Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Blogging For You

I told you I was gonna come back to this. Well, I really am. Today. I've heard some people say they started blogging as a way for them to get what's inside of them, out.

Okay.

So maybe I did too. Remember how I didn't tell anyone about my blog? Or that I was anonymous? Yeah. It was for me. I was terrified to have anyone else read my inner-most thoughts, mostly because I was afraid people would think I was lame or not smart enough to blog or whatever.

Let me just say that I do think you must enjoy blogging. Anything you do for an extended period of time must be enjoyed, or else you'll quit.

But that doesn't mean I'm still blogging the same way I was two years ago. Many things have changed. I've changed. So my blog does too.

Let me outline the ways my blog is for me:
1. I like doing it. A lot. I benefit from this.
2. It's an excellent promotional tool. I benefit from this.

So really, my blog is all about me. But I choose carefully what I say here, because I want you to feel welcome and comfortable and appreciated. And with MY attitude in THAT place, then what is enjoyable for me (hopefully) becomes enjoyable for you too.

Imagine you're at a big table, dining with your bloggy buddies. You don't hog the conversation do you? Read from your novel every second or anything like that. No. You laugh and joke, talk about real life a little, things you like a little. You ask questions about other people to get to know them. You share some of your life, some of your writing, some of yourself.

You invite them to do the same. And that's how you can enjoy yourself at dinner. That's also how you can enjoy yourself while blogging. It's all about you, but there has to be a place for others at the table.

What do you think? Are you enjoying it? Are you leaving room for other people to enjoy it too? I think that when we enjoy it, others will feel that and keep coming back. So if you're blogging for you -- keep it up! Just leave a little room at the table, okay? Okay.

105 comments:

Em-Musing said...

:) OK

Diane said...

Agreed! :O)

www.dianeestrella.com

Sheri Larsenッ said...

Enjoying it and allowing room for your readers to enjoy it is a great point. Great balance. ";-) I think it takes time to 'get into a groove' so-to-speak. I'm more comfortable then I was when I started two months ago.

Christine Fonseca said...

okay!

Jen said...

I started two months ago and I love it!! I love how sweet and supportive everyone is and I love to hear others share their stories and experiences through this writing process I am constantly amazed at all the brilliant writers and creative minds on this blogosphere and I'm honored to be apart of their lives!!! Even if it's a very small way!

I write for me and when I love it so do others!!! You have one of the best blogs and I love visiting!

Scott said...

Great post. While my blog is all about me, it's also all about my followers as well . . . which is why I pretty much write the blog as if I'm talking to my followers in person. I mean, why not?

jdcoughlin said...

Elena, I blog for the dialog. For getting the things I'm thinking about right out on the table. I love LOVE getting responses from other writers. I love hearing journey stories and tearful stories and hopeful stories, and advice. I love the words we share. Seriously! It is so addicting! I am so enjoying it/mine and I truly hope others are, too.

Tamika: said...

I can definitely see my blog evolving. As I grow as a writer I hope to grow in my presentation.

Each post reminds me how much I enjoy this community and building relationships. I love it!

Erinn said...

I've been blogging off an on for a few years now, but never could commit to one format or website. Being a teacher, I'm protective of my "on-line" self and I get a little pissy whenever former students find my blog.
So now I've opted to tone down the language and focus more on funny little stories about me and writing and life in general.

I get cranky when I don't write and I find that blogging does satisfy that writing craving.

BTW-- how great was GLEE last night? Did you know that Dolphins are gay sharks?

JustineDell said...

I think I can leave some room at the table. Thanks for the advice. ;-)

~JD

fairyhedgehog said...

I see my blog partly as a work of art that I'm creating and partly as a forum to chat with my friends. I'm not sure how it looks to other people!

Stephanie L. McGee said...

