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Why (and How) I Blog

If you happen to be a book blogger, you’re probably aware of an ongoing conversation via blog posts over the last couple of weeks about why we blog (I linked to several in Sunday’s post, so I won’t do that again). I’ve read, and I hope commented, on many of them and I’m glad they’re being written because they’ve helped me solidify some thoughts I’ve alluded to briefly over the last month or so about changes that I need to make here.

(If you are not interested in some broadish thoughts on the state of blogging, just skip this post — there are no books here!)

The question of why I blog is actually pretty easy to answer. This blog has become the holding place for my life in books, which is deeply (almost entirely) connected to my life in everything else. Certainly, this function of a blog-as-list could be done with a commonplace type book, but a notebook isn’t searchable or sharable or even conducive to the other thing I love about blogging — conversations with other readers. This blog facilitates and encourages those conversations and holds them in place for me into the future. I love being able to search an archive and pull up a moment in time and what I was thinking about then.

Since the “why” is pretty easy, the better question for me, at this moment, is how do I blog now, and what do I need to do so I can keep blogging into the future?

Right now, I feel pulled in two very different directions: blog less or blog more.

The blog less urge is fairly straightforward. Over the last six months or so, I’ve been dealing with what I consider mild/moderate, persistent pain in my hands, wrists, arms and shoulders. I’ve had issues with this since grad school, but lately it’s gotten much worse. I’m taking some steps to address the ergonomics of my home and work spaces, but I’m not sure if they’re helping much. As a result, I’ve already been pulling back a bit on the time I put into blogging… some evenings, I can’t bear the thought of sitting at a desk and typing more.

At the same time, we’re going through some major staff changes at my day job. They haven’t affected me much yet, but I can see in the next few months ways in which I, and everyone else in our small office, will be doing more tasks with less support while we hire and train new staff members. This isn’t uncommon for most working people, but it is a change to how my life has been that I’m trying to anticipate and adjust for ahead of time.

And yet… I have so many ideas for this place. I want to blog more. And I want to write about more than books. As much as I love reading, I want to continue to make my life full of more things that just pages and words. I really admire and enjoy bloggers like Meg (Write Meg!) and Florinda (The 3 R’s Blog) that integrate life with books and bloggers who have evolved far beyond books like Trish (Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity). I’m also feeling an urge to go there, to blog more about the other things I love in new and challenging ways.

Ultimately, I think the solution is going to be a combination of more and less. It’s going to be to learn to blog differently and manage my online life in a different way (changing the “how” because the “why” is so important). I wish I knew, concretely, what those changes might be… but I don’t. I have ideas. I may cut back on responding to comments. I may try to write shorter blog posts. I may try to incorporate more lists, videos, and photos. I’m just not entirely sure yet. What I do hope is that you will stick around with me while I try to figure it out.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) September 21, 2013, 9:24 am

    I get what you’re feeling because I feel like my blog needs to evolve as well, but I’m not sure how.

  • Kerry September 21, 2013, 12:14 pm

    I feel you on the time suck blogging can be. Good luck thinking through things – I’ve also been having a little reconsider of what exactly my blog is ‘about’.

    I found this post helpful: it’s aimed at travel bloggers but I think it kind of works for all kinds (except the stuff about brands, probably!): http://travelbloggersassociation.com/why-every-blogger-needs-a-blog-positioning-statement/ – just a little questionnaire to help work out the focus (or more than one!) of your blog.

    Either way, good luck and I hope your work situation goes all right – that sounds really stressful!

  • Sandy September 21, 2013, 12:45 pm

    I’ve been at this for five years, and it seems like now more than ever we are all reevaluating how blogging figures into our lives. I’m stopping on November 1st (ish) and taking some time off. I think I need to step away in order to really figure out how to fit it in, if at all. It is that whole thing that some people do with relationships…giving each other some room to see how you really feel. I just know that while I love having the blog as a journal, and I love the interaction with others, it is getting in the way. I do like your idea of blogging about more than books. I love the personal posts.

