Stop Ignoring Your Blog! 12 Reasons to Keep Blogging Even When it's Hard
Though it may sound selfish, this blog is for me—a tongue-in-cheek post to regain my lost motivation. It’s been over a year since my last blog. Sporadic best describes my blogging habit before that. I’d get into it, even enjoy it. Then, another project would take priority. And blogging would be set aside for my first love—writing fiction.
But blogging shouldn’t be considered low priority, even for a fiction writer. 77% of internet users read blogs, according to ahrefs.com. And if providing clickable content isn’t enough, here are twelve more motivations to stop ignoring your blog.
#1 Consistency matters.
Sticking with my blog is my biggest problem.
Consistency has given me other great successes. Waking up early for Bible reading has led to reading it four times, cover to cover. Writing every day has produced 4 published novels and nearly a dozen others waiting to be. And Joe and I are about to celebrate our 25th anniversary. This girl knows how to be consistent.
But blogging stretches me to the rough edges of my comfort zone, and then kicks me around with disappointments once I'm there. It's a tough relationship.
Usually, consistency carries a visible, daily reward. I see the pages turn in my Bible, and the pages add up in my manuscripts. With Joe, it's easy to look around and see the beautiful results of our 25 years together.
It's not so easy seeing rewards in blogging. Post success is measured by page views, shares, and comments. Except from family (THANKS, FAM!), I don't get these much, and that's a HUGE bummer to my motivation. It's a struggle spending time on something that's so skimpy on hope in the short-term when I could give up and plot another murder.
Only that murder might go unread without drawing more attention. A real blogging commitment benefits all my work, like a flashing neon sign in the window of my book store, and consistency keeps that sign lit.
"What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while." - Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project
Consistent blogs are the most successful. Orbitmedia.com reports that frequent publishing produces “strong results.” Search engine "feelers" ignore blogs that are ignored, so you're only hurting yourself by not doing it. Posting at least once a week reminds the "feelers" that you're here, and each blog is another chance to tickle and delight them.
So, the more, the better, leading to the next blogging motivator…
#2 Practice makes perfect(ish).
The more you do something, the better you become at it. In Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, he explains that to become an expert at something, a 10,000-hour commitment is needed.
Writing is a craft. Consistent blogging hones that craft.
Plus, blogging utilizes skills important to all writers.
…To be concise—using fewer words to express more meaning
… Clear—providing good, accessible information
… and interesting—no one likes being bored.
Creating excellent, clickable content takes time but it’s effort well-spent. Orbitmedia.com shows that bloggers who spend more time on posts (6+ hours as opposed to the average 4-6) see "stronger results." The same is true for longer articles. 3,000+ words get better results than shorter content. As long as it can be skimmed, more information wins, which is a surprise considering that we all have shorter attention spans these days.
As a fiction writer, blogging isn’t my natural inclination. I'd rather be writing stories. But that it helps me be a better writer overall strengthens my motivation.
#3 It’s good to be challenged.
"We don't grow when things are easy; we grow when we face challenges." - Anon.
After a year’s absence from it, it’s obvious that blogging isn’t in my comfort zone. I’m an anxious blogger, worried over getting it right and avoiding the activity altogether. It’s easy to feel negative about blogging. More than 600 million blogs exist and over 2 million posts published a day, according to bloggingwizard.com, so any blogging effort feels like a drop in the ocean—small and unseen.
That sinking, invisible feeling is exasperated by the benchmarks for true success. For a blog post, it takes thousands of page views to call it a winner. And for a successful blog overall, this must happen a dozen+ times a year.
BUT challenging oneself and engaging in new interests creates its own benefits. The Pew Research Center explored the social and psychological benefits to adults pursuing personal learning activities, and found:
87% felt more capable and well-rounded
69% claimed learning opened up new perspectives about their lives
64% said learning helped them make new friends
Focusing on the positive—what can be learned—rather than the negative—what’s the point—produces extraordinary benefits, even outside of the thing itself. A blog may not find traditional success, but fulfillment can be found in the pursuit. Challenges bring growth, personal betterment, and even happiness.
"A sense of growth is so important to happiness that it's often preferable to be progressing to the summit rather than to be at the summit." - Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project
#4 Consistent blogging helps anxiety.
My struggles with anxiety have taught me an important lesson: The idea of doing something is far worse than the reality, most of the time.
Publishing my first novel made me a nervous wreck. Though proud of my accomplishment, the idea of family, friends, co-workers reading it filled me with apprehension. What if it sucks? And I get awful reviews? What if I overlook a glaringly obvious mistake? What if they judge me for Delilah Duffy's beer-drinking and cursing?
But once it was done, love, support, and encouragement predominated the results. Sure, there were negatives, too. I made writing blunders I later fixed. Some reviews ruffled my sensitivities. Sales were abysmal. But the good outweighed the bad, by far. I learned to be a better writer. And I keep improving.
Blogging is an overwhelming idea to me right now, sparking similar what if's. What if my content's dumb? What if I can't come up with topics? What if I encounter mean internet trolls? Ha, trolls... I should be so lucky to get the attention, right?
And also, what if I don't do it? What if I'm doomed to obscurity? Another poor writer!
But once I finish this blog and publish it, the next one will be easier (I hope). And the next. After a month of consistent blogging, I'll probably feel silly of making it such a big deal. In a year, I'll be a blogging badass. The more I do it, the less apprehensive I'll feel. And worrying doesn't help, anyway.
Anxiety decreases in practice. We rarely feel anxious about something we do on a regular basis, right? Sticking with it is far easier than continuously starting over… because…
#5 Starting over is hard.
My mouth dropped upon revisiting my blog’s dashboard after a year. It looked entirely different than I remembered. Brightly arrayed with new features, a different layout, and even an updated color palette, it took time for me to get my bearings. And it’s still a struggle… I mean, challenge.
