November 8, 2010

Blogging - Why Me?

That is an excellent question. I saw some statistics recently that would scare off a saner person:
  •  Up to 80% of Blogs are abandoned within the first month
  •  20% of bloggers update their blog every single day
  •  There are over 130 million blogs on the Internet
  •  There are over 187 million domain names registered
So what is the attraction of getting involved in something that has an 80% failure rate, requires lots of time, puts me in competition with a huge number of people, and produces no income?  Couldn't I find something else to do with my time? At least as of today, my answer is "No." Maybe you will see a reason that prompts you to enter this fascinating world.

It satisfies a desire to write and blogging satisfies that need. My favorite courses in high school and college were those involving creative writing. It took me nearly seven years but I finished and self-published an Arizona travel book for family and friends.  For awhile last year I took part in a writing group that met twice a month. I didn't stick with the group, but it re-lit my passion to write. All I lacked was a direction and an outlet I would enjoy. I found it in blogging.   

Blogging can occur on a flexible schedule. Blogging can take a lot of time. Like any new hobby or pursuit there is a learning period that gobbles up the hours. Writing doesn't flow from my keyboard. Sometimes it is a real struggle to fill a page with something I am willing to put in front of others. But, I can decide when I want to sit down and churn out an article. Some days I tackle writing first thing in the morning. Some times I'll be ready to write after after dinner. This post is being written at 9 PM because I had other stuff on my schedule today.  

It encourages interacting with other people. There is a lot of people blogging. Many are willing to share ideas or help newcomers avoid proven pitfalls. I have found virtually everyone I have come in contact on the Internet is friendly and anxious to develop a relationship with other bloggers. They may be virtual friends, but friends they are.

There is a rush when something I have written generates comments from readers. The feedback from this type of writing is virtually instantaneous. I can post something on this blog and often within an hour someone has left a  comment. Something I have written has meant enough to someone else to take the time to leave their thoughts. That feels good.

Of course, the flip side also occurs. I have written some posts I thought were pretty good only to have virtually no reaction and very few readers That is frustrating and disappointing. But, I quickly remind myself that no one owes me anything. I am blogging because it satisfies a need in me. The poor response prompts me to take a critical look at the article and the subject matter to see what I can improve the next time.


There is the thrill of learning something new.  Six months ago I had no idea what a blog was or how one was created. I didn't understand the language or the process. I had heard of Twitter but I thought it was for teenagers. I had no idea how powerful it can be to promote something like a blog.  Successful bloggers have learned certain tricks of the trade that were totally alien to me.

Learning how to participate in this world and at least hold my own has been exciting. I need the constant stimulation of a new challenge. Learning how to build this blog has been the challenge I was seeking. I am learning something new almost every day which makes each day exciting and a joy.

Blogging can help others. Before starting I spent several weeks trying to decide what my blog's niche should be. Eventually it became clear that the only topic that I could really share anything of value was something to do with retirement. After almost a decade of figuring out what works and what to avoid, I thought I might have enough to offer  others.

There are literally thousands of blogs about retirement, and at least 80% of them deal with money and financial planning. I decided to pick an area that seemed undeserved: how to build a retirement lifestyle that is productive and satisfying. Feedback and comments seem to validate that choice. There is a real hunger for information and tips to make this phase of life a positive one. There seems to be an interest in hearing about my experiences in this journey. If what I pass along helps, the time and effort will be well worth it.


I don't know how long I will keep writing Satisfying Retirement. At some point maybe the thrill will be gone and I will move on to something else. But, at the moment that is the farthest thing from my mind. I am having a blast and have no intension of going anywhere.

If you have read this far and are thinking maybe blogging would fill a need in you, by all means go for it. There is virtually no cost, except in time and taking an ego hit now and then. The blogging world remains wide open to someone with an itch to write and a story to share. I'd be more than willing to help you in any way I can.   


Related Posts
Other retirement blogs you might enjoy
Things to do when retired
What do you do all day

21 comments:

  1. You've hit on all my reasons for blogging, Bob. I have to say, I've tried and abandoned 3 blogs and kept the two that did the best with readers.

    I've found you have to have a real passion for what you write about too. I did a country kitchens blog about recipes, and I like cooking, but my blog was up against some obsessive, over the top foodies and I just didn't feel I was as passionate as they were about eating-lol

    It's possible to write about anything but if the passion isn't really there, then it's hard to keep posting 2-3 times a week.

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  2. I agree completely, Joan, about the need to really care about the subject. I've read some articles recently that claim you can blog even if you know nothing about the topic. Maybe you can, buy why would you? What a chore!

    Even enjoying the subject, it is not easy to turn out 3 solid posts a week. But, if we wanted easy, we'd collect stamps.

    Thanks, Joan. Have a great week blogging!

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  3. I have always been a closet writer since I was a little kid writing horror stories! Blogging truly is a way to creatively express your thoughts and hopefully say something that matters. And every now and then, you say something just right in just the right words and that can be very cool. Keep on blogging!

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  4. My favorite reason for blogging is to get people to comment on what I have written and facilitate discussions. I imagine I could do that on any online forum, but I prefer having my own place to write about whatever I want.

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  5. Well I am so happy to be among your virtual friends. I can totally identify with this post. As far as the sticking with it--I have periods of creative productivity and dry spells. And I have had times where I've thought I'd abandon the blog. When you get to that point, here's my advice: DON'T! You'll get your mojo back and be glad you still have your on-line platform to create, share, and interact with others.

