For The Love of It, Part 2 – Writing & Blogging

This past week I asked the musical question, why music?. This fine, early Saturday morning, I woke asking myself: Why Writing, and for me, Why Blogging?

Asking the question partially stemmed from talking to FullSail colleague and EMDT alum, Tom Lucas about his blog(s), the writing drive and the fact that on that particular day a poem of his ended up on the front page of Nope, not jealous… Really. Talking to Tom, listening to his questions about what he wants to do with his writing and what he might do to build his audience was an opportunity for me to really think about what I was hoping to accomplish with my blogs and why I was working so hard at it with no discernible increase in my own readership. It’s too often a misplacement of energies on finding the perfect blogging theme/platform and not nearly enough on writing and the worst of my sins being ignoring the fact that audience comes from interacting with other bloggers and communities. Oops.

I’ve challenged myself for the past four months, since around Thanksgiving, that I need to write something at least five times a week, if not every day. The Day One app has been most helpful, popping up several times a day on my macs, to remind me that it’s time to write something. Given my highly variable schedule, it’s good to have that nag to remind me that I need to put something together for the blog. I guess I’m just not entirely sure at times why…

Of course when I can’t answer why, that’s the time to focus on the technology… When I was talking to Tom I mentioned discovering the Minimatica theme that I was using and how it forced me to not get all caught up in the magazine layout type themes I’d been using. Tom said that it was a bit too minimalistic for him. Hmmm. That caused me to think about how most people come to my blog… I could just ask the question, but then the potential non-response might be overly deafening and depressing. I tend to believe that beyond family and friends, that I might get traffic from my steady stream of students and that they might check in based on whenever I post a link in my Twitter/FaceBook/Google+ stream (I don’t know how many folks even use RSS feed readers anymore…). So, if they check in they’re not landing on the front page but on a specific article. Then after an article, where do they go, if they don’t click away from the blog? Funny to think, especially after all of the soul-searching, pain and suffering trying to design the perfect front page, that the vast majority of visitors probably never get past one article and if getting back to the front page is at all difficult to figure out, forget about it. Hmmm.

So, one of my fears is that I know that I’m going against one of the new media no-noes: find something that you are passionate about and build your brand around that thing. I told Tricia that I feel like my blog is too amorphous, that it’s too scatter-shot, hodgepodge and that with all of the other voices out there why would someone read me when I choose to not be about any one thing. I think about those who I follow and how I tend to listen to them for one area of interest (and how disappointing it can be when they step outside that area of expertise… painful). Of course, Tricia, sees my multiple interests as a plus, but then… well, she’s a good girlfriend that way. So, maybe the error isn’t in not picking one thing and sticking to it, but not standing on my own expertise and experience enough and share with the authority of the hours that I have spent on the things that I care about… Hmmm. Lots to think about here.

I guess, besides writing with more authority, I need to make connections with other bloggers/writers whom I follow and be much more participatory instead of the usual lone voice speaking into the void… It’s so much simpler to fret about WordPress themes and the like… Damn. Learning is hard. Of course I just realized that I get most of my info via audio and video podcasts and tend to scan RSS feeds for general information and don’t really read any particular blogs… damn. This just got a bit more complicated. Ack. Happy Monday to me. This is going to be a fun knot to untie.

One Comment

  1. Tom Lucas

    Joe, it was a brief yet deep conversation! One that has had me thinking as well. There are so many dots on the radar screen for us…so many things to consider. Audience, content, purpose, format, placement, networking, community, the technical aspects.

    I find myself tinkering with my blog’s visual theme when I should be looking for places to share it with potential readers, followers, and constructive critics.

    I must have five or six different pro-blogging advice sites in my RSS, with a dizzying amount of “helpful” tips. Most are focused on how to make money with your blog. Well, mine is really a place to share my creative writing, not so much to generate clicks. I am still looking for online communities that will enjoy what I have to offer!

    Another thing that came out of our conversation…I think what you truly have here is a magazine. It’s more than a column, or a topic-driven blog. There’s a eclectic array of topics and insights. There’s got to be something to that…maybe an epub version to drive readers to you?

    Either way, WE are DOING IT.


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