taste is in the tongue of the beholder

Since the BlogIN publicity stunt, hospital or BlogMOB, recipe as we referred to it, I’ve been thinking a lot about my blogging. I’ve had a personal website since 1994, when I posted a few pages online on a server at UW-LaCrosse. After college, I kept a personal site but never really built anything resembling a blog until 2000. I wrote my first "blog" post about Lousy Drivers in September 2000.  To get things running, I built my own blog engine (if you could call it that) that allowed me to post articles through a web front end. After a while my web front end fell apart.  I did my posting after that via a direct call to a stored procedure through Query Analyzer.  Truly a hardcore nerd way to post.

I took most of 2005 off from blogging, perhaps I wasn’t that hardcore.  The hiatus was good, but eventually I got the bug to write again. I decided to move to true blog software and installed WordPress.  My hopes for longer, more meaningful posts didn’t quite work out the way I had hoped.  Recently, my blog has basically turned into a backup of my Twitter account.

What makes an expert?

At the BlogMOB, I had a chance to talk to several other bloggers and would-be bloggers.  I was sitting next to Erin Monahan.  She is a Smaller Indiana member who is a budding blogger (recently upgraded from wannabe) who stepped out of her comfort zone and onto the steps of Monument Circle where she got a chance to get the opinions of fellow bloggers:

[W]hat better place to gain insight and inspiration than surrounded by a bunch of pros? Lucky for me, Erik Deckers, John Uhri and Joe Dager graciously shared their wisdom and helped me understand how blogging can be a viable form of business (and personal) communication."

I’m flattered she considered me a "pro", although I think I may be out of league in comparison to Erik and Joe. I’ve blogged a long time, but never in quantity. That leaves the question in my mind of whether or not I can be labeled an expert. I can say with some confidence that I understand what it takes to be a blogger.  Perhaps those who can’t do, teach?

Time is on my side… or not

Clearly the biggest obstacle to any blogger’s success is putting in the time. Pro-bloggers like Darrin Rowse have made a full time gig out of blogging, but the professionals are a minority. Most don’t have the income streams to spend their entire day blogging. Still, even part time bloggers spend quite a bit of time working on their blogs.

Steve Pavlina is a blogger and personal productivity maven has said he spends about 10 hours on a long post (sorry, no reference on that one), but has also said he spends 3-4 hours a day working on his blog that results in 2-4 posts (which works out to be about right).  Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror has mentioned spending about 3 hours a day writing. I got a chance to talk to Erik Deckers at the blogMob, and he invests about 3-4 hours writing his weekly humor column. I hope to query some other bloggers about their time commitments at the actual blogIN event, but it seems that 3 is truly a magic number for bloggers.

I am a blogger, here me roar

I’m going to get back into it.  I want to be a blogger, and I’m going to put in the time to get it done.  I’m excited to have connected with a group of people who are passionate about blogging, no matter the topic.  It has renewed my inspiration and gotten me excited about the possibilities.  I’m converting some of my "down time" moments to focus on blogging and have some ideas of what I want to write about.  More to follow.

BlogIN – An Indiana Blogger’s Conference

Remember, if you live in Indiana and want to learn more about blogging, the BlogIN unconference is coming up on April 26th from 1-5pm.  The best and brightest Indiana bloggers will be there to share their knowledge.  I’m excited about the free-form agenda where attendees determine the topics to be discussed.  For $20, the price can’t be beat.  Register today!