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Bringing Personal Blogging To Light

By Edrei Zahari

Personal blogging is one of the most underrated and overlooked forms of blogging there is. Despite the fact that weblogs originally started off as a form of personal blogging, it has today evolved to a point where it borders on journalism or even a source of business marketing and advertising.

Yet given what blogging has become, there is very little to say about the development of personal blogging. Rarely if ever, personal blogs become huge. Honestly, the first one that comes to mind is Scott Adams’ The Dilbert Blog which if the comments are any form of estimation on the amount of readership, amounts to a lot of readers. While there are other personal blogs that share it’s fair share of readers, the ratio of what’s been written and who’s reading it is quite poor.

So, it beggars the question. What exactly are personal blogs?

Personal blogs are blogs that talk about your personal life. They don’t have a particular niche like tech-orientated blogs and have the tendency to talk about broad generalized topics. Basically anything that crosses a person’s mind at the time they blogged. It is because of this reason that personal blogs don’t enjoy the kind of readership that niche based blogs have. If no one is looking for what you wrote, why would anyone read it?

The answer is simple. What it lack in focus, personal blogs are meant to make it up in its writing. It is your personal life. It is a form of expression. In short, it is the story of your life and who you are and what makes any story good is the way you tell it.

Anyone can start a personal blog. That’s the beauty of it. However, it is our style of writing that defines every individual blogger as their own. Sure, you can write noodle posts about your life, but do not expect people to constantly come back unless you give them something original to come back to. In order for a personal blogger to be successful they have to fulfill two criteria:

  1. They blog for themselves.
  2. They write with an audience in mind.

Blogging for yourself is the critical component. At it’s purest form, personal blogs are about you and you alone. They are your thoughts and emotions expressed and frozen into written form. They bear the very essence of who you are. In short, what you write on your blog is a written mirror of who you are.

Writing with an audience however isn’t about writing what people want to hear. It’s writing in a way that people can relate to. Your writing style in essence determines whether or not your mundane life is exactly as it is – mundane – or a thoughtful musing of an interesting person. It determines how open you are to the public or how cryptic you are with your life. Your writing style is the main attraction of your blog. It is something that has to evolve with time. Something that grows with the audience. It is that writing style in which I will be touching later on as I write more about personal blogging.

A lot of people that start blogs about their personal life often make a mistake and reverse these criteria. Blogging for an audience and writing for themselves is only going to alienate readers with unnatural and unreadable writing that doesn’t serve any real point, even to the bloggers themselves. It’s something every personal blogger has to watch out for and make sure they don’t fall into that pattern.

Hopefully, this sheds some light on personal blogging and gives you an opportunity for you to explore the personal blogs around you. Maybe you can find a gem among the stones that you have never seen before. Maybe you are a gem among the stones that no one has read before. Either way what about you?

Do you have a personal blog? Do you know of any good ones? Please share them here if you can. I’d like to hear from you. I’m always on the look out for good personal blogs with interesting writing styles.

Personal Blogging Series

If you haven’t already, you can read the rest of the Personal Blogging series linked here:


Visit Footsteps in the Mirror TodayEdrei blogs on Footsteps in the Mirror, a personal and commentary blog. He often writes about his personal exploits, life philosophies, as well as tips on blogging and WordPress. Edrei is also an active member of the 9rules community network. You can subscribe to him via FeedRSS Feed.

24 Comments

  1. Posted August 6, 2007 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    I think my blog must qualify as a personal blog. Though I do post poems, it’s quite unlike most ‘po’ blogs, in that I rarely write about theory, or publishing, or other topics that pobloggers tend to cover. Also, I catblog. One reviewer said something like “cats and poetry– what could be worse? but this one’s the exception” — a massive paraphrase, but it’s too early in morning to look this up.

    I’m glad to see a post on this very neglected topic. Thanks.

  2. Posted August 6, 2007 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    Wil Wheaton is a published author, voiceover performer, and actor. His blog has (and he has too) evolved over the years. http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/

  3. Posted August 6, 2007 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    I think my ‘Its About Making Babies’ blog probably counts as personal.

  4. Posted August 6, 2007 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Basically anything that crosses a person’s mind at the time they blogged. It is because of this reason that personal blogs don’t enjoy the kind of readership that niche based blogs have.

    Exactly! Everybody can blog about their personal lives, no doubt, but only those who are able to blog “differently” are able to attract readers to subsequently return for more.

    I always enjoy reading and commenting on blogs that I can personally related to, in one way or another, but if a personal blog is “all about the blogger”, there’s really nothing much an “outsider” can relate to, no?

  5. Posted August 6, 2007 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    The best personal blog and the biggest I am sure is Pioneer Woman. http://pioneerwoman.typepad.com/

    I consider my blog personal because I write about whatever I want. I do post for various writers prompts because I enjoy the interaction with fellow writers and poets.

  6. Posted August 6, 2007 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    SB: There will be plenty more posts about personal blogs throughout the month, don’t worry about that. :)

    Brad: It feels more commentary than personal. Then again blogging about your commentary or your life still means it’s your personal thought and feeling. The one I am referring to here though is much more related to personal life.