I see my blog as a place to explore the world and the world of writing. I use it as a teaching tool, but I sometimes think I learn more than anyone who might stop by and read what I post. Which is okay. I like using my blog to share what I've learned and to talk about old topics in ways that feel relevant to me. Everyone learns differently so I do also hope that someone finds something useful in what I write.

But I blog mostly for the community.

lynnrush said...

I like how you said, "Just leave a little room at the table, okay?"

Spot on!

Cassandra Frear said...

I wrote a post about this a while back. I said "I write for you." Interesting that this statement is the one that got the most opposition and questions.

My point was that a blog is necessarily written for an audience. Otherwise, we could just write in a journal or in a file on our computers. Why publish? To share.

But people were insisting that they write only for themselves. I'm not going to argue with that one, but I would say that as soon as one person reads what I write, it changes things.

Kenda said...

I'm enjoying the process so far--it's a great way to connect and to share stories. And I do wonder how my blog will be different two years down the road...it's going to be fun to watch the changes.

Crystal Cook said...

Ok I got it :)

I've noticed that you are exactly right. Great post :)

Liza said...

Feel free to pull up a chair.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

When I started blogging, I wasn't really doing it for anyone, and I didn't care if anyone followed me. Actually, it was scarey when I landed my first follower--you Elana.

Only recently have I become excited to blog. I've discovered tons of great blogs and have learned so much about writing because of them. I've been inspired by hearing success stories and by hearing other writers feel the same way about writing as I do. It's almost become as important as the air we breathe. I've even picked up a book or two because of someone's review. And it's fun to see all the comments in my inbox. Forget waiting to hear back from agents. Those comments are what I live for. :D

Cheree said...

Are you kidding, of course I'm enjoying it. And there's plenty of room left at the table as well.

magolla said...

I started my blog--just because. Well, it was the wrong reason, as I didn't blog but a few times the first year. When I focused it a little more, I had more fun with it. I took it one small step further and posted serial blog stories on it. Now, I will confess that I don't have as many comments on those days as I do other times, but I enjoyed the challenge of writing a short cohesive story within a short period of time and limited space (I HATE overly long blogs--I lose interest and stop reading).
Here's to many more years of blogging!

Christine Danek said...

I'm enjoying it and I hope I'm leaving room on the table.
Great Post!

Candyland said...

It doesn't matter, to me, what you write about. I always enjoy your insight.

Jaydee Morgan said...

I agree that you have to enjoy it to keep it up. At first, I started my blog so I had a place to get out all the thoughts in my head. The bonus was learning there were so many others who felt the same thing. The blogging community is a godsend - and a whole lot of fun.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Well said.

VR Barkowski said...

I write for me, always. Writing is an indulgence. Bless its wicked little heart. For some people it's alcohol, tobacco or food - for me it's words.

What I enjoy most about blogging is the camaraderie with other writers. It isn't why I started the blog, but it's been the greatest joy. Anything else is icing on the cake. I enjoy blogging but wish I had more time.

L.J. Boldyrev said...

I update my blog pretty regularly. My only concern is that I bore my readers, lol!

Most of my posts are book related, occasionally I use it to spread the word about a new release or something I found in the news, but that's about it.

Every Thursday I do a post related to writing, because I write it for my critique group blog and just copy it over to my blog.

Other than that, I'm afraid I have nothing of interest to post. But like you said, the blog changes as the writer changes. I'll get more interesting, promise.

Linda Kage said...

I enjoy your blog. That's why I keep coming back!

Lisa said...

As busy as I a m, if I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't do it. I get a ridiculous sense of satisfaction knowing I was able to make someone laugh or smile, and that's why I blog :)

Aubrie said...

I love blogging! And I do try to stay away from topics that would put off readers, like politics. I've recently been sharing my blog with other authors doing interviews and that's been a really nice way for me to get to know people.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

I'm enjoying blogging so far. For me personally I like knowing I'm not alone on this journey. Plus I like being able to share things I've found with other people and support them. Like you said, gotta leave some room at the table:)

lotusgirl said...

