The question of blogging and whether or not it is worth my precioussss (couldn’t help myself with the Gollum reference) time is something I’ve been contemplating lately. Blogging takes up a lot of time.
I’m not the kind of person who can just throw together a blog post. Like all my writing, I have to allow myself ample time to think over what I’m going to write before I even sit down to write it. Then there’s the time it takes to write the post, format it with pictures and links, and proof it (yes, I do proof my posts, though I know mistakes make it through).
Even guest blog posts take time. I like to make sure the posts look nice and to have some uniformity to them, so though I don’t have to write those posts, I still have to format them. Plus there’s keeping track of who is posting when and correspondence with guest posters. Not to mention actually reading their content because of course I’m going to do that before I put it on my blog!
It’s not like I get paid to do this or have any revenue stream coming from my website. In fact, I pay to host the site and for my domain name. And lately I’ve been picky about my unpaid projects, carefully weighing whether or not they are worth it. I don’t have a ton of time for my paid work and I don’t get paid a lot for it, so to do work for free seems kind of crazy.
So I started thinking about why I began blogging in the first place. I went back to my very first post in which I expressed that the Observation Desk (the title of my blog) would be a place for me to share my observations on life. As a fledgling writer, I felt a need to share my thoughts, and clearly thought they were interesting enough to share. I think I also wanted a place to think out loud, so to speak, regardless of who listened (i.e. read).
And I have certainly shared many thoughts over the years. I do come here to articulate my thoughts and put them in a cohesive form. Often I’ll start a post about one thing and it will morph into something else, something I never intended it to be. So even though I think about what I want to say before I begin writing, I often figure out something else I wanted to say. In a lot of ways, I began blogging for myself and I still do that. I don’t keep a personal journal for my own thoughts (I keep one for story ideas and development, one for conference notes, and one for each of the boys), so this is my place for that.
Then the blog also became a place for me to feature other writers, illustrators, and creative people. I love featuring other content creators, reading what they think about and how their creative process looks. This was an aspect of the blog I never intended when I first started it, but guest bloggers have really helped to shape the way I now blog. Plus, it does take the pressure off me a little because I’m not the only one providing new content.
So the blog is my place to think in journal form (keeping in mind others will be reading) and a space to feature other creative types and share their works and thoughts.
Then there’s you, the readers. You contribute by reading, sharing, or commenting, and are one of the main reasons I keep the blog going because I feel like some of you actually care about what is going on with my life and this is how we keep in touch. And there have been many times when I’ve been in a tough place in my life and you all helped pick me up. That’s not something to take lightly.
There’s more, too. As I was preparing my presentation for the NESCBWI conference, I realized a lot of the ideas and techniques I was presenting originally came from a blog post idea. A furthering of the idea that this is my place to gather and hone my thoughts.
Does my blog make me any money? Does it directly sell any of my books? Not really. But it does have value. It’s a community, my community. It’s the place where I often start the conversation and where I invite others to start one. It’s the place where I sometimes talk with myself and work out ideas and thoughts.
So that’s why I’ve decided to continue blogging, even as I take stock of my life and look to simplify (I’m always looking to do this in one way or another). The blog takes time, time I could be spending with my family, time I could be writing, time I could be taking care of myself…but I believe it is time well spent.
Why do you blog or read blogs?