    Pelf: You can write “all about the blogger”. That’s what most personal blogs do. We blog about ourselves. The art behind it is just as you agreed is how we write. That’s where the readers can begin to relate to what we blogged about. The words, the style, the art. As an example. We can’t do magic. Yet J.K Rowling managed to make Harry Potter a part of our lives. It’s all in the writing despite the content.

    Brian: Thanks. I’ll be sure to take a look at that blog. :)

  7. Posted August 6, 2007 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Excellent article. I’ve been doing a personal blog for one or two years now at my website, Webmacster87.info, and the points that this article makes are ones that I’ve been living by for those one or two years. I focus on writing because it’s something that I want to blog about, whether or not it be something from my personal life or something from around the web. I do try to write in a way that it will grab the audience and be entertaining to read, but I write so that the language is coming from me, and puts my personal opinions in the spotlight, whether it be an entry from my personal life, or me writing about some cool article or application or something on the web.

    Thanks so much for this excellent article. I’m really hoping that it will help to foster even more excellent personal blogs popping up in the blogosphere.

  8. Posted August 6, 2007 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    My blog is definitely a personal blog, but my life apparently isn’t as interesting as some others. I find myself just documenting my day instead of writing something insightful. Hopefully I’ll be able to get away from that when I go back to school.

  9. Posted August 6, 2007 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Thank you for such a wonderful thought, Edrei. And thank you Lorelle for a wonderful week with your guests!

    Either way what about you?

    The “I write for myself vs. I write for others” has been a huge point of debate between a few blog-mates, regarding our personal blogs. Everytime the issue of readership (comments, stats and such) comes up, I have often been asked – oh, do you care about all that stuff?

    I do care because if I was writing a purely personal blog – a diary or a journal – it beats me – why I would put it out in the open. The very reason that your personal blog is out there and that you go out and comment on other blogs – is an invitation to readers.

    I do care because if a significant number of people who read my blog are from North America and I use a lot of Indian Film metaphors – my thought won’t get conveyed very well.

    I don’t do noodle posts, but I write about life (and “noodles”) as I see it and as it happens to me, and I abstract or generalise it to an extent that folks who visit my place – are able to relate – without necessarily requiring to know whether I had noodles or like noodles – but we end up have a fine conversation about “noodles”.

    And I do agree with SB to an extent – personal blogs are fairly neglected – even when you subscribe to a service that needs to categorise your blog – you find a whole host of categories, Personal – isn’t just one of them. Mine usually goes under Philosophy! ;)

    At one level personal blogs talk about events – but well written – they are perspectives into life. I like that about personal blogs.

  10. Posted August 6, 2007 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Err.. Can somebody tell me whether mine is a personal blog? :)

  11. Posted August 6, 2007 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Personal blogs are great! Nice article, thank you for “bringing to light” the online diarists of the world. If you’d like to see what I’ve done along those lines, you can visit my blog at: Riley Central

    I’ve put your blog on my Google Reader. Happy blogging!

    Damien

  12. Posted August 6, 2007 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    It’s refreshing to read this about personal blogs. Like the others above mine is personal and when I’ve added my blog to blog networks I never quite know how to tag it because it’s not about one subject, except the personal which is very broad.

  13. Posted August 7, 2007 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I have written a personal blog for over five years now, and I’ve been struggling with the idea of giving it up to build a niche site in an attempt to try to make a living with writing.

    Unfortunately, the topics that I like to write about are so scattered, that I find picking a niche to be impossible.

    It seems that a lot of people are entertained by my personal site, but because its a personal site, it’s doubtful that I’ll ever see a dime from it.

    What’s a personal blogger to do?

  14. Posted August 7, 2007 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Thanks for an interesting article on a subject that doesn’t receive a lot of coverage. I wonder if it’s because personal blogs aren’t so easily monetized, mostly for their lack of focus.

    Anyway, I suppose my blog, the dharma blog, falls into the category. By doing just what you said, blogging for myself with an audience in mind, I’ve gained a few more loyal readers than I ever thought I would.

  15. Posted August 7, 2007 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Edrei, I think Pelf has asked a good question. What is the difference between a personal blog and a “personable” blog?

    Mike: I think Wil Wheaton has set the bar really high for quality writing on a personal blog. He really has created quite the standard, indeed.

  16. Posted August 7, 2007 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Wow, so many replies. I’ve got to remember to check back on the comments.

    Webmacster: Language coming from you is good. That’s where it should start, but don’t forget to neglect improving it. Personal bloggers are closer to storytellers. I’ll write more about that later on.

    Aaron: Neither is mine. That’s why it’s the way you tell a story that matters. When you look at it in another way, Shawshank Redemption is about a guy’s life in jail and Silence of the Lambs is another story about serial killer. But they are good, it’s not hard to figure out why. :)

    Gaizabonts: Thank you for your compliments. :) It’s hard not to be sucked into the whole “I like the readership bit”. However where it goes wrong is when we try too hard to impress. It is when we begin to blog for others and write for ourselves that we lose the ability to tell a story. Sometimes it helps to hang back, out your perspectives in order, then write away with your heart. When you write. People will read.

