, in the sense that writing well is their main concern. Being understood is good enough. They blog because they can.
But things are changing. There are well-known writers who actually don’t care that their URLs contain the words “blogspot” or “wordpress”. Their blogs can be as professionally put together as any company-built website. Unless you happened to look at their URLs you wouldn’t know the difference. That’s a good thing.
But there is still the problem with exposure. How do we draw vast audiences if that’s what our goal is? What if we have no real money and no professional contacts who will help to promote us?
If we’re issue-oriented bloggers wanting to draw a bigger audience in order to spread the news of our issues far and wide, we go around begging other bloggers, especially the high-profile ones, to put us on their blogrolls. I hate that part but I do it. (I promote my political blog much more than I do this one. This is my parlor; my office is over there.)
Once, I wrote to someone whose political blog I admired and he wrote back, telling me that if I wrote a blog a day for two weeks and sent him the links he might consider adding me to his blogroll. I pulled myself off the ceiling, scarfed down some soothing chocolate, and wrote him back. I said, “Sorry, I wouldn’t read anyone’s blog-a-day, let alone write one. I only write when I have something to say.” I didn’t get an answer but when I went back to his blog I noticed I was on his blogroll.
That’s the key to good blogging, I think. Only write when you have something to say. And give it the respect it deserves by writing it well, by proofreading it more than once, and by asking yourself, if you weren’t you would you still be interested?
(She says while attempting to write a blog post a day just because. . .)