This may interest people who know me from my meta-blogging (blogging about blogging) days. And maybe other folks who want to keep going but are at a loss as to how to keep going. I can’t really answer that for everybody, but I can tell you how I started doing the serious blogging again.
I think the way to really fall in love with something is to look deeply into the matter. My stint as a meta-blogger was a cool way to do this, as I contemplated the whys and hows of blogging, beyond the technical (although the technical did help) and into the more nebulous realm of generating great content. I looked at others in the field of meta-blogging and beyond to bloggers in other fields (like John Scalzi). I experimented with different blogging methodologies and different ways of promotion and all that.
I learned that blogging isn’t shallow. Not if you want to do it well and sustain a certain level of quality. And, of course, you have to really love the process and beat of blogging; if you don’t have that, you can’t do it. (And that’s not a bad thing at all.)
And then I stopped blogging about blogging. I was tired of it. In its own way, the niche is crowded with great bloggers and the subject is too narrow to specialize well—or at least all the niches are well-taken. I didn’t know it at the time, but I needed something less regimented, more flexible, and just fun. And at the same time not so without structure that the net was too wide.
Plus I’m into the re-inventing yourself business.
Anyways, I got a Kindle, loved it, still do, you know how it is if you’ve read this blog for a little while. Around the same time I started to love science fiction and fantasy in strangely deep ways, and I wanted to learn more about that. So, la, the best way to learn about something, where I’m concerned anyways, is to research the heck out of it and write it up for other people. Obviously S∂ needed to swim in that direction.
And while SF/F is a field chock-full of blogs, there’s so much stuff here that anybody could simply keep going. The field changes far more often than that of the meta-blogging world; having a history that goes back more than a couple decades does that. You can review books or movies (and they never end), write about themes and lists, play off from the huge number of other posts in the arena. You can even write SF/F if you so desire (and my little writer heart so desires to, except that it’s still afraid). I also create eBooks; for some reason, the ability to create a product outside of just my blog is inspirational all by itself.
Plus the writers are so freaking accessible in SF/F. You can read their blogs and stuff. They become people. The better blogs are by fun people, and that rubs off on you. Suddenly I felt like I could blog about other things than just my blog’s main theme, so long as I could write in an entertaining/elucidating fashion, so long as I could think about what I wrote instead of just writing random stuff. Not that it’s bad to write random stuff, but the best blogs have “thinky” posts amongst the lighter fare.
I learned another important thing, which is based on running, actually. Blog a lot. Or at least that’s what works for me; it’s easier for me to keep blogging if I blog every day than if I just blog once in a while, just like it’s easier for me to run if I keep running instead of slowing down for walks. Blogging often keeps my brain cells going, keeps me researching, keeps me inspired. It helps that I have a tendency to want to entertain others, for if I’ve learned anything about the web, it’s that despite the plethora of stuff out there, it’s too easy to get bored.
Combine the need to blog a lot with a field that’s freaking huge and insanely informally friendly. That’s fireworks right there.
From John Scalzi’s A Month of Writers—well, actually, just reading John Scalzi’s blog in general—I learned that you can generate a ton more material by writing about people, not just treatises on techniques or thoughts about your day or your writing. Helps if said people are outside your circle of friends, too, and if there are a lot of them related to your field who have blogs—oh look! SF/F! It’s also interesting to research other folks, because people are so different from one another. Yes, that’s kind of Captain Obvious level thinking, but you don’t see that in most blogs.
And then—I dropped the more obvious blogger networking tools. StumbleUpon I keep around, of course, because it’s so darn useful; same for Twitter, which is also utterly fascinating to watch; but I no longer think of them as solely or even mostly promotion for my blog. And EntreCard? BlogLog? Stuff that’s purely for networking purposes? For me, they got in the way (and yet for others, they inspire; again, this is not a one-size-fits-all entry). I’m glad they’re gone, and their absence gives me more time to write and interact (and I do need that time).
So at the moment, I blog for the love of my Kindle and science fiction and fantasy. I blog for the love of entertaining and removing as many moments of boredom as I can for people who are interested in what I write about. I blog because I love to blog. The amount of love is at such a level that I’ve put aside writing for blogging and feel but a faint twinge of guilt. Which is not so bad, since I get to explore the field and read like crazy and analyze like mad—and still write, after all.
Blogging makes me happy. Sometimes it drives me nuts, but far less often than it used to.
I guess my advice for people who’d like to keep blogging is: experiment and figure out what you love and don’t be afraid if it takes like months or years to figure it out. And just don’t worry about promotion—but interact with others in your field in many, many ways.
S∂ is nearing its first birthday. My blog already outlasted most blogs out there when it reached the three-month mark. And I love it very much.