Saturday, January 30, 2010

All the World's a Stage

Admit it.  You've read Crush It in the past few months (guilty as charged).  And if you're in Atlanta, you've probably heard Hollis Gillespie speak, or maybe even attended one of her blog writing workshops or webinars (and don't get me wrong--I ADORE Hollis.  She's an amazing storyteller).  Lately, though, it seems like everyone has jumped on the blog bandwagon.  And not for the reasons those of us who jumped on it a few years ago did--to express ourselves, to share our lives and commentary with friends and family, to practice the art of writing.  No, these newcomers seem primarily motivated by the almighty dollar.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.  When I originally started this blog (my fifth in about as many years), it was anonymous.  I thought it would be a place for me to vent about work and the unglamorous side of public relations.  And sometimes, it still is.  But I also write about running and food and body image and business growing pains.  If this increases my visibility or adds some credibility to my business, all the better.  But it's not my primary goal.  Hence, why this account is separate from my company's web site (which, like this blog, also needs a makeover)!

I write primarily because I love it.  Because I'm a girl who loves words, who needs a space to ponder and explore and dream.  It's not strictly business, because that's not who I am.  And because, quite frankly, there are dozens of people out there who do that and do it better than I ever could.

Which brings me back to the blog bandwagon.  I have nothing against blogging for self-expression.  I think we all could use a bit more creativity and whimsy in our lives.  And if you're blogging to grow your business, and doing the right things--adding to the discussion, fostering conversation, creating community--good for you.

But if you're doing it because you think it will make you a millionaire or land you a book deal--your time may be best spent elsewhere.


  1. I really think the only thing left to say is "amen!"

  2. Kristen Leigh--I totally had this conversation with Angela this past week, and I knew you would agree based on how many people are coming to you for blogs. It just doesn't make sense for every person or every business. Drives me crazy!

  3. Laura,

    Good post and summary of the twitter discussion last week. I don't disagree and it's interesting to continue to see people look for a quick get-rich scheme.

    As I mentioned on twitter, if writing is not your strength but you still feel your "business" requires one, then get someone who can. But if you think blog=$$$, that's the wrong approach.

    p.s. do you have any "blogs" you can call out so we can have a peek at what got you revved up on the topic? ;)

  4. I agree that there are certainly more efficient ways to make money and sitting at home writing a blog will by no means guarantee a book deal. However {here goes my devil's advocacy}, if someone is looking to grow her business so that she can make money, blogging is a great tool to enact community (community of clients, community of mentors, community of partners, community of support ). Similarly, if someone has the goal of achieving a book deal, what better way to regularly practice writing and define one's voice than among a community of writers {you guessed it} blogging.

    I don't get the big whoop of defining who should blog, everyone has to start somewhere!. After all, if we don't like a blog we don't have to read it and the blogoshpere is infinite.

    Ok. That's all! Have a great day, Laura!

  5. I've been struggling with how to articulate my feelings about this so I stepped away and thought I'd come back and try again. Alas, the dear Claire, has taken the words from my mouth.

    I, too, think there are some opportunists who are going to try anything...blogging, vlogging, tweeting...if they think it's going to be easy $.

    Three years ago, I never would have imagined that my blog would be the conduit to some of the projects that I've been fortunate enough to spearhead. I didn't plan to stumble into it being sort of a business but it has and, frankly, I'm OK with that.

    Having said that, my passion has not been squelched by commerce. I tend to believe that if you're passionate, you're passionate...dividends or not.

    Good post!

  6. @Ed--glad I captured it well--I thought it merited more than 140 characters! Brevity isn't my strong point. And no specific blogs--I just keep seeing them pop up more and more in my Facebook feed. I blame @garyvee and @hollisgillespie!
    @Shameeka and Claire--you both make great points, and you've articulated what I couldn't. People start blogs for a variety of reasons, and for many of us, they're a great platform to engage community, practice our art and build community. And well, as long as people are enjoying themselves, that's all and well and good. I'm just trying to figure out why everyone and their brother as starte a blog in the past few weeks. But like Claire said, I think we all pick and choose our tribes and our favorites--the rest is out there for people who can relate.

    Let's keep the discussion going!

