I’m Having A GREAT Time…What About You?

Graphic from ZDNet.com

Today, for Thoughty Thursday, I’m pondering the question:

“Why do people blog?”

Many of the readers here at More Cowbell are bloggers. (And y’all have been cranking out some truly excellent bloggage this month. I think the Year of the Water Dragon  is getting people fired up!)

You know who “bloggers” are, right? The official (incredibly dry) definition of a blogger is “a person who keeps a weblog.”

Here’s MY definition of a blogger:

Special people who schlep their a$$es to their computer, day in and day out, flinging their thoughts and dreams out to the World Wide Web with the intent of sparking a conversation.

That’s a little more sexy and descriptive.

The “what” of blogging can change and grow infinitely. My brain being the way it is, I’m more interested in the “why.”

WHY do people blog?

Why put out all that effort  in the hopes of receiving some comments? Why do bloggers thrill to see some tasteful Twitter or Facebook mentions? Why does it knock their socks off to be included in a mash-up of links?

Is it to see their Klout score grow?
Watch their Alexa ranking rise??
Because social media maven, Kristen Lamb, told them they MUST blog to build a brand?!?

That’s only a tiny piece of it.

It’s my belief that very few writers sit down at their computers thinking about any of these things. They blog to build a community. They spent time visiting other blogs to offer support to that community. In short, bloggers go out of their way to live the motto of my writing chapter, OCC/RWA:

One hand reaching forward, one hand reaching back, in a continuous chain.

None of this answers the original question of “Why do people blog?”

While I think some people dream of monetizing their blog and making a living out of it, most bloggers are fueled by the same desire as any other writer:

It fires a writer up when others read what they write.
It fires ’em up even more when people will discuss it with them.

It’s that simple.

Writers have stories running through their heads, pretty much 24/7. Stories they long to SHARE. All those stories take a long time (and a hell of a lot of work) to translate onto the page. Some books take YEARS to write.

  • Most blogs take minutes, or maybe hours, to write.
  • A blog gives you immediate feedback for you efforts.
  • As writers we dream of reaching out and touching people with our  words; we look forward to receiving their  words in return.

THAT’S the power that keeps us flinging our thoughts out like so much birdseed, hoping to see interesting readers come feed. At least it is for me.

Why do I  blog?

1. Because it’s fun. More Cowbell is like a big party for me. I LOVE to throw a great party, where conversation flows like an electric current. (That’s also why I prefer Twitter to Facebook.)

The readers here brighten my day, EVERY day. Not only do you grant me the joy of making you laugh, you crack me up right back. Plus, seeing y’all form connections with each other takes me to my Happy Place.

2. To help me research my books. I don’t particularly love research, so I lure myself through it with the carrot of a nice, fun blog at the end of the research stick. I’m to the rough part of my memoir on high-risk pregnancy and my Saturday Risky Baby Business posts are easing me through it. Plus, I get to help pregnant ladies. It’s a win-win.

3. Giving back to other writers gives me the Warm Fuzzies. I feel strongly about the need to give back to other writers. Many, many writers have given to me and I like to pay that forward with things like my Techie Tuesday posts.

I’m a people person (stop laughing) and a classic extrovert. (I mean it…stop that cackling.) Being an extrovert means I gain energy from time spent interacting with others. 

Blogging “fills my well,” helping me stockpile the energy I need to withstand the solitude of writing a book. When my energy flatlines, I run to the most crowded place I can find and write there. (Did you see all the introverts either shudder or fall off their chairs just now??)

If I had to think about long-range planning topics like “branding” while I blogged, I might run screaming from the page. That feels like work for me. I wouldn’t blog if it felt like work. I do enough of that already.

Nope…I’m here for the party. 🙂

Let’s hear from you. Why do YOU blog? What makes you read or follow other blogs? Is it the topics, the connections, the things you learn? Is it because you were told “you had to?” What do you love about blogging? What do you hate about it? Enquiring minds love to know these things here at More Cowbell!

Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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56 Responses to I’m Having A GREAT Time…What About You?

  1. showard76 says:

    Why do I blog? To share, to inform, to connect. I love blogging and writing and sharing. I hope that what I write about mental health will help others, I hope that when I write stories or poems others will enjoy reading them. I hope that when I write reviews they will be informative to others. I hope that I can help others to connect by allowing them to guest post on my blog. I have so many reasons that I blog but most of all it’s because I enjoy it, it’s fun and I learn so much from writing myself and reading what others have written😀

    Like

  2. Great blog to start my day with! I love to blog and have become addicted to writing my own and reading others. I like to have fun and laugh, share, learn and grow my craft and meet others who have the same interests and humor as I do. All of those things happen for me through blogging. It’s as simple as that🙂

    Like

  3. I started my blog because of the writers-need-a-platform, and literary-agents-Google-and-reject-writers-with-no-social-media-presence wisdom.

