Friday, January 10, 2014

Posted by Laurel Garver on Friday, January 10, 2014 17 comments
Photo credit: cesstrelle from morguefile.com
Reflecting on the state of blogging over the past year, I've seen an unprecedented number of blogging friends abandon their blogs in 2013. They've fled to other platforms, or are focusing on other things.

I'm finding it harder and harder to stay motivated to post. Thanks to Twitter, my posts are garnering more hits than ever, but interaction? Well, that seems like a thing of the past.

 Because of that trend, I did a redesign last fall and turned my focus to craft topics and helping friends promote their work. Those posts seemed like what readers wanted. But I have to admit it feels like all dressage all the time for me (to use an equestrian metaphor), when sometimes I just need a relaxing trail ride. Or a quick and sloppy barrel race here and there.

Obviously, this is MY blog, so no one is forcing me into the "keep it professional, never personal" mold. It's simply a habit I drifted into, and now it feels strange to talk so very first-person to whomever might stumble across this post.

Perhaps I'd feel more comfortable putting myself out there if I had a better sense of who IS stumbling across my posts.

How did you get here? Why do you read blogs at all? Is it largely for information? To network and talk shop? To connect and build community? 

Do YOU blog? Do you find it easy or difficult to post regularly? What are your thoughts on the state of blogging in 2014?

17 comments:

  1. Laurel, I definitely understand your feelings. I have a hard time blogging without a specified structure, but when I stuck to the structure too meticulously I felt cramped. I'm still figuring out how to blog while raising a family...
    I have to say, though, that I loved your blog when I first found it, before the structure became more about craft and promoting other authors. I feel like I miss YOU a little bit now, as much as I love what you write about craft!

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    1. I think that's why it's harder to blog--some of the fun has been lost. It got to feeling like a job. There's definitely room for my personality to show up a little more. Mix it up. Keep it fresh. It's very encouraging to hear that you enjoyed my more personal posts.

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  2. How did you get here?
    We met thru our live critique group.

    Why do you read blogs at all? Is it largely for information? To network and talk shop? To connect and build community?
    I started reading them for information about writing and publishing, but now I mostly read for inspiration, to stay connected, and because they serve as my sort of "office water cooler." They remind me of the writing tools I want/need to use; they remind me this job is tough sometimes and help me feel less alone. Also, I use blogs to find out about new books. It's probably the main way I find new reads now.

    Do YOU blog?
    Yes.

    Do you find it easy or difficult to post regularly?
    Sometimes it's difficult, but mostly I enjoy it. I decided from the beginning that I would cover mostly writerly stuff (hardly anything about my personal life), but I would do it in a very casual style and keep things short. I think that has helped keep me from burnout.

    What are your thoughts on the state of blogging in 2014?
    I think blogging peaked around 2009-2010, and that the people who do it now are like the people who did it before "everyone" was doing it: we enjoy it; and we find that blogging gives us something we can't find on any other social media. I like how blog posts can be of any length, can incorporate pictures and videos (or not), and that discussion can happen with comments and replies. (The interaction on Tumblr, in contrast, drives me crazy--I don't know how anyone follows any comments or discussion there, with everything being reblogged and modified on different accounts all over the place. And on Twitter, of course, everything is very short.)

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    1. Thanks for your thoughtful contribution, Jenn. The peak for me was definitely 2010. But I started blogging in 2001, which makes me a super-old timer. LOL. Your style does include some personal reflection on various writing topics, which I enjoy reading.

      I definitely agree that blogging offers a very flexible way of connecting with readers, feeling less alone. I've not yet ventured onto Tumblr. It would likely make me crazy, based on your description. Even after a year on Twitter, it still feels like trying to wrestle a greased watermelon so much of the time. The stuff that you want to hold onto and interact with slips away too easily.

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  3. I'm finding it harder and harder to blog. I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm tired--I've been doing it for a long time. Maybe life has intervened--things in my life have gotten more complicated. Maybe I'm just burned out.

    As for reading blogs, I read less. Honestly, the ones I still read are often the personal ones. People talking about their lives, families, etc. because it gives me a personal connection to them. I'm reading the ones that talk writing craft less. And the ones that mostly showcase books even less.

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    1. I hear you about the reading less. I think for me it's because I'm now making forays into Twitter that I don't have the time to "do the rounds" with my blogging friends as often. Those who are also on FB and post links there I do more often read.

