10 reasons for writing a blog, and 5 for not

The other day, my beautiful wife said to me “Remind me why you write this blog again?”. I stood up with a red face, steam ready to hiss out of my ears, and replied “YOU BL**DY WELL KNOW WHY!”.

Ok I didn’t, and she didn’t. I don’t speak to her that way, and I don’t have a temper. She knows why, she was joking around and I was trying to finish up a post whilst my son was trying to get me to tell him what some pictures in one of his books were. But it got me thinking, Why do I write a blog? Ok so at this point anyone who has read “what the blog is about” is thinking, we know why you write a blog, you are forever blabbing on about it. I say, OK in general terms here are ten reasons for writing a blog, and five for not:

  1. Writing practice – Speaks for itself, no?
  2. Keeping your mind sharp – Writing, thinking, writing, hopefully thinking = dying brain cells given temporary stay of absence.
  3. To make some sense of your own brain – I found that writing some posts, some things became clear that I had not thought of previously. It gave me fresh perspective.
  4. Putting something out there for someone to read – The world is your oyster assuming someone reads it. But, put it out there and there is the opportunity for someone to do so. Blogging gives you the opportunity to do so.
  5. The community aspect – You read some blogs, they might read you. You trade some comments. Suddenly you have a blog friend or two. You realise there is much more to this than just the blog, but being part of a community of different minds. You get feedback, encouragement, and different perspectives. If you’re a reasonable blogger, you return the favour where possible. You take it on and grow from it. There would have been none of this without the community aspect.
  6. Giving the world access to your mindless dribblings – Similar to point four but different. Not only can you put something out, it can be whatever you want, with your editorial control. Want to rant about medical insurance, go ahead. Want to tell everyone what you did yesterday. Go ahead.
  7. Test your motivation – Maybe you want to see if you  can write something larger but need someway to kick start it. See if you can handle the long haul.
  8. Get the writing itch (back) – Daily writing could be a test as in the previous point, but also will tell you if you want to write, whether it becomes a joy or a slog. You may find it gives you enough to realise that you’re thinking about writing a lot, about different ideas, maybe start some stories or poems. You get the itch.
  9. To see if you have what it takes – Are you any good at writing in the real world, or only in your head? Only one way to find out. Give it a shot. Let someone read it, try and see.
  10. To put your creativity out there – Humorous writing, humorous pictures, serious writing, stories, poems, characters, artworks, thoughts, ideas. What ever you can create, you can put out there.
And five reasons for not:
  1. Takes up too much time – Especially if you have other projects on the go.
  2. You could use your creativity in other ways –  e.g. writing a book.
  3. The world might not want to hear your opinions on what you had for breakfast, or on underwear and coffee  – (I’ve not written about that, I should add).
  4. Your motivation for it fails and the blog sits there unloved and un-added to – Happened to me with an old blog. Not enough commitment, I removed it.
  5. You are useless at it – If it is that bad, maybe it is time to go back to the day job.

Ok, ok, so some of the the reasons for not, are a bit tongue in cheek. The beauty of a blog is no-one (husband, wives, partners, accepted) has to read it. You really can post about whatever you want, even a rant can be informative or funny to read. But, getting readers is the one of the fun parts.

Something I missed? Thoughts?

Lexicon word of the day: Portage.

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37 comments on “10 reasons for writing a blog, and 5 for not

  1. L.S. Engler says:

    I think one that you may have missed on the reasons why to write a blog is to build a platform. I know that’s ultimately why I started writing my blog, but I suppose this one really fits for people pursuing an active occupation out of something (in my case writing). I definitely try not to let that be the overarching purpose of the blog, though, because then you just sound disingenuous and only trying to get readers to buy crap. But I can’t lie and say it isn’t a big part of why I blog. I think the community aspect could easily tie in with this, too.

    There’s definitely a lot of reason to write a blog. I just have to remind myself of them on those days when I’m feeling all, “UGH. I don’t want to have to write a pooooost.”

    • Elliot says:

      Yes good point, I missed that one, but you still need something to put on it, some angle to follow.

      I often prepare posts ahead of time, because time has been a bit limited early morning lately, but that is a bit more difficult with some of your posts.

  2. crubin says:

    Although I started my blog as the requisite marketing tool of authors, it morphed into much more than I imagined. I particularly didn’t anticipate #5 in your reasons to blog, but for me, this has been the most fulfilling aspect of blogging, which as an introvert, “Who’d have thunk it?”

