Plus, blogging is one of the activities that retired folks often consider. In addition to social media, like Twitter or Facebook, blogging ranks very high in a new activity. Maybe my motivations will help you decide is this is a good fit for you.
Should you consider blogging? That is a good 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.
I have 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 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.
Note: Since I wrote this in early November, 2010 nothing has really changed. I continue to enjoy the process and effort required to produce this blog. I encourage you to try your hand at blogging about a subject that is your passion or your area of expertise. Here is an open-ended offer: I'll be pleased to help you pick a topic and work through the steps involved in becoming one of many - a blogger.
If you are a blogger (and most of my readers are), add your two cents worth. What do you enjoy, and what do you dislike about producing a blog? If you had it to do over again, would you? What keeps you going? Do you encourage others to give it a try?