I used to blog a lot more than I do now. I was unemployed and had a lot of free time. Now that I have a job and a house and other committments, I had to ask myself why should I continue blogging? Is it worth the time it takes? The answer I came up with was a resounding YES.
Why do I blog? When I first started blogging, I thought it would be great practice for “the real thing” (in other words: publishing). I also thought it would help me to keep up with what’s been going on in the worlds of librarianship and technology. My husband had bugged me for a while about starting a blog; I guess since I’m so opinionated, he thought it would be a good medium for me. Maybe he just thought I’d stop bugging him about all of it (sorry, Ad). 😉 One month into this blog, I actually wrote about what motivates me to blog (in response to what Steven had written about blogging).
Since then, my reasons for blogging have changed a bit. When I realized that people were actually reading what I wrote, and that they found it helpful, I made a conscious attempt to make my blogging more useful. What have I learned and experienced that other people might find useful? What software could I try out that people would find helpful to learn about? It’s a great feeling to know that people have gotten something out of my blog. And now I don’t see it as preparation for the real thing (though I do believe it has helped me to hone my writing skills). This is the real thing.
There are so many things I’ve gotten out of blogging. Here are just a few:
- I’ve made many great friends in the biblioblogosphere who have encouraged me to do things I wouldn’t have the confidence to try before. I’m one of those people who never thinks she’s good at much, so to hear that people like my ideas and think I’m good at things has inspired me to do so much more.
- I’ve made connections with many “giants in the field” (at least in my opinion), who have treated me as an equal. There are so many people I was awestruck to meet at the ALA Conference, and for these people to treat me like I was “one of them” completely blew my mind! Again, big confidence-booster.
- I’ve learned so much more about librarianship and about technology. When you write a blog, you feel compelled to keep up with what’s going on.
- Writing about my thoughts and feelings about librarianship really was therapeutic for me. Writing forced me to reflect on my experiences and on the profession. It made me realize how passionate I am about this field, in spite of how soul-killing the job hunt was.
- When I was in the midst of the job hunt, I communicated with a lot of people who were in the same predicament as I was. It was nice to know that I wasn’t necessarily a bad job candidate, but that the job market really wasn’t living up to the hype.
- It’s a thrill to get emails from people saying that my insights were helpful to them. I don’t write my blog to be famous (hah!) or to make money. Knowing that I’ve helped people is what really keeps me motivated.
- It may have helped me to get a job. In a saturated job market where there are many more entry-level librarians than entry-level library jobs, it pays to distinguish yourself from the pack. Having a blog (or at least an online portfolio) can make a person more of a known entity than a resume and cover letter. I don’t know for sure whether my blog helped me to get my job, I know the search committee did read it and I know they liked how passionate I was about the field.
- It’s put me on publishing companies’ radar. I’ve had several journals and publishing companies approach me about writing for them. Considering how much I enjoy writing, I feel insanely lucky to have these options available to me.
So the question isn’t really why would I want to blog — it’s why wouldn’t I blog?
Great that you have been approached about writing! Sarah and I aren’t librarians, but we both find your writing (and your topics) interesting and well done. Brava.
[…] This is a question bouncing around many library blogs at the moment. After reading some really interesting responses, I’ve come to the conclusion that my reasons for blogging are rather selfish in comparison. I never really had any tremendous aspirations for my blogs, either on a personal or professional level, other than to use them as a place to collect and organize my thoughts. In reality, I think I just enjoy talking to myself. […]
Thank you, Rick! 🙂
[…] “Thankfully I haven’t been blogging long enough to get emotional about people’s comments, my posts, or lack of either.” At least, this is the lie I keep perpetuating for myself. Call me sensitive. I agree with Daniel’s statement above, even though it is yet unclear what kind of writing this particular blog will develop into. I am unashamed to say that often style is content. This works out quite well for someone with little to say. Obviously. This whole blogging thing is still very new and awkward for me, if not entirely daunting. I am still struggling with the question “Why blog?” I have no particular political stance which compels me to write such as Michael, no fountain of creativity pouring forth like Daniel, or Mark’s skills in so many areas. As for the rest of you Taiwan bloggers out there, what with teaching, parenting and feeling sorry for myself, I just don’t have time for anything else… But getting back to my question “Why blog?” I Googled the question and got over 800,000 hits. I also Googled “Why write a diary?”, and got 99 hits. It seems I am not alone on this one. I often find myself thinking about something I want to write, but then hesitate for fear that the “wrong people” will read it. I have no illusion as to the readership of this blog, but I don’t feel free to really rant about work, family and friends as I would with a diary, for example. Daniel wrote about that in one of his posts. So why? It’s part narcissism, part reverse-voyeurism. But as Nebulon Fry states, it’s also a quest. So far it has been a selfish thing, and I suppose this will always be elemental. But from the very start, I found a community of interesting and more importantly, interested people. My initial attempts at networking turned into very pleasant, stimulating and rewarding personal meetings, which I look forward to again. But in the back of my mind, I can’t help but wonder: is the continuity of fleshy encounters contingent on blogospherical quotas? What if I can’t keep up with the bloggy Joneses? I read a post in another blog which stated: When I realized that people were actually reading what I wrote, and that they found it helpful, I made a conscious attempt to make my blogging more useful. What have I learned and experienced that other people might find useful? What software could I try out that people would find helpful to learn about? […]
Oops! I am sorry that my entire post got posted here. I am kind of new at this game… If I remember, I just linked to your post, not meaning to post my entire post as a comment. Anyway, thanks for your insigths on blogging! I hope I can be a useful blogger too someday. 🙂
Don’t worry about it! Trackbacks do that sometimes automatically. And thanks for thinking I’m useful! 🙂
I appreciate reading about your reasons for blogging. It’s helped me formulate my own thoughts on the subject. I’m about to launch a blog, and trying to figure out why. I’m a published writer…but throughout my long career I’ve been frustrated about the stuff I write that does _not_ get published. I’ve been thrilled to watch as the technology grows and creates new ways for writers to subvert the publishing industry machinery. Time for me to join the revolution.