I'm enjoying your blog. I enjoy mine, too. It has evolved quite a bit since I started, but it is still me.

Slamdunk said...

I started bloging just for me, but quickly discovered how beneficial the experience can be.

In following your words of wisdom, there are topics and discussions that I avoid--I have no interest in turning the site into a shouting fest.

Kristi Helvig said...

Awesome observations and I'd say you're doing it right by the sheer number of people you have interacting in the comments each day. I'll say it again -- you're my blogging role model and I aspire to your greatness! :)

Kristi Faith said...

I hope to reach people with my blog. To benefit me, and to benefit them. I know sometimes people will post something that I've been thinking of but too scared to admit, or just when I'm writing a query someone up and writes a series on how to write a better query. *wink*

I love to cook for people too, there's a satisfaction for myself when I see others enjoying the food I prepared. It's the same with my blog. I get giddy when I see all the comments fly in and tell me that my post was helpful to them in some way. :0)

Marybeth Poppins said...

I love your blog! And I'm not quite sure who I am blogging for these days. I totally know the IDK if I have anything worth while to say feeling. But soon enough, I think I may have some advice. We'll see!

Amalia T. said...

Great advice! I have noticed that bloggers who end their posts with a question for their readership seem to be doing pretty well.

Blogging just seems kind of hit and miss, in the grand scheme of things. Things that I think my readers will love, they don't really, and things that I just kind of throw together lamely seem to explode. Do you see much of that on your blog? Or is it just a sign of my blogging immaturity? :P

Erica Chapman said...

You've always got a seat at my "blogger table" Elana ;o) Yes, I enjoy it! It is quite the time suackage, but totally worth it ;o) I've gained many writer buddies.

Who would've thunk people would care what little ole me thought? LOL - great post ;o)

Mary McDonald said...

I do enjoy blogging so far. I have a friend who started about the same time as I did. Last night she mentioned that it was feeling like work. I told her that if it's not fun, then don't do it. It's not like there's a law saying writers have to have blogs.

WindyA said...

For me I learned that if I forced myself to do it, it took the fun out of it. So now, I still try to blog a few days a week, but if I miss a day, I just don't sweat it.

On the other side, I've also realized, not every blog post has to be profound.

Once I let go of those things, I was all good. So yep, now it is one of the things I count as fun and I love reading everyone's comments when they drop by!

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Ok, sounds like a plan lol!

Dinner with bloggy buddies and watching Glee :)

Steena Holmes said...

Girl, when you come to my table, I PROMISE it will be loaded with chocolate, wine and laughter ;)

I enjoy blogging and I try to make it an 'experience', not just about me. Do I do a good job?

Tracy said...

Great post! I agree, there's no fun in blogging if you can't have a little give and take with your fellow bloggers.

Charity Bradford said...

Elana, you always have such a nice perspective on things.

I love blogging, probably too much ;) Although my blog really is all about me too, my favorite part is that other people are beginning to comment. There is a new community feeling trying to start that I love and I find myself thinking, "What can I ask to start a great discussion?"

Solvang Sherrie said...

I would LOVE to be at a dinner with all my bloggy buddies. What a party that would be!

Patti said...

Agreed, I find myself not returning to blogs that are all about self promotion.

Mary Aalgaard said...

I like that image of sitting at the table with friends and not being a conversation hog. My main purpose for blogging is to make connections and let people know that they're not the only one who feels "that way." That's why I include a journaling prompt.

Bish Denham said...

Nice. A very nice way to approach blogging. So far, I am really enjoying it. And even better, I've met some very talented people along the way.

JEM said...

Love this post. Bloggers like you make me glad I dived into the jungle of the interwebs.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

My blog started out as a way to keep in touch with out-of-state college friends. Now I'm using it more to connect with readers/writers of SF.

