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Thursday, 7 March 2013

Why Do You Blog?

Those of us who class ourselves as bloggers engage in this activity for a variety of reasons. I’d love to know why you do it, or, if you have a particular viewpoint, why you don’t.

So, as usual, I’ll start off with why I do it.

There is a pervasive theory that a modern writer needs a platform. It’s unproven. Some even go so far as to say it’s rubbish. The jury, as they say, is out. But it’s the reason I started blogging, along with running a very extensive website. The website died a natural death when technical issues prevented me from updating it. I still play with the idea that I will resurrect the website. And, since I’m due to retire from the day job in the near future, who knows? I might find the time and the energy to do that. However, it was very time consuming and seemed to make no impact whatever on my book sales.

Does the blog help in book sales? Who knows? I get stats and detailed analyses of the activities that stem from the blog, but none of these show any direct correlation between blogging activity and book sales. However, I do think it’s important for an author to have a place potential readers can visit and find information about his work. The blog is a useful platform for that.

But long ago it ceased to be a simple author platform. I spent a year or so interviewing other authors, giving them space to promote their writing. Those interviews proved very popular with visitors, but, again, they were very time consuming and ate into valuable writing time. I spent a good deal of time in producing a daily word spot where I explained correct usage by giving examples for many different words. I love language and words so this was a labour of love. Once again, however, it took serious chunks out of my writing time.

These days, I do a weekly post on writing and/or reading as a way of stimulating discussion on topics that interest me and that, hopefully, engage my readers. I post reviews of the books I have read, in the hope of encouraging the act of reading in general terms. That’s why my reviews are so varied. I read widely and I’m interested in a good many things. Some folk seem interested in only a narrow area of reading, but I feel that such a concentration on a single genre is hardly likely to introduce a reader to new topics and ideas, so I diversify. I also keep a table of details and links to Writing Contests (see the tab above), which I update fairly frequently. It’s another time hungry occupation, but, as I use it personally, I thought it made sense to offer it to readers here as well.

And, from time to time, I allow my passion for a subject to encourage me to let off steam. Usually this is on social issues. I’m passionate about injustice, believing that justice (not the law, which is narrow and frequently stupid) is what potentially might allow most people to lead lives with equal opportunity. I’m something of an idealist, but I have pragmatic leanings.

Will I continue to post along the above lines? Probably. But my world is about to alter in fundamental ways that must impact on my abilities, freedom of expression, time and energy, so who knows what changes will accompany that move from regular employment (albeit part time) to active retirement? I shall, in future, be doing one job instead of two. And I hope that such concentration will allow me to produce more and better writing. It’s certainly my intention. Time, of course, will tell.

So, there you have it. The reasons I blog. Care to share yours? Just as a matter of interest: to those who blog on topics that merge with my own, consider this an invitation to approach me as a guest blogger. If you have something to say that I can accommodate on here, I’m very willing to consider it. You can contact me very easily through the link at the top of the page that says, ‘contact me here’. Please do. And, for the rest, please leave your comments below.

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J.L. Murphey said...

I blog now to help my mind recover from my stroke so I can write legibly again. Practice makes perfect, right?

I beg to differ with you about a blog generating book sales, for me it does. I started my current blogs basically to promote and educate. My website also died and my blog took its place. It is also my way of expressing authordom as an indie author.

Take a look at the numbers of followers you have. You are reaching people with your words and isn't that the dream of any writer? My numbers may not be so great, but the hits on my blog is doing better than my website ever did. I imagine its true for you too.

Stuart Aken said...

Interesting point about the contrast between website and blog, Jo. My own website preceded my blog by a couple of years and was actually quite successful, with many thousands of hits before I had to withdraw it. But the blog is much more interactive and, as you say, a way for indie authors to express themselves. I'm pleased to learn that your blogging is having a beneficial effect on your recovery and i wish you well with that. By the way, I've connected with one of your blogs on Networked Blogs.

J.L. Murphey said...

The one that you connected with with Network is the Murphey Saga. My clergy blg is not attached.

Stuart Aken said...

No, Jo. I'm a confirmed agnostic, you see.