Blogging in the Age of Twitter and Other Bits of Unsolicited Advice

canstockphoto4930986Whenever a blog post gets any attention, I receive comments and emails from new bloggers asking for advice. This is all very flattering and for a few moments, I puff myself up to expound on guidelines about blogging. Except they’re only guidelines for me. What works for me, serves my purpose, meets my needs as a writer, reader and blogger, might be entirely different for you. This is the beauty and the challenge of blogging. We’re all just feeling our way through it.

We’ve heard that blogging is dead for the last ten years. That goes right along with physical books and the personal essay. It’s taken me nearly 50 years to fine tune my obliviousness to trends and so far, it’s worked out pretty well. I rarely read e-books and I still ingest paper books by the dozens. I write personal essays and I still post them on a blog. I’m not wealthy, powerful, or famous, so you might see that as a weakness in the plot, but most of us aren’t destined for those things anyway.

Whatever the state of blogging might be, I’ll share what I’ve learned over the last five years about writing for a blog and what I see as a reader of blogs. Take it with a grain of salt and feel free to ask me questions. I’ll try to sound sage, like I actually have my shit together.

Content

In terms of topics, I will write about anything. This has served me well over the long haul. Niche-oriented blogs can run out of steam when the kids grow up or the traveling ends and shifting gears can sometimes be a challenge for reader retention. On the other hand, my blog relies on my voice and not subject appeal to attract readers. Both this and the longer form writing are specific choices and have consequences which likely result in fewer readers.

A recurring comment I get is about my authenticity and honesty often to the tune that I’m being brave or have courage. As much as I’d like to absorb the compliments, the fact is that I prefer to live simply by being myself in all venues. This also has consequences, but one of the happier ones is that I’ve been able to develop genuine connections with people over the years.

canstockphoto10267603That being said, I follow a rule that I never put out anything for public consumption that I haven’t processed. As I mentioned to a commenter on my post about depression, I protect my sensibilities. I write about something when I am strong enough to withstand scrutiny and not a moment before.

Not only do I feel responsible for protecting my own sensibilities, but also those of my family and friends. I’ve never written about my daughter or husband without their permission. Most of my family of origin literally do not know how to use computers and those that do, don’t care about my writing. I still try to be circumspect when I write about them.

Lastly, I have no problem using blue language here, but I do recognize that many people find that unappealing. This last year has been a banner year for swearing at The Green Study, but considering the state of things, I’m a little proud that I’ve managed to write posts without drowning them in f-bombs.

Length & Frequency

canstockphoto8168587If you listen to marketers, we’re all serfs on the content farm. Everything is about churning out frequent, easily digestible nuggets for a population with attention deficits. I ignore that. I prefer longer form writing and taking an idea on its natural journey. Sometimes that journey ends at 500 words, but as I become more resistant to Twitter culture, I’ve been unabashedly running up around 1,000 words on a post.

I don’t post on a schedule. My preference is quality over quantity and sometimes quality takes a little time to brew. I have randomly blurted out a poem or short post on occasion, but my pattern seems to be that I post every 1-2 weeks, taking intermittent hiatuses. Since I’m not trying to drive a business with my blog or run up stats, this works for me.

Format & Grammar

I stick to a pretty straightforward format – writing interspersed with a few pictures to give the eyes a break. For me, the primary focus is the writing. Finding pictures after the fact is just a bit of fun. I’ve had eye issues over the years which make me very cognizant of what a strain small text, large blocks of uninterrupted text, busy backgrounds, and clutter on the sidelines can cause the eyes.

My writing has grown stronger in many ways since starting to write a blog. I am less afraid of ending sentences in prepositions, forgetting an Oxford comma, or writing more stylistically. I am occasionally a vicious editor. But in all the discussions of grammar, we often forget its main purpose: to provide a uniform way so that we can communicate effectively with each other, tell our stories, get our point across, and connect.

canstockphoto6222255Paragraphs, punctuation, capitalization, and proper spelling are all useful tools in effective communication. It also allows the reader to breathe. It provides structure, flow, and rhythm. People get excoriated for being insistent about these things, but the fact of the matter is, most of us are not James Joyce, e.e. cummings, or Cormac McCarthy. We still need to use basic tools and it’s disrespectful to expect readers to do our work for us, by making them machete their way through a jungle of print.

