To Blog Or Not To Blog? That is the question for Writers

To Blog Or Not To BlogA surprising number of writers and authors question whether they need to blog or not to blog, many despairing the extra amount of work involved, the hours required to produce quality content. Not to mention the limited value of investing that effort and time.

‘What’s the point when nobody is going to read it?’ I often hear. ‘Nobody is going to care what I have to say,’ usually follows straight after. ‘Really, is there any point?’

It may seem paradoxical, that many writers bemoan sitting behind their computer screen and doing more of what they love to do, writing, but their concerns are valid and justifiable.

I’m now going to address the main concerns – yes, in a blog – and try to convince today’s and future writers that blogging is not only good for the writer’s soul, that it’s as good for a writer to practice blogging as a pianist would practice their scales, but that it’s actually an essential habit to initiate and maintain, for more reasons than would seem upon first doubtful inspection.

1: Blogging Is A Waste Of Time!

The big fear behind this statement is this:

Why Should I Write Something Nobody Will Read?

Ah, the age-old fear of every writer now has a contemporary twist: If a writer blogs and nobody reads it, was it really blogged?

This actually gets to the heart and soul of a writer, why they actually do what they do. Why do they write? What’s the purpose of spending hour upon hour upon hour toiling away at the keyboard? What’s their motivation for picking up a pen and putting their thoughts and ideas down on paper?

A writer writes for many reasons, but usually they can be pared down to 2:

  1. They write for themselves
  2. They write for an audience

Usually 1 of these 2 reasons predominates. Either a writer just wants to get their ideas out of their heads and written down with no particular purpose other than to satisfy their own agenda, or they want recognition from readers of their work, to be famous, to be respected, to be liked, to prove they know what they say they know. The first reason is private. The second reason is public.

Writers who write for themselves usually don’t care if (or don’t want) others to read their material. Broadcasting their writing to the world is not for them. Blogging, almost certainly, is not on their agenda.

Writers who write for an audience, however, do care (and do want) others to read their material. Broadcasting their writing to the world is definitely for them. And if it is, if the purpose of their writing is about attracting an interested readership – that it should actually be read by someone other than themselves or their mother – then blogging should certainly be high on their agenda.

The issue then changes from Why? to How? That is, from “Why should I write something nobody will read?” to “HOW can I write something somebody will read?”

The fact that you’re reading this blog is evidence for that. You might have stumbled upon it through Google search, a Facebook post, a Twitter link, a mention on LinkedIn, an email that was sent to your inbox, or you clicked an online/social media ad that perked your interest and brought you here.

The point I’m trying to make is that with a little bit of effort (and some loose change with paid advertising), traffic does flow to your blog post. But you have to make it happen. Just sticking your blog on the website and hoping for somebody to read it is about as successful as sticking your book on a bookshop shelf and hoping somebody will come along and find it. It probably isn’t going to happen.

But it can be done. Somebody will read your blog and, if you post regularly, you will begin to build a readership fan base that like your writing and subscribe to your posts.

 

2: Nobody Cares What I Write!

 

This actually translates to:

I Doubt Myself And My Writing!

Self-doubt is a serial killer. It is responsible for the death of countless ideas and dreams. Self-doubt can kill an idea in a single blow, or it can kill it slowly, like poison, gradually sapping the strength of a dream until it flickers out of existence.

Self-doubt though is generally subtle. It manifests as ‘Excusitis’, as David. J. Schwartz puts it in classic book The Magic of Thinking BIG. Self-doubt causes us to procrastinate. When we have self-doubt we believe the most likely outcome is failure or lack of success. This in turn causes us to find reasons why we can’t do or achieve something instead of creatively searching for solutions of how we can achieve our goals. Excuses, in other words.

As Schwartz succinctly puts it, “Doubt, disbelief, the subconscious will to fail, the not really wanting to succeed, is responsible for most failures.”

The cure or antidote to Excusitis is belief. The belief that your ideas, your writing, your words have merit and value. People actually do care what you think, say and do. No one is an island, and the internet has connected us together more than anything else in history.

Remember, others will believe in you when you start believing in you.

 

3: What's The Point Of It All?

 

This is really about one thing:

Frustration!

 

As a client of mine recently said, “The biggest motivator for human beings is visual progress.”

Which is why writing is such a great motivator… and deflator.

You get great reward and motivation from writing when you see the progress you make – sentence by sentence, page by page, chapter by chapter, until the manuscript is complete. You can actually visually see the development as the days and weeks go by. It’s a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

The flip side is that frustration and defeat creep into our mindset when the words stop flowing, when writer’s block becomes more than just a blankness of mind and cessation of ideas and develops into doubt and despair. When we no longer visualize progress, when the sentences remain unfinished like highway overpasses that hang half-completed, then our motivation likewise suffers.

The answer is to develop what I call ‘The Habit of Happy Writing’, which is nothing more than to commit to writing a set amount of words per week (or day) in order to visualize the progress you make. It actually is a mathematical formula:

Word Count = Happy Writing!

So, as writers, blogging not only allows us to practice our craft and develop good routines and happy habits, it also has positive spin offs such as:

  • Developing positive beliefs about your self and your writing.
  • Growing your readership fan-base.
  • Honing your writing skills.
  • Turn excuses into solutions.

To blog or not to blog? That is the question for writers who want to succeed.

Dr. Scott Zarcinas.
Director, DoctorZed Publishing
Founder, The Business of Writing School
Chairman, The Australian Digital Publishing Group

Scott Zarcinas On Writing

 

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