Sunday, October 18

If You Are Looking for Cute Kid Stuff, Come Back Later

I went into Podcamp Pittsburgh expecting to learn a lot. I was not disappointed. In a matter of minutes I learned:

* Pittsburgh's social media community truly is the best in the world. I actually already knew that, but I saw "the machine" in action on a grand scale, and it's amazing. There is no other group of people who are as supportive of one another. When you can stick tech experts, beer podcasters, sports bloggers, GLBT podcasters, newspaper reporters, radio rock stars, masters of mayhem, cover girls, and a mommy blogger in the same room and have everybody come out laughing hysterically? You know you have a good thing going.

* Creative Commons licenses are the shizznet.

* There are a heck of a lot of people who are interested in learning how to keep their blog going, especially when it comes to finding things to write about.

(Photo source)

It just so happens that I was the one presenting about that last thing. I am by no means a blogging expert, but I guess I have to admit to knowing a little bit about "finding fodder." I base that solely on the fact that I've blogged almost daily for over four years (you can try hunting for the early stuff, but you won't find it unless you break into my house and find the exact cabinet where I've stuffed the printouts from blogs long destroyed). There is video of the presentation coming to the Podcamp Pittsburgh site, but basically I think the trick to keeping a blog going for any extended amount of time comes down to exactly one word: Why?

I've stood on the sidelines as hundreds of blogs within my circle have come and gone. Every once in a while I run through my blogrolls and delete sites that haven't updated in the past three or four months. Every time I do it, I say goodbye to at least five or six sites. The writers cite varying reasons for closing up shop, but I think there tends to be a common thread: the writer was never clear on their "Why?" Why blog? No, really. WHY?

Look, if you're blogging to make money or you are blogging because you want attention, you're going to end up in trouble before you even get started. I'm able to keep going because I know that I'm doing it for Alexis. I want her to have this history of her childhood. It's like having a baby book, only better. Much better.

Any time I start to wonder if a story is appropriate for this space, I ask myself, "Why?" If the story isn't in line with my overall goals, it doesn't get posted.

Any time I question if a photo should be posted here, I ask myself, "Why?" It only takes a second to figure out what to do once I'm focused on my motives.

And when it comes to figuring out what I should put in this space, I almost always fall back on my go-to fodder finding question, "What about today made it different from every other day?" It could be something good, something bad, or something ugly, but it's always followed up by, "Why?" Why did that event stand out? Why did it make me laugh? Why did it bother me?

I'll link to the video once it has been posted. In the meantime, how do those of you who maintain blogs find things to write about? Have any tips you care to share with the class?


  1. HUGE thank you again to everybody who stopped by for my presentation!

  2. Those are such simple questions, but you're right they should work every time!
    I also clear out my reader list regularly, it's quite sad to say goodbye to some of the bloggers actually

  3. I wanted to jump in but when a room was as packed as yours i knew my fluffy arse wasnt getting in :P

    I cant wait to see the presentation online!

  4. Wow! Why did I just find out about this event that's over with??? Yep, I'm always late to the party!!
    Just found my way to your blog and so happy to be here! I'd love to get involved with local bloggers and find inspiration and share ideas...
    Can't wait to read more of your blog. And, yes, the word WHY is a powerful one!
    Happy Monday

  5. This is a great piece of advice, Michelle. Thanks for the notes to my brain. I look at blogging as sort of a journal entry for my own life, and find it interesting to go back sometimes to read where I have been and what I was doing at that point in my life. It helps me to go forward with a new direction. I also look at the mommy blogs as sort of a journal entry for their growth. Love your blog. Its always awesome.

  6. I feel that most days my life is not that interesting to blog about. It usually centers around my kids and it is usually the same old stuff. I think that people would get tired of hearing my mantra over and over. I think I need to re-think that now.

  7. @Mia--Why care if people get tired of it? I honestly think that if you are happy with your content at the end of the day, that's what matters the most.

  8. I try to blog for the same reasons that I started READING blogs. I was originally introduced to the blog world when my niece-in-law (shut up, it's a relation) was pregnant. That's how I found out when her first baby was born! I thought it was cool to connect like that with someone who I knew OF in real life but had only MET on the internet.

    I don't care if I'm boring. If it interests me, then I post about it. I think my children will be able to look back and see that, while my life is MOSTLY about them, there are other parts of me right now that they won't appreciate until they're older (and most likely not until they have kids of their own).

  9. I'm sure I'm one of them you've removed (and that's ok with me, really). I was having a decent time - posting at least once a week, sometimes more, and then... my lovely husband decided to tell his family about MY blog (and didn't tell me about it) and when I put up a cute post about how I freaked out the male members of his family by nursing in front of them (with a nursing cover!) and they left the room, my husband got a phone call WITHIN AN HOUR complaining that I embarassed his BIL and OMG PEOPLE ARE GOING TO KNOW (even though I didn't use any names, and the only other people that read my blogs were "internet people" that didn't know me any way).
    *sigh* That was the beginning of the end for me. I really should just close it all down and start fresh and NOT tell my husband about it.

  10. I am honored to know a speech giving blog expert. You are definitely amazing for writing an interesting post every day. I wasn't clear on why I started. Mostly now it is for the same reason as you. Some posts are just simply for the fact that I like to write. I don't often have trouble finding subjects. I have 30 random thoughts ever minute. I have trouble finding time or better yet making time.

  11. So wish I was there. You're super awesome.

  12. If I didn't tell you at the session (or even if I did) I'm going to now - it was sensational.

  13. I'll second Woy. For me, a blogger just starting to find her 'voice,' you gave some terrific, practical advice. Next year, they'll know to give you the bigger room :)