Readership & Social Media

Ah, the old trap of Likes and Follows. I spent my first eight months of blogging with 3-10 readers tops. Fortunately, I hadn’t yet discovered the addictive nature of those little buttons and statistics. I was still just freaking myself out by writing publicly, oblivious that I should be upset that the only thing going viral was me during flu season.

I made the mistake of reading advice articles about SEOs and social media venues. I opened Twitter and Facebook accounts halfheartedly, where they sit ignored and unwanted to this day. Time is of a finite nature and while we have many opportunities to yap about our lives, it’s important to actually live a life offline. I can’t manage that and juggle multiple venues of writing.

canstockphoto4429085Currently my readership is running around 16K, but that is a fake number and is not to be relied on as a bellwether for my abilities as a writer. It breaks down to about 50 regular readers, 2300 sporadic readers, 1000 readers who only want posts on writing or mental health, 2 relatives and 6 friends. The remaining 12,000 readers want me to take a vacation getaway to their remote island resort, to sell me a knockoff handbag, or to sign me up for their dating site marketing Russian and Asian women.

Over the last five years, I’ve come to appreciate the real people, no matter what the number, who read and engage and connect with me. Writing in public and having someone say “this made me feel less alone” or when they earnestly engage in a conversation about the topic and interact with other commenters – well, that’s the sweet spot.

Blogging Etiquette & Peeves

canstockphoto7547507The Reciprocal Follow: I’ve heard several perspectives on this. I do not Follow people expecting them to Follow me. Nor do I Follow people just because they’ve followed me. We know how quickly our Readers can fill up and it again comes down to finite time. While I appreciate people subscribing to my blog, I always hope that it is because they have found something here that appeals to them and assume they’d prefer genuine readers and not just a stat on their blog as well.

The Comment Mercenaries: “I like your post. Please look at mine (usually followed with a link).” This does not move me to look at a blog. If someone leaves an engaging comment, I will likely look at their blog. A generic comment with a looky-loo request suggests that they barely read the post and that they’re just blog-jumping in order to direct people to their blogs.

Comment Policy: I wrote one this year due to the fact that I thought I’d be going off the rails with political rants. Turns out That Guy is not that interesting and that there are plenty of people railing at the sky. Still, I wonder why I didn’t have a policy sooner. It sets the tone for the blog that says “This is not Facebook or Twitter. We are civilized and respectful here.”

Comment Response: I try to answer every comment in a relatively timely fashion. Sometimes it might be several days depending on my schedule or if I accidentally miss it, several months. If the comment section is open, then it is my responsibility to monitor it. I hold comments in moderation for sensitive posts regarding mental health issues, but for the most part, it’s free range.

Being a Good Reader

I am not a good blog reader in that I only do it as time permits, when titles catch my attention (that are not obvious click bait). Since I’m trying to finish a book, I have to be careful not to get too sidetracked with blogging. I only comment when I think I might add to the conversation or when the post is stellar in the shape of its content and skill of writing. This is the best I can do with limited time.

canstockphoto4609080That being said, being a new blogger means the expanse of one’s readership counts on you interacting with other bloggers on a genuine level. I have often found new blogs to read in the comment sections of a blog and readers have told me that they got to my blog through the blog of someone else. This is the community aspect of blogging which takes time and effort.

Blogging as If No One’s Life Depends on It

Blogging is, for most people, a hobby. Statistically, very few people make a living from it. And if you’re a writer, the conventional wisdom is that you must, must, must have a social media platform. We’ve all read blogs that were essentially product pitches. For me, this is a huge turnoff and really defeats the purpose of social media, which is engagement.

I remember the jitters I experienced publishing my first post, as if it would be a deal-breaker for my writing. My nightmare of being a writer unmasked as a complete fraud would surely come true.

Then nothing happened. Nothing continued to happen for a long time. I kept writing and posting and writing and posting. It felt like shouting into a void. I kept focusing on structure and content. I thought about themes and voice. My voice got stronger. And eventually, comments began to pop up. I engaged sincerely (like an eager Labrador) and started to make connections.

So despite this meandering post, blogging boils down to a few things: enjoy it, keep practicing, and be patient. It only took me 1800 words to get to this point, but it’s Sunday and my vicious editor is lounging about reading a book, drinking coffee, and lazily reaching over to hit the Publish button.

Best wishes to you on your blogging journey!

84 Comments on “Blogging in the Age of Twitter and Other Bits of Unsolicited Advice

  1. Really great post. I love the part where you write that what works for you won’t work for everyone else. Blogging is such a unique thing. It changes from author to author. I really like your perspective on this industry.