    So, my glob was born [not a typo, folks]. And, my first posts were agony and angst and another “A” word* defined. [Phrase inserted for alliteration purposes only.]

    Here’s where I tripped up. The old negative “what ifs…” instead of exhilarating “EEE! What if I…”

    That angst has past, but…

    I’m in the throes of Blogging-to-Build-Brand, and I don’t yet know! Permission to take the leap and find my brand wings on the way down?

    *hint* This is where you say, “granted”, Jenny. :

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      It is absolutely granted. I think a lot of writers feel trapped by their blog and quickly lose their joy in it. I have another few posts planned on this topic so I might borrow your “have-to” sentence. It’s wonderful.

      Like

  4. AARGH! That angst has passed….

    Like

  5. I’m with Gloria: “started my blog because of the writers-need-a-platform, and literary-agents-Google-and-reject-writers-with-no-social-media-presence wisdom.”
    Honestly, I still struggle with what to post in it. Sometimes I think about doing a series about writing, but hey, who wants to read about tips on writing from a newbie? So, yeah, that idea is paused atm.
    The other day I was thinking about doing a series of interview of other still unknown writers (aka my CPs and others) … I think I might go for that one.
    Anyway, I like blogging, I just need to figure out what to blog about, whatelse can I say online …

    Like

  6. gingercalem says:

    Great post and I blog for many of the reasons you mention. To connect. To have a fun online party. To be a party of something great! I am also building my brand, ME. 🙂 Meeting, supporting and cheering others. I hope I’m helping some people with my WritersButt blogs. Mainly, I’m a writer and now I have all these new friends with which to travel on this amazing journey.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I love your posts, Ginger, but I haven’t seen these WritersButts posts! Must go check it out. And the WANA/Friends mentality is the BEST part, in my humble opinion.🙂

      Like

  7. I’m with you Jenny! I’m having a BLAST! Ever since I learned from Kristen that we don’t have to blog about writing…I don’t know why I didn’t figure that out on my own before, LOL. But, yeah…I love it! The biggest reason is because I love to write, and I look at every blog post as an opportunity to practice, a prompt. Second, I love it for all the friends and connections I’m making out there. Third, for everything I learn from all my new friends by reading their blogs! It takes a lot of time, but it’s so worth it. I often stand in owe of the internet and actually am doing a post about that today!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I know! Wasn’t that freeing? I’m not all that fabulous at writing about writing so I was happy to hear I didn’t have to step up and learn. I like to blog about whatever is on my mind that day/week/month so I keep a pretty loose structure. (Not that it’s surprising to any of the More Cowbell Posse to hear that…)

      Like

  8. You’re an extrovert? I’m speechless. lol.

    I’m an introvert so I’m not here for the party but. . . . I do like connecting with people and I need the encouragement and fellowship and networking of other writers. Once I left the party (I did stay till midnight) I figured out how much I enjoy blogging.🙂

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL…Introverts LIKE connecting with people…it just wears ’em out a bit.🙂

      I’m sure glad you came to the party!!

      Like

      • Lana says:

        Bridgette – I’m with you, not really an extravert, so not really here for the ‘party.’ But Jenny – you’re absolutely right, we introverts really, really, do like other people, it just tuckers us out sometimes. I agree with both of you – I blog to connect with others, whether that’s other writers or just other people. Isn’t that what writing is? Connecting with others through words?

        Thanks for a great post, Jenny. I loved it!

        Like

  9. Emma Burcart says:

    I think you answered the question beautifully. When I started blogging it was really just to get the ideas out of my head and out to somewhere. But, since I started I discovered what a great community it is. Reading and responding to comments is like a conversation. I like making new friends and staying in touch with the ones I already have. Blogging is great for that. You are right. It’s all about the fun!

    Like

  10. Julie Glover says:

    As a matter of fact, I gave this some real thought for a post: http://julieglover.com/2011/09/30/revamping-my-blog/ Here are the reasons I gave: flexes my writing muscles; a conduit for information; helps you to get to know me; helps me to get to know you; allows me to sound off. Frankly, I like your “here for the party” summary better.😉

    I simply enjoy writing, period. Plus, these smaller snippets are great practice for the big WIP. I like the immediate feedback. And I LOVE hearing what other people have to say on topics that interest me. I’m one of those crazy introverts, and I still enjoy the chat network with friends. Wonderfully put, Jenny!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Ooooo, I’ve got to go read that post…thanks, Julie!

      I have a post knocking around in me about social media and the introvert vs. extrovert thing. I might have to bump that up the list after all this feedback from my introverts.

      Like

  11. Jill Kemerer says:

    I blog for many reasons, and some of them really depend on the day! Like when I’m struggling with life, blogging distracts me. When I’m happy-happy, blogging is my way of sharing the love. Mostly, though, blogging is social for me. It’s not good to be all alone too much!

