Is blogging worth it?

Posted December 6, 2015 by Lory in discussions / 36 Comments

DiscussionNEW

As the end of my second year of blogging approaches, this question arises. Blogging uses up a small amount of money for me and a huge amount of time. Is it worth it? Should I keep going? What is its value in comparison to my other activities?

What I value most about blogging is the chance to connect with other readers and share thoughts about books and life. Our interaction through the internet may be in some ways superficial, yet in other ways it runs deep. What we read says so much about who we are, and I love hearing from passionate readers about the things they care about.

I also value the creative forum that blogging provides. Trying to find the right shape for words and sentences and paragraphs to express my thoughts is a fascinating puzzle for me. Having a responsive audience gives this endeavor an extra layer of tension — what fun is walking a high wire if nobody is watching?

For me, reading other blogs and participating in their events is the other side of running my own. I’ve found so many new and new-to-me books and authors this way, and had my own thoughts enlivened and expanded. It’s like having access to a giant worldwide book club, and I can’t imagine doing without it any more.

Although I’m intrigued by the potential of blogging to grow into or support a business, I also value having a non-commercial space where we can interact freely. There’s much discussion about whether bloggers should be paid for promoting books, but personally I’m happy to promote the books and authors I love for nothing; publishing is not easy these days. And I don’t want to be under obligation to anybody to produce particular results. This is not to denigrate commercial blogs; it’s just not what interests me.

Above all, I’m grateful to everyone who visits ECBR and takes the time to read and comment. I have a modest number of followers in comparison to some of the other blogs I admire and sometimes envy, but you’re a remarkably intelligent and articulate bunch. Thank you for sharing this reading journey with me.

I’d also like to express thanks to the hosts of the 2015 Discussion Challenge, Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts at Midnight. Starting a regular discussion feature was one of the best things I did for the blog this year. It generated many interesting conversations and brought new voices into the mix. The monthly link-up was a great way to find each other; I hope this might continue in 2016!

What makes blogging worthwhile for you?

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36 responses to “Is blogging worth it?

  1. Sandy Littell

    Dear ECBR, I read your blog in the quiet of most mornings, and so appreciate the time you take to write your enlightening posts. I am an avid, but slow reader and already have a list from your suggestions that I will try to get to in the coming year! I don’t personally blog but can relate to your question. I think that like every social media platform, interaction with a wider community is the reason to blog, but sometimes you need a staff of writers and a research team to keep it up! I believe that your following is probably greater than you know. Mostly silent, but usually present…
    Sincerely,
    S

    • It’s so nice to know you are enjoying the blog, Sandy. If my posts get you excited about the books I love that’s the best result I could hope for.

  2. This is such an interesting discussion! As with you blogging takes up a lot of my time and costs me a little bit of money, but to me it seems totally worth it. Partly it’s to indulge my creative side – I have always loved to write so it’s nice to write something and then have people discuss what you’ve written about in the comments, and I love all the taking photographs etc. that comes along with blogging. But mostly I love blogging because it connects you to a lot of like minded people you wouldn’t otherwise have got to talk to.

  3. This is a common theme of mine.

    Blogging indeed takes up a lot of time. Reading time is so precious for me I have asked myself if it was worth it. I always answer yes for similar reasons that you mention above.

    I enjoy reading your blog and hope that you continue for a long time to come.

    • Thanks, Brian. I’m sure lots of us struggle with that dilemma. I find that blogging enhances my reading and that’s what makes it worth the time.

  4. For me, it’s always the people. So many online communities are plagued by nastiness and drama, and to me, book bloggers are overwhelmingly the loveliest, most thoughtful, wonderful online community there ever was. Even aside from what lovely people y’all all are, I so cherish having an infinite number of folks to talk books with. Didn’t you and I become blog friends because of Diana Wynne Jones? Am I remembering that right? That’s the kind of thing that keeps me blogging forever — when I was younger, I had so few people to talk books with, and now I have so, so many. It’s totally worth the time and money investment to me. <3

    • Yes, I asked you to write a guest post on DWJ for the first Witch Week. I had only been blogging for a few months and I was very shy about asking people to do things for me, but like you, I quickly learned that the book blogging community is extremely kind and helpful. It is so wonderful to find people all over the world who share my crazy enthusiasms!

  5. K

    I’m not a blogger myself but I love reading blogs. I’m always awed at how much effort the bloggers put into blogging for something the love! Thats dedication and its amazing! I’ve discovered so my books via book blogs and avoided a few because of them– I think the blogging community is really wonderful (Maybe as a reader, I should comment on posts more often though, haha). And its always great to see somebody else feels the same way about a certain book that you did (like you said, worldwide book club!) and they’re able to put it into words more eloquently than you could have

    • If you feel moved to comment on the blogs you follow, I think the bloggers will really appreciate it. I know I do! That said, there’s no need to feel obligated to comment unless you have something of substance to say. I find the “comments as currency” mentality a little weird sometimes.

  6. Blogging makes me feel less alone. I know there are many others who share my love of reading. This is one of the big benefits to me. Also in 6.5 years I have learned of 100s of great writers, got lots of free books and established bonds around the world.

  7. You expressed these points so clearly and I really agree with everything you said. As you know I have been deliberating on some of these ideas, but you put it into words perfectly. So yes, blogging is really worth it!

