I first learned about blogging with the release of We’ve Got Blog: How Weblogs Are Changing Our Culture (Perseus) in 2002. I’ve resisted doing a blog at least since then.
Why? The biggest obstacle for me, conceptually, was the idea of writing for free. As a working journalist with 20 years of practice, I felt no more comfortable with unpaid writing than, say, a taxi driver might feel giving several hours of daily rides, for nothing.
Another fact was blogging’s promise of new audiences. With bylines in VIBE, The Village Voice, The Source, Billboard, The New York Daily News, and other media; by doing occasional TV appearances; and through producing a weekly radio show, NONFICTION (WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM, Fridays at 2 pm), I didn’t feel particularly hungry for readers or listeners, as an unpublished or self-published writer might.
But I soon realized that blogging was rapidly growing and becoming more influential. I began to see that bloggers were modifying the coverage of mainstream media, and serving as an alternate voice to the establishment viewpoint—the so-called “Rathergate” furor being a prime example of this.
When I looked closer, I also understood that I was already doing a lot of writing for free. I was doing it in internet forums, in lengthy e-mails to friends, in comments on various sites, etc. (Sometimes, it was pretty good writing, too!)
Neither of these realizations was enough to make me want to blog, though. It was only when I directly connected the opportunity blogging presented to developing aspects of my work life—four, to be precise—that I decided to make the leap. (Perhaps you’ve reached similar conclusions about your own output, whether you’re a writer, or not.)