Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Why Did You Start Blogging?

I've been blogging for nearly two years now. Lately I've been thinking a lot about what role blogging plays in my world as a writer. I'm going to explore this topic a bit more this year, so bear with me. (That phrase is funny. Bear with me. I feel a doodle coming on...)

I started blogging on a whim. People said you need to blog to become a writer, for an agent/publisher wouldn't pick up a writer without a strong online presence.

BUT I was also as freaked out as a kid taking the SAT test with no pencil and no clothes. Yep. Like that. I assumed blogging meant no more private me, showing everyone what a silly person I was, how sadly unpublished and woefully unprepared I was for all things blogging. Still, I dove in with post #1.

So a day after I started blogging, I decided to quit.

But then I thought, "I should blog about wanting to quit blogging" and then post #2 was born. And it kept going, and going...

So how about you? When and why did you start blogging?


**********

This week's Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog question comes from Sarah Fine, who asks:

"Where do your expectations for your writing
(career/skill/quality/achievements) come from? Is the source internal, external, or both? And how do you cope when you don't meet them?"

Great question, Sarah! This week, Laura will answer and next week, I'm up!

78 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

I started blogging after I researched the path to publication and saw all the other writer blogs. Of course, quitting has crossed my mind a time or two, but I wouldn't change a thing. I've met so many wonderful people.

Andrea Mack said...

I started to feel more connected to the writing community. I don't think I'd quit now, I'm pleased to have met and learned from so many other writers.

shelly said...

For one, I thought if I blogged I'd become a better writer. Practice makes better. Right?
Also, I wanted to learn from other writers and meet new peeps. And of course, get exposure but I've already decided to go Indie. Scary. Right? I figure if that's what I'm doing and have to market myself, I might as well take all the credit. I'm the boss of my path.

catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com said...

Blogging has so many benefits long term, especially when you get nervous that you won't have a clue what to do when you get published, because we can all relate to each other. I wouldn't be without it now and last year I almost quit.

Anne Gallagher said...

A friend of mine told me I should blog. I had no idea what she was talking about. I'm a late bloomer. I believe October 28, 2009 was my first blog. Although I did lurk for quite a few months previous.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I started blogging because I read so much that it's important to have a web presence. And it's an awesome way to connect with the writing community. I hope by promoting debut and middle grade authors that I am doing my part to be supportive to other writers. I'm glad I only blog once a week because it's a lot of work. Which gets me to ask the same question you do here sometimes.

Laura Pauling said...

My biggest two reasons were to have a professional web presence for when querying and for a way to support friends who were having book releases! I've been been blogging for 2 years and what I didn't realize and know about was the blogging community and the friendships. That's been the best reason!

Em-Musing said...

It's been two years for me also, and I couldn't wait to blog. I just figured no one would read it, so what would be the harm? I have lots of thoughts that won't work in my manuscripts so putting them in blog posts clears my mind for my novels.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I started blogging because my publisher told me to get my butt online.
I've continued to blog because of the friendships I've made here.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

ROFL about your second post!

I started a blog for the same reasons as you, but Blogging for Dummies didn't really go into HOW to develop a following. It took me a while to figure it out. I didn't mind though. I was just having fun in the beginning, posting once a week about photography even though I knew no one was reading my posts. It was scary when people did start to follow me and comment. Then I knew I had to say something important (and make sure there were no typo). :)

Clarissa Draper said...

I started blogging before I wanted to be a writer. But, when I started writing, I found a few writing blogs about writing and decided I should get one of my own. I don't really know all the details it was so long ago but that's the gist.

Joshua said...

