Why Blog—From the Writer Who Said Goodbye to Blogging

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is by publisher and author L.L. Barkat (@llbarkat). She’s always been a most welcome guest here, and I’m delighted to have her back after her break from blogging.

I promise it wasn’t a stunt. Since it’s been more than five years, I’m thinking you’ll give me that.

See, in late 2012, I said goodbye to blogging. I even wrote about it in a bold way here at Jane’s place. But, just this week, I started blogging again.

To the outside eye, this makes no sense.

After all, I’m still that “experienced writer” I advised should leave the blogging world. What’s changed?

For one, blogging itself.

During what I like to call The Golden Age of Blogging, reciprocity was currency. If you were going to blog (unless you’d built your audience during blogging’s Bronze Age and had the luxury of an already-built readership), you needed to engage in the marketplace of bloggers. The currency? Reciprocity.

Reciprocity operated on several levels. You had to read other bloggers. You had to get their buttons (and figure out how to get those buttons into your darn sidebar). You had to comment on their posts. At first, this wasn’t hard, because you were having fun (I know I was). But as the years went on, and your blog circle grew larger and larger and larger, suddenly you were no longer a writer but almost a kind of business owner (whether or not you knew it)—engaged in the constant exchange and glued to the screen as you tried to adapt to market conditions.

For experienced writers, I recommended walking away. For newbie writers, I suggested taking an approach that emphasized the chance to find expression, cultivate discipline, and gain experience—moving their social interactions to social media instead of their blogs, to relieve some of the burden of reciprocity.

As I come back to blogging, I come knowing The Golden Age has passed. Reciprocity is no longer key, or it doesn’t need to be. Social media, which once felt like the new play place, has now become mired in similar reciprocity issues, not to mention the feeling that you’re being accosted and bombarded.

Sometimes going back is going forward—especially if you refashion the old, sloughing off what became untenable. This is why I’m going back to blogging. While every writer won’t find my reasons of interest, plenty of writers might want to explore their possibility.

So here are five “why blog” reasons I’m excited about right now.

1. The Introvert’s Advantage

I am a very, very outgoing person. The kind you sometimes question the wisdom of (like when I recently met Neil Gaiman and arranged a shoe photo incident on the spot).

Because I am very outgoing, I always assumed (wrongly) I was an extrovert.

Bad call.

Without going into the details, let’s just say that years of blogging, followed by years of business promoting, left me incredibly burned out. For the first time in my life, I contemplated not getting out of bed in the morning. For months on end, I dreaded facing the day’s tasks. All I wanted was to be taken care of, except that that was not going to happen. Like most everyone else in life, I have a lot of responsibilities, and I do not have a butler like Bruce Wayne does, and I wasn’t about to let my writing die or my business die, just because I couldn’t face each new day. What to do?

It has taken about a year-and-a-half to figure out the answer to that question. And I still haven’t worked out all the details. But this has been key: I realized I must find a way to run my private life, my writing life, and my business life as an introvert.

The new blog world offers just that advantage. My blog does not have comments enabled. It does not have pictures on every page. It does not even have prominent promotion elements (not even a free newsletter signup). In short, it is a peaceful place for me and for my readers. And this is in line with the times. People are tired of online life, but they still want to read good writing and find ideas that help them live and love and laugh—in their private lives, their writing lives, and their businesses.

If I want to know “how the blog is doing” on various levels, I can measure that with Google Analytics, rather than attending to the number of comments or social media shares. This is introvert heaven. I can explore what I need to explore when I need to explore it, on my own terms. I can breathe again, letting background technology do the heavy lifting.

2. A Hybrid Opportunity

With the new blog, in one simple place I can feature the current nature of my professional life, offer readers a quick guide as to where to find my writing and my books, and I can just write. While it’s possible to functionally do this at an author website as well, I wanted that introvert’s peace I mentioned above. I also wanted a very specific voice. And this is built into the URL and name of the blog itself: llbwritesto.me.

This feels like the best of both worlds. Understated brochure and blog, both—a hybrid opportunity.

3. A Public Sandbox

I’m a writer and a business owner with a fairly large audience. People have a lot of questions about how I got where I am and where I’m going next (not because I’m that intriguing, but because they are eager to learn how to do the same, from someone who cares about their success).

It’s important to me to be able to share the complexity of my writing and business life, and to work that out in front of people, on an ongoing basis, without having to engage in a high level of personal correspondence or social media activity (refer, again, to the introvert issue, but this is also a concern for most people with a fairly large audience and active business).

