That is the question.
In September and October, I was busy and had fun with Blogging101. I learned a lot, things I had hoped to learn about (like blogger netiquette), and things I didn’t expect (like visiting unknown blogs and leaving comments for people I don’t know yet). There were many exercises to promote interaction with other bloggers, which I thought was very good, because it helped me get over the shyness of leaving comments. I basically learned that most people who are relatively new to blogging and not (yet) set up professionally have similar problems and shyness/fear to intrude as I do.
Blogging101 also promoted actions to make your blog and blogging activities look more professional. Many of these things I knew already from the coursera course Creativity, Innovation and Change. Many of these things make sense, and for people who don’t know their way around software like WordPress, this certainly would be very useful.
Finally, branding was promoted. Branding seems to be something everyone must do. Getting a ‘corporate identity’ look, making oneself recognizable: this is all very useful if you want to promote yourself, your work, art, crafts, business. But I’m not an entrepreneur…
The question arises: do I really need all this? I did the branding exercise (not very professionally) in the coursera course. I restricted myself to the blog, facebook and g+, places I frequent anyway. I refuse to get active on twitter, linkedin and what else there is around. I think I’ll deactivate the bloglovin feature as well. I don’t need all this.
A while ago, Debra Levy from C-Dog & Company posted about “Social Media Coming Between You and Your Pets?” She describes her feeling of not spending enough time with those she loves because of the many distractions social media offer. I can wholeheartedly second that sentiment, and it made me pause and think. But there was blogging101 to complete, and there were courses to take, and posts to write, and…
When I was reminded of the really important things in life through my dog Jack’s accident and death, letting go of all social media activities in the blink of an eye wasn’t even a decision, it was a given. The only thing I followed up on was the CTA job on coursera, because I had committed to that and find it important. It helps people. That’s more than I can say about my ‘normal’ blog posts.
Later, I read a post–can’t remember where it was–where someone wrote that bloggers should follow up on all the branding and self-promoting because otherwise: why blog? You might just as well write a private journal, they say. I found this a bit depressing. And on second thought, I don’t agree at all.
Why do I blog, why did I start this? I wanted to connect. I’m writing fantasy and science fiction stories. That gives me joy and satisfaction. I haven’t published anything, and don’t know if I ever will. But I want to write, and I want to talk about it, and talk to people who have similar interests. And I have found already many people around here to talk with, to learn from, to have fun with… even though many have a different focus, and most have a much more professional approach to their blog. Blogging is writing, it is something you want to do regularly, and it is something that gives you practice. It also lets me express myself about themes that interest or move me without being told to be off-topic. My blog is my castle…
But I don’t need the branding and all the self promoting. If I ever finish a novel and want to get published, I still can do that. For the time being, I’d rather spend my time writing instead of thinking about a set schedule for blogging, about not missing a post, and making the whole experience more stressful than necessary. Blogging101 was fun, but I also found it a bit exhausting. I don’t think I can and want to write a post every day.
And so I decided to get back to my blogging roots, not caring about what I should do but doing what I enjoy. So there’ll be posts about pets, about what moves me at the moment, about writing with the occasional writing exercise thrown in, sometimes just pictures, and sometimes posts about the online courses I take. I also decided to cut down on them, I have to focus on my new dog and her training.
If you are ok with this mix, dear readers, I’m looking forward to meeting you here. I welcome and treasure every comment you make (and I will put that into my about page, too.). Please don’t be shy. For me, the best part about blogging is the interaction. I will try to be brave and on occasion jump around in your blogs and leave more or less insightful comments.
With that I end today’s wordiness and give you a picture from some flowers I picked in garden and field last Friday (November 28). The weather around here is crazy, November was balmy, now it’s foggy and a bit colder, but also humid. I haven’t seen proper snow in years. The slugs and insects have a good time around here. So, instead of a Christmas tree, you get sunflowers and roses.
Coming soon: A guest post about writing.