Blogging, Demystified – Part 1 Why we write, why we can’t write enough and how blogging can help writing
by Anita Menon
A few days ago, I was given the opportunity to talk about my experience of being a blogger to the members of the Bahrain Writers’ Circle (BWC). I became a member of the BWC nearly 5 years ago and introduced myself as a blogger – a title that was received with a lot of mixed response. While some of them didn’t think blogging was something that a serious writer would want to contemplate about, there were many who wanted me to help them start a blog. Either ways, it was interesting to note the reaction. This is going to be a 3 – part series which would cover all the aspects of blogging as I know it.
Why do we write?
As writers, it is important to ask ourselves – ‘Why do we write?’ Responses from the talk ranged from –
1. I write to express myself
2. I write to feel content
3. I write for professional reasons.
and so on.
Why do we think, we do not end up writing as much as we would like?
The question was met with some silence but then the responses started pouring in which ranged from –
1. There is never enough time
2. There is never enough resolve
3. Lack of discipline and routine
4. Can’t find inspiration
5. Don’t know what to write about
We never get around writing as much as we want and that perhaps becomes a source of frustration to us, as writers.
A blog is your personal space, online where you can ( in a chronological fashion) share your views, ideas, thoughts in the form of text, photographs, links and videos. The blog allows for :
- Blog is a tool to inculcate discipline in writing
- Build your unique voice and expression
- A blog gives direction to your writing;
- When you blog, you automatically feel the desire to do better in your next post;
- Exposure to the right audience;
- Helps gain experience in different styles, genres etc.;
- The advantage of blogging communities; and
- The best marketing tool.
You aim to give more variety to your audience and for that very reason, you start to read. Reading opens up the access to different kinds of writing styles that you may feel like experimenting with it too. For eg. I have always read fiction and also love reading essays. My writing style reflects that type of style too. There is a lot of story element to capture the interest of the blog reader plus, a moral to take home. I believe, if someone has chosen to spend his/her precious two minutes on my blog, reading my content, I would want to make it worth their while and all along keep it honest and true to my core. The reader needs to take something away in terms of either beautiful visuals from the food photos I post or some interesting content that inspires them.
When you create that space for yourself to write, you automatically feel responsible for its well-being and try to nurture and grow it – a blog gives you that space.
Are bloggers writers?
Well, not really. Different bloggers blog for various reasons.
I have known food bloggers who enjoy the food photography aspect more than the writing part. Some enjoy analyzing, rather than looking for those apt words to use to maximize the impact of the feeling they want to convey. So yes, not all bloggers are writers nor do they intend to be.
But blogging can serve a serious writer very well. A blog is a tool that can be used to form discipline and a routine. Writing which is an art and a craft, needs practice and it is only practicing it that will make it better. Blogging gives you that opportunity.
The other bit is the exposure. As a writer, when you are creating quality, useful and enjoyable content regularly, people get addicted and provide constructive feedback. Mostly, people are nice and they say nice things. But if you really want true feedback, you can actively ask for it from your readers.
When you get traffic on your blog, and when people start commenting, you realize, the type of target audience, that connects and relates to your writing. I know for a fact that women in the age group of 25-45 enjoy my writing. I write about being a mother, women empowerment subjects, children, general issues in life and finding balance, also recipes, health, lifestyle. This age group comes to my blog on a regular basis to read and enjoy my material. Sometimes they leave a comment as well to which as a blogger you should respond. I know readers actually come back to check if you have responded to their comment or not.
I know of several bloggers who have now turned into successful writers, even in this region. Desperate in Dubai was a novel on the blog which was published by Random House. I have followed Ameera’s blog from chapter 1 and I have seen how her writing improved subsequently. Some amazing food bloggers have landed themselves cook book deals not only because of the wonderful recipes and pictures they shared but also because of their compelling and insightful writing. Blogging is a community and joining and following communities provides that much-needed motivation. Inspirational bloggers are all around and reading their posts always lights a fire in my mind for my future posts.
My next post would be about how to create a blog, the many technical aspects of creating a blog and once you have a blog, what’s next. Stay tuned!