There are times when I have those “why do I blog” conversations with myself. Not because I don’t enjoy what I do, but because I wonder if there shouldn’t be more purpose to it. Earlier this year I spotted some questions on LA’s blog (I think) – if I’ve got that wrong, do forgive an old lady’s dubious memory 🙂 I tucked those questions away in my drafts folder for the right moment, and today I felt minded to answer them.
My blogging goals
I blog because I like writing, and I enjoy writing non-fiction as much as fiction. I enjoy a good ramble around an idea or a thought, and a blog strikes me as the perfect place to do that. I don’t bother anyone, it gets read by only those who want to read it. There are no deadlines, other than ones I impose upon myself. If I miss a week or more, it doesn’t cause consternation, so I’ve no need to feel bad or beat myself up. As a result, I don’t view myself as having blogging goals as such.
That said, I aim to maintain a schedule, and to communicate any breaks in the proper manner. Due to certain health challenges (both physical and mental) that doesn’t always work, but it remains my aim. Although I’ve toyed with blogging more often than once a week, it felt like pressure rather than pleasure. Weekly, with occasional blogging breaks, feels about right for me. Of course, that may change.
That’s the other thing about blogging, I can change things around as they suit me, for no-one else is calling the tune.
How I plan to implement my blogging goals
Bearing in mind that I have no formal goals here, in order to ease my way to turn up on schedule, I write in batches. The reason I do it this way is that once the writing starts to flow, I get on a roll, thus I end up with a number of first drafts on the potential topics in my drafts folder. Over the course of the next day or two, I tinker and edit those drafts, which leads to a block of posts being scheduled. I like the comfort of scheduled posts. This blog is one of three I write, and I find it easier to get into a suitable headspace for one at a time. Even if a new – time-sensitive – subject comes up, it’s easy enough to move the scheduled posts along. It may seem like wasted effort to some, but it works for me.
One recent change is that I plan to incorporate up to two planned blogging breaks each year. This idea was new to me, but having seen other bloggers doing it and having given it a try myself, it’s proven most worthwhile, especially when linked to achieving a particular project in another area.
Inspiration for blogs
I started out with the intention of writing predominantly about books, but have slowly morphed into more of a magazine article style. While I do have a few blogging rules, I don’t have a fixed plan for subject matter. My drafts folder always contains a variety of headlines, some with clips, links to other blogs, a few words to remind me of ideas, or a list of questions – like this one started out. When I’m out & about and get an idea, I jot it down in my phone’s Notes app and transfer it to my drafts folder later. Additionally, I’ve used prompts when writing fiction for a number of years and, during COVID, I made use of some blogging prompts, because life wasn’t able to provide it’s usual level of subject matter. As I’ve seen that those prompts can generate ideas which my everyday life may not, I’ll probably continue to use them from time-to-time.
What I’ve learned about myself in writing blogs
Loads. Honestly, I wouldn’t know where to start detailing how much I’ve learned about myself. If I’d realised how well writing allows me to work out stuff, I’d have started decades ago. Some of the learnings have been simply of the “oh gosh, look at that!” type, while others have proven deep and enormously valuable. But the most important lesson is that – for me – it’s not necessary to publish for it to be a learning experience, as it’s the writing itself which works the magic.
What I’d change about my blog
I’m not sure I would. My blog has a tiny following, but I don’t write it in order to collect followers, I write for the pleasure of writing and the enjoyment I get from interacting with those who care to join me. I probably should care, especially as publishers prioritise potential authors with large social media followings, but… for now, I’m happy as I am and as it is.
I collaborate on a fiction blog where the collaboration breaks down into two areas. I co-host – something I absolutely love. One obvious benefit is you get to share the load, but there’s also always someone with whom to bounce ideas around. My co-host is filled with ideas and energy, and gets me out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. It works so well, we also write fiction together. The other area of collaboration is that we seek out authors who are willing to contribute posts to our site. We’ve been fortunate in having wonderful guests posters – but it does takes time and energy to arrange, so collaboration is not a priority here.
Do you have blogging goals? Have they changed over the years?
© Debra Carey, 2021