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Why Do You Blog and What Keeps You Blogging?

After the first year of teaching the world’s first full-credit college course on WordPress, I’ve rediscovered a lot of reasons why people blog and what keeps them blogging – and what gets in their way.

I’m working on an article series on this and I need your help.

Why do you blog?

What keeps you blogging?

What gets in your way when you blog? How do you get through it and keep blogging?

Tell me a little about who you are and what your blog is about, too.

Thanks!


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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen.

23 Comments

  1. camu
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,

    that’s an interesting set of questions, indeed. I blog because I want to share my knowlegde about WordPress, food recipes, and all the other topics discussed in my blog. But I also blog to get feedback from my readers about politics (Italy, as you may know, it’s not doing very well right now), Italians living abroad, and so forth.

    What keeps me blogging is the enthusiasm that I get from my readers, who are always there to share their two cents on any topic I throw at them.

  2. Posted August 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Hello Lorelle,

    I blog because I have come in contact with ideas that have helped me profoundly. I’m webmaster for the WordPress site of a private school in Palo Alto, California that is amazing – 40 years of turning out kids who are happy and successful. (www.livingwisdomschool.org)

    I blog on fitness because, although it took 30 years, I’ve found a way to make almost every run and gym visit fulfilling at a deep level in my heart and soul (and body). At age 70, exercise has never been more enjoyable.

    I blog on yoga philosophy because it sheds light on every area of confusion in society today – education, the meaning of life, the direct experience of religion (Christianity), the arts, education, work, relationships, success, etc.

    As you can see, I’m addicted to meaning. My life has changed as a result of the ideas and practices I’ve been given, and it is the nature of a fig tree to give fruit.

    • Posted August 24, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      p.s. You asked us to describe obstacles we face in our blogging, and how we overcome them. The only obstacle I encounter is ego. When I become too centered in what I want to say, or clever ways of saying things, I find that path blocked. My writing becomes thin, sterile, and disjointed. But when I think of helping others and commit myself to that goal, paths open to clear expression of ideas that inspire me while they help others. If I could name one essential secret for successful writing, that would be it – get outside yourself, understand the other person’s point of view, and commit yourself completely to help them.

  3. Posted August 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I blog as a way to organize and record my own thoughts. I blog on privacy issues on my public blog, and family events on a private (close family only) blog.

    I’m just another guy – nothing special here. I work in the computer field, and am personally concerned about how unaware folks online generally are at how vulnerable they are. I have a family including kids I love very much and try to spend as much time with them as I can given my job etc…

    The main thing that keeps me blogging is my desire to record what’s going on. Feedback is great and helps with the motivation, but the reason I keep coming back to it is wanting to be able to express myself. Maybe if I get better (both quantity and quality), I’ll add a goal of educating folks and then the amount of views / comments / etc. would be motivating as well.

    The main thing that gets in my way of blogging is getting started. If I sit down and don’t get distracted by any of 100 ‘more important’ things, and actually start, I’m good. But it is all too easy for me to get sidetracked and I often do :( The worst part, like now is when I haven’t blogged for a bit, it’s harder for me to get back to it.

    For example, I have some draft blogs that I should really finish and publish, but decided (why?) after reading an email notifying me of your post that I should respond. Now, it’s 4:46pm and as soon as I finish this comment to your post I’m doing dinner w/the family.

  4. Posted August 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for asking. Interesting question — you’ll probably wind up with hundreds of people expressing the same dozen or so reasons in a hundred different ways. I’ll be interested to see your results. Will you notify us when you article series is available?

    I’ve been blogging nearly five years now (about 250 posts). Began with Blogger, and moved to WordPress about a year later.

    About a month ago, I wrote two posts about “Why I Blog”. I appreciate most the opportunity blogging provides to help me regularly think a bit more deeply about whatever is on my mind.

    I enjoy the writing part, too. I’m gradually improving how well I express myself, though I still have far to go. I also enjoy sharing comments with other bloggers. Always expanding my horizons with new ideas, seen in new ways.

    Finally, I’m a self-employed musician, and blogging helps me market my business.