      Burn out happens with any activity you do for a long time. I've coped with that largely by reusing old material. So many of my posts in 2013 were things I wrote in 2010. Trying some totally new topics can help also. I had fun for a while talking about indie films and what I learned about some aspect of storytelling from them. Sometimes just a hiatus is enough.

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  4. Yello! =) I blog for the sense of community- I like the happiness I feel when I see comments from my 'regulars' who always make time to stop by. Just today I sent a link to a fellow blogger about an article I thought they'd find interesting. W/out blogging, I wouldn't have had anyone to share it with(or who would have gotten my excitement over it anyway!) =)

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    1. Community and having regulars was very common for me--about four years ago. Hearing that you still enjoy this makes me think my sense of loss comes from so many of my regulars drifting off and needing to keep building new relationships.

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  5. I do like the more personal blogs, the ones about the journey a writer is taking; the trials and tribulations, the ups and downs. Those kinds of blogs have given me the most inspiration to keep at it.

    There's TONS of info out there on the craft of writing, who needs more of it? I rarely blog along those lines.

    Blogs seem to have become a place for book promotions, which is fine, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it. And now... I'm promoting too, contributing to the *clutter.* :) But without all of it, I wouldn't have reached the place I am now. The blogging community has been a wonderful source of information, help and inspiration.

    Am I finding it harder to blog? Sometimes, sure. I'm not always inspired. But there will always be stories to tell, I just have to get out the elbow grease and polish them up.

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    1. Interesting comments here. I think I also enjoy personal approaches, though personal approaches about craft sort of hit a sweet spot for me. I not only connect with the writer but also get a take-home. I feel less alone and encouraged.

      I know what you mean about promotional clutter. There are plenty of sites out there that do only promo, but I suspect they don't get sustained readership. Those like us with a mix of content do. You might notice i usually ask guests to talk about a writing topic related to the book they are promoting.

      I agree that the blogging community has been an amazing source of encouragement and growth. I sure miss my friends who have left it!

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  6. I'm trying to focus more on reading other people's blogs, and if I feel inclined to say something on the back of that, then I'll do it.

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    1. When I'm in a funk, I find it VERY hard to comment, even when I am reading lots of blogs. This dour inner voice says "no one cares what you think." Awful, I know. Personally, I love even a hello in the comments, so the dour voice is obviously wrong.

      The best gift we can give each other is attention. So thank you, Stu. I appreciate your efforts to read and reach out!

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  7. Hi Laurel -

    I've been AWOL for a long time. My apologies. I was a frequent reader over a year ago, but don't remember how I originally found your blog. As a writer, your blog posts piqued my interest.

    My blog will celebrate 6 years in May. I started posting 3X per week, but in January 2013 I cut back to 2X per week. Last year, I signed with Joyce Hart, of Hartline Literary Agency, and a small press. Three books were published last year, so my blogging time has shrunk.

    I'm going to add your blog to my blogroll for easy access.

    Happy New Year,
    Susan :)

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    1. For sure busy-ness that accompanies any forward movement in publishing will cut into social media time. What I regret is that I'm losing my connection to the people who helped me get to where I am. I guess we're all trying to figure out the time management thing, right?

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  8. You blog is still lovely, and I still visit, no matter what you're putting up. :)

    I still blog, but my blog is more like my little corner to put up whatever I want. I've made it a point not to advertise on my blog, which has helped make me feel like it's more of a personal space. If I do talk about other books, it's through a guest post addressing something I'm interested in. All in all, blogging has become something I truly love to do -- on my own time, in my own way. :)

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    1. Thanks, Michelle. I think you might be the only one of my very first readers (back when I had 17 followers) who has stuck with blogging and regularly visiting. Thank you SO much for your steady friendship!

      I admire your always-thoughtful posts that are so honest. The fact you link them on FB makes it easier for me to keep up. As I'd said to Stu, I often get into non-commenting funks that have everything to do with my inner demons and nothing whatsoever with the quality of posts I'm reading.

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  9. Seeing a bit of a trend in the comments here and I have to agree - I'm craving less writing craft and more personal blog posts. That being said, after just reading your posts on insta love, I guess I do still love writing craft, if it's something new I haven't run into before. (I've seen a lot of complaining about insta love, but never someone suggesting ways to get around it)

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