Thursday, March 24, 2011

What makes for a good blog?

I've got a little something niggling away at my thoughts, so I'm going to come clean and get it off my chest. Let me be upfront and say that I would love your feedback on this topic: As a reader, what components make a good blog?

It's an interesting place of vulnerability and, at the same time, insulation, being a blog writer. Well, to clarify, more like an unknown blog writer with an almost nonexistent following. You see, as a writer of personal narratives, I willingly expose myself in a manner of openness that, I could be wrong, but I get the impression that it baffles some non-writers. Perhaps it feels too risky, too private. Why would I choose to bare my soul in such a way, one may wonder. I can tell you, I don't do it because I need an online diary, open to public viewing. I have a purpose in my disclosure bigger than my need to vent or keep in touch with people - a driving passion to creatively and authentically communicate my story (and some day, others' stories), to encourage, challenge and empower others in the telling of their own stories.

But there's another reason, too. I don't think it's possible to be guarded or overly private and still be a great writer. Great writing - fiction included, but more subtly than nonfiction - at its very essence is revealing. It's an unspoken agreement we sign up for when we write for others to read, that we will not shy away from revealing aspects of who we are, sometimes exposing both the beautiful and the not-so-beautiful parts of us. With this comes responsibility, for there must also be boundaries. Too much exposure is not beneficial for anyone, either writer or reader, and the boundary lines are not always clear.

Though I don't keep a blog just for the satisfaction of being read by others, I confess, being an unknown little blogger can at times be lonely. Like I'm sitting in a room talking to myself in the mirror, my words reverberating against the walls. Is anyone out there, I wonder, or am I merely talking to myself? Does any of this matter, is it reaching anyone? I really care to know. I don't know how to create a blog following, but if more people read my blog, I wouldn't object. It would add a richness and purpose to hear other voices, to hear how things impact you or sit with you after reading them, to hear your own thoughts and ideas and opinions. I value those things.

Hence, my opening question. What makes for a good read on a blog, for you? If you don't respond, is it because you're really busy, because you have nothing to say, because you don't know how or there's difficulty doing it on the blog site, because you don't know if I care to hear it, or some other reason I haven't mentioned? As a writer, your feedback would really help me become a better writer. Maybe it won't make me the kind of writer you most enjoy reading, but overall, it will sharpen my awareness and impact the way I communicate.

In a world where we're daily assailed with information, so many things clamoring for our attention, I want to thank you for taking the time to read this. And if you feel so inclined, thank you for taking the time to let me hear your voice.


  1. i tend to read blogs by people who aren't afraid to be real and honest with their words. i can't really remember how i came across your blog, but i appreciate your candidness. just another unknown blogger myself, i really don't know how to boost the blog following numbers or get people to comment. keep writing...not for others, but for yourself. :o)

  2. From one candid, unknown blogger to another, I think we tend to be attracted to that kind of writing, huh? I checked out your blog and really enjoyed your honesty as well. You're a good writer. Thanks for saying hi.

  3. For me I like blogs that clearly and concisely tell their story in an honest way that is entertaining and easy to read. I like imagery and description so that their words bexome like a film in my mind. I like it when it feels as if the words just roll out in their own voice without over reaching or working too hard at it. I like messy honesty. I like when it feels real and authentic. I think you have a good feel for that. I totllay understand the talking to an empty room feeling that being an unknown blogger gives. Does it matter? Who am I writing for anyways? Does anyone really even care? So I am trying totell myself that I write for me and whoever it is that might happen to stumble onto my blog and need to hear they aren't alone in their messy, that they aren't the only lunatic sock enthuist out there, and that someone understands. ( please forgive the typos I am on my phone)

    1. Yep, Karmen, the things you appreciate in a good blog are the same for me. I'm noticing we who appreciate this type of authenticity and messiness with a purpose seem to attract each other - because we get it. I'm still figuring out some of these questions - "who am I writing for?" for instance - and I think I'm coming to the conclusion that, if we're really honest as writers, we don't just write for ourselves. And more than that - that's OK. I think we write because we have a burning desire to express and share our stories with others, and the trickiest part of that is not necessarily accepting and owning this reality, but not defining ourselves or our "success" by others' response to us. I LOVE that you write for others to hear they aren't alone in their messy, and I love that you're a lunatic sock enthusiast... I might be one, too. ;-D