  8. Blogging these last two years has totally been worth it. It is more than “just a hobby” for me now. It has grown into a passion and rekindled my love for books and ready. I’m amazed nearly every day by the people I have met and continue to meet.

  9. I’m so glad that the Discussion Challenge has been impactful for you – I love that I’ve gotten the chance to connect with so many new people through the challenge in truly meaningful ways!! And it’s definitely going to continue – the 2016 sign-up will be up this week!

  10. I absolutely agree with everything you say, about non-commercialisation, about interacting with other bibliophiles, about stimulating discussion and so on. “Is blogging worth it?” you ask and Yes! I say, but not in monetary terms — I value blogging in terms of virtual friends, self-esteem, sharing values, self-expression, learning from others, all things that I believe ECBR also stands for.

    Cabaret satirised the attitude that only “money makes the world go around | Of that we both are sure… | *!~#?* on being poor!” and Oscar Wilde sneered at the person “who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Being able to blog about books and ideas is priceless: I value it highly.

    • If there weren’t plenty of non-monetary compensation involved in blogging, I don’t think many of us would stick around for very long. Clearly, we get something out of it that money can’t buy.

  11. For me, I started blogging for myself alone – I never thought anybody else would read it. It was a way to organise my thoughts and a creative outlet. For a long time, I made no effort to network and it was very occasional. It was only when my work started to take over my life and I realised that continuing with the site was going to be impossible that I realised how important it was to me. I don’t blog for a living but writing makes me happy and it’s important for me to have a life that fits that in. There are times when blogging has saved me and has reminded me of my strengths – for me it is definitely worth it.

  12. I’m coming a bit late to the discussion, so there’s not much new I want to say that hasn’t already been said. Just wanted to agree with all your reasons to be blogging. For me, the #1 reason to blog is for the connections with other readers – I love the community feel of it. I also agree with you that thinking about what I want to say about a book has enhanced the reading process overall. At this point, 2 years into it, I can’t imagine going back.

  13. It’s definitely worth it if you’re coming at it from the right angle (thinking here of the non-blogging people who’ve questioned my reviewing for free and wondered why it do it when I’m not being paid).

    For me it’s all in the discussion, the ability to talk about books and share what you think. I started blogging because I found myself wanting to talk about books and I guess I could write a diary but it seemed a bit silly. In that vein but on the side of reading other blogs, I learn too much for it not to be worth it, met some great people, expanded my reading, even started a university course because of it.

    • I do wonder at the mentality that says we have to be paid for everything we do. My husband would owe me quite a lot of money in that case (and vice versa). To me, the chance to learn and grow is truly without price.

  14. Congratulations on your second year!
    I really enjoyed this post (and the reviews of yours that I’ve read) and am glad you have started this discussion. It seems like there is always a point in your blogging tenure when you start to question if it is worth the time, whether that time is (adequately?) compensated or not. I’ve tried to quit several times but find, like you, I really like the conversations with other book people.
    It seems to me that blogs are at something of a crossroad, particularly with all the other sites for discussing literary and other topics. But I still say there is nothing like reading a personal, good-quality blog. Thanks for all your hard work!

    • Thank you for your very kind words. I also really enjoy the personal touch of the blogs I follow. And I’m often blown away by their high-quality writing. Even if we don’t get paid, we can at least offer our appreciation to one another!

  15. I signed up for the Discussion Challenge too but really kind of failed at that. I do have different topics I want to write about though, so I need to sign up for next year.

    Anyway, love your post! I do think it’s good to sit back sometimes and think about what you love about blogging and make sure it’s still worth the time and effort (and yes, even money) it takes to do it. I personally love it and I’ve been blogging since 2007 but it’s not always easy. You sometimes need a bit of a break or to mix things up a bit!

    -Lauren

    • Yes, I’ve already experienced that it doesn’t work to just keep doing the same thing over and over. I still have lots of ideas for discussion topics, but when that runs out I’ll have to try something else.

  16. Blogging is a funny thing for me. Here it is my ninth year, and now I can’t remember when I didn’t write about what I’m reading. But, my passion for blogging has come and gone. Now I feel a great peace with doing what I want when I want, instead of letting my blog run me. Sadly, I am not the frequent commented I once was, and that makes me feel a bit rude. But, I try my best, and I could not give up my book blog for the avenues it has opened into all kinds of genres, new releases, and best of all a relationship with fellow readers.

    • It’s understandable that the passion for blogging waxes and wanes. If it becomes routine or a chore it’s no longer satisfying. What I like is that each person can find his or her inspiration and motivation to keep going.

  17. I’m a very new blogger, and I can imagine my time running its course. For now, though, this has taken a hobby that was purely escapist and developed it into something creative, which turns out is something I was lacking in my life. Two months after I started book blogging, I was moved into a reading teacher position, so that all dovetailed nicely also! I am happier this school year than I have been in a long time, and I know that my blog is part of the reason.

    • Yay for bloggy happiness! I know my enthusiasm will probably wane at some point, but right now I’m having too much fun to stop. I think actually getting to work with books and readers (as a bookseller or teacher) would be even cooler, but blogging helps to satisfy that urge for me since my work is focused elsewhere.

  18. You’ve managed to express almost all the things I love about blogging, and done so more eloquently than I think I could. I’ve been blogging for over six years now, and while at times it feels like a chore, most of the time I love it for the ways in which it engages my mind, challenges me to think, pushes me to write better, and connects me with other people who love books as much as I do.

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