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    • Thanks, Bri. Blogging is definitely unique for each person. I do find there are some basic questions often asked like “How do I get readers?” I am such a tortoise that slow and steady is the only advice I can give. Anything else seems like too much work and too self-aggrandizing for a non-moneymaking venture.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I totally agree! Writing should me meaningful, not just for show. Writing should be helpful, for everyone to know. It should be something from the heart that the writer lets go. It should leave the reader yearning to read one more.
      …That’s what I’m trying to do with my now blog for making an impact on the world. @myhelpingworld.wordpress.com
      My goal is to be helpful to stressed students and to help the world’s environment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you. I enjoyed reading this article. It cheers me up to know that there are others resolutely doing their own thing and even making a success of it. 🙂

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  3. Hi Michelle!
    What an excellent summary! I’m so glad I found you early on in my blogging life (it’s been over two years, wow!). It was exactly your authenticity that moved me to follow, and that you seemed to struggle with the same things I do in human relationships. Actually I think we all have many of the same struggles–and I just really like how you write about them. 😊
    Your 1000-1800 words go by fast, which is reassuring, because I tend to run long, also. This comment is too long already! 😆
    Write on, my friend! And have a great day! 👍🏼👊🏼👏🏼

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    • Thanks, Cathy. I wonder that we aren’t all struggling quite a bit these days. It’s hard to retain a moral compass in the face of what’s going on in the world.
      I usually try to stay around 800-1000 word range, but blogging is a rather broad subject to cover.

      Thanks for your words of encouragement. Have a lovely Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved to read this post and it was exactly what I needed to read!
    I started blogging very recently (less than two months ago), and when I started I could not follow the advice of “find your own niche”. My blog is all over the place… is a personal blog, ans as I am all over the place too, well….. I guess that is my niche: “blog with identity crisis”.
    I find it very exciting to have a way to shout out all the stuff that is twirling inside my head.
    But the stats page has been haunting me a bit: I see the views (or at least the “clicks” to the page), but “comments” section is as dry as the Sahara desert (with the exception of a very good friend of mine that leaves comments almost as long as my posts 🙂 ).
    I really want to make the posts in the blog a trigger for conversation in the comment section, to know the perspective/experience/reaction of those that visit… I am just not sure how to do it…
    Thank you for this post!

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    • I’m glad that you could find something affirming here. That whole niche thing crops up in blogging advice columns a lot. It really depends on your purpose. I have an interest in a lot of subjects, so writing about one particular subject would doom any sort of long-term blog.
      In terms of getting conversations going, I think there are two things to do: focus on good quality writing and engage others on their blogs. Other than that, we don’t have a lot of control over what others do, so it’s important to find joy in the process of writing and try (despite human nature) to not be invested in the outcome. I’ve never taken the time to analyze the stats in a way that would effect any change, so they’re kind of useless – that requires someone with a little more ambition!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Michelle,
    As always, I enjoy your perspective. Blogging is good writing practice, and it fills in the voids left by mass media and other social media. I like the 800-1000 length, too. There’s always more to say, but there are so many demands on people’s attention that I believe it’s considerate to try to contain myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is good writing practice, not just in terms of writing quality, but also in forming a writing habit. That is something I sorely needed. I suppose I should apologize for such a lengthy post, but generally I do stay within range.
      As a reader, I find myself turning away from online postings, because some of them are so limited as to not carry an idea to fruition or short enough that there really isn’t a structure or arc in the writing. I try not to be brief for the sake of brevity, but you’re right, we have to be considerate of the time people are willing to invest reading what we write. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michelle,
        Don’t apologize. I read through to the end, as anyone with genuine interest will do. You give good advice, without redundancy.
        Books are much longer, but we read them, don’t we? I generally prefer print media, too, and I agree about the discipline or writing.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. I applaud your obliviousness. I’m working towards that myself, but it seems to go against our conditioning, or at least mine.

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    • You’re right about that – we’re conditioned to tune into every trend and piece of advice, lest we miss out. People who experience success seem to have at least one thing in common – they focus on their work and don’t get distracted by the noise around them. I truly envy that and try to remind myself to find pleasure in the work and to ignore a lot of the noise. It’s likely no coincidence that I find myself thinking about blogging mechanics and stats only when I am dissatisfied with or avoiding writing.

