Blogging: What’s the Point?

I’ve been blogging for about 3 1/2 years. In that time, my site has experienced quite a bit of evolution. But for a few months now, I’ve been posting once a week on whatever comes to mind, plus a regular update for A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80).

Lately, I’ve been asking myself: What’s the point? Why am I blogging? What’s the purpose, the goal, the focus of my blog?

Some answers are fairly clear, and others more elusive.

Blogging Word Cloud
Blogging: What’s the point?

Better writing. I strongly believe that regularly writing blog posts hones your writing skills. All these blog posts have tightened my writing and helped me develop consistent output. The more I’ve written here, the better my writing overall has become.

Building community. Through blogging and commenting on others’ blogs, I have increased my involvement with the writer community. Many of those who read my blog are also writers, and I read their posts as well. (Although one frustration is not having enough time to read all the blogs I’d like.) Not surprisingly, online communication builds online interaction.

Accountability. Maybe this one is less clear, but it’s been a good one for me. There’s something about having a blog, and posting updates for ROW80, that has kept me on track. Preparing for blog posts has increased my desire to learn new things, share what I know, report progress, and publish my stories. If I zone out here, it could reflect me zoning out with my writing in general.

Outreach. This is the main goal most authors have with websites — ultimately, we’re trying to reach potential readers. And this is where I think I’ve struggled. I currently write for teens. But how many teens are reading blogs? The teens I know are on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, etc. They aren’t usually combing the web for 800-word posts on this, that, or the other. So how much outreach is happening on my blog? It’s a question I’ve been asking lately.

Fun. I don’t want to discount the enjoyment I get from writing blog posts, reading others’ posts, and the interaction we have. I love to write, love to laugh, love to engage. So yeah, this whole blogging thing is truly fun at times — most times. If I had no other reason, I might blog simply for the fun of it.

I’m still ruminating about the focus of my blog, the brand I want to convey, and the methods I can use to engage with others. But I don’t have hard-and-fast answers just yet. I hope you’ll share with me below why you do or don’t blog.

In the meantime, it’s time for that accountability thing — with my weekly report for A Round of Words in 80 Days, the writing challenge that knows you have a life.

ROW80 Update

1. Finish editing Sharing Hunter, young adult contemporary novel. My novel has sat for a full week so that I can have fresh eyes for the next edit — which begins tomorrow. Anyone want to join me beach side, where I hope to go through my novel in one sitting with the viewpoint of Jane Reader?

2. Edit, polish, and release two more short stories in my Paranormal Playground series. I worked on one short story this past week, with good progress.

3. Read 12 books. Finished Promise of Magic by Melinda VanLone and started Sass and Serendipity by Jennifer Ziegler. I’m at 11 books for the round.

4. Attend RWA Conference and Day of YA in San Antonio and follow-up as needed. Finalizing my query, polishing the novel, then following through with those who requested the manuscript. I think I’ll make it before the end of the round.

Now, why do you blog or not blog? What are the benefits to you of blogging or reading blogs? How do you engage with your community and potential audience?

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34 thoughts on “Blogging: What’s the Point?

  1. I’ve been asking myself some of these same questions. I think readers are hard to reach with a blog, especially if you are a new writer. Experienced writers have a built in fan base. As another writer/blogger recently said (paraphrased) , “other writers read our blogs.” The hope is readers will find us. Great post.

    1. Thanks! The best author sites, I believe, are those with static pages giving information about their books, along with a blog on the site for those who want to read the author’s posts. But that doesn’t make sense until you have books to promote! 🙂

  2. My views roller coaster up and down and sometimes I get discouraged. Last week, I studied my list of blogs I was following (over 200) and realized many had quit or cut way back. I think it’s important to keep reaching out to new active bloggers who stop by to read while keeping the old contacts.

  3. I don’t blog regularly at the moment but I find the more I blog, the more I can come up with blog ideas. Same as with writing books…the ideas are there waiting for me to give them some attention.
    Blogging is also a fun way to share pictures and recipes.