    Like

  12. Laura Drake says:

    Great topic, Jenny. Writing is solitary. We fling upwards of 100,000 words on a page, spend months or years editing, and IF you get it in print, that takes 18 months.

    Long time to wait for feedback. I’m with you.

    It’s like shouting in a cave, “Hellllloooo?”
    And hear a distant voice echoing back, “I’m here!”

    Like

  13. tomwisk says:

    I blog because I’m one of those individuals who has to write. Wisdom may not be a daily occurance at my blog but it shows up some time. I’m still learning zen blogging (letting thoughts flow) and am awed at blogs that go on and keep you reading. Sometimes it feels like I’m talking to myself (I do that) but sometimes I get a hit. Somebody read what I had to say!!! That makes it worth it.

    Like

  14. Stacy Green says:

    I’ll admit, I started out blogging because Kristen Lamb said I had to, lol. But I quickly found out that I enjoy it. Blogging has connected me with the Row80 crew, and it’s been a great way to keep the writing juices flowing, to use a terrible cliche. Although I’d like to see readership grow faster, especially for Thriller Thursday, it’s still pretty awesome to know that people out there enjoy my ramblings and want to see me succeed:)

    Like

  15. …I would have never pegged you as an extrovert.
    🙂

    I love your blog – and you! – sweet Jenny!

    Like

  16. I blog because all the friends I used to hang out with have either moved, gone to rehab, got real jobs or changed their phone numbers. Every time I go down in my basement someone locks the door and I can’t come out until I’ve reached my word goal or written a blog. Through Kristen’s on-line class I now have a big group of new friends!

    Like

  17. amyshojai says:

    Gee…my blogging started out as brand-building. But it’s turned into so much more. Writers tend to be isolated, in our own little cubbyhole churning out writer-icity and only rarely distracted by shiny objects (BLING!). My blog has become a way to create community. And yes, give back.

    When I started out as a freelance writer (in the *ahem* olden days) there was no email. Snail mail was how it worked. No instant messages, tweets, Facebook or anything else. And no mentors. But a very few very super-duper-stupendous-special folks offered me their hand with help and encouragement.

    I’ve tried to pay that forward ever since and blogging makes that easier. *s*

    Love love love your blog!

    Like

  18. Sherry Isaac says:

    I like writing blog posts because of the feeling of accomplishment. Novels take a long time, even a short story takes a while to craft and revise. But a post is lickety split gratification. That sense of accomplishment serves me as I invest in lengthy pursuits.

    Like

  19. Mandy Allen says:

    I started blogging because I was really bored. I was a SAHM, trying to find a job, trying to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up. My friend Jessica suggested I should start a blog. It seemed like a good project to keep me focused.

    Now I blog because I’m a storyteller. I LOVE to tell a good story and see people’s reaction to it. I want to make them laugh, or cry or nod their heads in agreement.

    In the hopes of drawing more readers to my blog I am now brainstorming topics that will generate more conversation. I want to start hosting the kinds parties you can find here at More Cow Bell!!!

    Thanks for this… it was exactly what I needed today!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      OMG, I so get the SAHM angst!! I HAD to keep working part-time because I knew I’d be a terrible 24/7 mom. I look at some of my SAHM peeps and bow to them for their supreme patience and efforts.

      Lovely to see you today, Mandy.🙂

      Like

  20. This IS a thoughty Thursday! Do I love blogging? Well I’m having a Love/Hate relationship with blogging right now. Weird huh? I should clarify that statement by saying that first and foremost, I love people. So by blogging I am connecting with people that I might not ordinarily connect with. Yet, it is occupying more time than I had anticipated. Thus I’ve pulled way back and am now just blogging once a week. But that also could be due to the fact that I’ve had some extenuating circumstances going on in my personal life. I’m trying not to burn out and I am longing to get back to work on my WIP and I think that should take first place before the blogging. I’ve never had the energy to be able to do it all. So maybe I’m treading water here, but the important thing is to keep my joy of the process and not to drown.🙂

    Like

  21. Chris Devlin says:

    Party on, Wayne!
    Party on, Garth!

    I too love to find new friends online and blogging and twitter and facebook have all allowed for that handily. I started blogging partly because you’re supposed to, but I always liked the idea of having a forum where I could speak my little truths and have them out there somewhere.

    I envisioned my blog as being more about general pop culture than strictly writing. I would have been bored myself if I’d limited my subject to writing about writing. Now I can write posts about The Best Movie Head Explosions (upcoming on my blog) and aren’t we all the better for it?😉

    Thanks Jenny–you’re just a big ball of sunshine!