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      • Very true, the last point. Clicking through stats to find out my most popular posts or even scrolling through the reader are both great ways of avoiding doing anything more productive. Another point about niche blogs; they’re fine as long as you’re still interested in that niche topic, but those are the blogs that don’t necessarily get true engagement. It’s always the personal stories that stick in your mind. I pop in here now and again, more in the winter, so I suppose I can be counted as one of your sporadic readers, but if I do visit, I always know it’s going to be worth reading.

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        • That’s what I enjoy when I read other people’s blogs – their voice, stories, and perspective. Informational/niche blogs are kind of a one-and-done deal – you get the info that you need and move on.
          I’m just as grateful for sporadic readers as any other reader. I’m a sporadic reader as well. I think that’s kind of the nature of blogging – time dictates what we can do as writers and readers. So thanks for stopping by when you can!

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  7. Great blog post, I really enjoyed reading it & it was very informative, thanks!

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  8. Coincidentally, I wondered about ending a sentence with a preposition the other day and did a quick and dirty google search. The answer: “At one time, schoolchildren were taught that a sentence should never end with a preposition. However, this is a philosophy actually associated with Latin grammar. While many aspects of Latin have made their way into the English language, this particular grammar rule is not suited for modern English usage.” The writer went on to say, “Know your audience.” If you are before a tribunal of stuffy and erudite literary types, dangle not. Otherwise, for general all purpose types (like me, for example) dangle away!

    Great post – I ready every enjoyable word. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Maggie. I always wrestle with that particular rule. When it comes to rhythm and voice, though, it is often much more awkward to contort a sentence to fit the rule than to just break it. I think there is something to be said for knowing the rules and then breaking them intentionally.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I like this advice Michelle. I seem to have traveled the same path and have the same preferences for my own blogging–keep it real, be authentic, don’t worry about the response, just focus on the content.
    It’s a good community of followers you have here. The connections I have made to the people behind the blogs and the comments are what motivates me to continue reading and writing.
    Glad you are planning to stick around. I enjoy your posts so very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes I think people get confused, having higher expectations of response than of themselves and what they write. I often have to remind myself to stay focused on the writing, because that’s where everything begins. And really, it’s the only thing we have any control over.

      Thanks for the kind words about my posts. Ilona. Once I got over the initial phobia of writing publicly, I’ve really enjoyed the connections I’ve made here – it’s often a great counter to the noisy world of extremist voices.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You so eloquently express the nuts and bolts of it. There’s not a thing here I disagree with. I won’t alter my content to suit any SEO or reader-bait – my blog, my vision, and I’m sticking to it. Same with length and frequency. I am so with you on the grammar and punctuation issue. I’m the grammar/punctuation Nazi and if I find I’ve published a post with a mistake, well I won’t go so far as to say I’m mortified, but it does piss me off, and I have to fix it right away. And yeah, I’m not impressed with posts full of spelling/grammar/punctuation mistakes. My social media networking begins and ends (almost) with FB. I have Google+ and Twitter but use them only to announce new posts. As you say there’s only so much time. I try to keep up with reading but sometimes I just can’t, so I don’t expect everyone else to either. I find that I do my best writing when I’m not writing for an audience, but just “shouting into the void”. This was a good read. Thanks.
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Alison. When I started out blogging, I tried very hard to see what a writer was trying to say without getting hung up on grammar. I have a penchant for the critical eye, so I was trying to be less critical. These days, though, time has become so crucial that my willingness to work at understanding something is fairly limited if the barrier is grammar. There are just too many resources online and off to help people learn it for ignorance to be a good excuse. It sounds a little mean, but it’s less about protocol than the effort required to follow incoherent trains of thought. It places the burden on the reader and not the writer, where it should be.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. “I like your post. Please look at mine (usually followed with a link)” – I had experience in this and it makes me does not want to look at theirs at all. Just like you mentioned here – If someone takes time to look at my blog and leave a comment, I will check out theirs, but I am not there for trading comments kind of sorts. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on blogging. Now I am off to produce more high-quality content.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Generic comments make it very hard to connect and respond genuinely to someone. I know someone is engaged when they respond specifically to a post. When someone is engaged, then the likelihood I’d want to interact with them goes up exponentially. And that is what drives this whole blog bus – finding people who are equally engaged. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Luv’d this Michelle! especially where u say your facebook and twitter accounts remain largely unattended even now…

    I started blogging about a year ago and opened all the same and more, and was trying to get through grad school too! Too much, too soon, and I crashed and burned!

