Danger Blogging

Let’s Talk Opinion in conversation with Idiot Writing

“For the most part blog writing is pretty much a great thing to do – yet on occasion – do you find you take it a little far and go over the mark and incur grievous bodily harm in the process (mostly occurring at after midnight sometime)” Is Blogging A Hoot?

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You wake up early in the morning, have your first cup of coffee, and eyes still glued with sleep, you stumble into your study to write up the first post of the day. Or perhaps you are a night owl and it is the evening that you dedicate to your blog. You may feel tired, emptied out and uninspired. And yet you’ve made a commitment to write something new every day, and even though there is so much work to be done elsewhere or children to take to school, a family to feed, this half hour or so is yours alone to impart your musings with the world.

Blogging enables us to be prolific and disciplined when we are having a determinately bad day. It forces us to manage our spare time with greater care. It allows us to give free reign to our imagination. But more importantly, it is a platform where we can share what we create, receive feedback and encouragement – the very opposite of writing in a void.  

There is of course the other side of the coin. Blogging is about sharing knowledge and experience, adding value to others peoples’ lives by giving freely what you might have taken years to learn or perhaps have spent quite a bit of your hard-earned cash to become an expert in. It is about helping others as much as it is about speaking up. When you care and love, educate and entertain, then you know you’ve got a blogger’s mindset.

I was told once that in order to blog you ought to be mentally prepared before you even get into blogging, have a clear vision and a plan for what you’ll be blogging about. Sage advice, but I’ll be the first to admit that I broke all the rules and began with neither. My blog has grown organically and its eclectic posts reflect the diverse and at times incongruous nature of my interests. I am curious about too many things in this world to limit what I write about to only one.

To me, blogging is a learning process, and although I have been lucky enough not to incur any “grievous bodily harm” in the process, I am aware that there are many dangers associated with it too. Here are some of the red flags I’ve discovered:

Infrequent posts: If we only post once a month, chances are the message will be lost in the sea of others’ more frequent media efforts. On the other hand, post too much and too often, and we may be in danger of providing quantity over quality. Flooding the blogosphere with poor content will have the additional drawback of making a bad first impression for first-time visitors, who may very well leave never to return. Finally there is the matter of the antisocial blogger, who does not respond to comments and refuses to engage in discussions on their posts. Although for high-traffic blogs it may be impossible to respond to each individual comment, it is still a good idea to acknowledge those who have taken time to read and respond, even if it is done in the form of a one-off message for all readers in which the key issues that the’ve brought up in the comment box can be addressed.

Consistency in both the frequency with which we post as well as the quality of what we post are key, although admittedly, it will take time and effort to achieve both.

As for the physical dangers associated with blogging… “Acute Blogger’s Elbow” is the worst, as this prolific blogger was ready to testify: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Clm7sehenb8 Just make sure to contact your doctor if you experience any of the enumerated side-effects 😉

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Let’sTalk Opinion posts engage with issues that are important to other bloggers, connecting with others on matters close to their heart. If you like a topic and would like to contribute, please feel free to add to the comment box, reblog, share, email or message me on Twitter @shardsofsilence.

Or if you happen to be a fellow Hogwartsian send me a letter by owl. ;)

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63 thoughts on “Danger Blogging

    • Thank you, April. I think that professional bloggers – those who blog in order to promote something in particular or to raise awareness about a particular issue – usually have to keep closer to the rules than those who blog for pleasure. I thought about dedicating the blog to only one cause, and I know there are many bloggers out there who have two or three blogs, each specialising on something in particular, but what I share are all fragments of me 🙂

      • I tried a couple of blogs. Made me crazy, it just didn’t feel right. I’m a random thinker–so, I’m a random blogger. 🙂

      • I imagine that keeping up regular posts for two or more blogs must be a lot of hard work. It would be ok if at least one of them was for a job, i.e. one that paid the bills, otherwise I can see how it could make one crazy. Plus, most people have more than one thing they want to write about. What I love about blogging on WordPress is exactly the freedom it offers in this respect. I’m glad I’m not alone in this. Thank you for sharing, April.

      • Oh you know the normal exaggeration – missing the last step and generally losing my way through the house due to sleep deprivation and blurred vision from too much screen time 😀 ( just humour my love)

      • Good to know you’re safe. Hehe – I try to get my eight hours these days, although I’ve been known to have all-nighters in my time 🙂

      • I tell you what – I think I already said my piece 😉 But if I may?