My first blog of any kind came back in 1997 when my parents moved and dragged me 5 states away for my senior year in high school. It was an Angelfire webpage that I used to keep in touch with friends. My first Blogger blog came about in 2007 as a way to share pictures with my family who all live in Illinois, Wisconsin, or Colorado. Since they're all on Facebook now, we just share the pics there and that blog is pretty much dead. Then there were three failed blogs that never picked up steam. The first did okay for about 10 months, then tapered off. It wasn't what I wanted it to be. Which brings us to my current incarnation that was started in February 2011 and is doing a whole lot better than the others. Gives me hope, and I've met some amazing people. Plus, it gives me a place to be a complete and utter nerd, and saves The Wife from having to listen to my nerd and being bored to death.

Deborah Walker said...

I started blogging as a place to keep my bibliography. It's quite handy to have a place to point people to.

I keep blogging, just as another commentator said, because of the friends I have made.

April Plummer said...

I've been blogging off and on for about 5 years but finally found focus as a blogging WRITER about two years ago. I heard the same things you did - you need to blog. I also found that it's great writing practice. And I wanted a writing community. Or to be a part of the one out there. There've been one or two times when I've thought "No way. I'm done. I don't want to deal with it anymore."

But I will. I enjoy it, and I love this writing community. One day, I hope to connect with my readers through my blog as well!

Laurel Garver said...

I'd kept a personal blog back when blogger was brand new, 2001 to 06, then stopped to start fiction writing. Lo and behold, at a writing conference in '09, panelists talked about how helpful it is to have a blog, so I dove in again. The whole "followers" technology was new to me at the time, and it took awhile to get the hang of the new etiquette. For many months I had under 30 followers until I started doing blogfests.

B.E. Sanderson said...

I went back to my original blog and checked. I started blogging on 12/2/06... dang, I totally missed my five year anniversary. Well, crud.

Happy 2yr Anniversary, Lydia! May we enjoy many more years of reading your posts. =o)

Jaye Robin Brown said...

I had a teacher blog for a couple of years but then stopped that and started my writing blog. I think my teacher blog was much better. Call me dork, but I want to quit blogging almost daily. I suffer massive ways of insecurity but putting it out there. 140 character Tweets - no problem. Full page blog posts - Eek!

Karen Lange said...

I started blogging three years ago this March. I did it because I wanted to say I had blogging experience so I could apply for certain writing jobs. I had NO clue what I was getting into. It's stressful sometimes, but it's been a great adventure!

Anna said...

I started blogging about a year and a half ago because I also heard that it was a good idea to have a web presence. I've continued to blog because of the people I have met through this community.

Slamdunk said...

Funny Dr. I share your reservations discussed in your post #2. I guess that is the advantage to being an anonymous blogger.

I started blogging for selfish reasons--to write regularly (and hopefully improve) and to entertain myself. This is my 5ht year. Despite my selfish beginnings, my eyes were opened as to how much more the blogging experience is.

julie fedderson said...

I started blogging because you told me I should. How's that for peer pressure? Next thing you know, you'll have me behind the gymnasium after school smoking salvia, eating chocolate covered bacon, and watching Jersey Shore.

BTW, thanks for telling me I should blog. I love it.

Old Kitty said...

I started blogging in January 2010 purely because my old kitty was very very ill and I needed to connect with others in a similar situation who wouldn't dismiss the trauma I was going through at that time! :-)

Take care
x

DL Hammons said...

I actually started blogging under a pseudonym (Misbehaving) even before I considered myself a writer. Think back on it now I'm sure that was the first indication of my writing roots starting to resurface. For me, blogging was a way to express myself in a way I couldn't do in real life. Blogging actually led me to my first book! :)

Christina Lee said...

Hi Lydia! I stared four years ago as a style blog in connection to my shopping column at my newspaper job!

Then I thought, yeah I like this shopping/style stuff but I REALLY like this writer stuff. So I jumped into novel writing.

I slowly changed my blog over to an inspiration, lifestyle blog with writing thrown in, b/c I didn't want to pigeonhole myself again.