    Only one big obstacle: Maintaining a consistent blogging schedule in my busy life. With everything else going on around here, the motivation periodically wanes. It’s like going on a diet, then lapsing, then “getting religion” again. Over and over.

    • Posted August 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      I will publish it here and do my best to let people who comment know about the series. Thanks for asking. Do you have the links to your articles on why you blog? And why were there two? Part of a series or new thoughts after posting?

    • Posted August 24, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your reply. My two “Why Do I Blog?” posts:

      Why I blog – Wedding Party Music Part 2

      Part 1

      It turned out to be a 2-part series, mainly because after a few days I realized I had more reasons to add. Hope you enjoy reading.

  5. Posted August 24, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    I would like to know how/where I can learn how to “drive” wordpress. Soonafter this site was established to follow my daughter’s Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma journey I was left to input the info and maintain the site. While I am reasonably proficient with most aspects of a PC and have been for a number of years, I have no experience with Blogging,website design and/or maintenance. I have managed to get it going reasonably well but I have a lot to learn. eg: I can’t find how to position the pics in the photo gallery etc. I intend to maintain this site as my daughter’s treatment progresses. I would also like to set up a website for the restaurant of a close friend and, having covered the basics and prepared a few pages, I need much more information before I proceed.

    • Posted August 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      Sorry about your daughter but good on you for sharing the journey with others.

      I would not recommend doing another site for anyone unless you are a WordPress designer or developer. Casual helpers end up in misery. Recommend an expert instead and you will all win.

      Excellent points on some of the obstacles that get in our way like life as well as not understanding WordPress well enough.

      See Power Blogging: Web Browser Blogging Tips and WordCamp Israel WordPress Tips Talk for many tips that might help you.

      Thanks.

    • Posted August 24, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your advice…yes I will follow up on those links you provided.
      As far as the other website I mentioned, yes I will give all the prep work I have done to a professional designer.

      BH

    • Posted August 25, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      @Barry: You and the “customer” not your friend or neighbor, will be much happier all around. It isn’t a slight against you, it is a fact that there are starving web designers and developers out there eager – desperate – for work that is taken away by the “friend” or family member. The result is never good, there is frustration and anger all around, and in the end, if it is a serious business, they will go to a serious professional and you may have lost a good relationship in the process.

      With enough on your plate right now, you need every friend you have. :D Good luck!

  6. Posted August 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    I blog as a way of trying to collect my thoughts, a preparation for writing a memoir. I also share my writing and photography – my two main creative mediums – and talk about books and my favourite quotes and how they inspire me. And I talk about my life with chronic illness, in the hope it will help and educate people.

    I keep blogging because it really is helping me organize what I want to write about, and I have discovered that I genuinely love doing it.

    Because a lot of what I blog about is deeply personal and very emotional, I can get blocked sometimes because it becomes too intense, hard to process. I don’t always feel like I’m ready to write about certain topics. But the responses I’ve got from people, and the way I feel when I keep going and finally express even the most difficult things out loud, is so gratifying that it keeps me moving forward.

    I am, as I mentioned, a chronically ill person, who blogs and writes and take photographs when I can. I have four cats (whom I adore, and I’m sure they will make it into the blog at some point!). My blog is called Storeylines (my last name being Storey), and can be found at http://storeylines.net – thanks for the opportunity to talk about it!

  7. Posted August 25, 2012 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    Hey Lorelle,
    I blog because it is my passion. Whereas I asked an editor to write about it. Here you can find and read it. I hope so it will help you. 12 Reasons Why should you blog!

  8. Posted August 25, 2012 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    I blog because I have this quirky “bucket list” cause that playing sociable bridge survives after I’m dead and gone, and since I’m 92–pressure is somewhat ON. I say “somewhat” because my absolute worst trait is that I seem unable to feel time pressure for long–I act as tho I’m going to live forever. Therefore took me until age 89 to publish the book about sociable bridge history that is the basis for my blog, and then another two years until Jan 1911 to start my blog I call Bridge Table Chronicles.

