So You Think You Want to Write a Blog, Eh?

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So you think you want to write a blog? Well, what are you waiting for? Go for it. But be careful that you know what you are letting yourself in for. Blogging can be difficult sometimes, and a ton of work. Not to mention painful. And embarrassing. And altogether addictive.

Cover photo for a fashion post in an article on writing a blog.
My most recent fashion post about my friend Krista.

It you want to write a blog, make sure you understand what you are letting yourself in for. You should do your homework before you begin. Read a ton of other blogs. And read about blogging. That’s what I did. I bookmarked my favourite blogs, ones I hoped I could emulate. Not copy, just be inspired by. I also read a ton of articles on how to write a blog. Much of the advice was very good, useful; I took notes. But some of it I ignored. Like the admonitions to find a niche. Or to write to appeal to a specific audience.

I only wanted to write what I wanted to write. About things that interested me and which evoked my passion. Like books and fashion and travel. And things I had experienced, things I knew about. Like my own life, my family stories, my teaching stories, my hair stories. Ha. I didn’t see the point otherwise. So when I began, I wrote to please myself, and hoped that others would find it interesting, or funny.

I recalled long ago advice I received from my wise Hubby when I was stressing about a job interview. Some last minute advice from a mentor the night before my interview set me off. And I wailed to Hubby that I would never be able to talk “knowledgeably” about experiences I’d never had. Hubby rolled his eyes (in a kindly kind of way) and said sternly, “Look. You’ve listened to him; now listen to me. You can’t go in there and fake it. Just be yourself. If they don’t want you as you are, with all your experience and your abilities, then you don’t want to work for them. Or with them. To hell with that job.”

So back when I started this blog, I thought, if someone doesn’t want to read what I want to write about… well… I guess they’ll click away. And with all due respect, to heck with them. That’s not to say that I haven’t learned new things, researched topics in order to write about them. Or that readers haven’t given me fabulous ideas for blog posts. They have. But I have to be interested in a topic to be able to write about it well. In fact that was rule number one when I was teaching writing. Students always write better about topics that draw them in, about which they feel strongly. That goes for bloggers too.

Cover photo for a book post in an article on writing a blog.
A book post from earlier this year.

Writing a blog can be difficult. It’s a lot of work, if you want to do it well. For most of your posts there will be at least some research to do: book reviews to read, sources to track down, author biographical detail to check, quotes to get right. Even if it’s something your grandmother used to say, you’ll want to get it right. You don’t want to receive a stern e-mail from your mum about making things up.

Sometimes the writing is easy peasy, flowing freely with the words tumbling out so fast your fingers can hardly keep up. And other times it’s very hard. Rewriting is the most difficult part. Revising so that a piece, even a short one, has unity, and coherence, an interesting opening, a natural conclusion, and all the bits hang together as if it just rolled off your keyboard in one piece. So unified that hopefully readers can’t tell where you stitched it together with a few words, or a repeated image.

Then there is the dreaded editing. Checking and rechecking for grammar errors, spelling, typos, sentence structure. Make friends with good grammar sites. For those posts when you’ve been writing all day, and it’s now midnight, and you can’t for the life of you remember what the rule is for commas and parentheses. And always, always go back and reread the next morning after you’ve hit publish. There will be at least one error (or three) you’ve missed.

Even if you don’t want to write a blog that is mainly text. Even if the writing part is the least of what your blog will offer, you’ll still want to do it well. I mean, if you don’t want to do a good job, I don’t see the point in bothering.

Cover photo for a travel post in an article on writing a blog.
My first post on the new format back in February.

Sometimes writing a blog can be painful. People who you thought would read your work are not interested. And your feelings will be hurt. Friends may look at you funny when you mention that you’re writing a blog, as if it’s such a poor, shallow thing they’re embarrassed for you. Some will even say, “A BLOG? What do you want to do that for? Why not write a book?” To which you will reply, “Because I don’t want to write a book. I want to write a blog.” You should refrain from saying “so there,” and sticking out your tongue when you answer. I think I showed great restraint when that happened to me. Ha. Many people won’t understand how much work is involved in blogging, that the text, the pictures, the technical stuff… all take time. Like the one friend who said to me… “Don’t you just type?”

