Please excuse any mess around here while blog is undergoing damage repair.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I Knew Exactly What to Expect Here

When I walked into a Nine West shoe store, I knew there would be at least ten pairs of shoes I really, really, really wanted but couldn't afford. (Okay, I indulged, but only on one pair, not ten.) It's important for stores to be consistent in what types of products they offer. In much the same way, I think it's important for us, as bloggers, to be consistent with what we post about. Our readers need to know what to expect when they visit our blogs. That's not to say that we can't go on a tangent every now and then, but for the most part, we need to stick with the usual. That being said, the first thing we must do is determine the purpose of our blogs. If we are no where near the submission stage, our blogs might be more focused on building an online support community. Or, maybe, our blogs have nothing to do with writing at all and are more of an outlet, or they are personal and just for fun. Regardless, once we determine that purpose, we should post accordingly. I decided a while back that my blog would be about my journey as a writer. I've tried to keep my posts writing (or blogging) related. I often use real life experiences to develop a point, but I usually relate it to writing. That's what my blog is about. I follow many blogs, and I enjoy each of them for a different reason. I love the diversity of content out there, but I also like knowing what to expect from each one. Sometimes, I'm pleasantly surprised with a twist, which is great, but for the most part, I find satisfaction in the usual. (Kind of how I imagine Norm on Cheers felt when he walked into the bar every night.) I'm curious what you all think. Does your blog have a purpose? If so, what is it? And how important do you think consistency in content is?

46 comments:

EriCan said...

I totally get what you're saying, great post. When I first started my blog- I had no idea what to write about- my life's not that interesting is it? Ha.

So I mixed it up, went for some pop culture stuff, personal stuff and some writing. However, no one commented when I did that, so I changed it, I read some more blogs, researched a bit, and *poof* I actually have followers (great ones like you)

I'm happier with the writing posts. I think that's what I'll stick to. Can't help but throw in some pop culture every once in a while, but I'll make sure it relates to writing :)

K. M. Walton said...

I like to think my blog has the foundation of writing but many diverse bricks upon which I built/write my posts. I try some humor, some life stories, touching stories, writing frustration, hope, family...me.

My blog is one of my favorite accomplishments.

Patti said...

I think I blog for the same reason. If I talk about a personal story I relate it to writing and how I can learn from it.

staceyjwarner said...

Hmmm...interesting. When I first started writing two years ago, I had no idea what I was doing and wrote in a sort of void. It was good journaling on display. Then when I deleted my blog and started writing again I knew I wanted my blog to be different, uplifting and inspirational, I didn't want it to be a pity party. I have four topics I write about, spirituality, single mother (dating), being a writer and Hollywood.

I hope it's pleasing. If introduce something new I give a heads up!

much love

FictionGroupie said...

This is a good point. I try to stick to writing and the occasional book review on my site. Every now and then, I'll sneak in a personal post, but 95% of the blog sticks to the plan.

MattDel said...

My purpose is set out right there in the subhead ... although I haven't as yet done any posts on video games. Well, except for the first one, but that doesn't really count.

Strange Fiction said...

I started my blog to connect with other writers. I tend to post about whatever comes to mind, be it writing related or personal. It seems that most things in my life can be related to writing--things that inspire me to write and things that keep me from writing.

This is a bit like a query :) I’m having trouble defining it in a few sentences. That should probably tell me something… Great question, what do people expect when they visit my blog? Hmm..

Stephanie Faris said...

My blog started out as a sort of Sex in the City capturing of life as a divorcee trying to date again in my 30s. As I've settled into a relationship and begun pursuit of a book deal, it's become more about life in general, writing, but I still LOVE to write about relationships. I guess I'm still trying to figure out what my blog is about!

Karen said...

I know what you're saying. My blog is really just about me, which is why I called it what I did. I write about a whole range of topics, and don't have a particular theme. When I first started, my intention was just sort of to have an online journal. But now I actually have readers and I suppose my focus is to build an audience, but I'm still writing whatever I feel like. :-)

strugglingwriter said...

Your blog has a purpose. Mine does not. This is something I struggle sometimes.

Beth said...

My blog is an extension of who I am; a mother and a writer. I think it definitely reflects that - but I am trying to get a handle on the consistency part, posting on certain things on certain days. Have I perfected that? Certainly not :) Great post! (P.S. I LOVE Nine West, too!)

Rae said...

