The folks at Go Pet Friendly are hosting a Pet Blogger Challenge and asking other pet bloggers to share our thoughts about our blogs and blogging in general. Go Pet Friendly supplied the questions I’m answering.
I began my blog in January 2008. Prior to starting the blog I'd spent a few years writing a semi-regular pet column for a community paper. A few folks were kind enough to tell me they enjoyed what I wrote and I thought a blog would be a great place to practice my writing skills and to meet people who share my love of critters.
Three years later I believe, for the most part, that I want the same things from my blog as I did when I began. I still love meeting people who share my passion for pets, I still enjoy writing a great deal and I still enjoy it when people tell me that something I wrote made them think or laugh or cry. My writing for the community paper was drastically cut back when the format of the product changed, so the blog gives me a corner of the world to indulge my creative side.
I’ve thought of blogging on a regular schedule and have even gone so far as to create a subject template so that different days of the week would be dedicated to specific topics. I believed if I created a more “formal” presence I might be able to generate more followers but, alas, I am hopeless when it comes to putting any sort of real structure in my blog. I work full time, have a family and do some volunteer work. The more I thought of maintaining a blog schedule, the more it felt like one more chore, rather than the positive experience I want it to be. I do worry that my blogging style costs me followers and, at times, momentum, but I believe if I were to hold myself to a schedule the quality of what I put on the site will suffer because I’d feel compelled to put posts out there just to say I did, rather than writing when I’m feeling it.
Currently I generate no income from my blog. I would love it if at some point in the future I am able to generate income through sponsorships or advertising, but thus far I haven’t tried very hard to learn about growing that side of my blog. That’s an area I hope to improve on over the next couple of years, but it will always be secondary to the writing and sharing aspects.
My favorite thing about blogging is the ability to share information about groups, events, websites, news stories and personal interests with other people who might find them interesting or insightful. Plus, I have to admit, there are times I write something and after coming back and reading it I can say to myself, “Hey, that was pretty good stuff.” It doesn’t happen every day, or even every week, but when it does I’m glad I got it out there.
I find the most challenging aspects of blogging to be the inevitable writer’s block that creeps in from time to time, finding a peaceful place to get writing done when I want to write, and the space in my head that exists between what I want my blog to be and where it currently stands. Sometimes I’ll view the blogs of other pet bloggers and just go, “Wow. There’s no way my blog will ever be that creative/interesting/interactive/cool. I should hang it up.” Then some lovely person will say something nice about my site or a post and I try and get my perspective back and keep on typing.
My plan for 2011 is to continue what I started at the end of 2010, namely to be more proactive at networking my blog where I can find a larger audience, connecting with more people who blog about pets to learn more and grow my own blogging experience and to continue to try and narrow the gap between my mental vision of my blog and where I see it today. If we do this again next year, this post will be a great progress marker.
Thanks to Go Pet Friendly for hosting this event. Check out some of the other participants by clicking the links below.