Stop Blogging and Start Writing | A Case Against Blogging
The first ever blog post I wrote took over three weeks to put together before I somehow found the courage to hit â€˜publishâ€™. Iâ€™m not kidding, for several weeks, painstakingly Iâ€™d write most nights (and during the day too if time permitted) optimistically hoping that, that particular day (or evening) would be the one when Iâ€™d feel courageous and confident enough to cease editing or writing and finally unleash my â€˜nakedâ€™ self out into the blogosphere. This was back in 2007.
I have been blogging since my college days. I have blogged on Tumbler, WordrPess and Blogger.com. I have written blogs and have abandoned them completely. Not until recently, I finally took blogging a step further and bought a domain name and started to blog one more time, but this time with a professional touch to it.
The Lessons (2007 – 2014)
I learned three simple and valuable lessons at the end of of my blogging apprenticeship period.
1. Writing. The first being that writing is just the half of it. Even after youâ€™ve written what you believe to be a half-decent blog post, patting yourself on the back is not an option just because youâ€™ve finished writing it. The hard work is just beginning â€“ with plenty of other stuff needing attention. Like working on how your blog looks for starters and (more importantly) promoting it – getting people to actually read your blog also requires serious perseverance and commitment.
In short, the art of completing just one blog (in my case anyway) actually takes twice as much time and effort as you think it will. I realized that if this was going to be a regular venture for me, it would need careful planning and an immense amount of on-going hard work and conviction.
2. Fresh Unique Content. Interesting blog topics and ideas would regularly have to be thought through and planned in advance, with time set aside for researching, and writing the (hopefully) engaging copy. For each blog, Iâ€™d also need to source rights-free images, add all the clickable links and find someone to proof read my copy. BloggingÂ needs much time and attention, seemingly for little or no financial return. It is mostly a labor of love.
3. The Economics. ItÂ cost me money to have a website (where I post my blogs). It has cost me money to build my website and pay for maintenance and domain name renewal. Itâ€™s hard enough for writers to make a decent living from writing anyway, so instead of blogging, given the fact that itâ€™s the love of writing that brought me to creating my first blog post in the first place, maybe my efforts nowadays would be better concentrated on trying to make money through just writing instead of blogging.
In this post Iâ€™ll be mulling over the arguments for and against my continued involvement in the blogging world. After all, people are quitting blogging all the time these days; usually informing their readers why theyâ€™ve decided to call time on their blog, through one final post. Once daily blogger from The Dish, Andrew Sullivan, did just that, quitting earlier this year – deciding he wanted to return to the â€˜real worldâ€™ (after blogging for fifteen years). I totally empathize. You can read his final note to his readers.
Other bloggers decide to quit for different but still understandable reasons. Writer, Sara Hepola blogged for five years before informing in her last blog: â€œBlogging wasn’t helping me write; it was keeping me from itâ€. Her postÂ This Is My Last Entry explains a little more.
Both these authors quit for valid reasons but neither encouraged others to do the same. Below, writer L.L Barkat pitches a strong argument against experienced writers blogging, in this post that she guest-authored for Jane Friedmanâ€™s blog a couple of years ago.
Other Arguments against Blogging
One fundamentally important argument against continued blogging is that the role of the blogger on the social media spectrum has changed hugely over the last decade.
Back in the day, sharing the latest installment of your life on a weekly or even a daily basis, to an ever increasing amount of subscribers (if you were lucky) would (hopefully) bring comments, shares, likes etc. Giving the blog author new-found confidence; perhaps kudos too, and, quite possibly, an inflated ego as well.
True Creativity? Honest Voice?
If your readers liked what you were writing, youâ€™d put concerted effort into not letting them down, which meant working to please them, not yourself. At that time, blogging (although still hard work) became, arguably, more of a rewarding pastime than it is nowadays.
It gave published and unpublished writers with something to say an equal platform to get their voices heard. Some lucky posters even became well-known and popular in certain fields or amongst certain groups. Young or old; pro, or non-pro, company based, media or non-media outlets, anyone and everyone could (and often did) use their voice to spread their message across the blogosphere (actually even writing this word now does feel kind of dated).
These days, itâ€™s not that people arenâ€™t still blogging – thatâ€™s simply not the case. Blogging is still popular but not across as many different groups as it once was. Itâ€™s become a lesser counterpart to the more widely used, instantaneous, sometimes quirky social media and micro-blogging tools available today.
However, writers will continue to blog because writers love to write, but with so many new (ish) kids appearing on the social media scene during the last decade: Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (to name a handful) itâ€™s blogging by those under thirty that may have had its day now!
This ties in with another extremely important thing I havenâ€™t mentioned but probably should have earlier, mobile technology.
Sharing your life with followers through your blog on a regular basis, using, letâ€™s say a smart phone would be a more drawn out and a tiresome business these days; but status updates, picture uploads or sharing whatâ€™s on your mind to your group of followers in less than 140 characters, well, thatâ€™s easily done through the technology we carry in the palm of our hands today.
Smart phone use for accessing social media is on the increase and the newer methods of social media communication reflect that. Blogging doesnâ€™t. Mobile technology advances have changed the blogging spectrum but this definitely doesnâ€™t mean that blog writing is over.
Blogging can be anti-Writing
One last point that I want to make is blogging can become a chronic habit to avoid real writing. Writing for book or publication requires decisiveness, discipline, and mental focus. You can be relaxed with your conversational style writing when you write a blog post but if you working on a book project, your words and sentence structure matters.
