Blogging: Purpose, Focus, and Value to Readers

So, what is this blog about? I admit that if I look at my list of recent posts, it’s all over the place. I see posts about writing, memoir, flash fiction, personal challenges, social justice themes, politics. In short, I see a recipe for mental fragmentation and confusion. I am grateful for those readers who have stuck with me through my faltering steps on the blogging pathway, but as the time approaches for New Year’s resolutions, it’s clear I need to bring some focus to this site.

As with any endeavor, it is important to learn from the masters. One go-to resource I use is Jane Friedman, whose blog and newsletter helps “authors and publishers make smart decisions in the digital age.” Jane, a Great Courses professor and contributor to Publishers Weekly and other outlets, has created a blog and website brimming with resources for writers, with links to her publications, classes, and related services. It was Jane’s webinar on WordPress that gave me the confidence to move beyond my first Google Blogspot blog, Memoir Crafter.

Through Jane, I have found other outstanding websites. Most recently, I followed a link in her post from October, “What Should Authors Blog About” that took me to writer, traveler, and unconventional living guru Chris Gillebeau’s blogging guide and manifesto, “279 Days to Overnight Success.” According to the statement on the manifesto page, Gillebeau’s blog is for “Bloggers, writers, online artists, and anyone otherwise interested in creating a new career or expanding their influence using social media.”  What the manifesto immediately did for me is get me thinking about the purpose of my blog and the possibility of threading the topics that are important to me into one cohesive theme. And if you are just starting out with a blog, his post on how to start one is one of the most succinct I’ve seen.

Another useful resource comes in the way of the bloggers and writers I follow regularly, those, for example, whose blogs support writers through the Literary Citizenship Model that Jane discusses in one of her posts. I follow several that are true to the goal of “celebrating and bringing attention to authors, writing, and books—the things you presumably love and want to support”:

Then there are author blogs. Among some I follow are:

And finally, the plethora of writing sites with blogs, such as:

These are just a handful of course, and I’m sure you all follow well-written blogs on topics other than writing that, despite their unique angles, convey a clearly recognizable theme and fulfill their purpose in giving readers useful and timely information. One blogger I follow that participates in the Carrot Ranch flash fiction challenges is early-childhood-educator Norah Colvin. Norah stays true to her purpose of inviting early childhood educators to support children’s learning through the use of her original teaching materials. Most recently, she is using her blog to launch Readilearn, a website that offers early childhood teaching resources.

So, it’s back to the drawing board for me. With today’s post, I plan to return to my original purpose and themes in blogging here. Those include topics related to memory and memoir writing; the craft of writing; and Word of the Week, exploring arcane and beautiful words. I’ll explore flash memoir through Charli Mills’s flash fiction challenges. And I’ll weave in two values in my philosophy of life—the pursuit of EXCELLENCE and the importance of HABIT—as they relate to the craft of writing.

If you blog, what have been your experiences in developing your online identity and themes? Have you found ways to incorporate seemingly unrelated topics into your posts without sacrificing focus?


4 thoughts on “Blogging: Purpose, Focus, and Value to Readers

  1. What a lovely post, Jeanne. Thank you for sharing information about posts you find useful. I recognise a few of those you mention, but there are a few there I will need to check out.
    I do try to keep the focus of my blog on education. Sometimes I may drift a little but not far. I do participate, along with yourself, in Charli’s flash fiction challenge. It sometimes takes a bit of thought to get an educational angle to her prompt, but I do usually manage to wrangle one in there somehow!

    1. Norah, I must admit I had included your site as one that I found to be a good example of a blog with a definite focus and purpose. I took it out because I was focusing on author blogs and literary citizenship blogs. But come to think of it, your including flash fiction on your site and participating at Carrot Ranch is an example of literary citizenship! I am going to go back in and add it. I think I will still do the flash fiction. Problem is it always gets me into a long post about those other topics. I have thought of using my defunct blogspot blog (well if not defunct, latent at any rate). Or maybe I just need to develop a running posting schedule of flash memoir, and bring in how flash can strengthen memoir the same way it does fiction. You are one of the readers I was thinking of who has kept with me as I flounder around in my prolonged exploratory stage!

  2. Great info Jeanne. I follow many of those you’ve listed here and glean valuable information. Now, I just thought I’d let you know, from the link to your blog posted on Twitter, I can’t get to your blog. There’s a big red ‘X’ on the page warning of danger to any personal info will be collected by entering this site. Whoa, what is that? I got here through clicking on a link of one of your twitter posts.
    And I see you live in my favorite place in the world. Where in Arizona? 🙂

    1. Hi Debby. Great to see you here. I could have listed many more blogs I appreciate and am working today to create a blogroll on the home page (blog). I will certainly add your website/blog to it, and look forward to reading some of your past posts. I appreciate your letting me know about that link.I assume that was from my tweet linking my recent post about blogging. I may have to go in and do a fresh tweet. As I said in my message to you, my web-hosting guy said it sounded like a browser problem. He tried my url from two different computers and on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, with no notice popping up. Glad the other link worked and thanks for persisting!
      Yes, Phoenix is my home. I miss the seasons a bit but reveling in the weather now. Where do you call home?

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