For my grad class we are supposed to be “living the blogging life,” which means following, reading, and blogging ourselves (that’s right, you are currently reading my homework). As part of our blogging, we are supposed to be determining our purpose and audience. This has been something I’ve struggled with since I started.

How casual or formal do I want to be? Is this a place for my take on pop culture or more lengthy discourse on societal, cultural, and literary trends? Am I writing as an educator or a writer? What I’m left with, I’m afraid, is a fairly directionless mess.

My favorite blogs tend to have a definite purpose. Joyce Valenza, for example, always provides relevant tools and ideas that I can immediately put to use in my library, with a focus on technology. Jennifer Hubbard writes gorgeous posts on the writing technique and psychology. Cynthia Leitich Smith keeps me up to date on happenings in the KidLit world. She is also extremely generous in her support of debut writers, using her platform to introduce them to a wider audience. Hannah Holmes teaches me something new about the world with each post. Malinda Lo writes cogent examinations of literature, movies, and television through the lenses of gender, race, and sexuality.

While each of these people occasionally stray from their primary focus, in general they stay on point. Melissa Walker has a blog that I admire that shows a few more sides of her: writer, fashionista, new mother, cat owner, and, again, a very generous supporter of other writers. Kate Messner, my role-model in terms of being an educator/writer/mother, also mixes her personal adventures with her ideas about teaching and writing. Balance like this seems very difficult to pull off.

Though I know what I think works, it’s very hard for me to pick a focus. I’m curious, fellow bloggers, how do you structure yourselves? How do you decide what is blog-worthy or not? And how do you maintain a consistent voice?

What are you trying to say?

4 thoughts on “What are you trying to say?

  • September 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I just started a blog with the intention of writing about libraries, reading, children’s literature, and related things. I don’t want to make it a personal blog or a blog about my own writing, partly because I think that ground is well-covered for as-yet-unpublished fiction writers. Because I’m also a librarian, reviewer for SLJ, and I enjoy writing about the kind of things that cross my mind while I’m at work, I thought that would be the best angle for me.

  • September 17, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Hooray, Rebecca, another author-librarian! I think you’ve chosen a good way to focus your blog, and you have a great, confident voice as you write it.

  • September 17, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Megan –
    Thanks so much for this post. I’ve been thinking for quite some time now about starting a blog myself. I follow a number of blogs (mostly about children’s literature) and am consistently amazed by how many great blogs are out there. I want to make sure that when/if I start blogging that I don’t repeat what is already there, but add to it. Purpose and audience is one of the topics that I have been struggling with – as well.
    The two blogs that you mentioned that do balance various interests are similar to some that I follow, I agree that it seems difficult. However those are also the blogs that I am most drawn to and can imagine emanating. As you read those and think about your own audience/purpose, what do you think is difficult about maintaining that balance?

  • September 17, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    That is a great question, Kristin. As I think more about Kate and Melissa’s blogs, what I think makes them work better than other blogs that cover ranging topics is that they approach all subjects with the same tone and voice. It is very authentic. Part of blogging is choosing what version of yourself you want to present to the world, and I suppose that is the choice I am struggling with.

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