I participated in Bloganuary this January as I thought it might be a good way to revive my blog and to think differently about how I blog. This is a challenge from WordPress that provides you with daily prompts to inspire you to write blog posts, usually something personal about your life and your inspirations to get to know you better.
I really enjoyed the exercise; although I did not blog every day, it helped me to blog at least once or twice a week and I am definitely thinking differently about my blogging content now. I also gained 17 new followers from participating in the challenge, as well as 293 total views for the month, 159 visitors, 17 likes and 7 comments.
Lots of people say blogging is dead, but compare that to my email newsletter, which has had 15 signups since May. Granted, I need to reinvent my newsletter as well and produce more engaging content there.
Participating in this challenge made me realize that blogging is not dead after all, but it is different than it was 10 years ago. People have been saying it’s dying for about the last 15 years. Ten years ago people would document their lives and overshare, vent and complain in their diaries to the world, and a robust community would comment and engage with all the other bloggers in the blogosphere doing the same thing.
This has been supplanted by social media; this sort of blog is dead, I think. But I think blogs are still useful for certain things. As with all content, blogs are about your ability to build an audience, and they take a lot of work, shouting into the void and consistent posting – much like social media. But I find they are useful for authors still because they tap into an audience that doesn’t necessarily use your social media platforms.
They also give you good SEO and keep your website current in search results. That really is the main reason I blog; that and to build an audience for my writing. Besides, as a former journalist, journalistic-type writing comes easy to me; I can pop off a blog post in about 20 minutes, whereas it might take someone more comfortable with fiction much longer to write. Journalistic writing is second nature to me.
Creative nonfiction, though, is somewhat harder. Different style entirely. More personal.
I’ve struggled with the direction I wanted to take this blog. Like I say, back in the 2010s, what was popular was a long diatribe about your horrible experience at Costco. But people don’t want to read that any more; it doesn’t make you relatable, it just turns people off if they don’t know you. People want useful, inspiring content; they also want to feel like they know you.
I’ve drawn back a lot from social media these days and value my privacy more. I no longer want to document my life or whine about my day or use my blog as an outlet to vent my anger about the world. I have a journal and friends for that.
I’m also not an expert in anything; I don’t want to provide you with writing advice, as there is plenty of that online. I don’t want to be your therapist. I also want you to get to know me and how I see the world. Writing is about how we process our emotions and our interactions with the world, and how we do that as people often says whether someone will like our writing.
I also don’t want to spread myself too thin. I’m experimenting with several platforms this year and I do not want to get content burnout. And no, before you ask, I don’t want to hire you, this is just something I do for fun.
I plan to keep going with my book reviews, and blog here at least once a week. I am thinking of starting a Medium page and posting more “article” type content there on topics like productivity, health, fitness and creativity.
Bloganuary made me realize blogging is worth keeping up with, because it is a way for you to get to know me beyond the shrillness of social media noise. That’s what it is all about as an author. Building an audience and a platform for your work. You just have to pick and choose what you can do with joy and consistency or you’ll never build that audience, no matter what it is in today’s crowded landscape for content creators.
With that, I’m finding myself excited about what I can offer you on this blog in 2022, and I realized I was overthinking it all along.
Just write, that’s all. Just write.