    But now that I’ve finally graduated, I’ve decided to get back to the blog and finish the novel, and all the rest can just take a back seat!

    LIke you say, our time is precious and needs to be focused!

    Like

  13. Good to see someone standing their ground and purely blogging for their own purposes. I don’t read “How to blog…” posts either. I write what I write when I write, and am gradually building a circle of those interested in my writing and those whose blogs I enjoy. Selectively. I enjoyes reading this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The remaining 12,000 readers want me to take a vacation getaway to their remote island resort, to sell me a knockoff handbag, or to sign me up for their dating site marketing Russian and Asian women

    Why do you get all the good ones? The majority of my followers are divided evenly between septic system cleaners and hog barn consultants. Hell, I can’t even attract the sharks selling erectile dysfunction remedies. I must be doing something wrong. 🙂

    But seriously, keep doing what you are doing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think having “Iowa” in your blog name guarantees you bushels of agri-spam. Just put “menopausal” in one of your post titles and you’ll be awash in resort entreaties, oversized purse bargains, and opportunities to have a midlife sexual identity crisis.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. I am now sorely tempted to publish a link to my blog with an offer to sell you a timeshare in a condo where Gucchy bags are made by Russian and Asian brides. However, that would require writing that post with some sort of click-bait title: YOU’LL BE SHOCKED AT WHAT THESE RUSSIAN/ASIAN/PAN-PACIFIC BRIDES ARE DOING TO EARN MONEY! I have a yard I’d rather weed.

    Liked by 1 person

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  17. I am a new blogger and can relate very much to what you described about your first 8 months of blogging. I wrote about not giving up just yesterday. I appreciate your opinions and advice expressed in this post–I am enjoying my blogging practice and trying to be patient 🙂

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    • I am a huge proponent for slow-and-steady-wins-the-race, but it does tend to fly in the face of today’s instantaneous results culture. And of course, what is the race? It depends on one’s personal metrics. For me, the regular habit of writing and engaging with people is sufficient, so plodding and patience works out for me. Best wishes to you as you continue your blogging practice!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Michelle – this post popped up in my recommended feed and I’m so glad I decided to take a look. It’s great to see someone that rejects the ‘shorter is better’ mentality that so many people have today. As a fellow writer, I hate that some editors are forcing shorter and shorter word counts – eloquence doesn’t always require reams of text, but a constant barrage of 300 word posts does seem to trend towards reduced quality.

    Keep up the good work!

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    • Thanks! While I have a fondness for economical writing where possible, I think reading short snippets all the time is like fast-charging a battery, eventually it diminishes how the brain works. There just isn’t time to explore complex ideas, use critical thinking skills, or get beyond the meme culture. But it sounds like I’m preaching to the choir here.

      Like

  19. An interesting post (from one of your Sporadic readers). I struggle to follow any blog religiously. It was nice to hear that you also dip in and out of reading other blogs. I also often question why I spend time blogging for a relatively small handful of people – but really, when I think about it, it’s purely self indulgent.

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    • Blogging is a fairly large exercise in self-indulgence. As long as we keep it in perspective and enjoy it, there’s no harm, no foul.
      There would be no way I could read any one blog regularly and I think very few people do that – there’s just not enough time. And with a blog like this, with no niche orientation, subjects are going to be hit and miss for readers. Guaranteed dissatisfaction at some point. Ah, well…

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I’m scrolling past the other comments (51 by the time I got here), just to say howdy.

    I’m embarrassed to say I often skip the blogs in my Reader that I know will be long(er). Even more embarrassing is that this is The Green Study more often than not. When my brain is rapid-firing, I just can’t stick with too many words (“too many” is a relative term. I claim it absolutely). I need to be sitting in my comfy chair and settle in to read and digest stuff with substance, not fighting with my cat over who gets to sit in the desk chair.

    I feel disloyal and a bad, bad friend for doing this. Don’t hate me.

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    • I think this is the beauty of no expectations when writing a blog. When people show up, it’s a pleasant surprise. And I certainly would not impose blog reading as an expectation of friendship, because that’d be a little weird, Sandy. That’s like a friend being irritated with me for not knowing about their lives from Facebook.

