Blogging, Instant Gratification and Perserverance

As I have noted previously, one of the reasons I have struggled to post regularly is the feeling that no one is reading or very few.  Perhaps it is egotistical to want to have a large audience if you are going to write but I am just being honest.

On the political side I have written for online magazines and blogs that have significant traffic so perhaps that also colors my approach.  Even this humble site once had a much greater audience and higher engagement.  Alas, I have let it slip away.

So then the questions becomes whether that is worth attempting to reclaim.  If larger audiences is the goal I could always work harder and submit pieces for publication.  But to be honest that is a more work and more stress.

The fun of blogging is having control of what you write and when; and in some sense creating an identity that is your own.  I can write what I want here and don’t have to worry about editors decisions on publication or schedule.  Writing for publication is a job with the stress that comes with it.

Now maybe it is a job you love and so do it for fun.  And on the flip side blogging can begin to feel like a job if the pressure builds to the point where you feel like you have to post, have to tackle a particular subject, have to do certain things to please an audience or keep your traffic, etc. So the motivations and rewards are complex.

But one of the valuable lessons of trying to restart this blog, or the regular posting to the blog, is the discipline it requires.  If it were easy I would already be doing it.  Instant gratification and constant distraction is one of the reasons I am participating in a digital declutter project this month.  And using this break to focus on something more substantive like regular writing is also part of it (with the perhaps ironic caveat that the writing is digital).

Part of me sort of expects instant success.  I post a blog or two, review a book, and then wait for the traffic to flow in.  That is not how it works.  I do not have the recognition or connections to quickly reconnect with a large group of people simply by posting a few times.  It will take a blend of quality and quantity to start to draw readers in and maybe even build a regular audience outside the good souls who read and comment here already.

And that is part of the challenge I set for myself.  To see if I can build up the habits, focus and discipline necessary to find success blogging again.  Can I effectively and engagingly express my perspective and opinion on books, sports, culture, etc. in such a way that people will want to read it and will return to read more.

Perseverance plays an important role in successful blogging.  There will be days you don’t feel like writing or don’t feel like you have anything to say.  But writing is a discipline and requires pushing through and writing anyway.  Excellence requires commitment.  Now maybe many bloggers are not really aiming for excellence but my point is that if you want to draw more than just a few friends or acquaintances you will need to work even when you lack motivation.

And that is what I am working on across a number of fronts.  So however you found your way here, I hope you will come along on the journey and maybe even leave a comment or two.

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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