I am so grateful for the friendships I've made, but I no longer believe you NEED a blog as a writer. A website and on-line presence (twitter/FB/Tumblr) yes, but the market is saturated with blogs. So now I just blog about whatever b/c I still like to, 2-3x a week, and hope to keep the connections I've made (and no longer worry about the numbers).

Curious to hear what your conclusions on this will be!

L.G.Smith said...

I started my current blog almost exactly one year ago. I did it for the same reasons you started yours. Because I was told I had to have online presence.

And I've wanted to quit many times too! It's a lot of work. But it's also the only real connection I have with other writers, and as I blogged today I think we need that support of like-minded individuals in order to succeed.

A Lady's Life said...

I started blogging because my husband told me it was a nice thing to do. You get to know people. Visit in their lives, share their worlds and at the same time share yourself with others.
Sometimes you even help people with a thought or remind them of better things and make their day a bit better.
All's good.:)

LTM said...

because Janet Reid said I wasn't ready to start querying unless I had an "online presence."

And now I have an agent NOT Ms. Reid who says it's not that important.

But could I quit? No way! And I'm so glad I met YOU and all my other wonderful bleeps. So JR FTW! :D <3 ((hugs))

Little Ms. Fun said...

I started blogging because I had a lot to say. I'm always telling stories and people are always cracking up. I love putting smiles on people's faces and hoped that a blog would reach out to a few more people.

February Grace said...

I started blogging mmmmaaaany moons ago, in a completely different arena, to communicate with people about non-profit work I was doing at the time.

I found that in and among writing about the drives and projects, I was writing about daily life too and I worked up to a small but loyal readership. I liked the exchange, of getting to really know people through their blogs.

I started a writing blog because I was so frustrated with the whole process of trying to figure out how/why/who to query that I knew that others had to feel that pain too and I wanted to connect with them. There was some small thought about establishing a 'presence' because all the agents were talking about that a couple years ago but mostly I just wanted to talk to other writers.

Now, I wonder if there's a point in continuing my blog. But there's a whole post in that- one I was actually planning to write today if I can squeeze it into the schedule.

I started for one reason, I stayed for another. It's mostly about connection- but I feel like so many blogs now (NOT this one, never this one) are just commercials that I don't even want to read them anymore. I want real people, not billboards.

Another fascinating post (I'm glad you kept going after that first post!)

xoxo
bru

LD Masterson said...

I started because I thought I had to - that whole online presence thing. Some days I enjoy it. Some days it's a chore. But the best part is definitely the people I've had a change to meet and the online friends I've found.

Suze said...

I started to meet like minds.

Wendy Ewurum said...

I started because a friend suggested it as company for my insomnia. The strange thing is that it worked. Almost from the word go I slept more every night. I think I just needed an outlet.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I started blogging after my first book was released because I needed to promote and build an online presence. Blogging quickly become a lot more for me. There are so many wonderful people to connect with and such a wealth of information in the bloggy world. I wish I had entered long before I did.

Lindsay said...

I started blogging because I wanted to connect with other writers. I was nervous at first (and almost gave up), but I've learnt so much about writing, "met" so many fabulous people, and formed friendships. It's been a totally worthwhile experience. :)

mshatch said...

like a lot of people I started blogging to connect with other writers and it has made a huge difference, from finding the best cp a girl could want to getting the nicest rejection ever (and yes, there are such things!). All of which have encouraged me to keep on keeping on. Quitting is NOT an option!

storyqueen said...

I started my blog so that I would have an online presence of some sort...a place my kid-readers could find me if they wanted. I kept blogging because of the connections with other writers and because of the self-reflective nature of blog posts.

Blogging keeps it real.

Shelley

WritingNut said...

Happy new Year Lydia!!!

I started blogging for the same reason you did, as well as to share my journey... it made it more real somehow.

But it's become so much more than I ever expected.. it's been such an awesome experience, and I'm so glad I did it... meeting so many wonderful people (like yourself :) ), sharing their experiences... wouldn't trade this for the world.