      I’ll admit there are very few long blog posts that I read as well, despite being a proponent of longer form writing. I do go to curated sites, like Longreads to ensure that what I do spend time on is higher quality writing about a wide range of subjects. All that being said, this post was one I considered an excess!

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  22. Nicely put, Michelle. And yes, you’re one of those few I feel I’ve made a genuine connection with. Sorry we didn’t get to see one another last year when you were here, but perhaps another time. And then, we’ll feel we’ve known each other already. Nothing false about that, no more than normal life, right?! Ha, enjoy the day. Bill

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    • Thanks, Bill. Same here. I think there is something to be said for getting to know people through their writing and these small conversations. If how I process the world is through writing, then there is some innate joy in getting to know people that way, without all the other things that get in the way. I’ve so much enjoyed your writing and your spirit over the last few years and I’m sure we’ll cross actual paths in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I relate so much to some of the things you live by. Like following blogs i genuinly would like to read more of, or leaving a comment because i genuinly want to. Or writing whenever i want to, about whatever i want to. Eventhough I do want to make a living out of blogging, i want to make sure i dont prioritise it over my hobby of writing with all my heart. Loved your post xx

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  24. Hello Michelle,
    I came across this post today and I just want to say:
    yes, yes, YES and an exclamation point!!
    yes…I love your honesty about the guidelines for blogging. As a relatively new blogger, I’ve read several (many?) writers giving their definition of what goes into a good post. But as you point out, what works for one of us does not work for another. It took me several tries to write my first post. But in the end, it all came down to listening to that little voice inside my head that said, “This is right for you. This is something that you have to share.”
    yes…I had some help setting up my blog. There was a discussion about blog length and frequency of postings. I could not get these “etched in stone” ideas to work for me. I felt that the importance of the words overrode any concern about word count. And, if I it is Monday and I have nothing of importance to say? So be it!
    YES…For many, grammar and spelling and punctuation and writing in complete sentences may be a turn-off. But for me, everything I write is precious and I strive to give it importance by writing well.
    And an exclamation point!…I’m enjoying this blog concept. It keeps me writing and it certainly gives me a new understanding of the word patience. An added bonus? It helps me get away from that damn character who is giving me such a hard time in my novel!
    Kudos on a well-written piece.

    Like

    • Thank you. Once you start looking for it, there’s no end to the blogging advice out there. It can be quite overwhelming and it takes time to shed it and fall into your own rhythm. It sounds like you’ve done that.

      That scheduling advice drove me nuts for the first couple of years of blogging. I tried it off and on, but found that if I were to continue blogging, it would have to be at my own pace. There are bloggers on regular schedules, but it sometimes seems that quality takes a hit. Maybe that’s what they need to keep at things. When blogging becomes just another “to-do” on the list, it takes the fun out of it for me.

      As for grammar, I try not to be a pedantic stickler when reading other people’s work unless they’ve asked me. But for my own path, I like to know all the rules – so I know which ones to break!

      Thanks for reading and commenting on the post. Best wishes to you!

      Liked by 1 person

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  26. I am 100% new to this whole blogging thing, I actually started blogging today of all days. I just want to thank you for your advice in this post, I know I haven’t been here long, but I feel it will help me know what to expect going forward with this. I also agree with the whole social media thing considering I have found myself falling off of Facebook for quite some time now anyways, nothing tends to last really long in that world anyways.

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    • Congrats on starting a blog! It will take some time to hit a rhythm and pace that works for you. I was always of the “build it and they will come” mentality, except, of course, when I wasn’t. It seemed like community took a long time to develop, but it happens eventually.
      The social media hue and cry is exhausting. While I appreciate its value, it’s like having a phone – just because it rings, doesn’t mean I have to answer (I usually don’t). It’s only a good tool if you use it in a way that suits your life.
      Anyway, best wishes to you and enjoy yourself!

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Your description of how/when you comment on other blogs is like mine. Only I’m worse. I feel guilty about this because I actually love interacting on blogs when I make the time to do it. But I can go a-blogging and then look up from my computer and 2 hours have passed. And at this rate I’ll never finish my novel. So I sympathize. Write on!

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    • I like interacting with other bloggers as well. It’s just one of those life lessons – time is finite, but it never seems that way while surfing! I try to do it in smaller chunks of time, but more frequently. It’s still a hit-or-miss approach. I imagine winter will leave more time for it. Right now, I can hardly make myself sit still when the outdoors beckons.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Thanks for the great advice. Mostly I blog for myself but a like or comment is very life connecting. I know I need to work on my grammar and punctuation. Thanks!!