    Keeping what once was a pop cultural icon alive–EVERYBODY played bridge or was learning to play back when I started in the 50s–may seem like a trivial thing in a world full of major problems. And I too do also have a SERIOUS cause (I want us to repeal NAFTA before every job in the U.S. is gone off shore), but I insist: Adding bridge to your arsenal of life skills (take it from an old lady who is quite happy)is one of the BEST things you can do. It’s a descendent of the whist of Jane Austen novels, a classic and classy card game, with lineage. Science is increasingly saying bridge may be a key to reaching 90 dementia-free (like me for instance). It’s universal. My motto is–”For a long and reasonably happy old age, it’s better to have played bridge badly than never to have played at all.” Not only that, it’s cheap, “green” (all you need is an old envelope to keep score and a deck of cards). It’s the hobby for a lifetime.

    What keeps mne blogging? I know I’m the only advocate out here–if I don’t do it, there’s nobody who will. The ACBL (governing body of serious bridge) and the bridge establishment are only concerned with promoting SERIOUS bridge, teaching duplicate competitive bridge, staging tournaments. But what made bridge the raging fad it once was are us SOCIABLE players–mosly women but men too. They are two entirely different games. You choose!

    In my blogging I mostly give that bridge establishment unasked for advice on what they OUGHT to do to promote bridge and I also touch on sociable bridge history, ladies bridge lunch (part of its pop culture) and indulge myself with a fourth section called Nonagenarian Notions.

    What gets in my way? My own procrastinating and undisciplined self. I am very good at coming up with ideas–some creative–a different way of looking at things. And when I get fired up,can write quickly. BUT I get sidetracked so easily! I seriously believe I may have ADD. In January 2011 I swore (to myself) I’d do 52 blogs that year, one a week (that’s why I was determined to start on January 1–not really ready to blog yet. Here it is almost September of 2012 and I just posted #35. Now I’m determined to finish the 52 (same as a deck of bridge cards) by end of 2012.

    What gets me back to work? I need encouraging feedback and often. On Leap Day–February 29–the Wall Street Journal ran a front page article about me, “In Florida, a Campaign to Bring Back the Bridge Lunch.” Now THAT was amazing! You’d think it would be enough to keep me working steadily for months. I got such wonderful emails from people–enough to trigger dozens of blogs. I was at #23 then–now working on 36. I guess it did get me working a BIT better–I’m ashamed of myself after that wonderful break I haven’t done more.

    Just yesterday, heard from Lucette Lagnado (the WSJ reporter who did the article) telling me that she’d included it in a talk she gave on “developing sources” to students at Columbia University School of Journalism and it was the absolute hit of her appearance there–they loved the article and her talk about it! They’re going to give reprints of the article to every Journalism student. True to form, I immediately got started on #36! Without that boost probably would have put it off for days and days.

    Now I’m saying–Maggy, you don’t DESERVE your good fortune and Lucette’s interest in you! Such a sweet thing for her to do telling me about Columbia! Would serve you right if you got so sick you never finished those 52 blogs–you’re tempting God to punish you for lack of gratitude!

    I want this mood to last until September 4 after which I leave for 2 weeks in New Hampshire and return when I get back!

  9. Posted August 25, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I blog because I love writing about WordPress. There are so many great plugins and great themes that people don’t know about, I really enjoy helping publicize the best tools available for WordPress.

    I also like helping keep people informed about what’s happening around the WordPress ecosystem.

    WordPress rocks!

    • Posted August 25, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      @Jonathan, you old friend!

      We’ve been writing about WordPress for a LONG time. What is it really that keeps you going on and on about WordPress? Are there times when you are just tired of it all?

  10. Posted August 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle! Thank you so much for asking these question.

    I have been following your blog since 2007. I have been blogging along the way as well. I started my first blog as a way to promote my business. I blogged about blogging, social media and other business marketing tactics. Over time, my thoughts kind of outgrew that particular blog.