    1. Thanks, Mona! It is true that practicing creativity can increase your creativity! I don’t, however, think the world wants me to share many of my recipes. 😉 (Not a great cook here.)

  4. I agree with all your points, Julie. When y come up with the answer to reaching readers and potential book buyers instead of just other writers (not that other writers don’t buy books, too), let me know.

  5. I think I write much better now than I did before I started blogging. I have a lot of fun connecting with other bloggers (e.g. you). And really, I’ve written more than a few posts that I know no one is reading, but I don’t care, because I had fun writing them. I decided back in June that I wanted to blog every day, like a newspaper columnist, and have blogged every day since July 1. I’ll tell ya, I’m having the time of my life. Down the road, I want to make some money doing it, but right now it’s all about the writing.

    You had a remarkable week.

  6. This is a question I am always thinking about. When I started blogging last February, on my thirtieth birthday, I knew I wanted to blog and that was it. I needed time to try it out and discover why and what I would be able to offer, what I would get out of it. I think this ties in with the other question I am always thinking about: am I a writer, an author, both, or none of the above? 🙂 I now call myself a writer. I own the title. I don’t get paid for it, but I have hope someday I will. I am a writer and a blogger now. I am a writer thanks to having a blog because it forces me into writing on a regular basis, when before I wasn’t. I worried I would run out of topics to blog and write about, but I am more than six months in and I can barely keep up with all the ideas coming to me. This is a good sign I presume, but I know it is early still. I try not to burn out, but at least once a week I blog. I wonder about having more than one and I am thinking about starting a second. I am a writer because I write, but I am not an author because I have not ben published. I participate in such blogging activities as Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge. I interact with other bloggers. I love guest blogging and having guest blogs. I hope to do more of it. If anyone is looking for this, don’t hesitate to check out the guest posts I’ve had in the past and I would love to have you write one. Thanks and blogging isn’t for everyone. For me, who loves writing, it has been amazing. If you don’t want to do it you most likely won’t continue and if it is important to you, like it has become for me, you will make the effort.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I’m glad that blogging has been a great experience for you. I also don’t usually have problems coming up with topics. (But I also don’t write every day.) Best wishes with your writing!

  7. Isn’t blogging like a relationship? It goes in cycles and there are times where you both love one another and it’s fun and light, and then are times when you have to work at it, but good communication helps. I think we have to remember to keep date night with our blogs. That will keep it fun and we’ll learn more about ourselves and our blogs. 🙂

  8. I blog because I have numerous things (books, movies, TV shows, theatre) that I want to talk about, or stuff that I want to expose the world to, or use the blog as a way to present a bit of my work to the general public. As an English Major, I had to write countless number of paper and while the standard format for most papers is not what I always write in, I love to research and present material and newly discovered facts to others. I also love to write, anything and everything. I am still trying to figure myself as a write and blogging have help me to determined what kinds of writing I like to write and what I can do well.

    I try to use the blog, A Round of Words, Twitter, and Facebook as a means of creating new friendships and discovering new worlds. By visiting and commenting on fellow writer’s blog I see a bit of their world and sometimes they will see some of mine. It’s like meeting for coffee. As an avid coffee drinker, I have met many a friend through coffee and coffee shops.

    1. I also enjoy sharing material with others, so we have that in common! I like to hear why people blog, and you have some great reasons, Cindy! Best wishes with the degree and the writing.

  9. At first I was blogging to engage with other writers, by paying forward what I’ve learned about self-publishing. My first post being six years ago, I’ve seen how my blogging content has evolved into letting readers see bits and pieces of me as a person, a human being that is capable of making mistakes like everyone else. Oh, and of course, ROW80.

    1. Six years ago? You go, girl! I do believe readers get a pretty decent picture of ourselves if we blog for a long time. If you meet me in person, I’m certainly more than my blog, but I’m not different from it. I’m me in person, I’m me here. Sounds like you’re the same, Linda!