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    • You’re welcome. The grammar thing gets a lot of people and has garnered quite a bit of resentment, which is why I like to talk about its purpose. Reading is really the thing that has improved my grammar, but there are a lot of sites to provide tips, too. Don’t let it get in the way of practicing, though. Best wishes to you!

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  29. I dig this. You really did bring up some important topics and although they’re mainly geared to work for yourself – as you mentioned – I do think they can be passed on to others.

    Like

  30. While I agree with the overall post, I can particularly connect with the bit about time and its finite nature. I think its also because I have accepted that I am shouting in a void. I accept that people have demands on their time just as I have, and they are not just short on attention span.

    I write when I think its worth it, my mind is ready, the thoughts are trickling down on my screen effortlessly. So, I don’t have a fixed schedule as well. When I converse with people orally, I don’t like to speak out unless my mind is clear – the same way I don’t like to post half cooked write-ups.

    I also don’t like to engage with people just for stats. I like to be read by people who find worth in it. Quality is a double edged sword for me. I want to see quality in my writing, and then I want the people who read it see it too. I am told I am full of self-doubt? am I or that I prefer to remain in the void because I think the “grapes are sour”? What’s your diagnosis?

    One thing I must confess, for me, blogging this way has helped discipline my mind better than it previously was.

    Like

    • This is the lovely thing about blogging – what you want and what you get out of it can be analogous with your personality. The readers that you draw will be suited to it as well. I would say that there is always an inherent danger to having expectations of others, because it is something entirely out of your control. To have those expectations of yourself, to work at making your writing of high quality – this is the thing that you can control.

      And I absolutely agree with what you said regarding the need to discipline one’s mind. Writing does that for me, forcing me to clarify my thoughts and explain myself in a way that is understandable to others. Best wishes on your blogging journey and thanks for the thoughtful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Hi Michelle, this post made me retrospective☺️☺️I started blogging like a year back and since then I have tried to be regular but there are passive periods. I think it’s important to engage. These days most of the bloggers would just hit follow and if I don’t follow back they unfollow, this is pretty much the trend on Twitter as well. But I don’t bother I engage, and follow back if I mean it not for the heck of numbers.if ☺️☺️👍👍Cheers, Charu

    Like

    • I used to worry that there was an expectation that I would follow someone back. It’s an unreasonable expectation for me to follow at the same rate – I’d never have time to read their posts and I think that would be disappointing for them. We simply have to be courteous and authentic, which means being honest about the need to curate our reading lists.
      That being said, I’m always grateful when someone wants to read my work and I don’t take it for granted. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment here!

      Like

  32. Thank you for this. I am new to blogging here but have done some content writing online in the past. I lost steam after churning out over 50 articles in less than a year. That was a lot and I think my focus was on all the advice about search engines, monetizing, etc. I found that it sucked the joy out of my writing. This new blog journey has been about being myself and finding my personal voice. I wish I heard your advice before I burnt out and stopped publicly writing for 5 years but alas, we all have our own journeys. Thank you again. This was helpful and supportive of writers who write because they are writers and not necessarily with other motives.

    Like

    • Yikes – 50 articles in a year. No wonder you got burned out. I used to think that monetizing anything that you love eventually ruins it. But I’m older now and making a go of it late in the game. Perhaps the lesson is that if you are doing something only for the money, that the joy will be siphoned away. But if you do something that you love and just happen to make money at it, all the better. I haven’t really figured that one out yet. I hope that you rediscover the joy of writing and I wish you the best on your blogging journey.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. For the life of me I don’t know how I found this post – I’ve been wandering randomly through the Reader looking for fellow lovers of history (I didn’t find any that I wanted to connect to today) and in some haphazard fashion from one click to another, I arrived here.

    I just want to say your post so resonates with everything I learned or think about blogging. It was really nice to read and find that I’m not the only one who thinks that ‘follow for follow’ is annoying rather complimentary, or that social media is a boring pain in the neck (at some point I too was told that I have to have a social media presence and I tried but it’s not for me).

    I really liked your breakdown of your followers, BTW, I often wonder how many of the few I’ve got actually read my stuff, my estimate was ten percent. 🙂 Having said that, the ones that do read and comment too, well, you really value those. The benefit of having few followers is that I do actually ‘know’ them and I can have genuine conversations with them.

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