I also have a LJ account, which I seldom use because I can never remember the password. :snort: But LJ has the option to make posts private, so I have a couple entries on there I wrote just for myself, hidden from everyone else. It was useful for brainstorming.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Okay! And I have a chair with your name on it anytime you're hungry! :-)

Laura Marcella said...

You're right! Blogging is all about US. The bloggers, the readers. I write my blog to connect with other newbie writers going through similar things I am and to learn from the experts. It's a fun, beneficial world, this blogosphere!

L. E. Neighbour said...

I would have to agree. I mean, blogging is awfully boring if you don't have feedback. If anyone doubts that then I ask why do we love comments so much? hmm? I've never met someone that said PLEASE don't comment on my blog! I hate comments! Well that doesn't mean they don't exist, but it does mean their blog is so obscure I'll never find it ^_^ and I like reading blogs that include the readers. Like when you ask a question at the end (or beginning) of your blog just begging for a response, it's much more inviting than when someone just tells you "oh me this and me that and I this other thing blah blah blah" and leaves you with nothing to say. It gets boring fast ^_^

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Ok, Mum. ;)

Nisa said...

Very well said. I love the analogy of a dinner party. If anything, we're even more public on-line than at dinner with friends. I hope I've left a lot of room at the table. I sure do try!

Tess said...

I do love blogging and am somewhat surprised at the level of help/encouragement it has given me. So many people I would have never otherwise met - amazing, talented, kind hearted people.

that's the best part.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Exactly! That's why I like to have conversations in the comments because I like to think of it as an old-fashioned salon where people share their ideas and dreams.

Crimey said...

I really enjoying blogging and reading writers blogs because I'm learning so much from them. I try my best to keep my posts open for discussion because I want to hear other opinions on issues that we writers face.

Lydia Kang said...

I totally agree. So much of the enjoyment is reading the comments and hearing my follower's opinions.

Carolyn V. said...

I took a bloggy break last week, and I realized how much I missed blogging. I love connecting with other writers and putting things down on paper (even if it doesn't make sense some times). I think it is well worth the time that goes into it. =)

Shannon said...

Excellent analogy.

Not too long ago, a friend of mine critiqued my blog commenting that I didn't talk about enough personal stuff (I think she was expecting an online journal). I tried to explain that while I blog *for* me, it's not 100% *about* me. I don't think she quite understood.

I'll be borrowing the dinner table analogy (and pointing her here). Hopefully it registers.

Thanks, Elana. You're a rock star.

Elana Johnson said...

Wow, you guys are all rock stars for commenting here! I so wish we could organize this huge dinner where we'd all be sitting around talking writing shop, life, love and everything in between.

With chocolate and doughnuts.

Ha!

And yes, didn't you know dolphins are gay sharks?? I laughed so so hard at that. Too funny!

Susan R. Mills said...

Okie dokie! I love blogging. It's totally for me, but I do hope I've made room at the table for others.

Krispy said...

I think that's one of the best analogies I've heard for blogging well. :)

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

I love this. And agree 100%. I don't know how good I am at doing it, but I'm trying. It is *for* me, but it's not just *about* me.

Kat Harris said...

Okie Dokey.

Pass the potatoes, please. :-)

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

I DEFINITELY enjoy it. I'll admit, there are days when I get the *panic* WHAT AM I GOING TO POST ABOUT TODAY? because I try to diversify what I post about and not have it be all about me (and I'm very protective of my project right now so it's never about my book specifically).

But blogging was seriously one of the best decisions I've made. I found my cps through blogging. I learned WAY more about publishing and querying than I ever could've learned on my own. It's awesome. And your blog is one of my favorites. So I'm glad you take the time to keep it up. :)

Sara B. Larson said...

Great advice (again)! :-) Since I'm just getting started on my author blog, I'm working on finding this perfect balance of "keeping room at the table" and being informative, fun, and all that jazz!

Shelley Sly said...