        I have found all of the above that you write here to be true vic – and for me – there is something about blogging that urges us on to WANT to be a part of society and participate in sharing others outlooks and of course – our own (hopefully in an encouraging way!) It is a great way to share journeys and misadventures – and midnight rambling – as well as the more practical or ‘inspirational’ or just down right logic of anything and everything…but for me – the BIG lesson I am learning to give to others and myself is ‘boundaries’ (well sort of 😉 ) IE – I have lines I will not cross – and as is such – I have to set these into play for my blogging mayhem: Blogging will consume you if you do not have some cut off point and develop some form of structure for it to fit HEALTHILY into your lifestyle. However – it seems to unfold and find its rhythm in time (as with you I am guessing?) …and EVERY so often – off the line we will fall 😉

        I swear starting up a blog is close on bringing a new baby into the home. (A whole new adventure and learning curve) FABULOUS STUFF.

      • What a wonderful and insightful comment, Belinda. Thank you. You are quite right about establishing boundaries: it is very important to ensure that blogging – like any other activity – does not take over our lives. Thank you. Great advice and I am sure very helpful to all bloggers who are just starting out, as well as a good reminder to the veterans 🙂

  1. Gosh, every day, I commend you. It’s funny how something that I didn’t do this time last year can have taken over my mind and my time and yet my husband and friends know nothing about what really goes into it and who I encounter and what we discuss. Maybe the computer will one day suck me right into it, and they’ll just see my legs and feet disappearing into the screen!

    • Thank you, Jackie. The blog is not the only writing I have to do on a daily basis, but it is part of it and it is the part that fuels my imagination for the creative side of my writing and discipline when it comes to the academic. So in many ways the blog gives back as much as I put in. Hope you are enjoying your blogging adventure. It is time consuming, but after a little while it does settle into the usual routine. All the best.

  2. I like your comment about being consistent. I always keep an eye on my little calendar on my blog. I may miss a day or two because of commitments but I try to put something that I like up anyway. I don’t go off the far end but I have on occasion taken a somewhat serious subject and put up a comic post. I like the interaction between what I consider my mentors (yourself, Jeremy, OM, Jittery Goat, Al, Kerrie Ann Salsac, and a few more I am forgetting right now. What keeps me going is to receive comments from my peers and I ALWAYS make sure I respond to anyone who takes the time to comment on my post. I don’t pretend to be a budding author, but I would like to get experience in Flash Fiction. And I am trying my hand on Haibun’s. That’s my next challenge.

    DJ

    • Thank you, DJ. I hope you will be project will get to a good start and blogging is certainly a good way to get some exposure and find out what works and what doesn’t.

  3. Rules are made to be broken. Saying that you must be mentally prepared prior to even get into blogging is a bit like saying you must be financially prepared prior to getting married or having children. There is always something else to do or to spend your money on. If you don’t take the plunge now you may never even get your feet wet. I applaud your rebellious ways!

  4. Vicbriggs, I have to say that I really enjoyed this post. I’m one to try and write daily, whether it’s something important or something small. I like having no rules for my blog and depending on how my day goes, depends how much I like to type in my blog. Great work!
    -Nicole

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post. As long as the no-rule policy works for you then there is absolutely nothing wrong with continuing in the same vein. Thank you.
      Warm regards,
      Vic

  5. Thanks for sharing. I have also tried to determine what to blog about but find that I cannot narrow it down to one. My writing has no pattern and I write about lots of things. Some say, it’s lack of discipline and focus. Well, maybe they are right. I call it style.
    My blog is an eclectic mix of poetry and fiction, humor, romance, life issues, bible based inspirational stories, social issues, and anything that catches my fancy.

    • Thank you, topazo, I think blogging is a very interesting medium precisely because it is both personal and public. And although we may think there is no identifiable pattern in our writing, if we look closer we can always uncover recurring themes.

  6. Love this post, Vic. Now, I’m going to go out on a limb and make a direct request of you: will you read my post today? It’s partly inspired by something you really like. Thanks!

