Why I Want to Talk You Out of Blogging

Carol Tice

Goldfish think of bloggingHave you been thinking about starting a blog, but can’t seem to launch?

Or maybe you started a blog, but it isn’t really getting any traction. You find yourself bored with it or even dreading writing posts. Still, you keep plugging away at it.

If either of these scenarios sounds like you, I think we should have a little heart-to-heart.

This may make some writers angry, but I want to talk you out of blogging. I think it’s probably not for you.

In fact, if you just forgot all about blogging, you might well earn more as a freelance writer.

Bad reasons for blogging

I get emails like this all the time:

“I’m trying to start a blog, but I don’t know what to post about.”

or

“I’m really bored with my blog. I haven’t posted on it in a while.”

or

“I really need more clients, but it’s hard to find marketing time because I need to post twice a week on my blog.”

When I hear comments like these, I want to grab the writer by the shirt collar and say, “Stop!”

Let’s rewind to the beginning.

I want to ask you an important question:

Why are you blogging?

If it’s only because you’ve heard you have to blog or you’re not a happening 21st Century writer…that’s not a good reason to blog.

Here’s an important thing to know: Not all writers need a blog.

If you’re not looking for paid blogging gigs, or to grow a blog into a lucrative business — well, those are the only two real reasons to write a blog, as a freelance writer who’s serious about earning.

There are quite a few freelance writing niches where a blog doesn’t necessarily present your writing in the best light. For instance, you want to write annual reports or technical documentation or white papers, a blog isn’t a great calling card.

If you want paid blogging gigs, then your blog could be a great writing sample for you.

The no-passion, no-mission problem

When I ask writers what the goal of their blog is, many can’t tell me. If you don’t have a mission for your blog — and a passion for writing it — stop now.

Devote yourself to marketing your freelance business more aggressively in other ways. Go to networking events. Use InMail. Send query letters. Whatever it is.

You’ll end up finding better clients and earning more than if you kept flogging away at the blog idea you’re lukewarm about. You’ll get better clips and build a nicer portfolio that impresses more clients compared with just having your own self-published blog posts.

Each of us only has so much free time, and bills to pay. If you need immediate cash, definitely don’t let a startup blog suck up all your time. Blogging is a long-term earning strategy — so work on it in your free time after you get your bills paid.

On the other hand…if you can’t fall asleep at night because you’re so excited about what you want to write on your blog, and you’re attracting subscribers and comments, stick with it.

Blogs that are growing and have an engaged audience are worth the effort.

The telltale signs you shouldn’t blog

Wondering if blogging is for you? Ask yourself this:

  • Do you resist the idea of sticking to one idea or theme?
  • Does the pressure to come up with new blog posts make you feel stressed or tired rather than excited?
  • Do you find yourself putting off writing your posts?
  • Do you hate Twitter and the idea of social-media marketing?
  • Does the prospect of guest posting on big blogs terrify you?
  • When it’s suggested that you could skip blogging, is the emotion you feel relief?

I’ve had many writers tell me that last is exactly what they feel when I explain to them that blogging is not mandatory, and they could promote their writing other ways. Relief!

If so, let me be the one to take the load off your shoulders: You don’t HAVE to blog.

For those who have a burning passion to explore a topic in a dialogue with readers, blogging is the best thing ever. And it can lead to amazing freelance opportunities and the chance to earn an independent income from your own writing, on a platform you control.

But if you don’t have a topic you are itching to write on where you could see yourself coming up with dozens of posts, and you need writing income now, don’t blog.

There are other ways to get samples and build your freelance income, and other types of freelance writing that pay better rates than freelance blogging.

Do you have a blog? If so, leave us your URL and tell us why you blog and how it’s working out for you.

 

93 Comments

  1. Joe

    Hi, sorry to come late to the party, just found my way back to the article, but I want to ask an extension of an earlier question. What, if anything, should a fiction writer be blogging about? I’m interested in breaking into young adult horror, and I thought my blog could be about young adult advice. My theory is my readers will be high school, early college, and my blog could be an instructional approach to those moments when we’re not enjoying a common interest in ghost stories. There’s a time for enjoying vampires, and then there’s another time for learning about financial management and those other subjects that just help young people overcome mistakes we all made growing up. Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    • Carol Tice

      You know…I’m not a fiction expert. I recommend heading over to Writer Unboxed or Storyfix or Build Book Buzz for tips on how to build your fiction platform.

  2. Jorge Pérez

    Hi Carol – Many thanks for sharing your ideas. This post gives some food for thought, no doubt about it.

    However, there is something in your post I do not fully understand: “For instance, you want to write annual reports or technical documentation or white papers, a blog isn’t a great calling card.”

    The reason I’m asking is because I am planning on starting a blog as a Technical Writer. Could you please elaborate on this sentence?

    Thanks again!

    • Carol Tice

      Jorge, blog posts don’t resemble writing technical specs for products much. So the blog posts don’t make as directly relevant of a writing sample as if someone is looking for freelance blogging work.

      See what I mean?

      You certainly could use a tech-focused blog to show your familiarity with the industry and what’s going on with it. Not saying it’s of no use…just not sure it’s as useful if you want to do a highly specialized type of writing that’s quite different from blogging.

  3. Karen J

    Hi, Carol!
    After reading more of the new comments here (especially the one Chrislyn Pepper posted on August 6, 2013 at 11:13 am), I’ve got a “sideways” question about blogging for another company:
    What are your thoughts on billing for “Interacting with Commenters”?

    Thanks for doing your usual stellar job of that, too!

    Karen

    • Carol Tice

      I ususually consider responding to comments part of the job, as a paid blogger. One of the reasons I usually charge $100-$125 a post to make it worthwhile. I certainly consider that part of my job with Forbes…and of course more comments helps my algorithm there and I’m partly paid on traffic – a model I expect to see more of in future. So it’s not just something they might WANT you to do, but something you should be in the habit of doing that will help your reputation as a paid blogger and may even increase your pay. 😉

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