People begin blogging for all kinds of reasons. My friends blog for two reasons: for the fun or satisfaction of being able to communicate with a wide range of people, and to expand your range of people who might want to know about your products. In my circles, that means books. But a blog is a commitment, and some of my friends are unable to keep it up. They’re a bit discouraged.
It’s time to rethink blogging – what it is, and isn’t. What it can give you, and what it can take away.
Let me start with a story.
I happened to notice that a popular blogger stopped posting. After a month I emailed her. I mean, sure, it’s cyberspace, but how would we, her subscribers, know if she were dead in a ditch or something? Turns out, she was fine, but since I was the only person who checked on her, my inquiry started a discussion about the value of blogging (or lack thereof). She said:
When my business was way down last year and I had time on my hands, I began to expand my blogging network. I spent hours each day reading other people’s blogs, commenting, etc. After awhile, I felt like I was a member of a fun club…I got so caught up in it all.
I kept asking myself what the point of it was. Tossing off blog posts is fun, and getting comments is fun as well. But, honestly, I’m not sure how important it is, in the big picture.
I love to speak to women and to conduct workshops. That is what juices me and allows me to believe that I’m having an impact on women’s lives. But blogging? I’m no longer sure.”
In response, I said there are only three reasons to have a blog:
- It’s an enjoyable hobby. You blog when you feel like it, and if nobody responds, big deal. Seeing your work in print is its own reward.
- You’re trying to sell something, whether it’s paid speaking engagements, book sales, advertising on your site, or a widget of some kind.
- You’re passionate about an idea or theme, and you need to talk about it.
I’m number 3. I need to figure out the second half of life. I love the community that blooms when we all ponder this together. That’s why I blog, and write books, and interact on social networks. Everything I produce is about one thing: the second half of life, and living it mindfully and powerfully.
I love this website, because it’s like being a media mogul. With a website/blog, you’re the head of a TV station, deciding what videos to post or link to. You’re the radio station owner, deciding which podcasts to produce. And you’re the newspaper owner, publishing your own little paper every week.
Although the work is unpaid, that sense of community is a pretty big reward. But if you’re involved because of #2, it’s really important to be clear about what you’re trying to accomplish, and how much you’re willing to put into it. Because life is short, and you don’t want to burn time or energy on the wrong thing. Isn’t that one of the tenets of our discussions? One of the most important rules we all agree on, now that we’re old enough to know better?
What about you? Why are you blogging? What do you get from it?