Cold As Heaven said...

I started blogging 2 years ago, exactly. I just enjoy writing, and have eriodically been writing diary (in particular when travelling). So, I thought why not just write a blog >:)

Cold As Heaven

Emily R. King said...

I have a survey about blogging right now that asks this same question. When I wrote it, I thought about my own answer. I blog for networking. It's all about making contacts and forming relationships. That's the bottom line for me!
If you get a sec, come take my survey! I'd love for you to share your thoughts about blogging there.

Krispy said...

I started blogging because I felt like it. I've had a few blogs over the years, all through high school and through college. They were all just for fun and for my friends. My livejournal was essential for keeping in touch with my friends through college, even as facebook rose into prominence. The blogger blogs we had before that we used for silly things - memes and quizzes and logs of random things we did at school.

When Alz and I decided to write something together, the blog seemed like a natural extension of that. I guess we're just part of the "oversharer" generation. :P

Coleen Patrick said...

I started blogging to build an online presence (I didn't even have FB), but it was terrifying. I am not a "sharer" let alone an "oversharer" and I struggle with wondering whether or not I'm coming across as genuine without getting uncomfortably personal. Not easy, but I've started to become attached to blogging and making connections.

Jessica R. Patch said...

I started blogging for the same reasons you did and then I discovered, I really do love it! :)

Munk said...

I started blogging the same as you... the industry said I needed an on line presence. Somewhere along the way I realized that what I really wanted was to be the best damn writer I could be and my online presence was getting in the way of that, so I quit.
The good news: the writing is getting better.
The bad news: no closer to publication.
You, fair one, remain an inspiration.

Saumya said...

I started blogging just to try it out. I ended up connecting with other writers and now I can't live without it! Bloggers are some of the most supportive and encouraging people I've met.

Carol Riggs said...

I started blogging cuz I thought it was a good idea, not knowing it should be more than a journal of one's own writing. Then I got out and met other bloggers, and viola!--blogger relationships and support from other writers. Very fun. I like blogging, giving back and receiving info and encouragement. :)

mooderino said...

My blog was registered in 2009. My first post was in 2011. I didn't really think anyone would take notice of anything I had to say. It was only after I started visiting other blogs that I thought maybe I could contribute something too.

Elana Johnson said...

I started blogging as an outlet. It's worked for years and years. Sure, I've tried to be helpful and professional, but really my blog is an outlet for me to share my thoughts, feelings, and opinions about things. Lots of things.

Does my publisher like it? Sure, they do. It's thousands of people I can reach that they don't have to. Is it necessary for a book deal?

NO.

So yeah. I blog because I like it. Otherwise, I'd quit.

Connie Keller said...

I started blogging in 2007 because my daughter set up a blog for me and said, "Here. Write." I did four posts that year. Then in 2008 I did 27 posts. By 2009, I was hooked (183 posts).

Sometimes blogging feels like too much. But I'd miss all the friends I've made. And I really believe that forcing myself to come up with four posts a week (3 posts for one blog, 1 for another) has made me a much better writer.

Leslie Rose said...

I started just over a year ago. I have been astounded with the waterfall of information blogging has given me. I finally got organized with specific bookmarks so I can go back when I need to reference a specific post. The people I've met are amazing as well.

Carrie Butler said...

That's exactly how I felt about blogging. When I read your post, I wanted to take a giant rubber stamp and mark "YES! THIS!" across the first few paragraphs. :)

By the way, I love the bear doodle!

Lost_without_a_Map said...

I started blogging simply because when I say the things I blog about to people in person...they get kinda quiet and a strange look comes across their face. I mean, surely I am not the only one who thinks these things... Now, I can blog about the 'Loose things in my Head' and receive no strange looks. It feels kind of good. ;}

LynnRush said...

I started out in around September 2009 after a writer said, "You need to have a blog and be on Facebook." I had NO clue what I was doing. Random posts a couple times a week, terrible design, etc.