Sometimes blogging can be embarrassing. Like when you lug your tripod down to the old stone mill, a very scenic locale, near your house and try to take pictures for a fashion post. And people keep walking by and looking at you. It’s much less embarrassing, as I found out last week, and way more fun, when you do this with a friend.

Cover photo for a post about the internet in an article on writing a blog.
Sometimes I rant in my posts. I can’t help it.

You will probably have to learn lots of new skills when you start writing your blog. The writing part I knew about, but I had to learn all kinds of technical stuff, like HTML, and search engine optimization, and key word searches. And how to take decent photographs. I can’t tell you how long it took me to pay attention to the background in my shots. I have a whole wack of pictures that could be really good if it weren’t for the dead tree that looks at if it’s growing out of the top of my head. Or the ones where the camera is positioned too high and my head looks enormous, even more enormous than usual, and my feet are teeny tiny.

But then you’ll realize that learning all these new skills is satisfying, and enriching. And you’ll be proud that you didn’t pack it in because you didn’t know how to do something as well as you should. You’ll be happy that you’ve grown a little.

Photo of reader comments on a post in an article on writing a blog.
Readers sometimes share book titles, or their own stories about their lives.

But here’s the main thing I wanted to tell you. Writing a blog can be utterly addictive. If you do it the best you can and the way you want, you will get so much satisfaction from it. And you will maybe create a place where a little community builds. A place where people can come to read what you have to say. You’ll be amazed at that; I know I was. And a place where conversations can start. And that is the very coolest thing about writing a blog, the conversations. When you share your story, you’ll then get to hear the stories of your readers. They’ll tell you what they’re reading, places they’ve travelled, what kinds of jeans they prefer, and how they hated their hair when they were fifteen too.

Sometimes they’ll even tell you how many pairs of shoes they own. Like the post I wrote three years ago about whether or not it was “a truth universally acknowledged that every woman is obsessed with shoes.” And in which I counted how many pairs I owned. And my mum sent me an e-mail, as a result. Before I go on I should say that my mum reads my blog. She’s been a subscriber from day one. And, funnily enough, she says she’s learned all kinds of things she didn’t know about me from reading my blog. I guess that’s natural when you’ve lived far away from each other for so many years. Despite lots of phone calls and visits, we each have our own lives.

My mum loves to read the comments on blog posts; she calls them the “answers,” I guess because they are always preceded by a question from me at the end of a post. She refers to the people who comment regularly as if she knows them. And even though she’s pretty good on the computer, she hasn’t mastered how to comment. So after I published that post on shoes, where I asked readers to count how many pairs they owned, I received this e-mail from Mum in my mailbox.

Read your blog and am chuckling to myself as I have a vision of me answering as Doris from Devon with: Two pairs of shoes and both black so there is no confusion with color but did not count my slippers.

Have a good day , 

Love Mom

Oh my god, I laughed out loud at that. Doris from Devon. Devon is the part of Fredericton where my mum grew up. And her name is NOT Doris. Ha.

Cover photo for a post about funny women in an article on writing a blog.
My post on funny women. Including my mum, who doesn’t understand why people think she’s funny.

So you think you want to write a blog, eh? Well, I say go for it. Read, read, read, and research. Work really hard, and then do it some more. Learn everything you need to know to the best of your ability and resources. And then do it again. Because you’ll find that writing a blog can be totally addictive. And rewarding. You’ll meet wonderful new friends, and connect with old friends (and family) in ways you’ve never done before.

And maybe, like me, you’ll find that what you get back from this blogging thing will far out-weigh the painful parts.

Linking up with #ShareAllLinkUp .

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51 thoughts on “So You Think You Want to Write a Blog, Eh?”

