Monday, March 31, 2008

Blog Honing

I was just reading John the Methodist's old blogger profile of my friend Andrew Thompson. Here's one question he answered that convicted me:

What would be your main advice to a novice blogger?
Well, I’ve only been blogging since last August, so I guess I’m still something of a novice! But if I were to offer advice to others, it would be to orient their blogs toward issues that they are passionate about. I don’t think most people want to read somebody’s random thoughts about life, the universe, and everything. They want to read cogent, thoughtful commentary on issues of relevance. Related to that are two other small pieces of advice: post regularly and develop a primary subject matter. I think that those elements are key to developing a consistent readership.

I don't know if 3 years of blogging under my belt gets me out of the "novice" genre, but Andrew's point is well taken. I don't believe this blog has much of a cohesive theme. Should it? I suppose lack of feedback will be an answer in the affirmative. Though I didn't think about a theme, per se, when I opened the doors of this blog, I kind of thought the title alluded to the purpose and I hoped to do what Reinhold did with his book of a similar title: that being various accounts of pastoral life from a rookie. Is that enough of a theme? Andrew, you out there?


  1. I'm here!

    Let me say first that my responses to John's blogger profile came after only a few weeks blogging myself. Now, I would not be so narrow about blogging advice. Writing about life, the universe, and everything is a fine thing to do, if that is what the aim of the blogger is. I can especially see how a blogger might want to do that if the blog is intended primarily for family and friends, or if it is just a forum where the blogger can do on-line journaling.

    My thoughts about consistent subject matter came more out of an "op/ed perspective", probably because that's what I had been doing in the United Methodist Reporter for sometime before I started blogging. I was interested in starting a blog where I could write more frequently than my bi-weekly column, and where I could elaborate on subjects in more depth. Also, like any writer I was interested in developing a readership.

    So I guess I'd say this: If a blogger does want a blog to be a way of entering into public debate and conversation on a limited subject area (e.g., Gen X and the Church), then that advice I gave a couple of years ago is probably still accurate. But naturally, there are many reasons to blog that do not fit the model I have pursued. For that matter, Locusts & Honey is a great example of a blog with tremendous content and a large readership that is about as eclectic as you can imagine!

    I'd also add that I have not stayed as strictly within the parameters I originally planned to observe, either. I don't think it is really possible to grow a readership if you blog less than a couple of times a week (in fact, three times is probably ideal). And for me to be able to do that, I sometimes have to find subjects to blog about that are more personal, more academic, or more secular than the "Gen X and the Church" label that I have self-chosen. But again, I think that's okay. It has helped me write more consistently and probably adds a little flavor to my usual fare.

  2. its your damn blog - do it your way