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  6. You are doing a great job! Your posts are substantial, varied, well written, and frequent. Enough adjectives for you?

    I started to blog because I was trying to work through issues related to retirement and both the process of writing and the hoped for discussion that a blog can provide helped me to do that.

    But I'm only able to put together something worth posting a few times a month. And I know that affects readership. I'd love any advise you can give.

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  7. Away from computer all day, sorry for the delay:

    Lovebeingretired, You've said it well. I plan on keeping on. And congrats on your first guest post on Pick The Brain today.

    Starshard0, I agree. I tried interacting on forums but there just isn't that type of feeling you get when someone comments on something you have written and you can continue that discussion.

    Sydney, Thanks for the encouragement. The last few weeks, for reasons I can't identify, the traffic to this blog has lagged, It is a little discouraging, but I figure it is part of the growing process. I have to keep reminding myself I've been doing this just over 4 months, so I am still very much a newbie!

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  8. to ourowntime,

    Yes, those are plenty of adjectives! I appreciate all of them.

    Traffic is affected by the frequency of postings. But, it is affected even more by weak content and writing. If a few times a month is all the frequency you can handle, so be it. If those articles are well-written, meaningful, and heartfelt then the frequency won't really matter.

    From what I've read you are taking care of the latter just fine.

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  9. Always a treat to see your new posts. Glad you are enjoying it!

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  10. It's a shame, really, but studies show that regular, consistantly added content will do more to drive blog stats than quality posts...in other words, quantity bats quality.

    I suppose if a blogger is blogging to up their Alexa score or Google PageRano they can sell advertising, that fact would be enough to have some justification for turning out crap.

    Me? Nope. If I make some money at this, great, but mainly it's for enjoyment and maybe helping folks who have the same interests as me and are a little behind where I am on the learning curve.

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  11. Half the studies I read say the same thing, while the other half stress quality over quantity.

    I'm with you, Bob. I'm not in it to make money. I'm blogging for the satisfaction of the effort. I aim for quality over quantity. Only readers and I will ultimately judge if I'm living up to my goal.

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  12. I originally started my blog because I honestly wanted to see if I could do it. Now I continue because it fun, it allows me to share a story or two and it has allowed by to connect with others folks whom it likely would have never met otherwise. The content of my blog is hardly compelling but that was never my original intention!

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  13. Steve,

    You are satisfied with what you are producing and what it has done for you. I would call that an unqualified success. Blogging has no specific standards, every person involved sets his or her own goals. That's what is so enjoyable about it for me. The only person who has to judge if it is worth the effort is me.

    By the way, I love your stormy photographs.

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  14. Hi, Bob... Well, as others have commented before me, you've presented a very accurate picture of the blogger's world. I'm sure that so many of us can identify with the description which you've offered. In my own case, my Adventure Retirement blog (now some five months old) is my second blog. During the financial crisis of a couple of years ago, I took a run at blogging about economic issues and, while I did have some useful thoughts to share (and some predictions which have since come true), I just plain ran out of things to write about.

    As you say, there are those who blog every day. Absolutely, positively that isn't for me. Having published a newsletter for twenty years, I know all about how writing can become a taskmaster. One blog per week is just about right for me.

    Like you, I enjoy the on-going dialog with other opinionated folks. In fact, this aspect of blogging was, for me, a delightful surprise.

    Oh my gosh! I've been rambling. Bill

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  15. I don't know how people churn out a decent post every day and get anything else accomplished. I have enough going on that sometimes I have to scramble to put up 3 a week.

    I may move to a variable 2-3 times per week, though I tend to believe readers get used to a certain pattern of fresh posts and I'm hesitant to mess with that quite yet.

    Running out of things to write about that are worth writing about is my biggest fear, too. But, I imagine all writers feel that way.

    Thanks, Bill. I don't think you rambled at all !

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  16. I think you are confusing quality with comments. It's easy to do that. I'm still struggling as well and not getting nearly the traction that you have (higher Alexa score too). If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound?
    You are getting comments because people have found you but more to the point there is a real person that comes through your writing.

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  17. Hey Ralph,

    I know comments are not the best measure of whether a post works or not. I read somewhere that if a post if too good, there is nothing left for people to comment on. There's an interesting option.

    That being said, a post with 15 comments just feels better to me than one with 2 .

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  18. Hi Bob,

    Those statistics are startling! I really enjoyed reading about your motivation for blogging and many of the points resonate for me as well. I found this admirably mature in relation to comments: "But, I quickly remind myself that no one owes me anything. I am blogging because it satisfies a need in me."

    I enjoy your writing and see how you are making a difference in people's lives.

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  19. Hey, Sandra,

    The 80% quit rate after one month is startling. But, in my research of other retirement blogs I know I run into quite a few that haven't been updated in months, sometimes years.

    I have no intention of adding to those statistics. And, neither do you. Your blog is much too valuable.

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  20. I enjoyed this post on blogging. I've had my blog for two years now and I must admit that I'm having a ball with it. For one thing, I like the regular discipline of managing my blog. I've cut back from posting every single day but I still love checking comments and reading other blogs. I think it's an excellent "hobby" for retirees. I was surprised by how much I like the writing. It gives me a chance to talk with people all over the world.

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  21. Welcome, Margot.

    The regular discipline of writing is a major attraction for me, too. It is easy to let something slide but that post is due so time to get to work!

    I'm finding three fresh blogs a week is about right for me. While I enjoy the writing other things take up enough time to make any more than that difficult or of lesser quality.

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