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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Myths About Blogging

Today my writer's group had a discussion about online presence (in particular blogs and twitter).  Not that I'm any expert on either subject, but since I'm the only one in the group who blogs and tweets regularly, it ended up being more of a How-To session.  Even though I haven't had this blog for more than a few months, it's been easy to forget what it was like not to know how to navigate this world.

This morning, all the memories came roaring back and I remembered what it was like to be a newbie in the blogsphere.  I remembered all the things I used to believe about blogging and have since discovered are not necessarily the case.

Here are some blogging myths that have proved false in my own blogging experience.

• You have to be known in the blogsphere for people to read/follow your blog.  If you're a newbie, you might as well give up because you're just writing to the ether.  For the longest time, I thought the only person reading my blog was my mother.  No, seriously.  And the worst of it was, for about the first month or so of this blog, that was actually the case.  Even bloggers who now have thousands of followers didn't have any when they started.  The key is to remember that we all have to start somewhere.


• You need to blog every day, even if you don't have anything useful to say.  OK, on one hand, there is some truth to this myth because posting regularly does drive traffic to the blog.  However, from the beginning, I decided that quality of posts for my blog would always trump quantity.  I made the conscious choice that I'd rather post fewer times per week but make sure each post was up to snuff.  I figured, you all (my awesome readers) would be more likely to forgive occasional gaps in my posting than a series of lame articles.  :)

• Bloggers are narcissists who only talk about themselves (or their kids/cats/hobbies/etc).  Good blogs are not about the blogger at all, they're about the audience.  The key is determining the audience and then staying consistent.  iggi&gabi is about writing and creativity, so unless something relates to one or both of those topics somehow, I don't post it.  Sure, I have snuck in some pictures of my cats now and then.  I may have even made some Brazil references or used knitting lingo from time to time.  But this blog is not about my cats, or my Brazilian family, or my obsession with knitting.  It's about writing so unless these other topics relate to that, they're left out.

• Blogging takes hours a day and if you start a blog, you will have no time left for writing/living.  Again, this is all about finding balance.  At first, I spent WAY too much time writing posts, reading blogs, commenting on blogs and responding to comments (OMG when I got my first comment ever I almost died!).  Bit by bit, I figured out ways to do things more efficiently.  Now, I try to write my posts during the weekend prior and schedule them to post automatically.  I've set up Google Reader so I can scan through and choose which blogs I want to read each day.  A lot of it has been trial and error, but slowly I am figuring out which short cuts work best for me.

• If you don't have earth-shattering things to say, you shouldn't have a blog.  When I first started blogging, I felt very isolated.  I felt like I was all alone at my computer, writing words and sending them out into the void.  Sure, I followed a few blogs, but was too shy to comment because I kept thinking: "Who would anyone want to hear what I have to say?"  When I finally got up the nerve to comment (and started getting lovely comments back!) I realized that the blogsphere wasn't some big scary place as I imagined.  It was a community.  Blog posts were no longer something I had to "produce" out of nothing; they became a way for me to respond to what was happening in the world of writing.  When I started thinking of blogging as being part of a dialogue, it took the pressure off me as a writer.  After all, it's a lot easier to join in a conversation that's already going on, than it is to fill the void with a monologue.



What blogging myths have you discovered were not true?

11 comments:

Sheila Siler said...

Thank you for this blog, it was good to read over and think about. I agree with your points. I also think there is value in writing for yourself, not just for the reader. Sometimes it's okay to get started with blogging by just writing for your family, and then if you enjoy it you might stretch out a bit more.

KarenG said...

Love this post! Blogging myths, yes, here's one-- that once you get on social media you will find an agent, get a contract, sell tons of books, or whatever else it is you want, and generally find that all your dreams come true. Basically, don't do it unless you enjoy it because otherwise it is NOT the magic formula for "building one's business."

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Well said! One myth that isn't true is that those pursuing publication must blog. If you don't love it, don't do it, I say.

And I was one of those early followers. :)

Kelly said...

Great post!
I post when I can. I think many blogs follow a schedule but I just can't right now.
I love the sense of community that blogging brings!

coffeelvnmom said...

Good points, Gabi!

Another myth? That people will follow your blog just because you follow theirs. I think the blogosphere tends to be a lot closer-knit than some people realize. If you don't show interest in someone's posts, why would they show interest in yours? And as you said, building up your follower base can take time. Also, actually acknowledging the people who take the time to comment on your blog does make a difference -- I don't think everyone agrees with that, though. (Course then, if you're like me, you subscribe to/follow so many blogs because you're *truly* interested that no matter how hard you try, you can't keep up with them anyway! But that's a whole other point to address!)

Jessica

gabi said...

Great points made by all! And I definitely agree that you gotta blog out of love if you decide to do it at all. Because then no matter how anyone else responds to a given post, you've already won.

catdownunder said...

Miaous of agreement. I treat my blog as my daily warm up exercises but some of you are so fit you do not need to do that - but then I am an ancient cat!

Kerryn Angell said...

Hm. I think I need to blog more for my audience than for myself. But then maybe that's just as helpful?

Ghenet said...

Great post! I agree with your points and I'm trying to remember them as I start posting on my writing blog again. I'm a little hestitant to start up again because I'm worried I don't have anything interesting to say. Of course, that probably isn't true. Truth is, I love blogging so I just need to dive right back in :)

JoLynne Lyon said...

Thanks, I read this with interest. Writing and blogging can be hard to balance, but for me it's been a delightful way to share ideas--even if my follower count is small.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Really great post! This is my favorite: Good blogs are not about the blogger at all, they're about the audience.

You have a really great attitude about blogging, and I'm happy you keep posting! I always read, even when I don't comment. :)

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