In a world of constant updates, ignoring your blog nearly wastes your previous efforts. Besides the obvious, that any previous subscribers have probably forgotten about you, you’ll have to learn it all again and regain momentum at a disadvantage, like a train starting at zero with an uphill climb ahead. At least, that’s how it feels without the initial new-blog-excitement providing steam.
Plus, writing a blog post takes 4-6 hours on average for those used to doing it. I reserved one full day to work on this, which I thought generous, and now it's been my entire weekend.
Since I'm out of practice, it's been a slow, sluggish journey when it could've been a walk in the park.
It’s better to stick with it, even on days you don’t feel like it and all you can post is a cute pet-pic. Hmm, must keep a stash of those handy. Otherwise, you’ll waste time just catching up.
#6 Routine gets results.
TheConversation.com reports that routines boost cognitive function, creativity, and overall health. It’s how people lose weight, run marathons, save money, get degrees… People thrive in good routines.
Blogging plays nicely with routines because bloggers make the rules about when and how to blog.
Reserving one day a week for blogging—the method I’m establishing—means 1 blog per week, 4 blogs a month, 52 a year… That’s progress, and much better than last year’s 0-0-0.
Novels takes years, and don’t provide the same, easily measurable progression. It takes so long to click PUBLISH, leading to the next bonus …
#7 Blogging builds confidence.
Though in the difficult throes of blog-writing right now, I can’t wait until the end of the day when I’ll crack open a beer and proudly say, “I blogged today.”
Blogs provide a (relatively) quick publishing ego-boost. Having a finished product feels awesome. With a blog, that can happen every day. With novels… um, no.
Plus, it’s visible. Right now, I’m rewriting a novel for the… third or fourth time… and this project’s taken a year already. When asked how my writing is going, I cringe because saying what page or chapter I’m on doesn’t speak to my real progress. And most people don’t want to hear about the tedious, repetitive word-by-word effort that goes into it, anyway.
Having a blog gives me something to show for myself NOW. And it tells readers that I’m here, working, and not to forget about me while waiting for my next book.
And that’s good because…
#8 Marketing doesn’t happen magically.
Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon aren’t trudging through Amazon’s lowest rankings for book club possibilities. And authors hiding under rocks don’t create fans.
Blogging is an opportunity to share good news. Plus, it’s better (and cheaper) than taking out ads. Bloggingwizard.com reports that 70% of consumers prefer blogs to ads.
My biggest professional regret last year was not sharing my accomplishments. I published Pyra-Sea, the fourth book in my Delilah Duffy series, and a novella called Water World for Kindle’s Vella platform. But overwhelmed with completing them, I neglected the follow-through.
Ignoring my blog meant ignoring an excellent marketing opportunity.
And psychologically, failing to blog about my books diminished the accomplishment. How can I expect readers to feel excited when I didn’t even blog about it?
#9 Blogs make money.
Okay, not mine. Yet. But only 33% are like me. And more successful blogs make up for 40% of all publisher commissions in the U.S. (Both according to ahrefs.com.)
According to Indeed.com, bloggers average over $37,000 a year from monetization and product sales.
Blogs creates buzz. So, even if you’re not getting pennies per click, you’re building a platform that will expand the more you put into it. And hopefully bring income eventually.
#10 Blogging helps writers connect.
Fantasy worlds are great to visit, but no one wants to get stuck there, even writers. Not for long, anyway. Blogs bring fiction writers back to reality. How-to's and lists are the most popular content, followed closely by guides, news, and opinions, according to orbitmedia.com. Providing helpful information is a major factor in successful blogging, and it's what people want.
People also want to connect to bloggers. 77 million new comments are posted on blogs every month, according to bloggingwizard.com. Considering that most writers, like me, spend their days hovering over a keyboard and playing with their imaginary friends, blogging's an awesome opportunity for positive connections. Through blogging, it's possible to make new friends, share information, and learn something new. The casual networking created from blogging could provide things that every writer (& human) needs: encouragement, support, and appreciation.
"Only connect!" - E.M. Forster, Howard's End
#11 Blogging makes writers more accessible.
When I was young, the only way to learn about a writer was from a dust jacket or a chance interview on TV. For me, this created mystique. I imagined Danielle Steel like the gorgeous, wealthy, and glamorous characters she created (she actually is, so this isn't the best example). Or I'd love a book without remembering the author at all because they didn't exist outside of their books. Back then, contact with authors was limited to letters to their publishers or book signings in major cities. In other words, authors felt unreachable.
That's not true anymore. Perceptions of writers are no longer limited to their professional headshots. Blogging is one way to engage as a real person. It's easy to get to know a blogger through her honest experiences. The authenticity and down-to-earth-ness of blogs welcomes readers in. And best case... someone says, "Hey, I like this chick... I'll read her books!"
#12 Blogging is… fun?
Though not quite convinced yet, I imagine this is true. Or will be. With time and consistency, anxiety steps aside, confidence grows, and successes happen. Then, good blogging vibes will come easier, and the best part of blogging emerges...
Blogging allows you to be yourself. Grumpy. Opinionated. Helpful. Funny. Hungry. Anxiety-ridden. Beautifully imperfect. That's freeing, especially for novelists tasked with getting into the minds of their characters all the time. What about my mind? My feelings? Me?
Yes, that's sounds selfish, again... but blogging benefits writers and readers. By sharing experiences, bloggers help others going through similar things. Maybe it's geeky, but it's fun finding blog-worthy possibilities in everyday life.
Now, it's your turn. Motivate me! What keeps you blogging? Or keeps you motivated for any task you struggle with generally? Share below and become one of the 77 million commentators today. There's plenty of space for you! :)