Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Confessions of a longtime blogger

I've had the Grumpy Old Bookman on my RSS reading list since even before he said all of those nice things about me, so I'm sorry to see that the old dear has gone on sabbatical.

At least, that's what he's calling it. But I've noticed that when established bloggers take more than a month off, they tend to recover from blogging fever--and they never come back.

Why do people blog? Common wisdom has it that it's all about ego: the blogger believes he has something to say to the world, and a blog of one's own makes a very handy soapbox. Perhaps that's true in the case of the folks who blog for a few months and then wander off, but as someone who will celebrate her three-year blogging anniversary less than a month from now, I reject that answer. Those of us who have been doing this for a while know there's a whole lot more to this obsession than getting people to look at us and listen to what we say. If that was all we wanted from blogging, we'd have said our pieces, repeated ourselves a few times for good measure, and then let our blogs go dark after just a few months.

I don't think I'm all that different from most other longtime bloggers, so I'm assuming that my primary reasons for blogging must be their reasons, too.

Some of us just like to write. And blogging on an almost-daily basis stretches the writer's imagination and creativity. Coming up with fresh ideas for blog posts week after week and month after month is enormously challenging--and some of us relish that challenge. We like the way it feels when we flex our brain muscles.

Oh, sure, we enjoy the attention we get when readers leave comments and other bloggers link to us. And those of us who have books to sell appreciate the opportunity blogging affords us to build name recognition. But I believe the best way to sell more books is simply to write more books and write them better--which means spending all this time here on the blog is more likely to hold me back as a romance author rather than make me famous. And that, I think, neatly answers the accusation that I blog primarily to get attention for my romance novels.

For me, blogging is fun. That's not to say that it's easy. It's just that I enjoy the challenge of hunting up something worthwhile to write about and then expressing myself as well as I can. I've written a lot of inane posts on this blog in the last three years, but I think I've also written quite a few clever, informative, and thought-provoking ones. I'm still here because I think I've got some more of those good posts in me somewhere--and it's incredibly satisfying to dig for them and find them and drag them out and hammer them into shape and then present them to you, the readers of this blog.

When blogging stops being fun, I'll stop blogging and look for some new ways to strain my brain. Maybe that's what Michael Allen, the Grumpy Old Bookman, is doing right now. Whatever the case, I wish him well.


Neal said...

As one of those "blogged for a while, but fell off the rails" bloggers, I can say that my primary motivation for wanting to blog was to give something back to the internet community. That might sound trite, but there it is. For over 15 years, I have drunk from the internet ocean, downloading freeware, reading free articles, getting information for free, and, more recently, taking advantage of free video and free applications. I just wanted to give something back, and, in addition, try to give back something that was just a little bit different.

Of course, there were other motivations too. As you say, the thrill of being linked to, however infrequently, is very real. And there is always the pie-in-the-sky thought that what you are doing might in the future serve you in good stead -- call it a journalistic portfolio if you like. But honestly, my main motivation was that I wanted to give a bit of entertainment back to the community I had taken so much from.

Of course, currently, I've fallen off the wagon. It's damned hard. Other people manage it, of course (Take a look at the Woolgathering blog at She does a new drawing every day. And then there's your very own good self, of course. That kind of commitment staggers me, to be honest), but I'm not up to their standard. And, currently, I'm finding my creative outlets in other ways.

I'm sure I will come back to blogging, perhaps in different ways. I certainly have some plans, if not the time at the moment.

Now I've written this comment, I wonder exactly what the point of it was? Am I genuinely commenting on your post? Or am I just trying to justify my own vague sense of guilt about letting my blog go fallow. Hmm. Not sure about that one.

DebMc said...

Interesting thoughts. Perhaps I'll blog on the topic soon. :0)

I blog as a creative outlet. My writing career is on hold while I tend to my teenager's last couple of years as a homeschooler. The blog gives me a creative outlet. Surprisingly, it keeps my writing sharp. In fact, I've just been noticing how wordy I am when I blog. A sure no-no for authors whether they aspire to magazines or books.

You are right. We blog because it is FUN. Satisfying in a way that journal writing does not. I like knowing a few folks read and appreciate my thoughts.

Amy Jane (Untangling Tales) said...

Thanks for this. I like your reasons. It's certainly not for the applause (when you've only got one or two commenters and don't fish for more, it's hard to get much of an ego boost from that).

I like to write, and it's more fun shared.

Learning to think and explain in a way that will be discernible to more people than my husband-- it's matured my writing.

Enjoying writing and at least *imagining* someone out there may be enjoying my work, that feeds it too.

But, then, I've only been going a bit over a year and a half, so I maybe don't know yet what I'm talking about.