Sunday, October 03, 2004

Thoughts on Keeping a Living Blog

People keep blogs for millions of reasons. They also abandon them for the same number of reasons, loss of interest being one of them.

A blog, by definition, is not and cannot ever be a private document. Bloggers put their thoughts on the Net for all the world to see. If you want privacy, use a journal or paper diary.

Dead blogs -- blogs that have not been updated in an infernally long time, say a year -- are a nuisance for ISPs and blogging services. (Note: a nuisance, not a pain. Virus infections and system crashes are a pain, compared to which deleting a dead blog is just a chore.)

Some ideas about keeping a blog alive:

  1. Don't worry about readership. Here I'm talking about numbers, not who you think reading the blog. If you try to write something to attract a wider readership you may wind up getting stuck in a rut, pandering to a perceived reader instead of your own interest.
  2. Write what you know. If politics isn't your big thing, don't write about politics all the time. (The political blogs always get traffic during an election year.) If you like cooking, write about your favorite recipes and experiments. If you like TV, write about your favorite programs. And so on and so forth. It's how specialty blogs get started.
  3. Write as regularly as you can. I go to life drawing workshops on Wednesday nights. I won't post my results here (the life models are female -- it's a slippery slope thing) but they became a habit for me. (If only I could do the same with flossing.) Same with writing blog entries; if you turn it into a habit you'll keep your blog alive.
  4. Writer's block can be overcome. If you don't think you have anything to write about, think again. Books you've read, news stories that got you angry, the view outside your bedroom window -- they're all fodder for your blog entries.
My point: A blog can be a living document, a testimony to the existence of a unique human being -- if the blogger cares enough to keep it going.