Why blog?

I’m baaaaaaaaack! The break I took from blogging about blogging here was a lot longer than I intended, and it’s GOOD to be back, y’all.

So today, let’s revisit the discussion of blogging.

Your publisher, your editor, and your best friend–not to mention that guy who heard you’re a writer and knows all about it–are all telling you that blogging is the thing to do.

Well, yes. And no.

It’s important to have an online presence.

Why? Because you want to have an audience who will buy your books. Your books–you–are a product that your publisher is selling.

Sorry if I just took all the fun out of it. But it’s true: publishing is a business. And for that business to succeed and pay writers, well, they have to sell books.

An online presence gives you a fan base. It might just be your mom, your best friend, and that person whose name keeps cropping up and may be a stalker, but it’s a start.

It’s important to note: your online presence doesn’t have to be on a blog. With all the other social media outlets, I’d advise you to discern long and hard if blogging is right for you. The answer may be no.

But the importance of an online presence remains.

Practice makes perfect.

When you write regularly, you get better at it. Period.

For me, blogging remains a way to keep my writing skills sharp. That said, not so long ago, my crit partner pointed out that a proposal I was putting together sounded waaaaaay too choppy.

“You’re not writing for an online audience,” she told me. “It’s okay to have longer blocks of text.”

So yeah, there’s that. But even so, over my years of blogging, I know I’ve gotten better at the craft in a number of ways. I can remember things better and flesh them out mentally. I have learned how to stash ideas in various places and ways. I map back to unexpected experiences in my own life to apply them to whatever topic’s at hand.

It’s fun.

This may not be true for you, but like blogging. It’s its own form of writing. It’s current. It can be laid back. And funny. And out-of-the-box.

But…

Blogging may not be for you. There are many reasons not to blog. There are alternatives to blogging (such as guest posting).

Blogging can take a lot of time. It can be a drain on your creativity.

And you may just not feel qualified or called to it right now. That’s okay. Really, it is. I give you permission to say no.

Your turn:

Do you blog? Why?

Share your blog’s link and your reasons in the comments and let’s click around!

About Sarah Reinhard

When Sarah Reinhard's not writing online at SnoringScholar.com, she can be found on Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Facebook, or Google +. She's the author of a number of books, including her latest title, Catholic Family Fun: A Guide for the Adventurous, Overwhelmed, Creative, or Clueless.
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30 Responses to Why blog?

  1. Don Mulcare says:

    Thank you Sarah,

    This blog is a keeper.

    Take care,

    Don

  2. Excellent post! I have come to value blogging because it keeps me sharp and keeps me writing, as you said. I love that it is something I can do in manageable chunks. Even though maintaining the blog is tough day after day, I know that if I can carve out even a half-hour I can produce something. And that’s a good feeling.

  3. Scott says:

    I write for a few reasons:
    1. We have no family near by, so it keeps them in the loop
    2. It’s good to reflect on the day
    3. I like to look back at what was going on in our lives some years ago
    4. There’s always things you learn to do better as the years go by

    • Ah, yes, Scott, I so agree with you on the reflecting on the day and looking back on things. And yes, you do get better as the years go by. Thank goodness for that! :)

  4. Lisa Schmidt says:

    Great question, Sarah! Blogging is a prime means for me to share my charism of evangelization. As an at-home mom, the blog has become a vehicle to share those gifts in a complimentary way, fitting in well with my primary vocation. Writing is not one of my charisms, especially creative writing, yet because the blog is perpetually hungry for content, I am slowly learning how to write better.

    • You write well, Lisa, so keep at it! And I like how you phrase that the blog is “perpetually hungry.” It feels like a beast at my table sometimes, but that’s usually a sign that I need a break (not often, but it does happen).

  5. Connie Clark says:

    Thank you, Sarah. Very honest and wise post.
    My deepest apologies to Dorothy Parker for paraphrasing one of my favorite Parkerisms: I hate blogging, but I love having blogged.
    (Again, so sorry, Dorothy!)
    Here’s a link to mine: http://alwaysadvent.wordpress.com/

    • Connie, that seems a common feeling in some circles. I actually do love blogging. I’ll check out your blog! Thanks for participating in the conversation! :)

      • Connie Clark says:

        Oh, please don’t get me wrong. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to write my blog, and to be a full-time writer. It’s just that blogging–like writing–is hard work for me. (I probably make it a lot harder than it has to be, but there you go.) And I think that’s what Dorothy Parker meant. Writing can be tough stuff. But there’s nothing like that moment when it’s finished, and you’re actually satisfied with what you’ve written! Same with the blog. Maybe I should have said it this way: a blog is truly a labor of love.

  6. Ann Seeton says:

    I blog for a lot of reasons.

    I needed a writing outlet that could be done between bouts of diaper changing and refereeing the kids.

    I needed a writing outlet that was regular and could help me build a writing habit. I think blogs are pretty awesome for that.

    I needed someplace to write a bit here and there about all the little topics that cross my mind and bug me to express them.

    I blog because it can still happen even if I have to stop in the middle to feed someone, or change a diaper, or scold a toddler who is in a really rotten phase at the moment.

    And I like it.