    But the biggest drawback is of course the time it takes away from my creative writing. Finding that balance is always difficult, but as you point out, writing a blog post is still writing, just in another form.

    • Elliot says:

      I know exactly what you mean about the time taken. I am going to drop my posts down to about 4 a week starting next week. I pretty much have a post prepared about it for Tuesday.

      The community aspect is definitely the most unexpected bonus.

  3. Pete Denton says:

    The community aspect has been the most important plus for me. I started blogging to get my work out there and get writing on a more regular basis. The community has helped improve my writing, given me some of the tools I now use on a daily basis and challenged me to improve.

    It does take up too much time though 🙂

    • Elliot says:

      I commented above the same point about the community aspect. It is the most unexpected bonus. I kind of hoped I would find some readers but this has become something more.

      Definitely agree on the time aspect.

  4. Jeannie says:

    It’s a two-edged sword for me. The #1 point of blogging for me is the interaction with other writers. I don’t really care about the platform aspect as I am no longer actively pursuing publication. The #1 thing I don’t like is the time it takes to ‘visit and respond back’. I actually spend way more time trying to answer the comments and visit blogging friends posts than I get to write! But don’t we all like comments and ‘visiting’? Mostly, yes! That alone has has had me wondering how to tame the wild beast of blogging to something more manageable.

    • Elliot says:

      I agree, there is quite a commitment to check back at other peoples blogs. There are plenty of good things to read so it isn’t all bad, but the time commitment is a big thing. I think I might just try to catch up on others blogs every other day.

  5. La La says:

    I agree with all of it and you’re right, no one has to read it. I have kept a journal since I was 12 years old and this was going to be my new way of writing in a journal. Now it’s like a bunch of my older brothers and sisters are sneaking into my room, opening my journal and enjoying my embarrassment 😉

    The community aspect is great. I’d hate to lose any of the people I follow and talk to on a regular basis!

    • Elliot says:

      You can also manage the way you use it. I like how you are a little naughty / flirty with many of your posts and you clearly like the interaction. But that also adds to the fun of reading it because it works as a two way thing. But you are right, you would not get any of that if you were just writing for yourself in a journal.

  6. Tom Baker says:

    Elliot, I’m a first time visitor and this is one of the best posts I have read recently. For me, my reason for blogging is your number 5. I love the community. The feeling that the world is right next door. I do everything I can to get visitors and followers to just be one big neighborhood. It was not always the case because I had no idea anyone would be interested in my dribblings, as you say.

    • Elliot says:

      Thanks for your comments Tom, and thanks for dropping by. It seems clear from comments so far, that the unexpected community aspect adds a lot to blogging. I imagine many people wonder if anyone is going to read and or comment, so it is nice when people do.

  7. The community aspect is very important. We look for each other’s posts with anticipation and get to know each other better in private emails. It is very time consuming, however. Glad I am retired. Thanks visit my blog.

  8. jmmcdowell says:

    Like Carrie, I started blogging because every agent and editor says writers have to do it to build their platform and brand. What they should stress is first building that community. The support and encouragement is the best reason for me to blog. As I get closer to finished products ready for publication, I can spend some time on “marketing.”

    But I think sharing in a community of fellow writers and bloggers makes the best connection with potential readers, too. I have non-writers following my blog who simply are interested in learning what writers go through. And if I can entertain readers that way, I think I can entertain them with my books, too. Fingers crossed.

    • Elliot says:

      I’m not sure I’m convinced that writers have to build a platform or brand in this way but I suppose it cannot hurt. I kind of imagine the audience to my fiction might be a bit different to my blog audience, but I could be entirely wrong, and I enjoy the blog stuff anyway.

  9. Nate Shenk says:

    I just did a similar post and I couldn’t agree with you more! One of my biggest reasons for blogging is for the writing practice. Going back to my old posts always reminds me how much my writing has changed since I first began blogging. However, the time it takes to blog is ridiculous! I never imagined it would be so time consuming, but I still think it’s worth it. Anyways, great post!

    • Elliot says:

      Thanks Nate – I sometimes look at my older posts and think I could edit, or change parts. However the point was to put up what I had so that I could go back at a later date and see how it might be different. Or to leave as is, that way I know what to improve on – or at least an idea. Doing all this does take up some time, especially when you add in reading other blogs.

