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VII. Academic Blogging: Blogging for the Wrong Reasons

Oct 31, 2013 by Lee Skallerup Bessette

In the last post, you learned how to develop a vision for your blog, to give a purpose to your blog that will fuel your writing. In this post, you will learn how starting your blog for the wrong reasons can cause you to get derailed or distracted from your blog.

There as many wrong reasons to create a blog as right ones. You shouldn’t feel obligated to create a blog, as then it may turn into a chore to maintain. If you create a blog because “everyone else is doing it,” you will have a hard time creating content. As described in the last post, you need to figure out why you want to blog and what your blog means to you. Blogging as an academic or leisure activity needs to be right for you and fit your goals, values, and interests.

Don’t feel bad if you “outgrow” your blog or if the tone and content of the blog shifts over time. Just as your career grows and evolves over time, so too should your blog. And if a blog you created no longer suits your purpose or fits within your current vision, you can always start again. The previously mentioned Roxie’s Blog became Mad Women With a Laptop when the author felt that the original blog premise had run its course.

Many academic bloggers create a problem for themselves by starting lots of blogs. The reasoning tends to be that you want to slice your blogging activity into small, discrete pieces the same way you slice your research. Or, you surmise that more blogs are better than one. Rather than allowing your blog to encompass a variety of things, you make a different blog for every different facet of your work. All of these blogs, as you can imagine, become very hard to maintain.

Sometimes it makes sense to have more than one blog. For instance, I have my main blog, College Ready Writing, which talks about more general issues related to higher education, while I also have a blog that is more focused on my current research project, Chasing Laferriere. But even then, if you look at my research blog, I haven’t been nearly as prolific in that space as I have been on my main blog. Mostly, though, I don’t feel bad about it. Because of my other work, my research has had to take a secondary position, and thus the blog has been underutilized.

Make sure you create a space that you won’t resent or feel badly about. Guilt is not an effective motivator for blogging, and you’ll get stuck in a cycle that will prevent you from being a productive blogger. If the spaces you have created for yourself aren’t working, then you need to rethink your strategy and your approach.

Now you have a better idea about why you want to blog. In the next post, you’ll learn about the various blogging platforms that you can use to get started.
 

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