I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of this blog.
I’ve had it for 10 years now, an anniversary from back in February that I completely missed. Still, I remember exactly where I was—both literally (geographically) and figuratively (as a writer)—when I started this site.
In some ways, I’m in the exact same place relative to what first motivated me to start blogging: in this case, literally, to build an online presence in support of someday becoming a published author.
I’m not published yet, although, figuratively, am much stronger as a writer and more knowledgeable about the writing industry than I was in those days.
Still, the faster each year seems to go by, and the busier life gets day-to-day, the harder it gets to feel like the figurative sense of my progress matters in contrast to the literal.
I’ve truly enjoyed blogging over the years, with a whole list in the sidebar of favourite posts I’ve authored to show for it. But the fact remains that maintaining a blog is another “thing to do”, amidst all the other things I already have to do. As well, the nature of blogging itself has changed significantly over the years.
When I first started blogging, I treated it like journaling in public, mainly to document my writing journey while throwing in the odd opinion piece when the urge (and usually rage) struck.
Accordingly, a recent blog by industry pro Jane Friedman entitled Why So Many Blogs and Newsletters Aren’t Worth the Writer’s Effort states, “Once upon a time, around 2001, blogging was informal and akin to journaling, but those days are long gone.”
I was already 12 years too late to find success in the blogging-as-journaling space, to which my total stats over the life of this blog fully attest.
Friedman goes on to say:
Unfortunately, doing something can be worse than nothing if it takes time away from more valuable writing and marketing activities. And more often these days, I’m telling writers to stop their blogging activity[.] … Blog content, despite being free, should offer some of your most iconic and impressive material to be noticed and competitive.
My opinion pieces, I feel, fall into this category, and happen to be my favourite category of post to write.
But my opinion pieces are also the ones that take the most time and effort, where both my time and energy to be writing anything that isn’t my WIP, or directly WIP-related, is at an all-time low.
Friedman also states:
Social media is the best place for musings, especially if you’re in the mood for conversation or to compare notes with other people.
I’ve also found this to be true. My platform of choice is Twitter, which allows me to have an online presence in 280-character bites, which takes anywhere from five minutes down to five seconds worth of effort by comparison.
From here to … where?
For the record, I do still like blogging. I see inherent value in long-form social media (or perhaps better considered as long-form expositing that can be shared on social media).
As well, various industry experts caution against having third-party social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc.) as the sole basis of one’s online presence since these sites can change hands, change rules, change algorithms, or altogether fold up at a moment’s notice.
A blog is content that’s owned by the author, as opposed to the parent company of a given social media platform.
I have no intention of either deleting my blog or altogether quitting creating new posts.
But for now I need to focus my time where it has the greatest value, or otherwise the greatest potential to create future value. This lies in finishing my ancient Greece WIP while the market still seems somewhat interested in that historical setting.
I also need to figure out what angle I’d want to take with my blog for the longer term.
And so for the time being, I’m relieving myself of the commitment to post on any sort of regular schedule.
I will try to write at least one post per quarter, preferably an opinion piece (I have lots of opinions about writing, as well as the entertainment landscape in general), but perhaps just a general update.
No promises, but I will TRY. Having gone from previously blogging once a week years ago (WHERE did I get that energy?) to once a month, once a quarter-ish is all that feels both manageable and productive at present.
See you around!
14 thoughts on “The Future of Blogging (for Me)”
Totally understandable Janna. You have always treated your blog as part of, or extension to, your writing aspirations. If it’s no longer fulfilling that purpose then of course it needs to be sidelined. My own blog started out as a simple journal many years ago and, although the emphasis and subject matter has changed over time, it is still essentially the same. I’ve never used it other than for quickly jotting down stuff that interests me and has no promotional angle. I’m pleased at least you’ll check in from time to time and I wish you success in your writing endeavours.
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Many thanks, Roy! I do plan to still check in with any notable updates. Now if I could just have something notable happen!
