Running is hard. Blogging is harder.

There.  I said it.

That's not me. I'm much cuter when stumped. And, I shave.

I have been trying to find the time to sit down and write a blog post for about a week now and now that I finally am, I realize that this little blog o’ mine requires a lot more attention and thoughtfulness than I have been giving it lately!  When my life gets crazy busy, as it is right now, the blog takes a back seat and falls to the very bottom of my To Do List- if I can’t find the time to figure out something as simple as my grocery list, how am I going to find the time to write something thoughtful, witty, and insightful?

Sure, I can go to the store and get groceries without thinking, I can even run without thinking (much), but I just cannot blog without the mind space and time it takes to create good content.  I’m fairly new to blogging but have realized that it isn’t just about the posts, it’s about so much more…

In order to create a really good blog (meaning one that is read by many with a lot of followers), the foremost thing I think you need to be is an authority on your topic.  I feel like I am somewhat of an expert on running because… well… I do it so much!  I’ve been running for 5 years, race at least once a month (32 under my belt to date), recently trained for and completed my first marathon with Team in Training and now, as a TNT mentor, am getting ready for marathon #2.  Having the kind of comprehensive and dedicated coaching that is provided through TNT makes me a lot more knowledgeable about running than I ever was before, and my goal is to pass all that good mojo on to my readers.

When it comes to food, I feel like I am expert because… well… I eat so much!  I also worked for years in fine dining, then catering, and went to culinary school.  I love cooking and finding new places to eat and am a crazy cook book collector.  (I have a theory that in order to really read a cook book, you have to make every single recipe in it- I have accomplished this with 4 cook books so far.  Only weirdos- oh I mean “experts”- do that!)

So an expert, I am… at least in my own head.  Check.

I'm not an expert but I play one on my blog.

This probably goes without saying, but to have a successful blog you also have to be a good writer.  Duh. I have always loved writing and the English language, as a child I would read the dictionary for fun, excelled at writing in high school, studied writing in college (film and T.V. critique), and then worked in technology Public Relations where I wrote thousands of pitches and press releases that garnered ample media coverage for my clients.

Just because I have done a lot of writing does not, necessarily, mean I am super duper good at it.  I write like I talk and I talk A LOT so that helps.  I also aim to be as authentic as possible, I am not using my blog to be someone I’m not, this is allllllllll me, dear readers.  (If you know me, I think you would agree!)  On the other hand, I know I am the Queen of Typos, my grammar may not always be correct, I tend to write in fragments, and over use the comma, but, hey, I’m trying!

Another component of blogging, maybe the most important, is great content.  I’ve had some difficulty coming up with topics (especially for the Today’s Reason posts) and once I do think of a topic, I don’t write about it right away.  Instead, I take a lot of time, often several days, thinking and thinking about what I am going to say, how to make it funny, and what my profound conclusion is going to be.  Now, if I was a better writer I would come up with new ideas faster, type it out quickly, post twice a day, and go on with my life, but no, this girl takes her time.

Clever content is crucial.

My blog is not akin to a reality television show, like so many others are.  You will never see a post about the cute things my kids do, what I am buying the family for Christmas, what I watched on T.V. last night, or that I breathed oxygen today.  There are a lot of blogs out there that are like that, I even follow some of them, but this one is not.  This blog is about running and eating good food in order to run.  That’s it.  I may be limiting my content but if I want to create a personal diary about the mundane details of my life, I promise I’ll start another blog.  (Or just spend more time on Facebook!)

And finally, the hardest part of blogging, to me, is reading and thoughtfully commenting on other blogs.  If I could work without earning any money, I would blog as a career, definitely- it’s a full time job!  Developing relationships with other bloggers is important and I love reading blogs that speak to my interests.  If I want other people to read my blog, I must find the time to read theirs.  That is very difficult- I am a mom, a home maker, a wife, chauffeur to my kids (5 and 6 years old), and am training for a marathon.  That leaves very little time to sit and read.  Very little, if at all.  (For instance, I started writing this post around 10am.  With all the interruptions, it is now 2:15pm and I’m still editing this sucker.  Argh.)

