I’ve been writing on this space and others that were precursors to this space for about 11 years now. After graduating college I realized nearly all my favorite writers were putting their writing on their own websites and making it available for free. I was shocked! After a while of just reading blogs, I started my own, with the goal of posting something every day.
Blogs have largely been cast aside by larger journalist pages where great writers can work together to produce quality content and by social media which allows us to share life happenings and opinions much more quickly than a blog.
While I have no intention of stopping my habit of writing on this space, I recognize that doing so is fairly uncommon today, whereas 8 years ago it was the norm. So I’ve given some thought about why I’m still doing this, and why nearly all of my, what I called, “blog friends” have quit.
What Blogging Got Right
It’s a normal human desire to want to share. Share thoughts. Share life events. Before social media expanded, blogs were the easiest way to share in one confined space.
Others were drawn to blogging because it provided a space to write, for an audience. All throughout high school and college, I was a fairly awful writer. And this was for one very simple reason: I did not write often. With the goal of writing something new for my blog every day, I forced myself to become a better writer, by simply writing, a lot.
Some people are naturally good at creating through the written word, some people become better writers primarily through reading, but there is no substitute for writing in order to become a good writer.
As blogging diminishes and the web moves toward tribes of writers on websites and social sharing, how will this online space known as in the internet help produce quality writing?
In the years since publishing my book, a common question has been asked of me: how can I grow as a writer? I give the same answer every time: read and write as often as you can. For me, blogging was the necessarily carrot that kept me working on my craft, day after day.
What Blogging Got Wrong
A few years after I started blogging I first heard the term “platform” used in association with internet writing. In the years prior to this, not once had it ever crossed my mind that a blog could serve as a tool to advance a writer’s career. Shortly after this I had friends who started teaching others how to do what they did. Start a blog, write some words, do this a lot, publish a book.
Supposedly it was that easy. And a lot of bloggers did it. Including me.
But once blogging and online writing became focused on the need for supporting a platform it became work. Now you needed to get more people to subscribe. Now you needed to let people know about your writing, all the time.
You see, first blogging was about the craft, but then it became about the career.
And slowly but surely, people quit. Why? Because when you write for the platform and the career eventually it lets you down, guaranteed. But when you write for the craft, the reward is the work, not the results.