Our human body is optimized to avoid stress and work and therefore your mind will do anything to avoid the real work – writing. If you feel that you are spending 80% of your writing time on writing blogs and 20% on your book, probably you should take a break from blogging and practice writing in the journal until you can reverse the ratio. Remember, blogging is to supplement your crystallized thoughts that you put into a book or other print/digital publication, not to replace it. Don’t let your blog become a form of writer’s block.
Arguments for Blogging
When writer, Dan Blank also guest authored Jane Friedmanâ€™s blog a couple of years ago, he delivered some compelling reasons to continue blogging, and gave his take in this post on when itâ€™s the right time to kill off a blog and move on.
A lot of what Dan says makes sense, despite the growth of new social media mediums and mobile technology ensuring that blogging takes a back seat in terms of production, follower growth, shares, likes etc. there are still some great advantages to be had by creating and regularly updating yours (whether youâ€™re over thirty or not!)
Most potential employees that Iâ€™ve come across love it when candidates provide a link to their own blog or website, especially if its subject matter is linked to their company in some way. An example, if you blog about health and well-being and youâ€™re attending an interview at a sports club, it will probably serve you in good stead, so long as it is written well.
Actually even if what youâ€™re blogging about has nothing to do with the position youâ€™re applying for, itâ€™s still a quick and easy way to showcase your writing talent. For example, if youâ€™re applying for a job as an Online Content Producer but you blog about, letâ€™s say, Bee Keeping as long as your blog is well-written, free from grammatical errors and interesting, it will show that youâ€™re already familiar with producing online content, putting you one step ahead of candidates who donâ€™t blog or have a website. You canâ€™t really say that about having an Instagram or Twitter account.
A blog is out there on the web, itâ€™s easily accessible and will be for a long time to come. Also, if you notice youâ€™ve made any grammatical errors etc. once your blog has gone live, you can always go back, make corrections and re-publish, you donâ€™t have that kind of investment with Twitter or Facebook publishing and feeds.
More reasons to continue blogging
Letâ€™s say, youâ€™ve always wanted to write a book, but the prospect of writing one has always been a bit daunting (the amount of time, focus, and research it requires has never felt achievable) depending on what youâ€™ve been blogging about. You may well have the makings of a best-selling e-book hidden within all those blog entries youâ€™ve been posting over the last few years.
For example, if, over the last ten years youâ€™ve been blogging weekly about the latest happenings in the Hip-Hop world, collating what youâ€™ve written could well be turned into an ebook entitled The Changing Face of Hip-Hop since 2005.
Similarly, if youâ€™ve been writing about gluten free healthy eating, or your secret life as a dominatrix, why not go over your posts to see if you have enough material to create an ebook or impress a publisher.
Blogging doesnâ€™t always have to lead to followers, comments, etc. some writers care little about these things because theyâ€™re truly writing for themselves. Letâ€™s say, youâ€™re going through a hard time health wise, and you need to learn more about certain conditions, if someone else has had the same experience or diagnosis as you and has shared what theyâ€™re going through on a blog, that blogger has fulfilled their need to write and created something valuable to you and future readers, no doubt paying little regard to the amount of likes and shares etc.
Blogging can be good for business, done properly it can direct business to your company website e.g. if a savvy DIY store owner posts several â€˜how toâ€™ blogs, such as â€“ how to unblock a drain, how to unblock a pipe, etc. Their blog may help users fix stuff themselves without the need of an expensive professional if you own a plumbing shop or DIY store, sharing one or two tips about common problems, could lead people to your site and increase sales and materials. Making it a win, win situation for both parties in an instance like this.
I can understand why people need to stop blogging if itâ€™s not working for them anymore (as in the case of Andrew Sullivan and Sara Hepola) if stopping feels like the right thing to do, then itâ€™s the right thing to do!
But for me, continuing blogging feels exactly like the right thing to do, contrary to some of the arguments Iâ€™ve included, I plan on blogging more. Why? Because I blog for pure pleasure, I am also a book writer and when I donâ€™t feel like working on my manuscript or writing something new, I still want to sit down and write something and blogging helps me in reaching my daily 1000-2000 word count. Itâ€™s also an easy way to answer questions that I get on social media (from my readers) or to share with others, things that I learned the hard way. By blogging I am revising my own lessons and crystallizing it into specific topics.
When I write a blog it still feels like itâ€™s about my needs rather than other peoples, and I know other bloggers out there who feel that too. People will always need to share their stories and experiences, not just for egotistical reasons either, whether theyâ€™re professional writers or not.
Blogging works for me because Iâ€™m a fairly new author, therefore my website is not ranked high in Google. So blogging good content is my way to earn that right to show up on Google’s first page of search results for certain keywords.Â Iâ€™m also lucky that I have a team of friends who help me generate ideas for my blog posts and a Virtual Assistant who handles my social media and saves me some time.
In spite of all my arguments for my continuing to blog, I must also add that once I get busier with my book writing, the blogging will slow down. If it ever comes down to choosing between book writing vs blog writing, I will pick book writing over blog writing any day, hands down to be honest.Â Iâ€™m not expecting that to happen any time soon and Iâ€™m also not sure that I could ever bring myself to write that final â€˜goodbye and thank youâ€™ blog and have the courage to press â€˜publishâ€™.
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What do you think about blogging? If you think there are more compelling reasons for or against blogging that I have notÂ mentionedÂ here, please feel free toÂ comment. The first 10 commenters are always my favorite and I like to personally communicate with them via email (sort of like buddies). So share your thoughts. Any other questions please feel free to share with the community.