    After time I realized how much blogging helped me to clear my head and put my thoughts out there. Blogging is not only a very creative outlet for me, it’s become my daily escape. I am pretty geeky so it’s the best way for me to help my friends and now others start and optimize their blogs. Oftentimes I get emails and people asking me how to this or that so instead of drafting up email responses I now blog about them. Win – win, right?

    One of the ways in which I am able to keep myself motived is #1: I only blog about stuff I am knowledgable about and love doing myself. #2: I organize my thoughts into a manageable spreadsheet and have created what I like to call a conversation calendar. In there I list all of the main topics and then break them down into relavent blog posts, social updates, etc. Let me tell you, it gives me a real boost in energy once I scratch something off that list and get it out of head!

    Don’t get me wrong, I cannot blog everyday… Simply because some days it’s just not in me – I sit down to write and nothing comes… If that happens I wait until I feel like writing. Once I am in the mood there is no stopping me. I have even written 8 posts before all in one day. I have to take it when it comes. It’s almost like writers block ;)

    • Posted August 25, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Hi Frances,
      Thanks for posting here! I went to browse your blog, and I’ll be subscribing to all the interesting things you’re writing about. I’m a musician, not a geek, and I still blog to promote my business. But I know something like this has a way of becoming an end in itself.

      Anyway, thanks so much for describing that spreadsheet you use. I’ve been using the WP editorial calendar plugin, and your spreadsheet sounds like a valuable addition. It’s all about organizing to be strategic, isn’t it?

  11. Posted August 28, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Why do you blog?
    What’s keeps you blogging?
    What gets in the way of your blogging and how do you get past it?
    What’s your blog about?

    I blog to write myself to where I want to be, to process what’s happening in my life and in the world, and to continue to hone my writing skills. I write to connect with others and keep my creative well flowing. Writing isn’t optional for me anymore. After blogging off and on since around 2005, blogging has become as essential to me as breathing. I’ve come to depend on this creative outlet and love how it makes me pay attention to my thoughts and to develop my ideas. Blogging has helped me formulate my philosophy and approach to living.

    What keeps me blogging is effort – plain and simple. Sometimes it’s easy, but sometimes it gets hard to come to the keyboard. When that happens, it’s because I’ve started losing interest in the topics I’m writing about. I know it’s time to freshen the blog and start taking it in new directions or to switch to a different blog altogether with a new focus. More than anything, allowing my blogging to evolve over time has helped me keep it fresh and keeps me blogging.

    Life often gets in the way of my blogging. When things heat up at work and I’m pushing big deadlines, the overtime hours I work there definitely take a toll on the time and energy I have for my blog. I’ve learned to do quick photo essays or shorter posts to fill in when my creative candle is being burned elsewhere. I have a minimum number of posts I try to keep to each week, regardless of what’s happening at work or in my life. Just two brief posts during the week seems to keep thing freshened and readers interested. Once work calms down again, then I’m back to longer and more developed posts and ideas.

    I write about living adventurously, pursuing our passions and dreams, and creative productivity.

  12. Posted August 31, 2012 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,

    I am contemplating what I should do with my blog and I am looking forward to following along with this upcoming series you are talking about.

    One question I really have is to do with finding a reason for me to continue blogging and what makes people tick when it comes to blogging. I personally am struggling with content for my blog, as I haven’t found something I am passionate enough to write about. I need to find my blogging voice, and I hope this series will show me ideas and how people find something that motivates them to continue blogging.

    • Posted August 31, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Excellent point and question. Self-value is critical to blogging, identifying your blogging voice AND identity, so I’ll be talking about that for sure. Thanks for bringing that up.

  13. Nick
    Posted November 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Blogging is a great work from home method, thats what keeps me blogging the income stream. It will take a while to generate a decent money from blogging, but like the snowball effect you build slowly and with good content. As soon as you get a few good visitors then you are doing something good. Scale that up and boom you have a good check. I know it sounds too easy to be true but honestly it just takes some good old fashioned work. Good luck to everybody.

    • Posted November 27, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      It can take a very long time to get an “income stream” going on a blog or any website. Make sure you choose a topic that people want and need, and one you can blog about for a long time and still not run out of things to say. :D


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