I was really excited this week when I found out that the lecture topic was on blogging and building our “online brand.” Blogging is something that has definitely fascinated me for some time now, and I have to say that the information I got this week was absolutely invaluable.
I’ve actually been blogging for a little while now. I started keeping a personal blog about nine months ago, and I’ve been keeping it up sporadically since then. I’ve heard people mention before the importance of posting regularly, and while I’ve always thought it was a good idea, I’ve never really had the motivation or inspiration to keep something up consistently. Sometimes I would post a couple of times a week, and sometimes there would be a month or so long gap between posts. While my blog has been a good outlet for me to express my thoughts about my life, it’s never really been consistent.
While it’s definitely frustrating for me to keep up a blog once a week now, I am starting to see how valuable it is. As an English and journalism major, I’m being stretched a lot in the creative sense and in the sense of producing a lot more writing than I have in a long time. Between keeping up a weekly blog here and turning in something for my creative writing class (whether original fiction or short literary analysis) almost every day, I feel like I am becoming so much more beautifully consistent in my writing. It’s been a struggle at times, but having the built in structure is giving me the practice I need to make my writing really improve. It’s definitely something I’ve missed over at least the past year.
One of the things we talked about in lecture was holding our readers’ attention by establishing a consistent presence and encouraging dialogue with them. This is definitely something I’ve struggled with since I started blogging. Aside from being a little inconsistent, I’ve never really thought much about engaging my readers. I guess I didn’t realize until recently how important it could be, how it can help me network by getting connected to other bloggers and by keeping them engaged in my writing. I’ve thought a lot recently about ways to get more people to read my writing, and I think this could be an important part of it.
I don’t think I realized until this lecture that what I post online could help me get a career one day. Professor Simons showed us a number of other student blogs and told us about how a couple of them had managed to get jobs or be part of larger projects because of their writing. And honestly, I think this single point may have motivated and inspired me the most. At the beginning of the semester, I really thought this blog would be something I would keep up until December and that would be the end of it. But now I am starting to think that maybe keeping this up after I finish J2150 might be worthwhile. Even if it doesn’t get me a job, maybe it can help me connect with other students. My friend Lindsay, who graduated last year and went to Texas A&M to get her master’s in student affairs, keeps a blog that talked a bit about her experiences at Mizzou. In a cool turn of events last year, she actually managed to get in touch with an upcoming grad student who came here this fall and was able to share her experiences.
I really like this idea a lot, the thought that if I keep writing about my experiences, maybe one day I will be able to influence someone who is looking at going into journalism. I can show them my part of the journey and help answer their questions. By keeping a record of my time at the J-school, I can really point people in a direction and show them what it’s really like: The ups and downs, the questions and conundrums, the stress and the exhilaration. I think it really could be a good thing. I think it’s motivated me to keep writing, so maybe one day I can either find a better job or set someone on the path to finding their own.