  1. So interesting. The blogs I like most are the ones that are personal, as in heart-felt, not necessarily full of private details. If they are too personal I am turned off (I cannot fathom someone putting up photos of their children and recounting all their activities on the Internet). There are times when I have been working on something–a renovation or feeling dissatisfied with my clothes and wanted to overhaul my look or being on a cooking craze, and I will seek out blogs for straight talk on those topics. But over time, too many have turned into straight advertising, which is boring. I appreciate the ones that are well-written, like this one, and that make me think.
    My mom never read my blog because I started it after she died, and in a way writing it helped me get through losing her and no longer being able to dash off emails to tell her about stuff here.
    I keep reading that blogs are over. Maybe so. I often think about giving up because I spend so much time on it (and I don’t make money from it, so it’s just a labor of love). But I am grateful for the extent to which it has opened my eyes to what’s around me and has motivated me to ask more questions so I can share the info.

    1. It’s always the personal element which brings me back to blogs as well. Like Frances said in one post on her blog, this blog is part of me but not all of me. I always relate it to my teaching experience. I told lots of personal stories to my students, but I’d only go so far. There had to be a certain amount of distance between us. Blogging is similar to me for different reasons. I think that much of my life is too boring to write about, or too repetitive. And I’m very careful about how much I reveal about the lives of others. They didn’t opt to write a blog, after all.

  2. Regular reader here – not a great commenter but I have to jump in to say that this post is so spot on. Every point. I wrote/was addicted to a blog for ten years until my stupid thyroid decided to try and ruin my life. I got rid of the damned thing and have lately been toying with the idea of blogging again.

    I absolutely loved blogging. Loved the community. And to be a glass is half full kind of girl, learning all the technical stuff good bloggers need learn is good brain food, right?

    Thank you for writing interesting content in such a fun way.

  3. Wendy in York

    I think to be a really good blogger you have to be very honest . You have to be prepared to expose yourself to the world & accept not everyone will appreciate your efforts . I can’t imagine how you manage to keep coming up with new topics from unusual angles . I’m sure it’s no coincidence that my two favourite bloggers , you & Frances , were both teachers . You have the erudition , communication skills & lively minds needed to hold our attention . And yet you manage not to sound like teachers – more like a couple of friends that live round the corner . Quite a skill . I’m sure you could write a good book but I love the variety of your blog & look forward to each new post . Your mum is funny . Perhaps you could persuade her to do a guest post for us ? ‘Tales of years gone by’ or ‘The truth about my youngest daughter’ 🤫

    1. I try to be honest about what I write, without exaggerating or over-egging the pudding, so to speak. If a story is good, it should be able to be told truthfully and be funny or interesting. Plus. I don’t want someone I know to read something and wonder what the heck I’m talking about. Ha. When I first started writing the blog, I struggled with sounding too “teacherish” and academic or formal, because it had been years since I’d written anything that wasn’t for a course or for a school report or something. I thought it was such a compliment when an old friend said that reading my blog was like talking to me in person. She could hear my voice. That made me smile.
      I’m mulling that Doris from Devon idea over as I write this. Maybe there’s a post in there, after all. 🙂

  4. Well, quite. It’s good fun too. I love checking in each day with my blogs of choice and have learned loads since I first came across one of these strange new weblog doo-dads. The best bit is stumbling on a blog you like and then finding more as a result. And sometimes you have to think: oh dear, we must part ways…the affair is over… I do enjoy all the chatting so keep writing.

  5. Hi Sue…I’m so glad you keep your honest, entertaining blog going. Your wordy ( is that a word) skills are amazing!
    A paragraph or two is my limit and that can be exhausting for this gal. We won’t talk about the proof reading I and hubby do. Ha!
    I think Wendy has a brilliant idea for Doris from Devon. Hugs to Doris!!
    Robin

    1. Thanks, Robin. I often have Hubby reread my posts. He’s a demon with spelling and grammar. And sometimes he wants me to change my style because I use a lot of sentence fragments. So I have to give him the talk I used to give to kids in my creative writing class, about use of fragments as a stylistic device. But by then he’s wandered off anyway. Ha. I’m seriously considering doing a post on “Doris”… I think it’s a great idea.

