When I first started my blog I had visions of writing fun and informative articles, book reviews, and getting to connect with writers across the globe to discuss all things literary… eight years on and I get a little disheartened because while my goal is still the same, I’m not really getting the connection that I imagined.
This topic came about from a combination of Briana’s post on discussion topics for her blog, predictions for 2021, and her 2020 review: it prompted the thought of what content performs well in the blogosphere opposed to what we actually post… and my heart sunk a little. I don’t want to write click-baity articles, or post content that I’m not genuinely interested in, or superfluous articles regurgitating what many others have already done without corroborating those claims with statistics or real-world experience.
I enjoy blog hopping and starting up conversations on other’s blogs, but it is usually met with a generic thank you, or just a ‘like.’ Yet are these the same people complaining that their blog is not gaining any traction? They want interaction, yet are not taking to time to build a conversation? Just posting content hoping for a like. Is this a social media thing around blogging activity in searching for validation, or do we truly want to discuss books, ideas, and help other writers develop their craft?
Maybe I’m expecting too much from a bunch of strangers on the internet. Maybe successful writers are too busy to run a blog, comment, and interact with fellow bloggers and maintain a writing career?
There is such a mixed bag of content out there around writing, reviewing, and reading. Much of the writing advice I see is fairly general and rarely breaks things down to specifics and provide examples – is it a secret we’re not meant to find out? Many reviews I read are fantastic, insightful, and really attend to the mechanics of story craft; whereas others are maybe a paragraph long, summarize the story, or worse, bullet points, and give an opinion of a thumbs-up or thumbs-down without ever discussing things like character, character development, world building, pacing, writing style, plot… But that’s me viewing this platform through the reasons I blog. Many others may have different uses for the blogosphere.
There’s other types of content that I’m, really interested in, like journal/lifestyle blogs, trend forecasting, tips, design, nature blogs, and science related content: so it does not have to be directly related to writing and satisfies my other interests. But still, blogging feels like a niche juxtaposed. And many are hoping to make a living from their writing and monetise their content. I’m starting to think I’m really out of touch with my community, that I’m looking in the wrong place. Maybe I should start venturing out into other online mediums to connect with likeminded souls?
A blog is meant to perform one, or a combination of three things: to inform, entertain, or discuss, if my introduction to writing, literature, and journalism means anything. I get more of these types of things from writing groups, clubs, and paid subscription services. Is it because the content is ultimately vetted in those places? That its membership is exclusively professionals?
I guess people blog for different reasons, and mine is just another drop in the ocean, floating in the currents yet to find a reef to drop to where I can feel like I can make a home. Has anyone else felt this despondency around blogging? Like it’s not really fulfilling the purpose you wanted it to? That it is not achieving what you want it to?
My main reason for blogging is to share my love of reading, writing and improve how I craft prose, connect with other writers and swap bits of information on the process, editing, marketing, and publishing. I’ve maintained this course since I initially started the blog. I will never class myself as an expert because you can always learn and change as this craft and the market evolves.
I’m genuinely interested in the reasons you write your blog. Comment below and let me also know if you are satisfied with what you are getting out of blogging, and what your expectations are.
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7 thoughts on “Are you blogging for the right reasons?”
Hmmm … good questions, Casey. I started blogging primarily as a discipline to document my thoughts about my reading. I used to make notes in a journal but they were scrappy, so I thought that a blog would give me the discipline to make proper notes. And it has. So, in that sense my blog has met my goals.
I took a while for me to get into blogging, because I was part of some really active online bookgroups. We had great discussions, and it helped hone my thinking about my reading.
So, as I started blogging, I of course realised that there was a possibility of a similar engagement through blogging, but, as you’ve found, it doesn’t come easily. It takes a lot of work to engage people in discussion. Sometimes you know exactly what will – because you know some of your followers and their interests, or because you know the book or author are ones that garner a lot of interest. Other times though you hope people will be interested and they just aren’t. Problem is we are all really busy and only have so much time to engage with all the other blogs and bloggers we like. It takes time to suss out bloggers who are reading and writing about things that interest you, to read what they write, and to engage on their blogs, as well as to write and try to encourage people to your own.
I do get discouraged at times, when, like you, I try to engage in discussion on some blog and get nothing. In the end, though, I like documenting the books I read and I like doing the research I do for my Monday Musings series, so I expect I’ll keep going.
I’ll be interested to see what other responses you get. (Interestingly, posts like this do get responses because it’s something we can all talk about – unlike a book, say, we haven’t read!)
Thanks for commenting, its great to hear other bloggers opinions on things like what motivates them to write and engagement. It was just an observation on opinions I was seeing in the blogosphere – and the content they were posting… and if that content is geared towards critical thinking, discussion, or click bait. I’m happy to keep posting my love of books and research into writing and publishing. 😀
Good for you Casey. I do know what you mean – there’s a lot of minimal stuff out there that gets lots of likes, I know.
You’ve touched on so many topics I think about a lot!
I believe I wrote in my 2019 yearly review that I found it a bit frustrating that all the posts I thought where the most interesting/original/even important that my co-blogger and I had writte that year were simply not the ones that had garnered the most attention. They weren’t anywhere on the yearly wrap-up when I looked at the posts that had the most views or the most comments or really the most anything. I would say my co-blogger and I do largely just blog about whatever we want (I don’t exactly review medieval literature because other people think it’s cool…), but it’s a struggle if “write what you want” means no one wants to read it.
I also have been thinking about lack of comments/engagement and other bloggers feeling frustrated with that when…a lot of them don’t leave other bloggers comments. I did a book blogger survey recently and asked bloggers where they spend most of their time reading book-related content, and over half the bloggers said they spend most of their time on Youtube/Twitter/Instagram or some other platform that is NOT blogs. That’s all fine; I have no issue with people watching Booktube. But if someone doesn’t even read blogs themselves, it seems a bit ridiculous to then turn around and complain that no one is reading their blog or leaving them comments.
Overall, one of the most effective ways to get comments in this community seems to be leaving comments yourself. I’ve seen a large number of bloggers recommend it and say it’s how they got followers. I understand it’s time consuming, and I don’t always have tons of time for it myself, but I think that’s what some bloggers who are despairing about no one leaving them comments are going to have to do– leave more comments of their own.
All great points. I think having the right tags for your content and actively marketing your posts on other social media can help with reaching the right audience, and subsequently engagement… but it’s a tug of war between having the time and knowledge to do that (as well as write your posts). Blogs are a great medium to write, connect, and get your ideas out there, but it need to be supported with active marketing to increase your reach/awareness to your demographic. But when is it too much time and energy spent of what is essentially a hobby (that you don’t earn an income from?)
Very thought provoking! I wish I blogged more. I get anxious for silly reasons these days about my blog. And a lot of other platforms are regurgitating the same information or just searching for recognition without any motivation for making a real connection with their readership – just boosting their statistics. It’s left me a little disheartened to be honest. But I’ll blog solely for my own entertainment, regardless if it is read, liked or someone follows me or not.
You do you girl!! I had to stop worrying about what others thought, or what I thought an audience wanted long ago. I write just for me now. And hope it connects with like-minded people (like you) to support each other in this writing journey… and to get great book recommendations!