Who hasn’t grappled with the question of; to blog or not to blog at some stage or other?
Though for me, becoming a blogger was never an ambition of mine per se, but rather a progression of steps that led to the top of a staircase and a doorway.
Let me explain.
It all started in the year of 2013, when I began contributing to a local news website.
Although this was one network with a difference- apart from disseminating local and international news it operated an open public contribution forum.
Initially billed as a medium for news submissions by the general public, it morphed into one where editorials were submitted by the people for the people covering hot-button topics like politics, religion and everything else under the sun sandwiched in-between.
I became one of a regular group of contributor’s –at the outset for the fun of it- but also to generate an exchange of views across a wide sample of the general public.
You see in addition to the public submissions there was also an attendant discussion forum where people could comment on articles and offer their perspectives. Needless to say the exchanges were both thoughtful and heated- though honestly leaning more toward the latter- the longsuffering editor and his moderator team having their work cut out for them.
What did this teach me? It exposed me to varying view- points of course- but also the reasons people think the way they do- which boils down to the narrative sold by the media. Rarely do people question and search-out what lies BEHIND the headlines- WHAT is being sold for public consumption and WHY. But it goes deeper than that-at the core humans for the most part accept information that seems to tie-in with or validate their world view while rejecting information that doesn’t. It’s just a case of the world being fashioned to fit with their preferences.
I was left to question and investigate everything I understood as fact by Divine providence during the period 2005 to 2008 onwards- and what I was led to uncover changed everything.
So central to my reasons for starting a blog was disseminating knowledge and information while encouraging people to think differently- looking past what’s right in front of them to see the bigger picture at work.
“My people perish because of lack of knowledge.”
So a second reason for my choosing the blogger path may have been destiny- a word I do not use lightly as I’m aware of the weight it carries.
Being a contributor forced me into defending my information and views- which instilled confidence while not taking myself too seriously. Not everyone will see your point at the end of the day and that’s fine- it’s not personal- it’s about the importance of airing the subject-matter and making people reflect.
I set-up my site and started blogging going on a year next month- so allow me to share the insights I’ve gained during this time.
Some of the wisest words I’ve read about sustaining a blog-site are;
1) Always have something to say
2) Strive to find people interested in reading what you have to say.
The above pointers sum up the gist of it- as without these basics one can’t proceed further.
The other groundwork consists of refining content and style.
While information content is important deciding on how it’s delivered is equally essential.
Style is built up- its personalized presentation- as a contributor on a public forum I never placed the same emphasis on style I do on my blog. Why- well to quote Barrack Obama “you don’t own it” is the answer- a public forum gives participatory permission not freedom.
Allowing aspects of one’s personality to be revealed through blogging forms part of that style you’re looking for. Whether its humour, sarcasm, playfulness or a little bit of miff thrown into the mix to enhance the flavour- it’s all part and parcel of the blog bouquet.
Producing blog posts at decided on – more or less- regular intervals instils discipline and motivation and keeps one going.
While practise may not always make perfect it does make better.
Ultimately though- blogging is an on-the-job learning experience you only acquire through doing.
All the advice given by the more experienced and successful – while helpful- will never provide the answers.
So go ahead- blog- it’s the ONLY way to find out.