How to blog or not to blog that is the question

There are many ways that people seem to be using the medium of blogging. What I’ve been attracted to here is mostly the more creative and reflective blogs. By looking at them, I’ve learnt from what different folks have been trying to achieve through blogging. (In what follows, I’m not thinking of the informative, expository kind of blogs.)

For me, this is mainly an exercise in self-exploration to see where I might go with blogging myself. Looking at what other people are doing is a great way to learn and increase the possibilities of my own blog.

Doodle You

The journal blogs: These seem to to be written mostly to document the writing life of the blogger. A lot of these are about writer’s block, achieving weekly goals in writing, acceptances, rejections and some are, happily, about completion of big projects. Others are simply about the daily life of the person. These provide encouragement to the writer and others in the blogging community and often help overcome obstacles or relieve frustration.

The idea based/ creative style blogs: These are literary pieces in themselves. Some post excerpts from their fiction or episodes of their lives in memoir syle or just short, self-contained pieces that say something about the world around or respond to the world in some way. I like to read these a lot and have tried some myself. I think most such bloggers have larger projects they are working on and use the blog to gain exposure.

The craft blogs: These talk about technique, craft of writing and what people are doing in their own fiction, poetry or other kinds of writing. Unlike formal books, these are constantly evolving with the writer and therefore may not have a unified stance on these aspects of craft which make them more interesting to learn from.

The side-blogs: These are professional blogs of writers, educators, librarians (things that I’m interested in) which people keep on the side to talk about their main work. Students do this too hoping to have a body of work to show when they enter that profession or higher studies in that field.

Just blogs: These are just that. Blogs. A picture or a line or a moment that’s caught the writer’s fancy. These don’t have an end goal in mind. They embody the essence of the genre of blogging.

There are millions of other kinds of blogs out there. And really, any attempt to classify anything as diverse and amorphous as a blog is futile and could be counterproductive. But then, it’s also too easy to say this is my space and I can do what I will with this. Why do I need to think of a goal or an audience?

doodle

The only reason I’ve been thinking of types of blogs at all is because writing good blogs, just like writing anything else, takes time. Therefore, in order to do justice to the blog, its audience and myself, a goal might not be a bad thing.

There are accompanying anxieties too. For example:

  • If all my good ideas turn into small nuggets and become blogs, will I have any left to follow through and develop into long pieces to put in elsewhere?
  • If I streamline my ideas and fit a category, will I soon run out of ideas since my topics will get restricted?
  • If I’m using the blog as a daily journal to get through writer’s block, is it providing me a false sense of productivity?
  • If I think a craft technique is great right now and discover it’s not later on, will I have to eat my words in a public journal (the blog) later on?
  • Is the time spent blogging justified considering that except for the fortunate few, anything one writes goes down into oblivion very, very soon after the publish button is hit?

Fortunately, blogs don’t need conclusions and this is about as much as I have today.

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86 thoughts on “How to blog or not to blog that is the question”

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  2. Hello,thank you for stopping by & liking my post – as you have probably seen my work is really whatever pops into my head at any given moment, pure & simple, light hearted or melancholy. I have no structure, no theme, nothing that really entice the reader (apart from those that sometimes want a giggle or a cry!) I enjoyed this piece and will follow your works. Thank you.

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  3. Pingback: Blogging Alone
  4. Hello Bottledworder
    Great piece! Yours is probably the first site that I stopped in to see when I started…( don’t know why I didn’t follow, didn’t know how maybe? ) Anyway…am following now and look forward to more of your thoughts on this

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    1. I’m honoured being linked so long as the links are acknowledged as my post :). I really liked your post “cherry-berry . . . ” but have been waiting for a breather to get a chance to comment in detail. Loved both style and content of that post BTW.

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  5. Reblogged this on Post A Day and commented:
    I have often found it hard to “blog like others”, it’s like the unspoken rule of a new community, the awkward moments of learning a new language. This blog at bottledwonder however, helped in opening my eyes to how many different types of blogs there are out there, all are still defined as blogging, yet all blog to the way the bloggers liked.

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  6. Sometimes I have a moment of hesitancy when blogging what I think is a creative idea because I worry that no one will see it! But I always end up putting it out there anyway. Maybe when I get more followers I can always reblog it!

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  7. I blog to pass the time, order my thoughts…and to practice for NaNoWriMo. I’ve been lucky to have a small following of people who relate to my inner-freak/dork/mad woman. Been reading your posts – thoroughly enjoying them πŸ™‚

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  8. Happy you liked my post, and I’ll be sticking around here to see more of your posts like this one. I share your anxieties, worry about the time blogging takes from my other creative endeavors, but I’m also happy that the format forces me to focus narrowly, get something done. All those nuggets add up. Take care!

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  9. Another thought provoking post. The Slo-Man likes to write and use words and and one of his major ambitions is to write a book. He started two different blogs to try and learn about himself and his writing ability to fulfill that dream.