But as I went on, I really fell in love with it. Blogging is GREAT fun. I've met tons of awesome people, awesome writers, and even managed to meet some great readers who've read my work. It's super fun!

Angela Brown said...

I started blogging becasue someone encouraged me, well, two years after they started encouraging me. I was rather hesitant...sorta.

I didn't think anyone would care to read what I had to say. Then I thought, "Duh...you want to be an author so you better wok on that perspective." So I dove in with a small following I could count on one hand for a month. Since then, I've blogged and had the best time doing it.

Southpaw said...

Cutest doodle yet! I love your second blog post.

Louise Bates said...

I started a personal blog right after getting married and moving to a new city, trying to find some way to still connect with people even though I had moved away from everyone and everything I knew (and people in my new place were Not Very Friendly). I quite the personal blog in the summer of '10, and that was when I really took off with the writing blog - it fit my needs better (the personal blog had mostly turned into a place to angst about whether or not I was being a good mother which, oddly enough, didn't help me be a better mother at all) and helped me better connect to a community of writers. I'm truly grateful for it - I would not have grown and learned as much in the last year and half without the blog and blogging community!

Lauren Alissa Hunter said...

Similarly, I was TERRIFIED of giving up my privacy and letting people into my world through blogging... but then I had a complete freak-out-about-life moment that resulted in quitting my job and traveling in Asia for a year, which inspired me to start a blog-- as an explanation, an apology, an outlet, and so much more.

Kristy Shen said...

I started blogging 3 months ago. I resisted blogging for a long time because I had nothing interesting to blog about, but now I'm addicted. Comments are like crack to me.

I also love meeting new people. No one understands writers better than other writers so I'm especially glad I came across your blog :)

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

my motivation was much the same as yours. And also i had been reading other writer's blogs and felt i was missing out on some of the community by not having a blog of my own.

Katy Anders said...

I accidentally started blogging.

Yahoo had these Yahoo 360 profiles that had blogging capability, and I thought my profile looked too empty, so I cut and pasted a few things from my journal/diary into it, and pretty soon I had a ton of people commenting.

It spiraled out of control for a while, in fact...

Stephen Tremp said...

I started blogging about three years ago. I also opened a Web site at the same time. The blog took off and the Web site tanked. So I scratched the latter and went with the blog.

I blog, therefore, I am.

bard said...

I first started blogging to enter a writing contest and impress a girl. Less than a week later I had already decided that the girl wasn't worth the effort, but little by little I started writing stuff. Eventually I deleted it.

A few months later I came to the realization that I occasionally had the need to express myself through creative writing. This realization led to my present journal.

Botanist said...

I started just over two years ago, largely to establish an online presence (because I'd read so much advice that it was needed).

It wasn't (and still really isn't) a writing blog because I didn't dare even pretend to know anything about writing.

I started by talking about my family's immigration experience, hoping there might be something of value to other immigrants. That didn't happen :) Most of my visitors turned out to be other writers.

gloriarichard said...

I started blogging in late summer 2010 for much the same reasons you did, Lydia. I wanted to/needed to internalize my "career" as a writer. That meant headshot, business cards, blog and FB page.

The payoff has been huge in terms of building a network of writing pals.

I haven't yet crossed the "hump" into a world of comfort with my blog. My first post? It was a tour of my site. A tour of my site that WordPress gobbled when I put up my second post. Dagnabbit! I was NOT an operator error.

This year I chose to move my blog savvy up a notch. I'm taking Kristen Lamb's Blogging-to-Build-Brand. Duh! May as well learn how to do it right now that I'm committed. LOVE that we can borrow your doodles so long as we link back.