Well said! :D

I realize that I have a lot of anecdotes in my blogs, things that happen to me that I then relate to writing, but I try to shut up and leave enough room for my guests. Thanks for this reminder... I'll clear some extra room at the table just in case.

Katie Ganshert said...

My reasons for blogging have definitely evolved this past year and a half. It's still about chronicling my writing journey...but I never expected it would be such a huge way to connect with other writers.

Janet Johnson said...

Great analogy. It's always good to know why you're blogging, and adjusting what you say to your audience. But I agree 100% . . . if you don't enjoy it, you'll quit.

So much to think about. Elana, you're awesome!

Carrie said...

Great post. I enjoy blogging. I am enjoying it more now that I am connecting with other people who blog.

Jonathon Arntson said...

I kind of enjoy it, but since my sched turned upside down last month and I haven't written anything, blogging has become tedious. I am sure my followers notice.

I used to love blogging when I had something to say, something to share. Lately I've been all dried up and sappy. It's seriously pathetic.

Stephanie Thornton said...

I definitely enjoy blogging because I connect with other writers I never would have met otherwise. We get to talk about all sorts of fun stuff and learn from each other.

I'll stick with blogging because I like it. That's why Facebook and Twitter didn't stick with me. I just don't enjoy them.

Annette Lyon said...

I have a sneaking suspicion that you wouldn't have over 1,000 followers if people didn't like it over here!

(Looking forward to hanging out next week!)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great advice. I think one reason I haven't started a blog yet is because I'm afraid no one will like it or read it. And there are already so many good ones out there already. But if I do start one, I think your reasons for doing so are right on.

beth said...

I learned this through Google Analytics.

One of the most popular features on my blog is the Today in Class feature. But when I started, I felt guilty posting them. "This is supposed to be about writing, not about teaching" I would argue, and I only posted the ones where the students talked about writing.

But GA told me that those were my most popular posts--so I went with them. Eventually I evolved into having more of a mix--I think, ultimately, that people like that mix rather than full-on single-mindedness.

Alison Stevens said...

I blog for myself ('cause it's fun), but very little about myself. Thanks for inviting us to join you at the table, Elana! Shall I bring white wine or red? Oh, wait, neither goes well with doughnuts. Or does it?

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Great analogy. I hate dinner conversation hoggers. They usually try to steal my dessert too. ;)

Karen Lange said...

When I first starting blogging, I simply did so to add blogging experience to my resume. Little did I know the benefits, wonderful friends, insight, and resources that I would gain from plunging into the blogging world.

My blog focus shifted quickly, and now my aim is to be a helpful resource and a friendly stop for writers. I believe I've gained way more than I've put out there. It's a wonderful adventure, and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. Thanks for the post, Elana! Always glad I stopped by to see you.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

What a great analogy to use about blogging. Yes! One of the things I love most about the blog platform is you can interact with your readers by leaving off with questions, and visitors interact with you by sharing their thoughts. It really is like inviting friends over for dinner!

Just like with my real house, I want my friends to feel comfortable at my blog, kick off their shoes, grab a cup of coffee from the endless pot and talk.

Awesome post, as always!

Bethany Wiggins said...

As always, words of wisdom.

Carol Kilgore said...

Exactly. Great post.

Bethany Mattingly said...

Another great post! I find myself skipping some blogs and religiously following others. I think that the reason may be because of the "it's all about me" principle. Great thing to keep in mind when writing posts :)

Patti Lacy said...

Wow! Glad I visited today. Hmmmm.
The feast varies widely and often I'm overstuffed.

Food for thought for sure!!!

Nice to meet ya!
Patti Lacy
www.pattilacy.com/blog

Jill Kemerer said...

You're a very wise blogger. Love the way you phrased this!

Caledonia Lass said...

I agree! I do enjoy blogging and I try not to hog all the "conversation". There are times when I do, unknowingly. There is plenty of room at my table and I try to get to know those who follow my blog as much as they're getting to know me.

Thanks for a great post!

Faith Pray said...