  10. I love the breakdown of why you blog. Good stuff! I’m still trying to discover that ever-illusive balance between writing with that one reader in mind and using my blogging to build my business. When I began, I didn’t have platform-building or networking in mind. There was a simplicity then. 🙂

    Congrats on the progress you’ve made with your ROW80 goals. Enjoy the conference.

    TTFN

  11. I mostly blog for the sense of community it provides. I like connecting with other writers and hearing their varying viewpoints on the issues related to the craft of writing. I also participate in ROW80 and like the accountability it provides. Knowing I have to post my weekly word counts encourages me to push a little bit harder. In short, I’m blogging for all the reasons you list–to learn, to grow, to engage, to connect, to stay accountable.

    You’re making great progress on your ROW80 goals, Julie. Congrats!

  12. I started blogging almost exactly 11 years ago, to deal with the raw grief I was processing after the death of our second baby at the age of 12 days. I made several posts, did nothing to promote them, and then stopped…I needed not to be writing anymore – I needed other ways to heal.

    I came back to that blog six years later, as we were really starting to get the hang of radical unschooling. I got a few comments, and, for the first time, some came from people I didn’t know. A few posts got shared, and that was amazing.

    For the first time, I felt – really – more like a writer than someone who sat at home and wrote mostly for myself.

    Again, though, at some point, the unschooling became natural, and, without the struggle to understand this huge mindshift, I tapered off with my blogging.

    I started my main blog in June of 2011, as a professional writer blog. A year later, I started a blog for exploration of my Trueborn duology series – still years from being ready to offer.

    But, over the last year or so, I’ve posted less to the story blog and the unschooling one. I’ve diversified my main blog, and now I look at it as what the tagline says – “Lovely Chaos”. It’s my farmers’ market in the virtual world. I talk about things that interest me, things I’m passionate about share bits of my fiction, and things I discover along the way. There’s often parenting, memories, social issues, unschooling and Star Trek. Sometimes there’s poetry, and I like sharing pictures from my life…

    I’m after a conversation, and a peek into other’s lives, because that’s always mattered to me. I want connection, expansion, and understanding. I want to keep challenging myself to offer things that inspire, stir the pot for others, entertain, and maybe even enlighten…

    And I want to do all that while having fun, and in a positive, respectful way.

    While I was posting this comment, WP notified me that I had my best day of likes. I like likes, but I like comments more, because they give me the chance to connect, to learn something new, to make a friend.

    I think, by carrying my blog over into all the things that matter to me, I’m offering something that goes beyond other writers, or even those who might call themselves readers. I have things for unschoolers, parents, and Trekkies. I have local attractions, and deep feelings…

    I don’t know if that’s a recipe (I don’t cook, but I married a chef!) for a ‘social platform’. I do know that I love what I’ve created on my blog, that I’m having fun, and that I’m connecting with amazing people – and that that’s what I want to do!

    I loved this post, and it really got me thinking – to the point where I think I’ve about written a blogpost of my own, here…

    Hmmn, Julie… with all the great responses here, maybe you’ve got the seeds of a blog hop.

    =)

    1. Thanks! It’s interesting how our blogs can flourish and wane, change and grow. I don’t really know what this blog will look like in three more years, but I plan to be here! Best wishes with your site!

      1. I only know that mine will reflect who I am then – whoever that is – hopefully even better than the blog does today. For me, a blog us an organic expression, moving with my life…

        I’m glad you plan to be around, because I always enjoy my visits here! =D

  13. Ack blogging! Not really my thing. I try, but I don’t think even after three years that I quite have the hang of it. I’m always in a quandary as to what I should write. What will people want to read? You’re doing a fab job Julie. Your excitement is inspiring. Keep it up! 🙂

  14. Julie, I blog for all the same reasons you do, but mostly for the fun and the community. It’s interesting, because blogs go through such a metamorphosis. I think it’s a long-term game and commitment — sometimes you’re coasting and sometimes you’re on fire. And all of that is just fine. 🙂 Thanks for keeping up with it. I like popping in here!

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