Professional Bloggers write for money. Personal Bloggers write for pleasure. It's a beautiful thing when the two intersect, when a Pro-Blogger gets to write on subjects they're personally passionate about or a storyteller gets paid for weaving the stories of their lives.
I am interested in what Professional Bloggers do, but have never considered myself one of them. I can (and do) write “informational content”, marketing copy and reviews, but for the most part, I've got an old-skool attitude when it comes to this site.
I've been blogging with some regularity since 2001. I was around when Heather B got Dooced. I remember when Diablo Cody was just a peep-show girl telling stories on the sly. I was one of the everybodys who read Plain Layne before we knew she was merely the smoke and mirrors of Odin Soli. I wasn't big or brilliant, neither famous or infamous, but I was there and I am still here.
We were purists back then, my Peeps and I, scoffing at the idea of monetizing our blogs, selling ad space, hawking products or promoting ourselves with any particular business savvy. This is not to say that we weren't obsessed with expanding our audience. We worried our stats, we read and commented on other blogs, we made and remade long lists of links which included bloggers we were connected to and bloggers we wanted to be connected to. But for the most part, we'd write, post and then sit back and wait.
This habit, while perfectly sensible at the time is unimaginably unproductive to the Social Media savvy Pro-Bloggers who excel at the dreaded “driving traffic to your site” stuff. My sister is a highly-engaged Social Media whiz. She burns up the Twitter and was an early adopter of Triberr. She has built a network of uber-creative-types and participates in writerly exchanges on a wide scale.
These days I work to find a balance between the old and new. I blog because I don't know how to NOT blog any more. I have expressed myself in this way for so long that it feels strange and suffocating not to. That said, I have distilled all the blogging advice I've ever given or received into four basic tenets:
Write as though no one will ever read a word of it.
Edit as though everyone you've ever known will read every word of it.
When the idea of hitting the PUBLISH button makes your stomach hurt and your palms sweat, do it anyway.
Promote your work shamelessly because there is no shame in wanting to be heard.
If the only thing I ever get out of this personal blog are the relationships I've formed and conversations it has prompted, then I am truly blessed. Connecting with people beyond your small everyday circle is an amazing and rewarding experience. One I cannot recommend enough.