    And the big question (apart from “Does he have the skills?”, heh!) is how much of his personal reflections does he put into his blogs? Will he able to recycle some of that into his book?

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  10. A very interesting take on the blog world. Honestly, I don’t spend much time following the blogs of writers unless I happen to be a fan of their work outside the blog world. While all blogs are a form of writing (obviously) I prefer blogs that write about something other than writing itself, but that’s just my personal preference.

    I do think blogs are about the evolution of the writer. If you plan on keeping a long term blog you can’t expect the things you feel one day to be the same things you believe in a few months or a year later. So I wouldn’t worry about changing opinions. That’s the nice thing about the blogging community, it’s a chance to grow with a group of people who (if you’re lucky) won’t want to go out of their way to point out your flaws.

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  11. I just recently started a blog to help me get through my husband’s deployment. I’m afraid people won’t be drawn to it because it is and will continue to be a bit scattered-some journaling, some crafts, some creative styles. Basically anything I do during the days my husband is away, I plan to share. I’m not sure if that will result in an influx of readers because I will have different genres that appeal to different people, or will it cause people to lose interest and go elsewhere to hear stories of an Army wife going through deployment? Who knows? I guess I’ll shortly find out. Thanks for posting (and reading my rant). =)

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    1. I think that’s a fantastic idea. Waiting for a loved one to come back from deployment is hard, so I think anything that helps you get through the days is awesome. Good luck to you, and thank you.

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  12. Blogging is a free of mind and will. Whatever you want to post, just post whether it’s for daily basis or not. Just blog freely. Thanks for the post! I really appreciated it! I think for a newbie like me, I’m in the “just blogs” just saying. πŸ˜‰ God bless! πŸ™‚

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  13. Congratulations on a super blog .I should really consider those questions ! Very thought provoking . I am new to blogland and am constantly wrestling with all kinds of ideas as to my way forward with it all . I like the way I can just be totally random and post about stuff that interests me and explore a more creative side that had been dormant for what seems a long time. A VERY long time . Love your profile makes me think what sort of bottle am I ?? One of those little -greeny opaque victorian ink bottles with jagged tops unearthed from a dig . Don’t know why πŸ™‚

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  14. I recognised my blog in your second category – though I began with no aim in mind, just to write because I love writing and feel energised just by having written something. So as much as anything, writing a blog is about my well being! And yes, I find most blogs fascinating, just for the window into other lives and minds.

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  15. Before I retired, I used my office door as something of a political ‘town crier’. Eventually, younger people I worked with started coming to me to talk about issues, especially around election days. I adored it.

    But then I retired. No more office door to entice conversation from passers-by.

    And that’s why I started my blog – now I can’t imagine life before it!

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  16. Thank you, as always, for your post.

    Mine is definitely a side blog.

    My blog allows me to write about ideas other than what I am compelled to write about in my work while at the same time educating other people about marketing/copywriting.

    My blog is also a very useful tool for prospective clients; if they want to see examples of my work I have a solid body of articles on many topics for them to peruse. It also gives a glimpse into my personality, if they don’t like what they read then we probably wouldn’t work well together.

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  17. Wow, you’ve hit a chord here. As for audience, I find it helpful to think of ONE person who would find your blog interesting. Usually, other people will, too, but if you write for that one person, you’re not watering down your content. My one person, most days, is my mom. She lives two states away and I think about something interesting in my day I would tell her about. Other people happen to find it interesting, too (at least sometimes). And of course, Mom reads it everyday.

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  18. I’m nominating you for the Reader Appreciation Award, and the Beautiful Blogger Award. I really enjoy your blog! If you accept, you get to nominate 7 others, and tell your readers 7 facts about yourself.

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  19. Intriguing post; I’ve been blogging about writing and life for the last five years on Blogger, then felt like I needed a break. That lasted about two weeks. But I wanted some change, so I came to WordPress, found my blogging engines revving.

    With every book I write, I create a blog, charting the word count and just the feeling for that day’s work. Yeah, it’s a lot of blogs, but for some reason I like keeping track. Perhaps just because I can. I don’t have a set theme to my main blog, just what hits me for that day. Which is not very easy to classify, but akin to how I am. I do know I’m pleased with WP, and glad I switched. πŸ™‚

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    1. And I’m getting a lot of inspiration from you here. Blogging for 5 years is an accomplishment itself. I only hope I can find the same tenacity and determination in me. I hope one day I can start a paragraph the same way as you” “With every book I write . . . ” Thanks for checking out the blog.

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  20. You mentioned two things I, too, have struggled with in the past: (1) That a blog provides one with a “false sense of productivity” and (2) that what you write goes into “oblivion.”