When anyone asks me about running I always say, “Consistency begets consistency” and I’ve realized the same can be said about blogging- the more you put into it, the more you get out of it; the more you do it, the better you get.

Running, for me, is no problem.  Finding the time to build my blogging muscles, well… <sigh> I’m still trying…

And with that, I now ask you, faithful readers, what do you think makes a good blog? What keeps you reading?  What would you like to see more of on this one?  What are some running and/or nutrition-related topics you would like to see covered?

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20 thoughts on “Running is hard. Blogging is harder.

  1. I believe that most good bloggers take time over their content and you can usually tell those who do.

    Some of my discussion pieces are around 1000 words. I can’t just bang that out in an hour so I use the schedule tool to set it to post a few days from now. I leave it, come back to it the next day by which time I normally have thought of other things I want to include. I rarely post a post the day I write it.

    • I’ve tried to post on a schedule but sometimes, if the feeling moves me, I just go for it and eff the schedule- consistency (with blogging) is not my strong suit! I think I should take your advice and stock pile more ideas, in draft form. I’ve got about 5 topics in mind right now, but that’s where they are- must pen-to-paper. Or finger-to-keyboard, that is.

  2. I generally have 2 to 3 drafts stocked up, but I”m fairly new to blogging so I’m sure my motivation and ideas will drain away eventually. I agree with you though, reading and commenting on other blogger’s posts is VERY important and half the battle! I thank my new smart phone for my ability to keep up. i whip out WordPress whenever I’m standing in line at the post office, during my lunch break, etc.

  3. I like your blog posts, and most blog posts in general, best when they are relating an informative topic to that person’s life. I feel like the only thing I’m an expert on are my own experiences so that’s what I’ll share. Making sure to just include the interesting ones of course – I’m sure no one wants to read about me brushing my teeth in the morning 🙂

    • How I got started running 5 years ago- that would be a good topic! All due to my boot camp trainers, Anna and Jennie, and I’ve wanted to write about them for sometime now… hmmmmm…

      And culinary school, yes, that was quite a fun 2 year blip on the screen for me! Not sure if I’ll write about that, though… seems boring to me… we’ll have to run together soon so I can tell you all about it. 😉

  4. Great post, Laura, and great comments, too! I think you’re doing a fabulous job – I truly look forward to when I see your blog highlighted in my Google reader. And I think limiting content is not a bad thing – it focuses your blog and readership and whether you intend to or not, each post is rich with nuances from other areas of your life, which is what makes your blog so great. Yes, it’s about running and the fuel you need to do that but it’s really about so much more. Keep it up – even if you don’t post as often as you’d like. I’ll be reading 🙂

    • Aw thanks so much, Becky! And you are right, it is about so much more… making it even more than that, there’s the challenge! Promise to keep it up and thank you for reading! 🙂

  5. So true! Once, I was lamenting to a (non-blogging) friend about how I felt like blogging was so much work. She was unsympathetic. When she asked me how much time I spend per post, I thought about it and replied, “about 2 hours on average.” But later I realized that it’s more like 2 hours actual writing + the 10+ hours I spent thinking about it, just as you do. Not to mention the time spent taking and processing pictures.

    I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to blog more often, but now I’m happy with 1-2 times/week. I think it keeps the readers/followers engaged while preventing burnout.

    BTW, ironically, I’ve been procrastinating on my latest post for weeks now, so I should get back to it. Remember that you started this because you liked it… there’s no point if it becomes a chore.

    • SO glad you can relate! It *is* hard work! I was talking with a friend who just started blogging, also complaining about how hard it is, and realized that it is hard because of my audience. I want to appeal to lots of different people, my friends and family as well as strangers all over the country. To do that, there has to be a level of depth and thoughtfulness, I think.

      And yes, 1-2 a week is probably a better goal for me than 3-4 given my lack of time lately… right now, I have a few things I really want to post and it’s killing me that I don’t have the time! Dang December!!!

  6. Pingback: Oakland Marathon Training: Weeks 3, 4 & 5 | running4thereason

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