Enter the blog.

Here, unlike other places I write for (Edutopia just isn’t the place for this!), I can discuss what I’m dreaming of, how it connects to the past, and the possible ways it might be worked out in the future. I can think out loud.

4. Shaping Society by Promoting Great Ideas

This winter, as part of my effort to figure out how to stop dreading the work of a writing and business life that I actually love, I majorly switched gears for a full month. I apologized deeply to two writers whose books were slated to be published, and I put their works aside until the New Year.

In gear-switched mode, I wrote my very first fairy tale and worked with an incredibly accomplished artist, to create The Golden Dress (forthcoming in May). The story surprised me. I’d written it for children, but it seemed to serve dual duty for adults who’ve not yet learned to turn a life of self-focus into a life of generosity.

The Golden Dress has given me a way forward, in so many ways, one of which is choosing to shape society by promoting the great ideas of others on the blog. My plan is to do this by listening (specifically to great podcasts), then by engaging with the ideas of the podcasters over time. The first project is an exploration of the concept of Energy from at least 30 angles—a project I’m undertaking because I’m so impressed with the vision of Joshua Spodek.

5. Blogging as a Playground

Somewhere around the middle of my burnout, I was taking a walk by myself, and I said aloud to the air, “I just want to put poets on sticks.” (If that sounds odd to you, I assure you, it’s just a cut-n-color endeavor that’s part of Take Your Poet to Work Day.)

In other words, I was exhausted from the serious demands of my business. And I wished for the key that’s been the hallmark of almost every great thing that’s ever happened through our organization: whimsy, laughter, joy, fun.

The new blog is my writing version of “putting poets on sticks.” The voice is casual. The topics are variable. The tone is quietly humorous. It’s a place to play. And, at least to this publisher, the writers who know how to play are the ones whose work tends to be most vital.

Going Forward

I can’t promise I won’t be here at Jane’s in another five years, quitting blogging again, for who knows what reasons.

I also can’t promise you’ll find blogging to be the exciting opportunity I find it to be.

But if you’re looking for a different way to approach your writing life or even a current blog, I suggest you give “the new blogging” a try—from sandbox, to golden dress, to playground.

Posted in Guest Post, Marketing & Promotion.

L.L. Barkat

L.L. Barkat is the author of six books, including Love, Etc: Poems of Love, Laughter, Longing & Loss; The Novelist: A Novella; and Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing (twice named a Best Book of 2011). Her poems have appeared at Best American Poetry, VQR, NPR, and Every Day Poems. She is the founder of T.S. Poetry Press and runs Tweetspeak Poetry.

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47 Comments on "Why Blog—From the Writer Who Said Goodbye to Blogging"

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Shirley Showalter

Welcome back, fellow introvert-who-often-looks-like-an-extrovert. I have been blogging for nine years now and keep evolving along similar lines. I’ve even taken short breaks along the way. One advantage blogs have over social media is that you own the site. I am not a great organizer of my own ideas. So another great function of the blog is search. “Didn’t I blog about that?” Is the question that takes me to an answer faster than most other methods of archiving. I think I just might have to go pre-order The Golden Dress.

Caryn Sullivan
I love this. I’ve spent far too much time this past year working on the legs of my business – updated website, new speaker sheet – to the detriment of my creative endeavors. I find myself hating what I do because the pressures to be out there on social media, to have an impressive website, etc. – none of which come easily to or interest me – are a huge distraction. I just want to write. I just want to speak. I have words in my head that need to come out! With those tasks finally complete, I am ready… Read more »
terry gene
This is something that confounds me. Why blog? What gets people to read, then act on the content of a blog? I started during the ‘reciprocity age,’ and discovered that I was reciprocated only one out of 10 times. I put someone’s ‘badge’ on my front page or in the side bar, and waited, waited, and waited. I moved to the blog-tour, book-review model, got ARCs, advance copies, read them and did my best to put out quality book reviews. I never got my blog cross-posted or even linked-to on any of the sites, including some For-profit book tour companies.… Read more »
Erendira Ramirez-Ortega

How did you convert members (who follow your blog on WP, I suppose?) to subscribers? Is there are switch click to obtain the emails of followers? I don’t understand…

