Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On blogging.

Last week I listed the following as one of my long-term writing goals: "2. Spice up my blog posts. When I started Everyday Revelry, I had no idea what I wanted to write about and I sort of still don't know. I've been experimenting with things that interest me but I'd like to have more continuity and longer posts. With work and school, I need to make a better effort to concentrate on what I post and improve my writing."

I have been struggling with what to write about and how to attract new readers. I go back and forth on making my blog solely about yoga or diet and exercise or writing, etc.

Then I wrote this post on the writing life on Everyday Revelry. I also commented that, "I often feel like I am blogging into a void. I have no idea how in-depth to get or what might be interesting or not. I've tried to separate the professional side of me (the Latin America stuff) from the personal (yoga, writing, nutrition, etc) for the most part but there are definitely times when they overlap. I am never sure how much to share."

City Girl left me some interesting and thought-provoking comments and Kiki asked us to share them here. She wrote, "After two+ years of blogging, I have come to the conclusion that blogging should reflect your interests and be a balance of discipline and spontaneity. I am actually writing a post on this for soon as I have had several new bloggers ask me for advice - so this has been on my mind :) One thing to think about is to pick a couple of posts from all the things that interest you, write them, and see how you enjoy writing them and also the kind of response you get from people. If you love writing about it, that's the most important thing, but if you are not sure, write a post, enjoy it and people love it, thats a reason to continue writing as well."

City Girl also posted this: "1. Sometimes finding topics you like is all about seeing what sticks - whether for you (ie you enjoy writing it) and for your readers (ie you get more comments etc). 2. Professional versus personal - I would actually stick to your personal interests over professional interests. It sounds like you feed your professional interests through blogging in another forum and your work and your grad program. Also, focusing on the personal may be in some ways both easier and more challenging to write (just a thought)."

And so now I ask all of you: How do you decide what to write about? Does your blog have a niche or is it more a general place for you to write about whatever you like or are interested in? How do you draw more readers? Do you post about personal things or professional or both? How much of your personal life do you share and how do you know where to draw that line? Where do you draw inspiration from for new posts?


  1. A great activity I have found for creating new content ideas is using a magazine to improve your blog. You can find out all about the activity here http://www.problogger.net/archives/2009/04/29/how-to-use-a-magazine-to-improve-your-blog/

  2. Ideally, of course, we're all living such integrated, unified and authentic lives that our personal is the professional and vice-versa. But this is real life, where the boundaries are a bit more blurred and where our professional and personal are often rather at odds with one another.

    Right now I'm in the process of moving my current blog niche back to my old blog niche, or rather, integrating more of the former back into the latter. My goal isn't really to draw in more readers; it is to draw in more comments. I do post about both personal and professional things, because (I hope) I am working to draw them closer in to each other, and practice more yoga "off the mat." Inspiration comes both from other bloggers, and from the things that happen in my everyday life, which is always complicated by the fact that I'm an expat.

    As for sharing personal details, it really depends. I'll talk about my bra size, but not where my degree is coming from or people's real names. It's actually a matter of protecting the professional from being impacted by the personal here, I think - academia + public knowledge that you blog = difficulties.

  3. I am so glad you shared our conversation.

    As I have mentioned to you, adding the professional is not an option if I want to keep my job - any opinion I may have on issues in my field (securities regulatory law) could reflect badly upon clients/my law firm/who knows if disseminated. So like Kiki, I view it as protecting the professional.

    Blogging inspiration for me is very much the everyday but I have to say that my inspiration is growing by leaps and bounds the last couple of months, and I really attribute it to all of your thoughtful comments and questions and to SWIM. So thank you :)

  4. Lauren, I started writing my blog about a year ago but I never took it too seriously until a couple of months ago. Finding SWIM has been definitely I huge inspiration. I am still defining it and I am grateful you posted this question since I could really do with every tip! Thank you everyone for that!
    I think I write about the personal (although always keeping some important information private). It would be such a disaster and it would have a really bad effect on my job at university if I wrote about the professional. However, as Kiki says, there is a fine line between my personal and my (ideal)professional (yoga, writing). Basically I am trying to find out and write about what really interests me. I see my blog as a journey and as a way of exploring I'm not sure still what. I suppose, my blog is to me a way to live and share.
    I found this free podcast download in i-Tunes (it has a pretty amusing title):
    'Grammar girls for quick and dirty tips for better writing'
    There is a podcast on Comments and Blogging.
    Good luck with your search! I look forward to reading more of your blog!

  5. I got the title of the podascast totally wrong. It is: Grammar girl's quick and dirty tips for better writing. :)

  6. Ellecubed: Very interesting site. Thanks!

  7. I have a weird approach to blogging, namely that I don't really have one. My blog posts truly come from my heart, whatever moves me, upsets me, thrills me that particular day in that particular moment. More recently I've gained a steady following of people who seem genuinely interested in my life and progress, so I like to keep them posted. But most of the time I'm blogging because I have something to say, whether it's to myself or to the world. It also helps me think through things and get helpful feedback.

    My sister once told me that I should create a theme to my blog. I DO have a theme though, it's ME! I guess it could be called a lifestyle blog, but really it's just a Carolyn's Life blog, and I'm just grateful that people care enough to read it!

  8. ahhh, how to approach blogging. this is a question i ponder quite a bit. i originally started my blog in order to write about al the foodie thoughts swirling in my brain that my friends and family were likely tired of hearing about. but my blog always seemed to be a little of this and that, as i'm what one might call a dabbler (if one is being nice:). i joined tuesdays with dorie, a baking/blogging group late last august, and then my posts veered towards that audience. and yet, i wasn't satisfied. in january i started my daily bliss feature in an attempt to cultivate gratitude and to effect real change in my life, and so once again, my blog is a mish-mash.

    i think the most important "rule" of blogging is to be true to yourself--to not worry so much about your audience (though i get the professional/personal concerns, which is why you won't see me bitch about my job on my blog, ever, though i might want to). gregg (he will be joining us one of these days on this writerly blog) and i have talked about this extensively, and i've come to see that writing from the heart requires a certain danger and vulnerability. but it's also tremendously liberating to say what you really think and feel.

    anyway, i'm sure i'd have more followers and hits if my blog had a single focus, but i like my blog. it's a true reflection of my diverse interests, and i love that the random meeter meets the swimmers meets the bakers meets the fabulous real life friends and family there. that i've gathered them all together into one spot makes me happy:)