Lately I've been wondering about my blog purpose. It started out all about me and what I wanted. Then I found myself writing to please my readers. I have found that is too difficult. There is no way I can please everyone. Although the topics vary, the writing is easier now as I post for myself.

L. T. Host said...

I generally just write about writing, and the writing process and trying to get published. Occasionally I'll write, or play games with my readers, or let my personal life slip in if it's consuming me or important. But always, about writing.

Glynis said...

I have a coffee break blog, this is where I let my hair down and blog absolutely anything I please. I then have my poetry blog, I share my work there. Then I have my writer' blog, this is where I share my novel writing journey.

Heather Sunseri said...

Ooooh, Susan, this is an area I'm afraid I struggle with a little. I try to relate all of my posts to writing or encouragment for writers in some way, but I must admit that I sometimes veer off the path just slightly. I'll definitely be giving this some more thought.

Janna Qualman said...

I think your post today goes hand in hand with mine. We could have planned it that way! ;)

Mine definitely has a purpose, and while it's about sharing my writing experiences in general, it's moreso about sharing my voice and the writing itself. I think my post today may not have been clear, because I don't mean to share literal excerpts (which I've nothing against, btw), just that feel of who I am as a writer, what my writing might sound like.

I'm thinking we each have our purpose, and while they might not be the same, they all have something to offer.

Tamika: said...

You are exactly right Susan. Our blog should reflect a consistant view. Like you, mine is the journey of my writing.

I hope I don't disappoint my fellow bloggers. Thanks for the tips!

Girl in My Own World said...

My blog started out as just something creative and I really really thought that I should have a theme to it, but I could not find one that was not narrow. I think that the title The View From The Balcony In My Head is befitting and makes a statement that my blog is just about random things that are in my heart, mind, and soul.

When I first started out, I was not even thinking about an agent looking at my blog until a friend of mine told me that it looked good to publishers to have one and even then, I was just thinking about them looking at it from a creative standpoint. There is a flow to my blog - I mean I think that it is really random, but it is just about my journey through life. Writing is a HUGE part of who I am, but there are other parts of me too, so I just write about a little of everything, but not everything... does that make sense. :o)

Dawn VanderMeer said...

My focus is writing (my journey, tips, ruminations), though I also talk about friends who write (published and unpublished) and books. I plan to do interviews, but I've only done one so far. I tie in my family and personal life, but my blog centers on writing.

quixotic said...

I just have to say I love your blog. From day one, you have done a great job with it. Your theme is so relatable and your personality just shines through each post.

Corey Schwartz said...

I try to mix it up a little. Otherwise it gets boring. But of curse my main focus is picture books. Funny though, the posts that I write off subject are often the ones that get the most comments.

Lily Robinson said...

Almost all of my favorite blogs have a focus. The topics may vary, but I know what to expect when I click. I think most people prefer that.

We don't subscribe to a magazine that changes its focus every month. If we subscribe to read about gardening, we don't want the next issue to talk about car engines!

That's why I have three blogs. (Although, I'm thinking of combining two.) My writer's blog is about writing. Period. I don't the followers of that one want to click on it and find a story about Hubby's giant sweet potatoes.

Danyelle said...

I do think blogs have a purpose. They are wonderful tools for reaching out and learning from one another. I think you're right, it's good to have a purpose in mind. A reader wants to know what to expect. My blog is a bit about writing, and a bit about what it means to be human. I want to appeal not only to writers, but also to my future readers. Having a purpose makes it easier to be consistent. :)

Jenn Johansson said...

Mine is kind of a humorous take on the writing journey and lifestyle...although I admit to the occasional tangent as well. :)

Jody Hedlund said...

My blog is definitely a chronicle of my writing journey. But it's become more than that now. I hope that I can inspire and encourage other writers on the path to reach for their dreams too.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I think mines about my writing journey and the learning along the way mostly, but my Love Is... Fridays are more in line with the genre I write -- romance/love and keeping it alive in your relationships with your loved ones.

I need to get more focused perhaps! But that would take even more effort,and I'm not sure I have time to figure that out just yet.

Angie Muresan said...

Hmm... Well, my main one's about myself. I have a lot to say apparently about the life of a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend. My second blog has an aging with dignity theme, where I explore living alternatives, caregiving options, end of life issues, and so on and so forth.

Jill Kemerer said...

I think bloggers personalities pour through their posts and grab me. Focus is important. Who is our audience? What can we offer them? Why will they continue to come back to our blog? All important questions.

Sharla said...

NORM!!

Girl Meets Gun said...