Lynne Spreen
I’m a writer of women’s fiction, with main characters over age 50. I started platforming in 2009 after an Editor’s Intensive Workshop with Jane in Cincy. I stopped blogging a few months ago, after nine years! Because I’ve seen the weather change as well. I am so burned out on blogging and the reciprocity of, for example, FB groups in which reposting of blogs is the main content. Like you, I despaired at the churn, and when I went hunting for insights, I noticed most prominent authors weren’t blogging anymore. It always comes down to the objectives question: what do… Read more »
Bryan Fagan
I jumped into the blogging world a week ago. It is basically a new born baby. I swear it keeps me up at night. I was hesitant for a long time. I think I spent about a year reading blogs like I’m doing now to get the feel of things. It’s baby steps. What I have learned in just a few posts is that I enjoy telling true life stories while connecting those stories to the world of creativity. As long as the juices are flowing and the ideas are crisp….not to mention the writing….I’ll keep doing it. Another reason… Read more »
Donya Day

Thank you for sharing your story and insight about being outgoing and introverted. I totally relate. Welcome back, I am new to blogging, been writing about 10 years. The author’s platform/social media and blogging is like a foreign world but I’m getting it.

joanna elm
Why Blog? Indeed. I launched my website two years ago, and have found it an uphill experience to engage new subscribers, but an uplifting one to actually write a weekly blog. According to some statistics, there are approximately 440 million blogs out there in the world, but it’s estimated that only about 37 million of those are active in the sense that their bloggers still post on them at least once a month. So, I don’t get too concerned about readership. It’s a big crapshoot for new bloggers, but I know from Jane and other blogging experts what is supposed… Read more »
Jody Collins
For some reason yesterday I flashed back on your visit in my kitchen prior to our Mischief Cafe gathering 3 (?) years ago and thought, “I miss Laura Barkat.” And here you are. Your words resonate for so many reasons. I believe we first ‘met’ at the beginning of 2012 when the Golden Age of Blogging (and Bloggers) was growing exponentially. Because of your warm welcome, I jumped in with both feet but have since dialed back on my focus and involvement (closed a virtual door on a writing group I led, de-membered myself from another large online group). I’m… Read more »
Freddy G. Cabrera

Welcome back, L.L. Barkat!

That was a long break you took. And yes, the blogging world has changed and evolved. I started blogging back in 2011 and it is different than back then. I think things have changed and are changing in a good way. There are more opportunities with blogging now than before.

I just checked out your blog, it looks very nice and you are keeping things simple. That’s the way to go with blog design! 😀

You have quite an interesting journey. Thank you for sharing this!

I wish you the best with your new blogging endeavors!

Best regards! 😀

Joshua Spodek

I’m honored to have helped inspire you.

Writing is a great sidcha (www.sidcha.com)!

I look forward to seeing your 30 energy angles.

Lisa C
I have just recently started considering the blogging idea. I started later in life with a new career and I am trying to do my research to see what my path will be. As I have been doing my research many say you HAVE to blog or you won’t make it in writing. You have allowed me to take a step back and rethink how I want to go on this journey of writing. Finishing my PhD in Christian counseling at this time and looking froward to the possibilities ahead for helping others walk into freedom from life’s experiences that… Read more »
Janna G. Noelle
Hi L.L! I read this wonderful post with great interest. I’ve been blogging for six years and have come to notice the changes in reciprocity and engagement that you mentioned, even though my following was never huge to begin with (and still isn’t). The reason I initially (and grudgingly) began to blog was at the strong insistence of a friend who stated I should have some sort of web presence to go alongside my fiction publication efforts. At first I hated it but have since come to really love it. I can’t imagine not blogging, although I’ve definitely started decreasing… Read more »
Linda Hoye

Welcome back to blog land. I’m approaching ten years of blogging. Even as I write that I’m wondering how in the world that happened. I toyed with stepping away a couple of years ago, then I challenged myself to post something every day and the habit became ingrained. Now it’s just a part of my morning routine. Yes, the landscape—and my blog—has changed over the years; I like it now best of all.

