When people learn that I blog, they usually ask a few questions:
1. Does anyone read what you write? Why do you waste time blogging?
2. Do you make any money blogging?
3. Should I blog?
I’d like to address each of these questions seriously.
#1: Why do you waste time blogging?
To these people, I’d like to say, “Why do you waste time golfing? Or training for marathons? Or decorating cakes for your preschooler’s birthday parties?”
Listen, we all do the things that inspire us. I happen to like writing. I realize that most people would rather weed whack the highway divider of an entire interstate rather than be forced to sit still and make sense of their thoughts until something meaningful reveals itself and they find the words to express it. But, that’s why most other people do other things.
I blog because I truly believe I do have something to share. I know a few things about alpacas, and to people who are also trying to raise these animals, the knowledge that I can help them is rewarding. Plus, I feel morally obligated to share the truth about alpaca socks to the entire world’s population. ALPACA SOCKS ARE THE CLOSEST YOU WILL EVER GET TO WINTER HAPPINESS. You need them. If you don’t think so, you haven’t lived in the snowbelt and had to shovel your way to the car that you may or may not be able to find under a six-foot snow drift. If you have to put up with extreme cold temperatures, you need to know about alpaca socks, if not sweaters, scarves, hats and gloves.
I am a daytime writer and part-time night class English teacher at a community college. I am supremely lucky that every day, I get to do what I love. And, on top of all that, I get to share this love with a set of students every semester. I help students discover the joy of interacting with good the ideas in stories, novels and plays. I am passionate about helping people express their thoughts. No one else can say what’s in their soul in quite the same way that they can. So, by writing this little blog, I get to set an example.
Of course, I don’t mean everyone should spout off every grievance and misgiving he has about the world. Nor does it mean writers and bloggers should pander to someone else’s ideas. If you’re going to write a blog, offer why you are credible and be honest. Tell a good story.
Whether anyone reads it today is beside the point. Eventually they will. Sure, I like getting subscribers. And, I hope they find value in what I share. Yes, I hope that one day, I’ll have advertisers. And that leads me to my next point…
#2: Do you make any money blogging?
I haven’t made any money blogging, and I’ve been at it for just over a year. This is my 147th post. To date, I haven’t made a penny. Maybe one day I will. Maybe not. But, I didn’t start this blog because I thought it would be my best seller. I started it for two reasons.
a. To promote my family’s alpaca farm and ecommerce website, Sirius Alpacas.
b. To share ideas.
That’s it. So far, those objectives are working pretty well. I have interacted with lots of folks on Facebook and Twitter, and these are people who read one of my posts and contacted me about something I mentioned. I never would have had the opportunity to connect with them otherwise. That’s pretty cool.
Plus, I get to spend quality time with Shady, my Alpaca Blog Dog.
#3: Should I blog?
That’s up to you. If you think you should blog to make a ton of money quickly, chances are you will be disappointed. Be honest with yourself. Do you think you can be excited about writing content week after week, when you don’t get any feedback? Can you write good material consistently?
Again, be honest with yourself. Anyone can write 1 good blog post. Can you write up to 5 high-quality posts every week? By the way, if you think you want to write, check out the book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. I read it a long time ago, and Lamott inspired me to write 300 words a day. That’s good advice. You don’t have to write a novel every day. You have to come to the blank page with your best effort and make modest progress. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or if it’s snowing (but if it is, wear alpaca socks) or if you are PMSing or if your coffee maker broke or if your oil needs changed or toe nails need trimmed.
It. Doesn’t. Matter.
Just find your idea of the day and commit to writing 300 words about it. No one else can say what’s in your soul better than you can. So play with your ideas. Throw them out there. If someone reads them, great. If not, you had the pleasure of spending time with your thoughts and honing how you address your fellow humans. Congrats, you got to know yourself a little better. Come back to the page again tomorrow. Eventually, someone will find your ideas and you’ll have made a new friend.
See, friend? You found mine.
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Sirius Alpacas is a family farm in Chardon, Ohio that raises and boards alpacas for fun, therapy and profit. The farm uses its fleeces in the production of high-quality yarns and felted goods.
Sirius Alpacas also imports fair-trade Andean items including socks, scarves, hats, gloves, sweaters and more from Peru and Bolivia, offering the style and culture of South American goods while helping the farmers, artists and craftsmen of that region. Lori Weber, co-owner of Sirius Alpacas, is the creator and writer of this alpaca blog. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.