  • Florinda September 21, 2013, 9:17 pm

    “I feel pulled in two opposite directions: blog less or blog more.” I have felt that way for a while, but my actions are definitely in the direction of “less.” As you note, the problem isn’t a shortage of things to say! But sometimes life has to come first–I wonder whether the reassessments so many of us are doing right now is a way of coming to terms with that. And I will be watching to see where yours takes you!

  • Shannon @ River City Reading September 21, 2013, 9:40 pm

    When you mention videos, are you considering video blogging? It seems like it might be a great solution for your wrist pain and I know there’s a great community of book bloggers on YouTube.

  • Katie @ Doing Dewey September 21, 2013, 11:15 pm

    I hope you’re able to find a balance your happy with and I’m sure that whatever you work out will be awesome 🙂

  • Laurie C September 22, 2013, 6:42 am

    Like all things Internet, blogging has to be done in moderation, maybe with little spurts of extra activity like Bloggiesta, read-alongs, etc. It can become so time-consuming that we do have to stop and access the way you’re doing now. I’ve been busy at work and with other book-related projects, and my blogging has definitely suffered lately.

  • It is tricky to find a balance! And poor you that you are having pains in your hands and wrists, that sounds awful. Whatever you decide, I’ll always enjoy reading your posts.

  • Rebecca @ Love at First Book September 22, 2013, 3:37 pm

    This is a really good post, so thanks for being so open about it. I think the main thing to remember is that it’s our own blog. We can do whatever we want with our blogs, and I think that is so important to remember.

  • Jess -A Book Hoarder September 22, 2013, 4:00 pm

    Thank you for this post. It reminded me that I really need to look at why I blog because losing that changes the experience. Seems obvious but apparently I needed someone to point it out to me. I love reading your posts and I’m sorry it can cause so much physical pain. I’ll be hanging I there with you as you rework your groove.

  • Jeane September 22, 2013, 5:02 pm

    I blog for much of the same reasons you do. I’ve gone through several lulls but something always draws me back to it.

  • Jeanne September 22, 2013, 8:06 pm

    I hope that you can blog less for a while and then make time to blog more when you find out what you miss about not doing it as much.

  • Meg September 23, 2013, 9:14 am

    Definitely relate to this post, and also struggle with blog less vs. blog more! I go through creative spurts where I’m dying to post about this or that, coming up with all sorts of ideas, and other times where I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel to write something each day. I think we all feel that way.

    As my personal and professional life heat up this fall, I’ve decided to pull back a bit to focus on pressing matters, but I know I will miss blogging and discussing books and will still be haunting my site often (and thank you so much for the kind mention!).

    As with all things in life, I think it’s all about balance. We both appreciate deadlines and posting schedules (all too well, I’m sure!), but sometimes having the creative freedom to post when you like can make it feel less like a time-consuming job and more like an outlet. Since we both write/edit for a living, I know sometimes the blog can feel like an extension of my everyday work — though the subjects are very different. Giving yourself the space to rejuvenate and figure out what works for you now is great and very important. <3

  • Charlie September 23, 2013, 10:39 am

    That ‘why’, perfect answer, I think you’ve written something that a lot of us feel. I know that for me it’s almost an unconscious reason. It’s important but I don’t realise it unless suddenly I can’t blog or work on my blog for any reason. Hopefully writing this post will help you, in itself, decide what to do.

  • Donna McBroom-Theriot September 23, 2013, 2:53 pm

    Great post and I hope you can come to happy medium. I have been blogging for a number of years. I do book reviews, and stories about my life. I’m struggling with having people comment. I comment on other blogs, but there haven’t been many comments lately. I don’t know if people are just too busy and there are so many blogs out there now. I have the page views, but no comments and I’m kind of in a pickle about what to do.

  • Jennifer September 24, 2013, 8:10 am

    Very interesting. I’m always wondering about blog evolution…how to go about it, how other people manage it. I’ll be watching you closely.

    Not in a stalkery way 😉

  • tanya September 24, 2013, 2:34 pm

    In graduate school my wrists suffered. Eventually I got voice recognition software. it was not perfect, but it helped. Maybe something you could try?