  10. Margarita says:

    I find that #3 is my motivating factor. I’ve got so much stuff boggling my mind, it’s a relief to unload and order some of it in writing. Then, #4. Once I’ve made the effort, perhaps someone else might benefit from that effort and/or help me do it a different way. And, as everyone else has mentioned, #5 has been the unexpected revelation/bonus. While the main motivation is to make some sort of order for myself, let’s face it, once someone actually reads something I’ve written it is a slippery slope to reading their work, following up on other interesting work, and so on…. Like everyone else, the time factor can be daunting. So, even though I’m very new to this medium for self expression, I’m seeing that I need to organize my time, and thoughts, a little differently than the plunge head-first into it that I’ve been doing. I do have several blogs. One is photographs from my cell phone with very few words which allows me to post daily because it’s just about hinting at possible “food for thought” and is a sort of “amuse-bouche” for my brain. My other blogs are the ones where I do the “heavy lifting” in ordering my thoughts, and I’m learning that it’s okay to take some time in developing those thoughts – kind of like the slow-simmering stew on the back of the stove. The community connection aspect is like the sorbet course, the palate cleanser, and sometimes it’s the Happy Hour (lol). When it gets too intense in my head, I go out and look at the community’s work to refresh and be inspired. Didn’t know I had this many words in me! Thanks for the chance to express! 🙂

    • Elliot says:

      Thanks and you are welcome. – I think many of us, myself included, think it takes 20 minutes to knock out a decent length post, then a further 20 minutes to read up some other blogs. It doesn’t,it takes up a long time. That is not to say it is not worth it. It is not to say we don’t learn on the way and work out what is best for us. Either way it is a good medium to use and try take something from.

      • Margarita says:

        Yes, and I’m finding that one way to work all of this in is NOT to multi-task. To give myself time to work on my blogs, to reply to everyone who is kind enough to comment, and then to set a time aside to visit other blogs. These may not all happen on the same session – or even on the same day! What does happen is that I allow myself the gift, pleasure, and luxury of being completely present for what I’m doing. Thanks, Elliot, for your thoughtfulness!

  11. Loved your reasons honey, and agree with all of them 🙂

    The only real downside for me is….. My husband said to me the other day “you need to decide if you’re a blogger or an author” *gulp* he’s unfortunately so right….I just physically can’t do both at the moment 😦

    Xx

  12. Dan says:

    Since I’ve been out of town, I’m late to posting my thoughts on this great post. As blogging seems to be more and more passe, it’s important to remember the reasons why it got started in the first place. For me, blogging is always going to be about long-form writing. It’s easy to post status updates to Facebook and tweet incessantly all day long, but is that really writing? I suppose it is, in a manner of speaking, but blogging for me is where the action will always be when it comes to writing. My wife is an author, and she both blogs and writes published novels, so it seems that her life is all about long-form writing.

    The only real blogging commandments I have are as such:
    1) Don’t blog about work
    2) Never be beholden to a blog – if it is stressing you out, it’s time to take a break.
    3) A blog is a blog and a journal is a journal and ne’er the twain shall meet.

    And I also totally agree about the community aspect. What I love doing are reading the comments of blogs I am fond of (like this one) and finding other blogs to read that way. Yeah, it takes a lot of time, but I’ve found that most blogs don’t post daily, so it’s not terribly hard to keep up with them.

    • Elliot says:

      Those are pretty good rules. I shall be dropping the daily posts pretty soon purely to gain some time back, but I enjoy doing the blog so I won’t be stopping it, just reducing the number of posts. What sort of books does your wife write?

      • Dan says:

        She’s the author of a gay male romances – http://www.heidicullinan.com is her website. She’s been doing it since 2009 and has several books published. Our recent trip to Chicago was due mostly to the fact that she had a conference to attend.

      • Elliot says:

        Probably not the fiction for me, but I have total respect for someone who can write and get it published, so that sounds cool. The conference was no doubt a good opportunity to visit Chicago.

  13. robincoyle says:

    This hit home with me. Wow, did it ever hit home. I sometimes wonder why I do it, my family has no idea why I do it, and at times I am ready to bag it. And then, something I wrote makes a difference to someone and they took the time to tell me it did. That is why I keep writing my blog. In some small way, I hope to make a difference, make someone laugh, or learn something new myself. Great post.

  14. […] me a little bit of Eliot’s 10 Reasons for Writing a Blog (and 5 Reasons for Not), this quote from Quintin Crisp got me thinking. Mostly, it got me thinking that there had to be […]

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