Bon voyage, it’s delEgate (my nitpicking brain refuses to turn off), and best of luck finishing and publishing the WIP – please remember to let us know when you do. I’ve watched that baby grow up.
It goes along with “don’t do things that don’t give you pleasure.” I’m struggling to get the current book published (it’s finished and proofed), and there will be a few posts during the process, but I’ve been blogging since 2012, through the finishing and publication of Book 1 in 2015, and there isn’t a lot of new stuff to expound on. When days are hard, I go re-read the end of the new book – that’s not the problem.
Hope to still see an occasional post from you!
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Thanks Alicia! As I said, I’m not planning to completely abandon blogging. Sometimes it’s nice to have space in a completely different corner of the internet as Twitter, Instagram, etc. with completely different followers. But I also very much feel what you’re saying about running out of things to talk about. I’m sure that will change once I’m able to move forward in my writing career. But until such time as I either get an agent or decide to self-publish, I’ve really said all I can think of for the time being about the process of actually writing and revising novels.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who will look forward to hearing from you – however occasionally – as your writing career proceeds. Do what works for you, and remember to have someone with legal qualifications (NOT an agent) vet any contracts you are interested in signing.
If you decide to self-publish, give me a shoutout – I can probably save you a few hours.
Will do for sure. Many thanks!
I understand. After my first decade of blogging, I made a similar decision to drastically cut back, and stopped blogging regularly but kept my four blogs and pay WordPress each year to maintain/support those four domain names. During the blogging years, I produced several thousand blog posts and those four blogs have attracted more than a million page views and the visitors still trickle in, drip, drip, drip… No gushers anymore.
But, geeze, if we are blogging on a regular basis, that eats up a lot of our writing time that could be used to complete future books. And, like you said, the research adds a lot of time to writing opinionated blog posts, easily, for me at least, a couple of hours for one post, depending on the subject.
I think I should point out why I have four blogs since I mentioned the number. After I published my first novel as an indie author back in December 2007, I decided in late 2009, to Blog about the country that 19th century historical fiction novel takes place in, so I launched that first blog and wrote more than 2,000 posts over the years about China, its people, its history, its culture, et al. Since I didn’t know enough to write that many blog posts about one country, that led to a lot of research for each post.
Another one of my blogs focuses on teaching/public education since I wrote a teacher’s memoir.
Number three is about the military, war, PTSD since I served in the US Marines, and I’m a combat vet (and I’ve written three novels with a main character who was in the military and lives with PTSD).
The fourth blog doesn’t focus on any particular subject and I allow myself to write anything I want on that one, anytime I want. No schedule. No fixed topic or subject like China, teaching, or the military/PTSD thing. And I often start posts that never get published, because there’s more to life than writing blog posts, since I tend to forget about them if they sit unfinished for more than a day.
Four blogs is a lot of work for sure! Even big-name authors whose blogs I follow have cut back on their content in a big way. The social media landscape is just different now, for the blog author as well as for the reader. Life is busy and no one has time to read long-form pieces anymore. Plus there are so many more competing options for their entertainment (presuming that people previously read blogs for entertainment of a sort).
For any writer who is still putting in the same amount of work and seeing no increase or a decrease in engagement, reducing one’s efforts really does seem like the wise course.
I will covet your quarterly posts!! I love reading your journey, your opinions, and your thoughts!
Thank you, Katja! I will endeavour to make them worth the wait and your time.
Late to reply here, but I feel ya. All my time goes to writing books and book related stuff. And reading, which there is never enough time for. 😉 I can barely keep up with my inbox, as you can see from my late reply to this!
Yes, eventually we all must make hard choices on how best to spend our ever-shrinking time.
This is worth reading through.Apart from your interest in blogging, which is key. I believe managing your time too is very important.Because doing the same thing all the time makes life monotonous.But a good result motivates and drives your interest the more.
Thank you. Well said!