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To Blog or Not To Blog — That Is the Question

By Jeffrey Pillow on December 31, 2018 — 4 mins read

To blog or not to blog — that is the question. There’s this weird thing about blogging, which I assume I am not alone in feeling. That, sometimes, you just have the urge to quit, or at least take an extended break. As someone who has been blogging for over twenty years now, I’ve done both. There’s burnout, of course, but there are other reasons.

Sometimes I feel like I’m just writing to no one. Into the ether, if you will. Other times, I feel like I’m writing a letter to my future self. Other times, to my past self; and yet others to an audience of readers, that, by and large, I don’t even know, that stumble upon this blog from different corners of the globe for one reason or another.

I don’t consider myself a blogger. I consider myself a writer. But first and foremost, I consider myself a regular human being without any label attached, who just wants to be connected in an ever increasing disconnected digital world. A world in which the major social media companies, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, proclaim their technologies fill this void of connecting friends and families far and wide. I mostly disagree, but that’s another post unto itself.

In spite of technology, not because of it, I feel lonelier than ever due to a lack of depth in the physical realm of one’s existence. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling this way.

With that said, below are my personal pros and cons on whether blogging is even worth it anymore:

PROS CONS
Allows me to express myself in long form, as opposed to pre-determined character limits (Facebook, Twitter) Sometimes feel obligated to post more frequently than I may care to
Blogging is cathartic. Keeping a blog, or journal, or whatever you want to call it, has proved therapeutic in me dealing with grief, depression, and anxiety that I, otherwise, may have buried deep within me Sometimes hard to find time to post due to more important priorities in my life (family, work obligations)
While my words may be cathartic for me, they also have the power to help others who read my blog Is difficult to write the kind of writing I’d often prefer, be it creative non-fiction or fiction type stories, and less in the genre of self-help or self-improvement (personal development)
Improves my writing by keeping me accountable in how much I write General maintenance and security that comes along with any self-hosted website or blog
Essentially keeps a digital record of one’s feelings, thoughts, and in some cases, one’s progression month-to-month, year-to-year Blogging, or blogs, isn’t what it used to be, having been supplanted by social media, which creates less thought out and shallower ways of expressing oneself
I’ve learned a lot about myself by simply expressing myself on a given topic SEO, and/or algorithms, which cater more toward competition, cynicism, and negativity in today’s world
Relatively easy to push a post into the world that can reach thousands, as opposed to a book which, statistically, may only reach hundreds (the average book published by major publishing houses sells less than 500 copies; sad, but true Going “viral” isn’t actually all that difficult, but it typically means attaching oneself to pop culture or whatever the current outrage is, which I’m not interested in
I can be myself, through words, and while that’s becoming more difficult in our current attention-seeking climate, it beats social media and Internet forums any day, as far as I’m concerned There are millions of blogs in existence, and it’s hard not to feel like you’re not just adding to the noise

This is just a short list of my personal thoughts and feelings (pros and cons) on blogging. Since I write largely a personal/memoir style blog, I didn’t include what someone who blogs from another perspective may have included (ex. marketing, parenting, etc.).

All in all, writing out this list was helpful for me in gaining a better understanding whether to blog or not to blog as we all head into 2019; and the answer to this question is: Yes, to continue blogging.

Why do you blog, or read a particular blog on the web? Share in the comments below.

jeffrey pillow photoWritten by Jeffrey Pillow, author of the coming-of-age memoir in progress When the Lights Go Out at 10:16, which you can read on this blog as it’s being written. When the Lights Go Out at 10:16 is a story of growing up in small town America in the 1980’s in a teeny tiny town known as Phenix, in Charlotte County, Virginia. It is a story of life and friendship in the face of terminal cancer. Want to read more blog posts? Visit the blog archive. You can also subscribe to this blog to receive updates of new posts by email.