  7. I used to stick to those rules myself, but not in my current blog. Though I’ve never been this disorganized, part of me still believes it is ok to let go and allow it to flow naturally. 🙂

  8. i needed this. i’ve been questioning and doubting and wondering and wandering through this whole blogging thing. i enjoy it immensely but always wonder if i’m “doing it wrong” or have immense pressure to gather millions of readers. i also have terrible anxiety that with the overabundance of blogs out there- can i ever become successful? reading things like this takes some of the pressure off! some. 🙂

    • I am very pleased you’ve found this helpful. Thank you. I find that when I write about things I am passionate about, there will always be others who will connect to those pieces.
      Although every blogger would like to have a big audience for their views, I believe that ultimately there is no pressure in that respect, although that of course depends whether we measure the success of our blogs in numbers alone. I believe that is not the case for most people, although I may be wrong.
      There are ways to increase readership rapidly, but I’m afraid I am not a power-blogger and prefer to focus the time I have at my disposal for this particular activity on creating content and interacting with fellow bloggers – in other words, those things that I find most rewarding about blogging. 🙂

  9. My owl looks a bit like Idiot Writings owl, but prettier. I do wish I could write like the two of you but it is not meant to be, therefore I will continue to write drival.
    Thank you for this great post.

    • Belinda’s owl is a beauty, is he not? It was exactly what I needed on the day, having spent some time thinking through what does and what does not work for the blogosphere.
      As for writing… it is always 95% work and only 5% talent, and the craft of writing is certainly something that can be learnt and the more we write, the better we get at it. 🙂

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  13. Hello Vic, I was at a Tasmanian writers festival over last weekend- so great! And blogging was spoken about on a panel I went to with many great Aussie writers. There was an idea that blogs have an echo effect, meaning only those looking for the information that they want to hear, find it. Everyone finds their relevant information through different sources, so to appeal to a huge amount of people is such a feat! Food for thought 🙂 Thanks for the read.

    • The echo effect – I will have to remember that, thank you Lucy. The panel you mention sounds very interesting. If you have made notes and plan to write a post about it, I would love to read it. Always looking to learn more. Although I have written on the topic, I do not consider myself an expert – far from it – research is key so anything new on the topic would greatly appreciated.

      • Much was said also about the distraction of blogging if you are also writing longer pieces of fiction- which certainly applies to me at the moment having given myself a writing deadline. An interesting area of writing- blogging is, being quite new. I think all ideas about blogging that arise are therefore valid and interesting! I didn’t take notes on the weekend, enjoyed just listening and am probably rehashing some of the ideas from different areas ( blog stuff/ fiction writing etc). Reinterpreting some of them, hopefully accurately. A little may appear on my blog? Are you still writing a script? 🙂

      • I agree that it can be a distraction at times. Like with most things it would appear that time management is key. Let me know if you decide to post an article on the subject. The above taster got me intrigued. I am still working on my novel. Had to take a break during the holidays as I couldn’t find the time or space to work on it in a focused manner. It is taking a little while to get back into the usual routine.

      • Thanks, I will let you know. Nice to hear you have a novel in your sights too. Happy writing and all the other stuff days are made of 🙂

  14. Sound, very sound. All of it.

    The red flags you list are why I’m so disciplined about one, or at most two posts per day, unless I see a traffic spike and I’m trying to feed it. I don’t want to spam news feeds, and quality is important. If i tried to post three or four times a day, even if I spaced them out properly, most of them would be hastily-written and poorly-edited. That would kill me, since I bill myself as a writer.

    You’ve captured many of the essentials of blogging here.

    • Thank you, Gene’O.
      This post is part of my efforts to engage and share with others some of the things I’ve learnt since I started my journey as a blogger. Admittedly, knowing the rules (however loosely interpreted) doesn’t always mean that we can follow them, but at least if we break them we do so consciously and are able to mitigate against some of the consequences.
      Managing readers’ expectations as to the number of daily/weekly posts and their possible content is also important. Whenever I post more than once in a day, each post will belong to a different category (say one ‘opinion’ post, one ‘photography’ and another ‘poetry’, for example).
      This is why I was unhappy with taking time away from blogging without giving notice. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to know in advance when absences will occur. The other week for example, my internet vanished and after trying and failing to fix it, I took the opportunity to focus on my writing instead and it made me realise how much more prolific I could be when I didn’t have blogging duties to attend to. It should’t be a zero sum game, but it appears to have come to that.

      I may write another post about blogging in the near future, since this is an of-the-moment issue for me.

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