To blog or not to blog?

For those of you scoring at home, my last blog post was roughly two and a half months ago. I think I have posted something like 16 times this year (a higher number thanks to a flood of posts in June). Clearly, this blog is a hit or miss type of thing (mostly miss without Jeff). To be fair, it does say “Occasional Bloggers” in the tag line …

So the question I have been mulling for the last couple of months (but not for the first time) is whether to keep blogging or call it quits after 14 years.

I think I want to give at least one more try at making it work. Let me give you some insight into why.

The basic reason I want to give it another try at making it work is that I still love to read and find books and authors fascinating.  I have read 75 books this year so that part hasn’t dropped off.  What I want to see if I can do is combine this love of books and ideas with the discipline and commitment to good writing and regular posting.  This is what I have failed to do for some time.  But I think it remains a skill and habit I can and should redevelop.

So what happened anyways? Why the steep drop off in blogging?  Obviously, a lack of time plays a big part.  My kids are older now and have activities that suck up lots of time and energy.  My wife is working full-time and that means a more complex schedule as well.  Throw in the distractions of social media (more about that in another post) and my interest in sports and it is hard to find time to sit down and write.

The other part is the combination of focus and motivation.  In addition to finding time to write, you need to have the focus to sit down and actually post something (particular if you want quality as opposed to just quantity) but you also need motivation to overcome the inertia of not posting.

And this is where I have been lacking.  I just haven’t felt like posting or that posting was worth the hassle.  To unpack this, allow me to offer Holtsberry’s key to communication: insight, clarity and persuasion.

Insight: you need to have something to say.  Why communicate if you don’t have something interesting, insightful or useful, right?  Insight means you have something worth communicating.

Clarity: you need to be able to clearly and effectively capture the insight.  Having something to say isn’t all that useful if you can’t explain what it is and why it is worthwhile. You may thinks your thoughts are brilliant.  Clarity means you can share your insight with others.

Persuasion: you need to be able to change someone’s mind.  This is the pinnacle of communication to my mind.  If you can share your insight clearly but also in such a way as to actually change the way someone thinks.  This might be through information or it might be through storytelling but changing someone’s mind or getting them to think differently is the ultimate in successful communication.

I had a real hard time getting motivated to blog because I didn’t think I could accomplish any of these three.  I wasn’t sure I had any insight, if I did wasn’t sure I could say it with clarity, and if I posted it I wasn’t sure it would reach anyone let alone change their thinking. Whenever I thought about posting a review, I had this nagging feeling that it wasn’t really worth the effort.

And like so many things, once you get out of the habit of doing it the easier it is to just keep not doing it.  Next thing you know months have gone by and you wonder whether you should hang it up.

So why not just give it up?  Been a good run, but lots of blogs close. Move on, as the saying goes.

I guess I don’t want to go out like this.  One of the reasons I started blogging was to improve my writing skills and engage with people and ideas.  I still want to do those things and I feel like I owe it to myself to do the hard work necessary to do them well. Basically, I want to use blogging as a tool to build focus and discipline and to prove to myself that I can write with insight, clarity and persuasion. [Plus, the free books and access to authors, etc.]

Time will tell if I have what it takes. So stay tuned …

About the author

Kevin Holtsberry

I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season – oh, and watching golf too).

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1 Comment

  • For what it’s worth, I’m glad you’re still here and blogging. Most people have moved on to terse and corporate-curated social media, and I think that’s a shame, because there’s so much more freedom in having your own site to write long-form pieces, and (I don’t think this is just rosy nostalgia here) the first couple generations of bloggers were happy to communicate across social and political lines because they had a shared interest in whatever the blog was about. Maybe I’m a fool for sticking with the blog world as long as I have, but there’s an independent spirit to us hangers-on that I really enjoy. I’ve discovered several books over the years thanks to Collected Miscellany, and I’m glad you’re still here.

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