Blog Science: Blogging Less and Saying More

Hey gang! I know many, many of you are hip deep in A-Z madness, and I hope to make it to each of your blogs at least a few times over the course of the event. Really amazed by the creativity of everyone I've read so far. 

Seriously, it's staggering to see how creative minds can use such an open premise to such great effect. Sure, there are plenty of 'My Favorite Cat Names' and other frivolous topics (still fun), but I'm mostly reading great poetry, clever short stories and genius writing tips. 

So why am I not doing A-Z this year? Glad you didn't ask! I'll answer anyway: I had nothing to say. Yup, that's the dirty of it. And let's not kid ourselves, that is a 

D (dumb) 
I (irrational)
R (risky) 
T (terrible) 
Y (yucky) 

thing for a blogger/writer to say. 

It's our BUSINESS to have something to say. If we don't, we make it up. If we can't make it up we go find something, or poke someone until THEY say something, we can talk about. Why do we need to talk so much? Simply put, it's expected and it's part of the "formula" for success.

Do a quick Google search for top blogging tips. You'll find 'blog daily', 'blog frequently', or 'blog often' in the top ten of just about every list on the subject. While there is debate on the actual impact of post frequency on blog traffic, you'll certainly see a general consensus. If you're not posting, you're not getting hits. If you're not getting hits, you're not showing up in search engines.

Here's a nice rundown on the subject.

That doesn't even speak to the desires of those fickle followers out there. (Not you! Those other guys...) Some folks get a little antsy if you don't post often enough. How often is enough? Heck if I know, but I think it has something to do with Jupiter and Venus aligning, full moons, hormone imbalances and--suffice to say, it's important to some. 

Important enough they'll drop you like a Bieber paternity suit if you cross that imaginary line. (I'm here all week! Sorry, hadn't done a Bieber joke in a while.)

Yeah, so, I'm ignoring all that. 

BAD BLOGGER! *sticks out wrist--or bum--for chastising*

Yes, that's me being paddled by a leather-clad nun at a roller derby. Hey, it was in Austin, TX! If you've been to Austin this all makes perfect sense... My wife took the photo, so it was all above board. Mostly.

I'm ignoring all that for a good reason. It's for you. Honest. 

There was time when I blogged when I had nothing to say. The book said you were supposed to blog on a schedule and blog often. That's what I did. You can go read those posts if you'd like, but your time would be better spent flossing the cat or thinking about the color blue. Those posts were that empty.

At some point in the last year (or so) that changed. I made the decision to post only when I wanted to say something. Revelatory, I know. Sometimes it's once a week, other times it might be four or five. My reasoning was pretty straightforward: I didn't want to bore you. Even if it meant turning my back on the blogging gods and turning off a few followers. 

Sure, there were extenuating factors. Like me wanting to write more and blog less (they were beginning to cannibalize each other) and a shift in my perspectives regarding writing and publishing as a career endeavor. Basically, the game kind of changed for me, so I set about learning to play it in a new way. That impacted the things I wanted to blog about, and it impacted what I had to say. 

I know this might come of as a little uppity or highhanded, but it really isn't about me thinking I'm bigger than the game or anything. Last I checked that follower count on the right said 300-somehting, not 3,000-something, so I more than realize I'm no bigger than a minute.

In the end, I guess I just respect time. The time you give me, the time I spend doing this--just time, really. Yes, I've lost followers, and I hate that. Yes, I do wish I was more connected with a lot of the other bloggers out there, doing all those fun blogfests and whatnot. I fully realize that's cost me more followers.

Still, I'm having more fun and feeling more in tune with blogging now then I ever did when I was trying to do everything right. A wise follower once told me it was called "slow blogging" and it really stuck with me. It also made me realize that I love bloggers who have something to say, even if they don't say it often. 

What about you? Are you a stickler for the blogging 'rules', or do you go at your own pace?

~EJW~
  

31 comments:

  1. First of all, for the second time--YOU ARE NEVER BORING.
    Secondly, I definitely go at my own pace which used to be twice a week and now it's once a week. I too have lost some followers from being slow--oh well--they're having fun somewhere else on the web. I also don't do blog hops because I think they are a false way to generate traffic. Bye!