    I’ve always tried, as I was taught a long time ago, to “do a little bit every day” and a blog helps with that. Writing a few posts and hitting that publish button feels like “yes, I did something!” I think a sense of daily accomplishment, especially if you’re a writer or an artist working on lengthy, long-term projects, is important. If I just focus on that last finish line (the completion of a novel, or a research paper) I get too depressed if, at the end of the day, I’m still not there.

    As for the oblivion, we never really know, right? There is a decent amount of bloggers whose posts were turned into other works. You could actually fine tune your blog for just that! Although I’m not following her setup completely, if you’re interested, Nina Amir blogged and later published “How to Blog A Book.” She has some great tips on streamlining a blog for that possible book option. Just a thought! πŸ™‚

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    1. Yes, the daily sense of accomplishment is important. Thanks for the book you mentioned. I checked out the contents and it’s helping me think through some ideas. I also checked out her website.

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  21. I started my blog because I wanted to share information on writing fiction, marketing and promoting books. I also learned that blogs are a great way to engage like minded people. It also gives others an opportunity to share in the writing experience as well.

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  22. I loved this blog. I feel very much like you regarding the ultimate reality of the blog. I wrestled with the idea today that to end the query process and self-publish was pretty much a decision that this is as far as this story will go, for now. An epublished book may not be attractive to anyone unless the world was beating my door down. I have concluded that breaking through the gatekeepers is just as daunting as breaking through the noise of the self-publishing world!

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  23. Ooh, a questionnaire! That’s tantamount to an opinion poll. Let’s see, let’s see…

    1. Yes – you’ll have an exponentially greater influx of ideas.
    2. No – restrictions actually assist inspiration flow, by providing parameters or guidelines. Subjects are always more complex than they seem before they’re explored.
    3. To the same degree that daily exercise provides an athlete with a false sense of productivity.
    4. Yes. Yes, you will. (But only if you want to.)
    5. Things have a way of repeatedly resurfacing, through means mysterious and arcane, instigated by Google and the idiosyncratic surfing habits of complete strangers you will never meet. Archives help.

    Here’s to tuppenceworths. Iechyd da!

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      1. Regarding 5, there’s a blog entry of mine that keeps turning up in the stats again and again, from Feb 19th 2011, despite my doing nothing special to advertise it. It’s about a guinea pig’s anal sac. There’s also a search term that keeps cropping up in my stats: “anal zoo”. I believe the two are linked. I often wonder if these people are satisfied with what they find.

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  24. I write all sorts. It’s a creative medium for me. Both while I finish a current project and also just as an outlet. The one thing I don’t want to do is have something that can be pigeon-holed, so I tend to just write what I want too. I guess that’s not much of a plan, but its right for me.

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  25. Your second “anxiety” is one I have though about as I am using my blog as a project. If I come to the end of it I could take one of a number of different actions. I might even start to blog on a completely different topic!
    Apart from a very boring account of my everyday life, which I do long-hand, this is my only writing project at present. Writer’s block is not likely to be a problem, although being boring is!

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  26. I agree with Ankoku1331. It’s the same reason I blog. To craft my skills. I also use my blogs to connect with like minded people. I don’t have enough experience or knowledge about writing to really help others, yet. But, I’m working on it. ( jlroeder.wordpress.com ) I also have a second blog. That I use to share with people my gluten free recipes. So my blogs are a mixture of sharing and learning. I consider writing on either blog productive, because I have learned and maybe taught just a bit. That is nothing if not productive.

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  27. I avoid snippets of my work due to concern with theft. People seem to enjoy documentaries that portray how something is created. I do the same with my writing. There’s alwasy a need to provide writing tips and express to other writers what I’ve learned as an independent writer.

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  28. I am glad to see that there is an audience for the bumbling-about blogs! I recently started a blog to stretch some under-used mental muscles and see if I couldn’t sharpen writing skills for perhaps more professional uses. Do you have favorite blogs in each of the categories you list?

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  29. I am enjoying your search and research on blog (ging). Two of your questions I wanted to put my two cents on, when I use my blog to get through writer’s blog I feel that I have accomplished something-I got through my writer’s block and I wrote a blog, thus I was productive. πŸ™‚

    Your last question, is interesting to me, how do you view your time spent blogging? I view/justify my time spent as an extension of everything that I do, have done or will do as a writer. Writing requires constant use, constant use turns into growth of skill and ability, which enables me to be able to express my ideas better. Then factor in the research and everything you are learning while you are writing. So, even those blogs of mine that nobody other than me have read (and there are a few of those) are still justified to me, because I did practice my craft, I did grow in skill, I probably learned something along the way and I was able to get something that I wanted to express out on virtual paper.

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  30. Sometimes I spend a while writing pieces, and other times, they’re just…photos of clouds. I don’t think my blog could ever really be categorized except it is like a junk sale of words and pictures ;D My favorite blogs tend to be the ones with memoir-style writing and personal anecdotes and stories.

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