Thursday, April 05, 2012

Dont Be Put Off; Blogging Is Personal

The rhetoric that you blog for your readers' comments or thumbs-up seems to becoming a tradition, thus putting off many people who would like to blog. As an avid blogger and who mingles with so many other bloggers, I have been to blogging events and heard the 'top dogs; of the blogging industry talk about blogging... the rubbish coming from majority of these people seems to be passing the wrong message.

Of course, usually these people are commercial bloggers who obviously doesn't give a damn shit what they are blogging about - yes, I make that judgement. They are simply after the money they make - again, this is not bad. But to suggest that without the numbers, a blogger isn't worth his time is heartless little shit of a lie.

I have listened to this nonsense over and over and on all that occasion, happen to chat to a number of newbies who attended the same event so to get inspiration but have simply lost it and got confused. And when I chat to these people, my professional motivational interviewing skills comes in handy to assure them that all hope is not lost.

From my experience, the following are the core reasons and rules behind blogging;

1. Blogging is personal: Simply put, blogging is the new mode of keeping a diary on what interests you. It is your thoughts, not their view. The name 'blogging; may be new especially in this context, but diary keeping is as old as we can now remember. As recently as the 19th centuries, Queen Victoria kept a diary. You may argue that diaries are personal, but there are public ones too. However, what has made it different nowadays is that with the internet, the act of sharing our thoughts, observations, concerns, opinions, etc are made easier and far-reaching. So the first rule - if there is any - of blogging is that it is personal and hence must be passionate.

2. You blog for yourself first and foremost: It is simple. If the above is true - which it is - then you are doing it for yourself. Keeping/Putting it where people can read is only a choice you make due to your own generosity and benevolence. You are not asking them to read and write it for you. You wrote something and shared with them. If they have a different opinion, they can share it with you or debate it. You can learn from them to correct/change the way you think on that particular issue - if you like - but it doesn't and shouldn't take away from the fact that you had an opinion.

3. You dont have to worry about readership: Yes! This is more than true. If anyone has been bludgeoning you with the rhetoric of readership and magics of stats, ignore them. It is not a competition. When I started this blog in 2005, writing some crap, I did not have a facebook, twitter, myspace, or any social networking and thus did not do any publicity for it. In fact, I did not expressly put it out there. Over time, the readership has grown and it does not bother me at all. Many has requested me to turn it commercial but I have refused that; still, I have the readership. It is not for entertainment, it is about my own perspectives - not cast in stone - of events in the chosen area I write. And still, I have spoken at conferences and seminars, featured in panels, spoke on radio, TV, contributed to articles, etc; all from people who follows or found me through this blog. This is not a boast but a prove that gradually, over time, this unpublicized blog has reached the right readers who appreciate the workings of my heart. Not all my readers agreed. I have had threats from the farther side, had light-hearted debates and I have learnt new things, corrected my opinions and be enlightened by the people who read this.

4. Know exactly what you want people who come across your blog (diary) to understand about what you write: When you write/keep a diary, it is the true colour of you. The real you. Whether it be commercial or personal, it is about what you have passion and understanding of. I have friends who make a living out of their blog but on something they enjoy and are passionate about. What they share is their opinion and the comments they get is what people learns from that opinion. So even if its a commercial blog, it has to be linked back to your view and beliefs.

5. Write what you know: In keeping a diary, you keep a record of the things that tickles your fancy and what you know about them. Where you are not sure, keep it within the boundary of the exact measure that you know. Dont write to please. Where necessary, research something as much as you can but dont turn it into a Ph.D except if you NEED to.

6. Choose your words: Because you are putting yourself out there in word-form, this could be the most important aspect of the game. You have to be clear, concise, honest and constructive. Do not jumble things together. Use marked-out clean adjectives and guage your sentences rightly. If you're not sure of an issue, employ words that rightly declares that you are not sure. Although it is your thoughts, write is as if you're in a court of law. Play the devil's advocate with yourself in constructing your sentences. Dont forget, it is about what you think.

7. Write to educate: You write to inform, engage, and possibly, educate. Dont develop the notion that you cant educate others; we learn from each other. And based on this, comments are not necessary unless if the reader feel strongly about it. So based on that, your priority should be that people who read your blog learn something about you, your opinion and your contribution. Dont resort to the new system of soliciting for comments by writing in a style that indirectly asks for that. As stated in No 3 above, I am rather glad that people read my blog, did not leave a comment but gave it a thought to consider asking me to come speak to an audience or engage in a debate with them or their group, etc. In fact, I have only recently opened the comment option on this blog in the past 9 months or so.

8. You can write about anything: Yes, its your diary, you can write about anything. My Landlady wanted to write a blog for years until I moved into her property. She has the same fear I meet other newbies with that if they start, they are not professional or expert enough to please the world... In about 1 month, I encouraged her, helped set up a Wordpress and voom! she goes. To her biggest surprise, 5 months or so down the line, someone told her the she enjoys her blog and that it has motivated her to do more. What more? She writes about her marathons; she does at least one every week or trains for them. But she has spent the entire time thinking it was a waste or energy and that no one reads it.

9. Start now on anything: As mentioned many times, passion is all you need. Dont push the time, just start. About your dreams, your cooking styles, your job (draw a line about confidential issues), your travels, your gadgets, your fashion, shaping up, improving your diet; whatever you feel you want to share or make a note of, hit on it and go. just write and put it out there.

10. Be disciplined: Now this is the biggest and toughest part of diary keeping. You have to discipline yourself to achieve it. The goodnews is, if you are terrible with time-keeping, blogging may help you. Start with one blog a week, a forthnight or a month and gradually increase as the need arise. Dont write just for the sake of it. Write because you have something important to make a note of and share.

Need help; especially with the last option? Well, you may then want to speak to a Life coach to help you become more organized, focused and make the best of your time... Remember, each minute past can not be recalled again. And if you need one-off, short or long term support to put things in perspective, dont sit in shame, just ask for it and share in others' experience like mine.

1 comment:

John Wodden said...

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