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  2. I've had to evolve towards this as well. It comes down to the time I have available for blogging. Sometimes my schedule allows me to post tons of blogs and do lots of commenting on other blogs. Other times, I'm too busy. That's just the reality of it. If that isn't the kind of blog readers are looking for, they'll find their needs met elsewhere. I don't really live or die by my follower count. :)

    Also, as a reader, I prefer reading entries that aren't "filler". You can kind of tell when someone is only writing an entry because they think they have to.

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    1. Totally agree, Sarah. I can smell a faker! : ) I try not to look at my follower counts too much either. It'll make you crazy. (Crazier in my case...)

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  3. These days, I'm more going at my own pace. When I first started, I blogged six, yes, six days a week. After the first year, I dropped to maybe three and then...well you see how it goes. I really want the posts to be worthwhile in some degree...Oh and by the way, when I posted six days a week, I had NO comments. I think I went about six months before I realized I needed to "speak" to others and then they would "find" me. I spent a lot of time writing pretty good posts that only I read...

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    1. I did a post on the exact same thing awhile back, Liza! The more I posted, the fewer comments I received. In truth, that probably had as much to do with me pumping the brakes on the blogging as anything.

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  4. That picture of you being paddled by a nun is an absolute classic. I'm so glad I stopped by tonight as I would have hated to miss that LOL.

    I took a blogging break last month and it was a great thing for me as I had gotten to the point where I really didn't have anything to say and blogging was starting to feel like a chore. Now I've jumped in to the A-Z and it's fun, but come May I think I will be taking a page from your book and not worrying about the posting frequency.

    Have to say I don't understand people who unfollow if you don't post enough. I would expect it to be just the opposite and people would get annoyed if you show up in their reader too often.

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    1. I think the prevailing message here, Julie, is be yourself. Which I know is tough, because many of us aspire to something more than hobby writing and blogging. Still, it is probably similar to finding your 'voice' in writing. It takes time and practice and thought. All things I'd like to apply to my blogging.

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  5. I'm trying to get back into a habit of blogging. Collectively writing a few blogs when I'm feeling pretty good about the content or the message and then scheduling them to post.

    I'm always afraid I don't have anything important to say--like it's all been said before. I feel like I'm not credible in anything other than life experiences, and I've finally realized these are the things I can actually share. Maybe they might actually help someone.

    We'll see how it goes. <3 Good luck with your blogs. I think the route you're going is just fine. :)

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    1. I'm with you, Aun-Juli. I do fear I don't have anything important to say, for the exact same reason: What can I say that far more intelligent and insightful folks haven't already said?

      Going back to what I said in a earlier reply, I think we have to learn to trust our voice. Big in writing, big in blogging. We have trust our unique way of articulating a thought. And we all have a unique way, it's just tricky figuring out how to get that to come out with written words.

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  6. That's why I normally only blog three times a week. Then I have something to say.
    And you always have something interesting here, EJ.

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  7. I think this is such a personal journey for all of us "bloggers". I have gone both ways, and while I am doing the challenge, this is the only time I blog daily. I have settled into about a 3 times a week blogging, but only if I have something to say, if there's nothing on the "normal" day I blog, I just skip it. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. I used to struggle, even felt guilty for not blogging or following enough. But all too soon I found I had no time to write. I also found that I was running out of things to say. It became stressful and its not supposed to be. So I'm just blogging when I feel like it and if that makes me one of those rogue bloggers destined to go against the grain then so be it. I think you have to do what you can and that's all there is.

    BTW: That nun is having way too much fun. How one man chooses to please his followers is his business. That nun is what I'd call one heck of a dedicated follower. LOL.

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    1. Definitely had the blogger's guilt, TC. And the stress. Ultimately, I agree. Do it your way and you'll be happy with the outcome because it's your way.

      That nun was VERY naughty! lol Yet I get the paddling? No justice at all ...

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  9. Blogging rules are exhausting. I try to post three times a week and I usually manage two. I have a set amount of time I can spend on blogging and visiting others' blogs and all that and while I occasionally do feel bad for not getting more done, not commenting on more blogs, in the end, I just have to be okay with it.

    That picture with you and the nun is awesome.

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  10. Honestly, when people blog more than twice a week it stresses me out. With all the people I try to follow and support, I have a hard enough time managing to read and comment on one post a week. We all have lives, we all struggle to find balance and the time to write our books, and yet everyone's out there shouting "look at me! look at me! Read my post!" I think the idea situation would be for all of us to find an audience of readers rather than writers, but that's not how it works.