Ann E. Michael
I’ve been blogging since 2011, and I have just under 3000 followers, which means that my readership is probably 2-3% of that number. Not a large readership, and not earning me any money, so why blog? Marketing?! Pheh! I write poetry, and poetry books are not exactly top sellers (but mine are posted on my blog). Credibility? I have a day job that I enjoy. I don’t need the writing credentials. “Free exposure”? Sorry, been there done that with poetry journals for, oh, 35 years or so…. I chose to blog as a practice. Practicing prose, practicing ideas about teaching… Read more »
Jemima Pett
Well, yes. But then I’ve known about extrovert introverts for a long time. We are polite, friendly, get on with people when we meet them, help people settle in, and then retire to our private worlds, which are jealously guarded. We avoid going to parties, unless we know everyone there. Which is why I like to have comments on my blog. I like to chat to people who come to see me. But I need to spend more time writing, not blogging. Reciprocate… er yes, that’s not only hard, but eventually impossible, for all the reasons you said. I look… Read more »
Nancy Chadwick
Wow, I had to read this post twice, including all the comments! Much to consider here. I started having fun with a blog probably fifteen years ago and have been taking it seriously over the past eight years. I liked to write and I was working on a book and the posts contributed to my book content. And then I started engaging in social media. Looking back, it seems how one thing just led to another, the blog, social media, a website, without thinking much about it or even why I was doing it. As a writer, I couldn’t get… Read more »
José Galindo

Blogging is had work and it is definitely for the introvert…Blogging for me, is a refreshing way to do what I like which is writing. I spend more time reading, scheming and writing and re-writing my short stories in my blog Valcastica here in WordPress rather than connecting in social media

Mirka Breen

I hope I don’t sound highfalutin if I say that, for me, blogging has been my corner to be a mini Nora Ephron. My thoughts and rants and jubilations which i can’t of won’t fit into fiction.
Yup, I started (reluctantly doesn’t begin to describe it) at the urging of my publisher, and continue even as that publisher no longer believes thus.

A thousand times yes to everything you said here (including being an outgoing introvert). I started blogging in the reciprocity age and what you said about spending so much time on reading and commenting and less and less time on actually writing is so true. After about six years of blogging, I spent the next few years selling essays to other sites, but even that is feeling stale. It’s a lot of work to write those pieces. The pay is low with the payoff, so to say, feeling lower than ever when there is SO MUCH content out there. I’m… Read more »

[…] https://www.janefriedman.com/why-return-to-blogging/ “See, in late 2012, I said goodbye to blogging. I even wrote about it in a bold way here at Jane’s place. But, just this week, I started blogging again. […]

Barbara Strickland
Great post, personal and yet objective. I have always taken that approach to blogging. I consider it a place to just be. I vary my entries constantly including my novel and the process (I can’t afford professional input so learning has been a huge part of the last few years and I know it is possible) and the occasional recipe, in short lots of things. It is writing practice, a place to chill and at the odd moment someone will comment and it is more of a connection so I find it exciting and am grateful. I wish I had… Read more »
Erendira Ramirez-Ortega
Introvert here. I too left blogging for some time and returned with a complete makeover. The reciprocity is not shelved. It still flourishes in the groups on FB (mainly writer/blogger groups) and I’ve joined a few to see what’s out there, to find what I like. Surprisingly, when you share and engage with other bloggers’ content, you do get reciprocity. This has helped liven up my blog, as it was a ghost town…the waiting, as you mentioned, was a drudgery. It was disappointing and discouraging. Now, my writing has really grown, and I too feel exhausted by all the work… Read more »
DeBonis Karen

So much to think about here, and in the comments as well! I went from “blogger” to “writer who blogs” in just over a year, as the whole blogging world was too much engagement for me as an introvert. I’m still trying to find my niche, but I know it will come. Can you expand on the concept of “broad on-the-ground platforms” which you mentioned in a comment below?


[…] most authors these days. Awwwards gives us the latest trends in web design, L.L. Barkat explains why she returned to blogging, Gill Andrews urges us to avoid these 5 website mistakes, and Frances Caballo dissects the latest […]

Susan Silver

I’m actually coming back from a short hiatus where I was only working on client’s blogs. I just didn’t know what to write about anymore and I had already blogged myself into a good job that I love. But I decided to come back to work on my storytelling and work on my memoir. Blogging can give you a great platform! But it is a lot of work. It is a business, no doubt about it.


[…] L. L. Barkat: Why Blog—From the Writer Who Said Goodbye to Blogging […]

Karim Toulba

Yup. It’s a business on it’s own. Blogging could potentially flip your life upside down, Only if done right. I just wanted to say Welcome Back!

I’ve passed with a similar situation that I completely ignored my blog for almost a year. And at once, I decided to reconsider it and give it a shot again. It works very well for me, That’s why I see a huge potential with a strong dedication and hard work..

Thanks for sharing..