  7. I came into blogging kicking and screaming (pretty much raging against anything “techy”). But last year a Homily on Fat Tuesday struck a chord with me. Father challenged us to do something rather than give up something for Lent. I decided to say yes to my perpetual “no” list. In effect, I gave up my fear and loathing of all things on the web!
    I went to Barnes and Noble and purchased “Blogging for Dummies.” I selected it because it felt like a mouth full of soap to me. To my astonishment, I actually caught on to blogging, and then, began to enjoy it.
    I now use blogging to teach others how to write their family history, to build and maintain a parent support and forum for our deanery high school, and to use my writing gift (voice) as a way to “preach ceaselessly…with words if necessary”
    And, due to a blunder in the beginning of my “blogging career” I ended up using the pen name “Mom” which has worked out well for all the various formats I write :)
    See what Mom says next at http://youwhoineverknew.wordpress.com
    or http://www.bctcwantsyou.com
    Kassie aka “Mom”

  8. Nancy Ward says:

    Although I have written and edited a website for our covenant community for several years, I didn’t have my own blog until last year. So I am really new to the blogging world. This happened because an editor stressed how important it would be to have a place where my books can “land” when they are published. So I began last May blogging every other day and now I have settled into every three days.
    Years ago I wrote articles for dozens of magazines, so now I must think a lot smaller in the scope of the posts or do a series with the same theme. For me, it’s like writing little vignettes or short meditations that inspire others to think about spiritual principles.
    The remarkable surprise about these little snippets of spiritual insight or experiences is the interest from other websites. My Joy Alive.net blog posts are published on 5 other sites, plus a new magazine. This is a way to evangelize while I am waiting to publish my books. Since publishing is 50% writing and 50% marketing, I consider my blog as my on-going marketing assignment.

    • Nancy, that’s a great perspective. I like the immediacy of online writing–my audience gets it right away, and yet it’s still there for people to find much later (or for me to resurrect from the archives, as it were).

  9. Sarah:

    I blog to promote: zeal for the salvation of souls; awe and amazement for the Holy Eucharist and Eucharistic Adoration; and fidelity to the Truths of our Catholic Faith.

    I might not have ever responded to the recurring prompting to do so, had I not been blessed to meet you and other talented bloggers at the CWG Conference.

  10. D. C. DaCosta says:

    I plan to have a blog eventually, as a marketing/sales tool.

    I don’t blog now, for two reasons:
    1. It’s my understanding that 99% of blogs have a readership of…zero.
    2. I don’t believe in giving it away if I can sell it.

    Most blogs I view are WAY too long. IMHO, 100 – 200 words are more than enough. I, as a reader, can’t wade through more than that on a regular basis. Reading a blog is like passing a coworker in the hallway. It’s a “hi-what’s new?-that’s great-see ya” type of encounter…not a three-hour lunch…every day.

    • D.C., It makes sense to say “why give it away if you can sell it,” but for many writers (nonfiction especially), you can’t always sell it easily. A blog is an easy way to showcase your writing.

      But you have a point: a lot of blogs aren’t well done. The best ones are authentically that person, whether long posts or short, photo-enhanced or plain. And you’re not going to like them all.

      The claim about blogs having a readership of zero is inaccurate. Most readers, though, lurk and don’t comment. So while you may have more readers than you think, you have to determine your reasons for doing it and whether you need to know who your readers are.

      At the end of the day, you shouldn’t blog if it’s going to make you miserable. Based on your comment, I’m guessing that’s the case for you. :)

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

  11. DC~ sounds like you’re a perfect candidate for “microblogging” aka Twitter. Everything in tweets runs in 140 characters or less.
    I am amazed at how quickly my primary blog has grown. I have never “invited” anyone to read it, but as of this morning, I have a follower count of over 100 people. It has been a great way for me to sort of gauge what others are really interested in learning about, and the type of stories that intrigue them (free market research).
    I know it sounds slow and grinding, but I only really got serious about my “Maybe someone should write that down…” blog in November of last year. Maybe it’s the subject matter…good ol’ blessing, sinning, forgiveness and full circle that is so common to the human condition and so recognized by we who are Catholic :)

    • Kassie, oh yes! And what about Google Plus, too? I mean, there are lots of short copy options.

      And blogs can run the gamut: serious or not.

      What makes it appealing, I truly believe, is letting your authentic voice shine. But that’s what makes ALL writing appealing, isn’t it?

  12. I blog because I like to share the stories of the English Catholic Martyrs and to publicize my efforts to promote my book, my expertise in Church history, and to express my zeal for history and books, writing and music and art. I also like to network my blog with facebook and twitter.
    Blogging is easier than maitaining a website for me, so I am even thinking of dropping my website and just using the blog–what do you think, Sarah?

    • You know, Stephanie, I had the blog BEFORE I had a personal, public website and…yeah, I have to agree with that. The WP themes especially make it possible to be bloggy as a website or a website with the backend that’s like a blog. (Not sure that makes sense.)

      For my author site, SarahReinhard.com, I have done that. And I link prominently back to my blog site (because I have 2 URLs/site addresses, which you may not have).

  13. Joseph R. says:

    I started blogging three of four years ago just to try it out. It’s grown on me as a way to communicate, especially since we’ve moved to England for a few years. People can keep up with what I’m doing. My blog isn’t specifically Catholic, though my Catholicism crops up a lot. I look at it more as a witness/example (not that I am that great a Catholic) more than as an apologetic or catechetical work. If I’m led in that direction, I will definitely go there. But I haven’t heard a calling yet.