    Like

  22. That’s a good question? Hmm, why the heck do I sit for hours and hours in front of my computer, straining my eyes and getting closer to a bad posture? I think I totally dig it – the connection with other bloggers, learning new things from them, sharing opinions, exchanging experiences. It’s addictive like coffee and chocolate, so maybe that’s why so many of us love it!

    Like

  23. Annie says:

    “Blogging “fills my well.” That is a great line! It is obvious blogging makes you happy and that is why it is so fun to read your posts. Thanks for inspiring!

    Like

  24. Love the post Jenny!
    I started blogging as a way of getting back into creative writing. But it’s turned out to be so much more. I blog because it’s fun, because I love connecting with other bloggers and writers, because I love developing and expanding my network and building a community/family, and I love everything I am learning! Who knew blogging would bring me such amazing gifts and treasures.

    Like

  25. A “people person” and a “classic extrovert”? Now the truth is out! I mean, who would have guessed it? Jenny, one of the great joys of blogging is meeting people like you from all over the planet. Before I signed up for Kristen’s blogging course last summer, I was seriously considering packing it in. I really thought writers had to write about ‘writerly’ things. (By the way, has Kristen been nominated for sainthood?) The Wana711 crew turned my blogging life around and it’s been all uphill from there as that world has expanded. Creative, unique, thought-provoking, entertaining, informative, hilarious, sensitive, inquisitive, supportive, the list goes on … bloggers bring their own special “oneness” to their posts. Thanks for helping to show us the way!

    Like

  26. I never knew when I started blogging that I would also be a part of a community. I just thought people would float in and out and I would float in and out and there would no real connections made. I couldn’t have been more wrong and that makes me incredibly happy.

    What don’t I like? I don’t like it when I can’t keep up with everyone’s posts and musings. I feel guilty.

    I also underestimated the time blogging and social media would take. I’m down to once a week and seem to be holding steady there. I think I’ll stay here for now.

    Like

  27. Jess Witkins says:

    Ooooooh, so that’s why we do it. Now it all makes sense! 😉

    Good pointers, Hansen. So happy you’re part of the Life List Club with me. Here’s sending some warm fuzzies your way! I’ll see ya tomorrow!

    Like

  28. I started blogging because I was curious. Hmmm, what’s blogging like? Well, now I know what blogging is like. LOL! It’s fun and I really want to do more of it, so I’m examining my time to find another few hours in the day. Yes, it takes me hours to write a post b/c I have to rewrite every word 12,000 times.🙂

    Love the various communities people are building, like the one you’ve grown here, Jenny!

    Like

  29. andrewmocete says:

    I started blogging because I was “supposed” to and got a little nutty with the picking of the perfect topics and scrutinizing my site stats. Now I’m at the point where I’m blogging only for me. If people read/comment/share, I’m happy for it, but it’s not my goal when I post. I just like to write about what’s on mind. If I connect with people without beating them over the head with my awesome, then I’m a happy guy.

    Like

  30. I love to blog. I love having an outlet to share my television viewing with others. Not to mention, I really think blogging and the act of writing everyday helps us become better writers. I feel like I’ve had less to edit (from a proofreading standpoint) since I’ve been blogging now ~ almost a year. That’s CRAZY!

    Like

  31. Ah, why do I blog? Why does the sun shine? Why are belly buttons so unusual? I blogged at first because ‘they’ told me to, (that lasted exactly two blogs about a million years ago), then Kristen Lamb told me I should blog to build a brand. That lasted longer, but the ‘must’ and ‘need’ got lost somewhere along the way. I found I enjoyed blogging too much to stress about the brand. Whatever my ‘brand’ is, I’m sure it will surface at some point. Until then, I blog because the people I’ve met, the words I’ve read, they all inspire me each day to be the best writer I can be. Moreover, I’m inspired to be a better person because of the relationships I’ve made.

    Like

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  34. Arlee Bird says:

    All of the above. You covered it. I will admit that I started blogging because I thought it was a way to make money. I haven’t experienced that yet, but I revived my sleeping writer and rediscovered my passion for writing. And what a cool forum for doing so. With blogging I write, get it out there right away, and have the immediate gratification of having someone praise me (negative responses seem pretty rare among the bloggers I’ve encountered). The responses I receive may not be an accurate assessment of whether or not my writing is good, but they sure egg me on.

    Found this post after Kirsten Lamb’s recommendation to read Part 2, but I couldn’t read that without reading part 1 first.

    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

    Like

  35. Hey, Jenny🙂
    Somebody told me to blog before Kristen, but I believed her best, lol. I too, have gotten away from writer-blogging and more into pretty much any topic or event that gets me excited or thinking. (Had a blast watching the Australian Open Tennis quqrterfinals while writing a post about Eli Manning and the NY Giants and similarities between the team and indiv tennis players. And pretty much anything that gets me writing makes me happy.

    Off to post part 2. Great post!

    Like

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