  6. Love your blog and your comments today hit home. As a fellow blogger (also since 2013 on boomerbroadcast.net), I do it because I love it and have found it addictive as well. Love sharing my rants and reflections on fashion, lifestyle, books, etc. Our readers are a similar demographic (female baby boomers) and I can’t wait to take my second mug of tea into my office each morning to start writing. I actually love the editing part and even though it rarely ends up grammatically perfect. I’m writing for me and people like me, not to make money. It’s been my passion since retiring from the corporate world. Reading and writing occupy most of my time. Keep posting. Love your perspective.

    1. Thanks, Lynda. It boggles my mind that some bloggers don’t edit. I mean of course we miss the odd typo, but as I said to a commentor a while ago, sometimes 63 edits are not enough.

  7. Thanks for writing your wonderful blog. I appreciate seeing life thru your eyes and always enjoy your wonderful sense of humor.

  8. I don’t want to write a blog but I sure am glad that you do! Thanks for your fun, informative, well written blog.

  9. I, too, am glad you write your blog. I love your conversational tone… so easy and effortless, like chatting with a girlfriend.
    (I know that it takes lots of work to get it right!) Love your honesty and sense of humor, too.

    Keep on keeping on!
    XO Donna

  10. I love this (and thank you for mentioning me-but oh my,so many mistakes,aloud..aloud…-I usually check my comments-except when I’m at the Adriatic-like now-or very busy-like before now. I hope that your Mom does know-hello Sue’s Mom!- that I’m not a native speaker and I’ve never lived abroad so I’m usually not so illiterate-in croatian!)
    I can imagine how much effort and time and imagination writing a blog demands and I especially respect all of you who answer our comments (and comments and comunity are joy as well)
    Dottoressa

    1. Thanks, Dottoressa. I can imagine how much effort and time it takes to speak as many languages as you do!
      P.S. The blog was having issues with caching older versions. That’s why your first comment did not appear even though I could see it was there. We’re working on fixing that. P.S. I deleted your duplicate comment.

  11. Loved this piece. You are so right. Blogging is hard. I mean getting the photos right, learning the ways and why’s of SquareSpace, and then forgetting them and learning again. Taking photos, taking better photos, editing photos, learning Photoshop, Canva and Lightroom. As a non writer learning how to write. BTW, where are those grammar sites? I never remember is it i before e or e before i? I mean that can take a hour to work out. But the best part is the friends you make. Had tea with a YouTuber from Australia yesterday, lunch on Friday with a local blogger. always in touch with a Northern California blogger. Love them all and we all so relate. Love your book recommendations. I’m waiting on one from the library and I’m reading one that you recommended. I’d tell you the name but that means I have to go to the other side of the house to get the authors name. Just know that there are readers taking your recommendations. Bottom line, you’re right, blogging has brought me a whole new world that I love. Doris from Devon. Love it.

    1. I still haven’t mastered Photoshop etc. I usually don’t touch my shots at all because my program just makes the final version less clear and sharp. So on the advice of the tech guy who helps me, I just let my i-phone do all the work. Looking at other ways to take photos and make them better has been on my “to do” list for ages. Where does the time go, I wonder?

  12. With all the challenges that blogging entails, it’s clear that writing this blog gives you joy. Why else would you do it? It brings me joy when I see a new blog posting from you in my inbox. I usually save it for when I can have a cup of tea and read at my leisure, enjoying every well chosen word. I’m also happy that, through your blog and recommendations, I’ve been introduced to countless excellent books, a wonderful fashion perspective and several other excellent blogs. All this you do with great humor and style. Thank you!
    Sue, I truly hope you never tire of blog writing, I would surely miss it!

  13. This makes me want to start a blog. But wait – I have a blog! This makes me want to make my blog reeeeal good. But I’m not so good at that. Beh. As you wrote, there is so much to learn in the process, no matter what ends up on the “page.” My scope expanded into video too. Who knew? The main thing for me is I get satisfaction. And I get satisfaction reading your posts too, like this one. Thank you.

