Friday, September 2, 2011

Operation LoliBlog: The Balancing Act

School, work, family, and friends- we all have them, to some varying degree. Let's face it: as little as it can seem like it at times, there exists a life outside of our computer and away from our blogs. Not only is there nothing wrong with that as a blogger, if anything our passions and commitments make us stronger as writers because our experiences give us more to pull inspiration from. For example, my Literary Lolita series is based entirely off of books I'm studying in school as an English major, and almost all of my daily outfits are coordinates I put together for a day in the city with my friends. However, as a blogger, one will often encounter the problem of budgeting their time, and while this is true for all of one's commitments, as a blogger it seems to be even more pivotal. It's so important for us to take the time out to write, to brainstorm, to create truly inspired pieces for our adoring public while also being a source of catharsis and relaxation for the blogger. But when you're taking five classes and working two jobs and still have friends and dates and family (who has two thumbs and all of the above? This guy!), it can get hectic, to say the least, and often your blog will be the last thing on your mind. There's one little trick that can make this whole blogging thing that much easier, and that is a magical thing called scheduled posting.

And it isn't only you who benefits. Having a blog schedule makes blog-reading easier. Say your readers regularly read a large amount of blogs: I'd say most people have a handful they check often, some have over thirty on their blogroll or RSS feed, while some have over a hundred bookmarked that they look at only rarely. All of these readers' relationships with blogs is made possible by schedules. The blogs that they check every day are often updated every day; those which are read only through an RSS feed may update two or three times a week; and those which are checked only a handful of times a month probably update as many times sporadically. How often do you update? How many of your casual readers could you upgrade into devoted followers if you only changed your blogging schedule?

Scheduling posts doesn't only make blog-reading easier. It's also a great way for you to keep track of your blog. If you have a busy lifestyle and only find yourself able to sit down and write once or twice a month, you have two options: only post once or twice a month, or on these days, sit down and crank out three or four articles at once and schedule them to post for you throughout the week. It's a choice with one determines for oneself, based upon what one can realistically accomplish.

More importantly, though:
If you're having trouble meeting the needs of your blog, though, it may be time to reevaluate, and now I'm not just talking about scheduling but in general. If you're no longer happy, engaged, or interested in your blog, something's gotta give or this ennui is going to show, either in your own satisfaction with your work or that of your readers. While I'm not telling you to stop blogging completely, it's important to have a creative outlet that you can keep up with. It may be time to decide what of your needs your blog is meeting and on which it's falling flat. For example, I consider Miss Lumpy to be a blog where I discuss in-depth ideas on fashion and lifestyle, and that's what it always has been and always will be. However, when I started college, I realized that, even though it certainly went into philosophy, it was lacking a certain depth that I craved. One thing I was really loving about my English classes was the literature I was studying and how I related that in my mind with all of the above topics, so I started a blog series based on that (which is still being updated often despite already being a few years old). That being said, this blog is still not feeding my needs as a writer, an artist, and a person, so I have come to the conclusion that it is time to reevaluate.

As my personal aesthetic turns further from lolita and I begin to branch out in my sartorial desires, not to mention my interests outside of fashion, I am finding the current state of this blog to be less and less satisfying to write. If you've noticed a lack of lolita-based philosophy articles in the past few months, that would be why. That's why, as a new school year begins and I continue growing and evolving into a higher version of myself, I have decided that it's time not to grow away from this blog, but to start including other sides of myself. There is so much about myself that I find personally satisfying - my intellect, my personal relationships, my experiences and hopes and dreams - which I'm yearning to discuss with all of you and encourage all of you to share as well. I've done this a few times in the past, and it's been something I've wanted to do more of ever since. Consider this a warning, then, and I apologize from deviating so much from my original topic of keeping of with your blog (consider this the section of "making your blog keep up with you"), that things are going to change around here; I'll probably start leaning away from the strictly lolita side of things and include more of my life than I normally would. I'm taking a creative writing course this semester, as well as some really interesting history courses, so don't be surprised if you see more than a few related posts on those subjects!

In the end, the important thing to remember is that, as a blogger, you blog for yourself. You may have thousands of adoring fans or you may have a private blog open only to your dearest friends, but either way, in the end your blog needs to be about yourself and what satisfies you as a writer and a person in need of creative expression. Otherwise, what's the point?

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