  7. Should I be afraid to admit I am one of those people who has recently started a blog?

    I have always wanted to write, but as I only just finished my undergraduate degree (and I have a kid), I really never found the time. For some reason around Christmas I did find the time (staying with the in-laws, perhaps?). I realise that blogging is a huge commitment, and I hope that I can keep it.

    In regard to all the people who want to make money: I guess there'll be people like that in every field, no?

  8. Lindiwe, I think it's great that you started a blog! I love that you've found time to write--and that you're doing it because you're passionate about it, not because some book told you to. :)

  9. I just don't think it is up to anyone to decide who should and should not blog. If someone wants to try to become a millionaire via blogging, then hey, give it a shot. There are certainly those whom have attained success by blogging, and I'm sure others would love the same luck. Whether or not they're worthy of that luck and success isn't really for us to decide (unless you happen to be in publishing, or otherwise!).

    I think that this kind of attitude about who should and shouldn't blog, or why they should or shouldn't blog only perpetuates the self doubt that so many of us struggle to overcome. I say, lets show some support to those who are giving writing a shot, regardless of what their motives are.

    Great blog, and great discussion!

  10. @Jenna--well put, my friend! And you know my lede was meant to be provocative! Glad we got a good discussion going. Write on, friends! :)

  11. I'm sorry but this post really has me steamed up. What is wrong with people writing a blog? Are you somehow grandfathered in because you started writing your blog 5 years ago? Even if they think they are going to get rich quick are they wrong for trying something new? Do they tie you up and force you to spend hours every day reading their crappy blogs?

    Do you know a few friends who have received pink slips? Been unemployed for a few months? Maybe a year? Have you taken a look at your 401k? Don't have one? Don't get statements from your investment accounts anymore because you don't have one anymore?

    Just like a recent article on Twitter said, this isn't a non-profit. Our world has completely changed and we're trying to figure out a new way to survive. Unless I hit the lottery, I have to find a new way to earn a living which means I have to find a new way to make money.

    Some people are wading their way through this recession by sitting on the couch drinking themselves to death, some choose to play video games all day, some vanish into a deep depression, and apparently some choose to write meaningless crappy blogs.

    What makes a blog TWP-worthy? Is there some sort of test potential writers should pass before being unleashed into blog world? Are they that harmful? Is the world a better place without these blogs?

    Just think about the movie/book Julie and Julia. No she didn't set out to write a blog intentionally for money but she wanted to change her life, she wanted to do something different. What if she would have just sat on the couch? Plenty of people didn't like her blog, think it is meaningless. But plenty of people fell in love with it - and it changed her life forever.

    People should be encouraged to try be creative, to do different things with their lives, and to help other people. If that means writing a crappy blog - so be it. If they aren't authentic and are just trying to get rich quick, they will get thrown out into the weeds soon enough.

    OK, sorry. Back to selling peas. Peace out.

  12. @Christy: I was definitely trying to provoke discussion, so I guess it worked! I certainly have no issue with anyone writing a blog--like I mentioned in the comments above, we all have different tastes, and there's plenty of room for everyone at the table. I pick and choose what I read just like everyone else. I think my point was that more and more people are starting blogs as some sort of business checklist (i.e. write business plan, check; build website, check; start Facebook fan page, check), and while blogs are a great place to build community (as Claire so eloquently put above), they also aren't get-rich quick schemes, nor will they automatically translate into business. You know I'm a huge advocate for entrepreneurs, so I want to see everyone succeed, blog or no blog. I think the world out there is a bit tougher than people imagine it to be.

  13. Laura, my friend @Rieva wrote a great piece on this very topic for Her point is that not everyone should have a blog because not everyone can write. When I work with clients on digital communication, we talk about a blog as a tool to use, but it's not for everyone, which I think you've eloquently pointed out here.

  14. Laura:

    I believe those who read "Crush It!" or see "Julie & Julia" and think blogging is the elusive shortcut to riches will fall by the wayside because those people are not writing from their passion. When the $$$ fail to appear they'll do start a chinchilla ranch or something.

    It always has to start with something you have a passion for -- almost to the point you can't get the words on to the screen fast enough. And then your audience will find you and build over time.

    And please keep these discussions ignited. A respectful rhubarb is good for the mind.


Thank you so much for reading my blog! I'd love to hear from you!



Blog Widget by LinkWithin