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss lydia! wow for sure im glad you didnt quit blogging cause you got one of the coolest blogs ever! for me i got blogging cause my doctor said it could be good for me and she knew i like writing stuff. wow i was sooooo scared and didnt think anyone could wanna be my blogger friend cause of me being a kid. but woweee now i got so much neat friends and a cool cp and cause of all my friends im being a way better writer. thanks for being one of my blogger friends and thanks for not quitting. :) ...hugs from lenny

Man O' Clay said...

I started my blog a little over a year ago, but I began regular posting just four months ago.

It started as a way to reflect, and is still serving that purpose. However, I do see the possibility of my blog giving me a platform for my book (that's still needing a publisher). Of course, I could always use another income stream...this teaching thing just doesn't pull in the cash like I thought it would - ha!

lbdiamond said...

I've been blogging for over two years and am proud that I've kept it up consistently. Still following the publication dream. ;)

Rachna Chhabria said...

I also started blogging nearly two years back. Within a few months it will be my second anniversary.

I started blogging to build a platform as I was told agents expect a writer to have an online presence. As time passed I made many awesome friends :)

Barbara Watson said...

I started blogging to learn more about writing and to connect with writers. Making sure I take blogging breaks when I need them keeps my blogging fresh and allows me to concentrate on other things more thoroughly during those breaks.

Ainsley Shay said...

i started blogging for the same reasons you did, and felt the same way too. but, unlike you i haven't been as dedicated as i should be - but hello 2012...
your blogs are always great! thank you and i'm glad you decided to continue.

Ghenet Myrthil said...

I first started blogging during my MFA program. I wanted to document the experience. At the time, I hadn't really discovered other writer blogs so I wasn't a big part of the community.

Then a little over a year ago, after a blogging hiatus, I decided to start fresh. I archived and deleted my MFA posts and set out to write a more professional blog. I was most excited about using the blog to connect with other writers, and that's exactly what's happened. :) Plus, it's fun!

Margo Kelly said...

Oh my gosh! Great post. I started blogging for the same reason, but along the way, I met some really great writerly pals.

Kristy Leigh Logan said...

Having just returned to the blogging world this week, I feel very much like you did 2 years ago. I used to have what initially was as a 'mom blog' and then morphed into a writing blog. I didn't really have a clue what I was doing and my self-consciousness got the best of me so I abandoned it. I still can't help but feel like a bit of a fraud in terms of having a blog about writing. I guess that I'm afraid I won't have anything of value to say. I'm not published and I'm in the very beginning stages of my writing. I do know, however, that I have learned an incredible amount about writing and publication from reading other blogs. The support and sense of community are priceless and I only hope I can do my part to contribute to that. :)

Jennifer Hillier said...

I had always wanted to start a blog, but was afraid to be distracted while I was writing CREEP, so I held off until I about 3 drafts in. When I had a handle on revisions, I started the blog. Like you, I felt I needed some kind of web presence and wasn't quite ready for a website, plus I needed a way to quiet the thoughts in my head. But mainly, I wanted to chronicle the journey, if only for me. Little did I know how many amazing people I'd meet through blogging (ahem... like you). It's totally been worth it.

akossket said...

I started blogging (2010) because a writer friend of mine made me. I was too shy and self conscious on my own to make the jump. The goal was to blog about our writing journey. Something to keep us accountable but also connect us to other writers.
I've never stopped since, although I did take some break here and there.

Mindy McGinnis said...

Great question - I started blogging b/c we're "supposed" to. I keep blogging b/c I found out I really, really like it. It's a great output for the little thoughts that aren't novel or even short story material. Keeps the brain alive.

Christie Wright Wild said...

I've been blogging for 2 years. I started because I wanted to become part of an online writing community and because I knew it would help me be more consistent and more focused in my overall writing efforts.

There have been times when I fell short of my 3x a week goal, like the month last year when my friends were so worried I hadn't posted in 4 weeks that they were calling me. I love all my blogger and writer friends. They definitely keep me going.

I've considered quitting a couple times, but just post less frequently instead of actually quitting. Couldn't we just have 26 hours in the day?

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