I like knowing what to expect in everyday life, too. Surprises aren't much my thing.

My blog has a strict purpose of being informational, impersonal, but funny. Most of the time I blog about things that happen to EVERYONE in life. Lately I've been bit more personal, but that's changing today!

GOD I want new shoes. :( I haven't bought a pair since April or so. That's a long time for me to go without buying some shoes!

La Fleur said...

I am rarely consistent in anything I do. I tend to flop around, depending on which way the wind blows me. At the same time, I am a slave to routine. I am up, then down, obsessed and then detached. That is just me.

My blog is the same way. One can never quite be sure what they will find there. If I am happy, one could find a song posted there. If said, one may consider calling the mental health authorities to come and pick me up.

I talk about my writing too, for it is one of the only constants in my life. However, I mention it, but not focus on it, for it never changes. I am constantly editing or re-writing. There is nothing new to report.

Tabitha Bird said...

I am happy to blog about, writing books and family. I stay within those boundaries fairly consistently, I think :)

Jessie Oliveros said...

I guess I try to keep it to writing, but sometimes I am fresh out of material. Like tomorrow's post. Not at all about writing.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I started with an MSN blog - and I am mostly consistent, but I do stray every so often - like my forehead butt society posts *laughing!*

Natalie said...

I'm not quite sure what my purpose is... But I think I keep it mostly centered on writing.

Anita said...

If my blog is purposeful, it is totally unintentionally so. I do think each post "sounds" like me, though. One of my fav blogs, MURPH BLOG, tries to stay focused, but goes off on fun tangents. I like your approach, too, though. Either way's fine.

Dominique said...

I generally keep my content pretty consistent. I'm sure that's due in no small part to the fact that I don't want to blog about the other parts of my life. (Yeah, I know, everyone's dying to hear what I ate for breakfast, but I'm not telling.) I blog about writing, and I think that's how it's gonna stay.

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

You get a hodge podge when you come to mine, but the underlying purpose is to instigate you into thinking...stirring thought!
~ Wendy

storyqueen said...

My blog is supposed to be about writing. and all the stuff that goes with it.

Shelley

Robyn Campbell said...

Susan, tough question. I want my blog to help writers like myself. I want my blog to also help my writing and to make me think.

I do agree that consistency is the key. I love your blog. It never fails to make me think, and never fails to make me laugh. Mostly at myself. Thanks for the great job you do. And I guess my blog is about writing and the friendships that you make from it. :)

uninvoked said...

I agree with you. If you take a look at my blog, I don't even have author comments on there anymore. It is just my story, polished to the best of my ability, and edited as necessary when my skills improve.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I do try to be consistent. I just wonder how the blog changes once we're published. (I'm thinking positively here, Susan. We're going to be published, right?!)

WhisperingWriter said...

I mainly write about my life. But I don't have set rules about my blog. I've written about other things too.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

let me know before the blog address change. here's what i'm having to do for every follower:

I wanted to let you know about my blog address change. *sigh* If you're following me, my posts now won't show up in your feed, dashboard, sidebar, whatever. So please forgive me, but you'll have to change the address for my main writing blog, Where Romance Meets Therapy, to http://jeanniecampbell.blogspot.com. To do this, you have to "unfollow" me and follow me again. Sorry for the confusion!

Jeannie
The Character Therapist

fun, huh?

Robyn Campbell said...

Susan, *she jumps up and down, waving her arms in the air* I can't comment using today's comment form. It won't let me.

So I'm using the one from yesterday. I used today's earlier, I think. Hmmm, me thinks me loosing me mind!

Anyway, I love Lazy Writer. I do see what you mean though. But if an agent wanted to visit your blog and they saw your name, I don't think they would NOT sign you because of it. I mean I think they would wait and find out if it truly means lazy or if there is some other significance to it. :)

Swapna said...

I liked this post because it makes me think about two important things:

1. The purpose of my blog.
2. Are my posts consistent so that my readers know what to expect?

When I started blogging,I had no clue how to do that effectively. I wrote about anything and everything and realized that wasn't helping. I figured that on my own after following a lot of really interesting blogs. Then I started following a consistent pattern of sorts and it began to sync with readers. However, I don't see myself as someone who writes the same thing or topic over and over again. It would make my style too predictable, which brings me to ask:

Is consistency different from predictable? If so, how?

I will think seriously about it and urge others to do so too. I think I've been consistent with what I write, my readers know what to expect but there is always a twist to add a touch of freshness.