Photo. “Blog” by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash

Posted in: Writing

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  • Nice post. I blogged from 2007 regularly and started waning 430 posts later around 2015 – it was a fascinating experience. Here are more pros I would add to your list. 1) built up an enormous body of writing that became the basis for my book Memoir Revolution about the cultural trend to read and write memoirs. 2) made me part of a virtual (and virtuous) online “community” of like minded memoir bloggers – 3) gave me profound hands on experience with “being a blogger” – it was an education I couldn’t have gained any other way and made me a proud citizen of the internet age rather than just a tourist. A con about blogging is that apparently people who take the time to read my long thoughtful blogs don’t have as much time to buy and read my books as I had hoped. At least that has been my experience so far.

    I still try to keep my hand in with occasional posts, but I look back with great affection and pride on the years that blog writing was my main creative outlet.

    Jerry Waxler
    Author of Memoir Revolution

    • Thanks Jerry. I love your extras pros to this list. I was in a similar writing community as you mentioned from about 2008 to 2013, with some very talented folks, then it just went south. I’d say it started that way around late 2011 really. Social media began navigating the comment boards toward other platforms, namely Facebook and Twitter, and the community was sort of lost in the shuffle, fragmented this way and that. Coincidentally, as the community faded to almost non-existence, a book about the site (Board) was written.

      I look fondly back on my time with The Nervous Breakdown, as a writer and as a reader. Many excellent wordsmiths came from there, their careers essentially launching from this community, and have since gone onto levels of fame I likely will never crack. Jonathan Evison is one and Brad Listi is another. They are such champions of other writers’ work, it’s inspiring. I long for the old days of TNB, but sadly, social media killed the internet writing stars sometimes it seems.

      Also, I hear you on folks not buying your longer work despite reading your blog. I think it used to be different, and I sort of look back at TNB for that (people bought other writers’ works in droves) but again, I think, and not to blame the Internet, but we’ve come to live in a world where so many words are free and attention spans have become so shortened, that shelling out a few bucks (and attention) to support a writer is hard to come by, sadly. I hope, at the least, you get a sale from someone reading the comments here.

      Best to you.

    • It’s weird it’s like that, you know? I keep thinking the Internet may change back to how it used to be, where likeminded strangers would build the communities of yesteryear and support one another’s work, but then it seems like there’s no way those days will ever return. Best to you in writing your memoir. Solidarity!

  • i think i am probably in the minority, but i blog as another way of talking to myself, entertaining myself. i like to think that others read me & get something out of it, but until this year, i did not get any feedback. i do very little to put myself out there–i am not good at networking. i will follow other blogs i like, but i do not follow other blogs or like other posts just to get someone to follow me. and i am too broke to even think of paying to make my blog more reachable.
    but i think i am happier this way. i like what i now have–a small audience that interacts like me. it feels more like a circle of friends or even a family.
    i may never be famous or go viral, but i have community. and it is nice sometimes to talk to someone other than myself (but i still write as if no one is reading–kinda like dancing like no one is watching–it’s liberating.)

    • For the record, your blog is also entertaining to the rest of us. I wish I could draw like that. Keep writing like no one is reading. It keeps you free. (Just know we are reading, and it’s amazing work)

  • Hey Jeff! I’m always on the other end reading all of your blogs. I can pretty much always relate to something in your writing… the people, the places, the longings in the soul as we all journey through life. I always enjoy your writing and am encouraged by it. Yes, I vote yes! For you to keep on blogging!

  • Of course, I love to read anything and all that you write. I feel that the umbilical cord from birth still connects us when I read your thoughts through your blogs!
    Yes…keep writing!

  • Happy New Year’s to you, Mr. Pillow. Although I am not a blogger or writer, I appreciate the time you spend bringing your own personal perspective to the web. I like that you mix it up. Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I think or ponder after reading your post. There’s not many bloggers or writers out there that put me in that frame of mind. Usually it’s one or the other. You do both. So, thank you.