  14. I love reading your blog — love the variety of topics, the connections with education (as I am also a retired educator), the clothes, the travel, the reading and musings….and now I feel like I know you.
    I feel like if I saw you sauntering down the street (unlikely as I live in BC…but anyways…) I would rush up to you and greet you like an old friend. But you wouldn’t know who the heck I am, and would know nothing about me — certainly would not have that same “recognition of an old friend” feeling. And that is one of the things I find so interesting about blogging — these “relationships” that are pretty much one-sided, and the somewhat odd sense of unbalanced familiarity, in which I feel I know all about you and you know almost nothing about me, even though I do comment sometimes. And yet, I know it must feel great to be greeted by a reader–or even to arrange to meet up with one when you’re travelling. I’m curious about how it feels from the other side, your side, to know you have all these “friends” about whom you know almost nothing!

    But, thank you, thank you, thank you for your fantastic writing, sense of humour and very interesting blog!

    1. Thanks so much, Lisa. It does seem odd to feel as if so many people who I’ve never met are “friends.” But I do. It’s amazing how after repeated comments from a reader I get a real sense of who they are. I’ve been greeted twice in the street and once at a cafe by readers. And I’m always so delighted that they stop me to say hello. And of course I’ve arranged to meet readers in person when I’m travelling. That was so cool. In fact I hope to catch up with Dottoressa when my husband and I are in Croatia later this year.

  15. What a lot of good advice on blogging. I’ve toyed with the idea, but worry about having enough interesting content to maintain a blog for any length of time. I am all admiration for people like you, Frances, Annie and others who work so hard to come up with interesting content week after week (not to mention all the technical issues). Thank you for creating such great communities.

    Even though I don’t write a blog, I’ve been blessed by the ‘friendships’. Most are destined to remain virtual–but some have resulted in face to face meetings. A few years ago I spent a day in York (UK) with a wonderful woman whose blog I’ve commented on for years. Your point about a blog creating communities is so very true. We had a such a great time together that neither of us wanted the day to end–we had so many more things to talk about. Our friendship has strengthen since then. In fact, we are meeting up again in the new year–this time for several days in Scotland. I am also scheduled to have coffee with an Australian blogger this September–in Germany–through commenting on her blog we figured out we would be traveling through the same city on the same day. Reading blogs has been an amazing gift for me.

    1. It’s wonderful isn’t it how these virtual friendships can sometimes morph over into real life? Enjoy your trip to Germany… and to Scotland in the New Year!

  16. I don’t blog but love reading them! I have learnt many new and interesting things and the best bit is that I realise that there are people out there who think and feel like me.
    The ones that dont, well they broaden my horizen.
    So win win for me.

    1. Funny you should say that. It’s exactly what I thought when I started writing my blog. I remember saying to my husband… who knew there were so many smart women out there who wanted to talk about clothes.:)

  17. Yep. Nodding and nodding and nodding in acknowledgment. Indeed, great satisfactions come from blogging but it can be painful, is certainly a ton of work, and is very much addictive. Having just taken a step back for about three weeks — rare for me – I recognize also how fatiguing it can be when you take it (too?) seriously. (Right. Those of us who are perfectionists.) And then there’s the out-of-pocket costs (sigh)… All that said, it can be quite a joy, a source of community, and a journey of discovery.

    xo

  18. Well that was a lovely read – so true and so helpful too. I understand and recognize all that you say and some bits made me chuckle at how true they were.
    Thanks for writing this and I’ll look forward to hearing more. Jacqui Mummabstylish
    Hope you’ll join the #chicandstylish #linkup this week.

  19. Interesting post! I do love your blog and several others as well. Have thought of writing one over the past few years, but I can see that good ones (like yours) take a ton of energy and time. I’m not sure I would be dedicated enough to do it well, and I am a bit obsessive. Ha!

  20. Hello! I have just discovered you and I love the way you write and your topics.
    I only read blogs in English because I don’t find good blogs (I mean fashion/life style blogs) in Spanish , which is my mother tongue, and sometimes I’ve thought about writing one, but I would feel so embarrased…

    1. Why not write a Spanish blog? Everyone feels embarrassed at the beginning. Like having impostor syndrome…you think no one would want to read what you have to say, and then find out that they do. 🙂

  21. I love your blog! Thanks for all the work you put into making it enjoyable for all of us. And, I love your mum!

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