    I don't know who decided people need to blog daily, but that person obviously doesn't live in the real world. Who has time to read 100 blog posts a day? If everyone backed off, we'd all be a lot less stressed.

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    1. I like this idea, Lisa! Let's flip the table and start judging others for blogging too often. : )

      In all seriousness, I think you hit on an excellent point. If we felt we were writing our blog for readers we might tackle this differently. However, most of us are very aware that we're not writing to readers, but to other authors/writers. Our blog audience is mostly made up of our peers, which probably adds to the pressures of what, how and how often we say something.

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  11. So true. I'm doing A to Z again but I've found myself blogging less frequently lately. Mostly because I've been focusing on my wip more and I feel like blogging can go in phases.

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  12. Oh man... great post.

    I'm not doing A to Z either, but mainly because I'm so wrapped up in my WIP now... I don't have a schedule... I don't do well with routine. I'm a free spirit. So yeah, I'm like you! I post whenever/whatever and I'm not too focused on stats and etc--maybe someday it'll matter--but for now, I'm just having fun! :D

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  13. I do my own thing. I'm hip deep in A to Z but I planned it all out until my publisher decided to release my book early. I was like...oh...sparkly...and got distracted. I'll be on track again for "E" tomorrow.

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  14. I find writing down post ideas helps me on the days when I think I have nothing to say. But I agree. I don't see the point in empty posts either. And while your posts can be a little on the long side (lol), they're always imformative.

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  15. E.J.: I was worried about you all day after I saw the news this morning about the twisters in Dallas. And now, I'm releived to see that you must be okay.

    And my answer to your very last question. I don't do rules. I make my own.

    Shelly
    http://secondhandshoesnovel.blogspot.com/

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  16. I've never done blog hops myself... they come across as too time consuming. When I started out I was blogging more, but these days it's three or four times a week, usually.

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  17. Aww gee I'm all about having a good time out here, and I really like to study all the rules so that I can toss them all in the mud. (love the dog photo btw)-- and really who makes these rules up?

    Your post reminded about how much I just LOVE blogging, making connections and just having some fun. But I love writing more, and that's what brought me out here to start with, that and I finally got high-speed. and so. I only blog when I can. Right now, I'm at 2-4 times a month. But I'm also in the middle of some serious binge writing. It's hard to focus on anything but that. Yet gee, I'm here.

    I actually like those who blog less, means when they come out to play, they have time to joke around with me. Means they put some thought into what they have to say, too. I like that. not sure why.

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  18. I love your blog. I need to stop by more often. Great new design and why didn't I think of "blarchive" first!! I think the most important thing is for bloggers to post regularly whether that's a few times a week or a few times a month. And it also of course depends on what their purpose is. If it's keyword-search driven content w/earnings focus on adsense or amazon then more content is better. But for writers who are trying to earn loyal readers by offering posts from a more personal point of view, by all means shoot for quality over quantity!! I notice writers with personal blog who try to beef up their content, and before long they're bitching about a trip to the grocery store...not good!

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  19. I cant totally respect deciding to only post when you have something to say. ;0)

    I didn't do AtoZ for the same reason. I couldn't really think of anything to say.

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  20. Hiya E.J,

    tagged you in the Lucky 7 meme. http://aclairedawn.blogspot.jp/2012/04/whys-7-lucky-anyhow.html

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  21. I feel ya, brother. I'm in the same boat, altho I am doing A-Z but I'm winging it in the mornings and just writing whatever comes to mind. Blog fatigue has defintely bit me in the butt this past year. I'd rather be writing actual stories than vying for attention with a gazillion other blogs out there, but still every time I post and visit other blogs I go away feeling chuffed. SO many genuine friends out there that I'd truly miss if blogging were to go away. But you're right, it shouldn't be exhausting, so find what works and go with it. I myself will be taking the month of May off from blogging and buckling down on a new story before the kids are out for summer.
    Love the pic btw!

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  22. Being new at blogging, I guess I still have lots to say. But, I suspect it may decrease to 2 or three times a week.

    A to Z is a good way to get my blog out, though.

    Torggil

    torggilsworld.blogspot.com.au

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  23. Thanks for this post! I love A to Z, but there have been days . . . (too many, and I won't point out which ones) where I really haven't had enough to say.
    BTW - your pic was hilarious.

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