    Pelf: It’s hard to say. From the way I see it, you’re more of a commentary blog rather than a personal blog. You rarely talk about your personal life, instead focus on commenting on other things. Your content comes from outside yourself rather than from within. I should talk about that later on.

    Damien: I appreciate that, thanks!

    Jen: Personal is broad, then again so is talking about life. That’s one of the things we have to live with I’m afraid and win people over not by the topic, but how you write your content.

    Jon: Don’t buy into monetizing your personal blog then. When you monetize, your blog becomes a business. In the immortal words of someone I forgot. Never mix your personal life with business. It’s just a bad melting pot.

    Dharma: It’s a lost art. People forget that there is beauty in the words we write too. Not just pictures we see, the flesh we touch or the scent we savour.

    Lorelle: I think I smell the answer in an upcoming topic. :)

  17. Posted August 7, 2007 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Gotcha! :)

  18. Posted August 8, 2007 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Excellent post and now I know your real name.
    However where it goes wrong is when we try too hard to impress. It is when we begin to blog for others and write for ourselves that we lose the ability to tell a story. Sometimes it helps to hang back, out your perspectives in order, then write away with your heart. When you write. People will read.
    Although I don’t tell stories my blog is a personal blog, and what you say it so true.
    I’ve had a blog for some time now and every once in awhile one does tend to get off the path, it is definitely necessary to step back.

  19. wheresroxy
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Excellent points, thank you!

    One of my faves, and the main inspiration for me to actually start blogging is: http://theonlythingiknow.com/
    I’m just starting, just learning, and taking baby steps on my own blog: http://thegunchick.wordpress.com/

  20. Posted August 8, 2007 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Cooper: Well, what I bring up here is that the things you write about on your personal blog ARE stories. You’re telling the story of your life to the world. It should be as natural to read as you living it out. If we try hard to tell a story or appease the readers. It won’t be natural to read, it won’t be you and people can see that.

    Wheresroxy: Thank you for sharing. :)

  21. wheresroxy
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    By the way – I have to add, I’m a managing editor for a series of magazines, and that is precisely what I tell our new writers:
    “It should be as natural to read as you living it out. If we try hard to tell a story or appease the readers. It won’t be natural to read, it won’t be you and people can see that.”

    Each writer has a unique “voice” that needs to come through – it’s the personality that makes it interesting to read, rather than a Joe Friday version of life.

  22. Posted August 8, 2007 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Excellent post, Edrei. :) This will be a great month and I am looking to much more. I’m learning how to do be a better “personal” blogger everyday and I’m looking forward to your helping me do that.

  23. Posted September 22, 2007 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Hey, this is the first place I have heard of my actual “niche” which (I’m slightly embarrassed to admit) is me. How self-centered is that? If you knew me in person you would laugh because I am very private, but on the internet I can write anything that crosses my mind and that’s exactly what I do.

    I do think it’s personal and personable. I suppose you can be the judge of that. I’m so happy I happened upon this site. I actually found it as someone’s stumble favorite page.

  24. lisatalks
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Although this series looks to be about 1 1/2 years old, it has been quite helpful. Thank you.


14 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] month…) Today’s guest-blogged article is a very interesting article by Edrei Zahari all about personal blogging, including how personal blogging has been under-appreciated, along with tips for what really makes [...]

  2. [...] My first post as a guest blogger on “Lorelle on WordPress” has drawn far more attention than I thought it would. One could even say that it has invoked a lot of responses from people both in comments and in my mailbox. That’s more than I normally would experience coming from a single post. [...]

  3. [...] My first post as a guest blogger on “Lorelle on WordPress” has drawn far more attention than I thought it would. One could even say that it has invoked a lot of responses from people both in comments and in my mailbox. That’s more than I normally would experience coming from a single post. [...]

  4. [...] on what I touched on in the beginning, I’ve mentioned previously that personal blogging is something that comes from the inside. It [...]

  5. [...] Edrei Zahari aka Kamigoroshi.Net is one blogger whom I stalk on a regular basis (he labels his RSS readers “stalkers”) and there is a certain magic in the way he writes. Footsteps in the Mirror has grown much since March 20, 2003 and it is now a member of the 9Rules Network. Another feather in his cap is his recent guest blogging for Lorelle on WordPress and he wrote an excellent article on Bringing Personal Blogging To Light. [...]

  6. [...] Bringing Personal Blogging To Light [...]

  7. [...] Bringing Personal Blogging To Light [...]

  8. [...] I came across guest blogger, Edrei Zahari (Kamigoroshi), at Lorelle on WordPress and his article Bringing Personal Blogging To Light. I liked what he had to say, and the way he said it, so I wandered over to his blog, Footsteps in [...]

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  12. […] Bringing Personal Blogging To Light: While often scoffed and slammed, personal blogs are the heart of the blogosphere. Edrei Zahari introduces us to the power behind personal blogs, how personal blogs are therapy for both the writer and the reader. […]

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