Why not all blogging advice is good for you.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I’d signed up for the The Daily Post, a WordPress challenge to post every day.  I think I’ve managed to do that every day but this past Sunday, but I’ve given up on their daily post prompts.  They just don’t fit.
They’ve also offered some helpful advice and encouragement from time to time.  I don’t think today is one of those times. 

Today they offered: Having trouble finding time to blog?

My answer, was no, I blog when I need or want to.  I plan my day and schedule that way. I make notes and record links throughout the day and at night or the next morning, I either post about them, discard them or file them for future reference.

Today The Daily Post linked to a PhD candidate/blogger named Sally who wrote :How to find time to blog

First, I’d have to ask why a PhD candidate is blogging, but that’s her story, not mine.  But I read the following excerpts from her post and immediately began to disagree.   
This is what The Daily Post thought important to quote:

Be realistic. Set yourself a target you think you can keep to, say a post a week – but then don’t feel guilty if you miss a week or two. A blog is supposed to be fun and useful, not a chore or something to beat yourself up over.

Don’t feel you have to write everything. Your readers are just as busy as you and they don’t want to read screeds of text – so keep it short and sweet and save the agonising for work that does require you to be comprehensive.

Don’t get distracted or procrastinate…ignore emails, Twitter, Facebook messages and everything else until you’ve finished.

When I read that, I thought “that’s horrible advice.”  Now, in her defense, her entire post reads better and she’s talking directly to PhD candidates.  But it doesn’t apply to me, or to most bloggers I know.

First, miss a week or two?  Then why bother?  If I’m not feeding posts to Twitter and Facebook I’ll lose the handful of readers I do have.  And while I agree that blogging  can be fun and useful, I don’t blog for fun.  I blog to advance a cause, or to build a readership for future projects or any number of reasons. 

I do agree with her advice to keep it short and sweet.  I edit a magazine and am constantly telling our writers that less is more.  Make your point.  Then shut up and sit down…or step away from the keyboard.

And finally, ignore emails, Twitter and Facebook?  Hardly, they’re my sources and inspiration.  Of course, I don’t play Farmville.


  1. I’m Sally, the blogger whose post you’re talking about – thank you for saying ‘her entire post reads better’!

    You actually make the relevant point in your own post – I’m a PhD student, the post (as it says at the top) was the text of a presentation I’d given at the launch of the History Blogging Project and was to an audience of PhD students, and that’s who the advice is aimed at.

    People blog for many different reasons, but academic blogging is a very different ball game from blogging to build a readership or advance a cause. For a lot of us, it’s a way of making sure we keep writing, of working our ideas out in our head, and the readership can actually be quite incidental. Yes, I have an audience, but it varies depending on what I’m writing about and my blog is a slow burner – people come to it when they’re searching for information on a topic I cover, and sometimes they stay and subscribe.

    I was encouraging busy people to start blogging, so the guilt factor is important – they can miss a week or two and actually they won’t lose readers, what’s important is that they write something interesting and the experience is valuable to them.

    Anyway, thanks for the publicity!

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