Once again Elana, you bring great flavor to the table! And good conversation!

B. Miller said...

Okay! I got it, dude. *salutes*

I loved this post, it really made me think. The analogy is perfect. I'm going to sit down and consider how I can bring more of the "family" to the table. Thanks for making me think about this, Elana! It's going to make my blog even better. You rock.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Definitely enjoying it! Sometimes I feel I don't have anything to say. That's a struggle.

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

Well said! It's a two way street. I hardly ever end my post with a question, but I do hope my commenters always feel inspired to join the coversation.

T. Anne said...

You're so wonderful Elana! I think we should have an Elana appreciation day. I find your blog quite enjoyable.

Alaina Evans said...

You make me want to blog! :) (Now sing that to the song, You make me want to shout. Sorry. That's what popped in my head after I read your post. It's excited me!)

Jemi Fraser said...

It still surprises me how much I enjoy blogging :)

Life is far too busy and far too short to spend so much time doing something I don't enjoy!

SB said...

great post!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The A-Z Challenge today was L, so I went with Learning - as in all I have learned from my blogging experience.

Anne Spollen said...

My publisher told me it would be wise to blog. I thought my life was way too boring for anyone to care - I write, I teach, but most of my time I hang out with my kids. So I wrote about my boring life and people wrote back - I mean they READ it.

Yeah, blogging is cool b/c I connect with people and it's not writing I ever worry about having published.

Robert Guthrie said...

Thank you for the gift of a term: bloggy buddies.

And, per yesterday's post, I checked Hulu this morning & Glee was there & I'm watching tonight, reward for another day.

L.T. Elliot said...

I keep reading your series about this and thinking to myself that I must be a selfish blogger. Perhaps I should bow out?

Jackee said...

I know I enjoy blogging the most when I feel that I'm helping others in some small way. I'm probably not, but it makes me feel good regardless.

...So really I suppose it's STILL selfish because it's all about the warm fuzzies I get from doing a good deed. LOL!

Theresa Milstein said...

I've enjoyed sitting at your blog table.

I'm enjoying my blog table too. As for hogging the conversation, each blog's aim is different. I hope I'm not hogging too much!

Because of my blog, two acquaintances have started blogs. I've tried to talk them out of it if they won't commit the time and energy. One thinks it's a magic platform.

Jamie D. said...

I don't think it's any secret that I love blogging. And my reasons have changed much in the 6 yrs I've been doing it. I think sometimes we all have to go through our own little "character arc" to get to where we want to be with our blogs.

Mine is undergoing change again. Last year, I changed it to appeal more to writers, with a nod to potential readers with good success.

This month, I'm widening the content for potential readers yet again as I prepare to start querying...because people who might want to read my books probably aren't going to want to read about writing all the time.

So yeah - I blog for me...but I try to do it in a way that benefits others as much as possible.

Elana Johnson said...

Jamie, so true. It's for you, but with others in mind.

Thanks everyone! What a great dinner discussion!

Melanie Avila said...

I struggle with my content, especially since switching to wordpress. I HATE not knowing how many followers I have. I can see how many visitors I have but it's not the same. That makes me doubt what I'm writing. My most popular posts seem to be about cars, and I don't want to write about THAT, lol.

Glynis said...

I love my blog and blogging buddies. When they leave comments, I am thrilled they have taken time to join me.

I enjoy sitting at your table Elana.

Joylene said...

Thanks for this, Elana. I've been too wrapped up in keeping track of hits to appreciate the blogging community.

I started blogging 19 months ago and I did find my niche. I like helping new and even well-established writers recover their excitement for writing.

What stresses me out though is I want to reciprocate and visit those bloggers who take the time to visit me. But it's getting impossible to keep that up.

Yes, blogging is like sitting around someone's table and chatting. But doesn't that mean visiting their site too?

I need to come to terms with the fact that there are just so many hours in a day and visiting every blogger that stops by is impossible.

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