Thursday, June 21, 2007

Blogging the Write Way: Defining Intent

Before you begin blogging, you really need to ask yourself: "Why am I doing this?" Of course, you should probably ask that about anything you do, but with blogging, the reason is simple: why you want to blog will help define everything about your experience, from how your blog turns out, to what kind of blogger you are or become, to what others will expect and get from it.

Intent is not the same as theme. For instance, you may decide to start a gardening blog. The theme of your blog is gardening, but your intent may be to make a little extra money to pay for more gardening supplies, to share what you learn about gardening with other "budding" enthusiasts, to show people what not to do, or even just to meet other gardeners.

Whatever your intentions are for blogging, they will sculpt your blog. If you are just doing it to pass the time at work, your blog will reflect this; if you are doing it to inform, your audience will come to expect informative posts; and so on. And while it is not unusual to veer from this predefined course on occasion, if you drift too far from your set intent, your blog will take on a life of its own.

Now this is a great thing, if the new direction is one you can appreciate and enjoy. Otherwise, it can quickly become a mess that, if let go too far, seems impossible to bring back around.

The intent of this blog to share with readers some of what I have learned about blogging and writing, in general, as well as to hopefully educate them on how writing online differs from working in other mediums. I drop by to discuss whatever is going on in my life or what I have noticed in the news or am concerned with from time to time, but when those posts start outnumbering the ones that actually offer information on how to write and blog, then I know it's time to regroup and get back to my original intent.

You don't need to list or define your intent on a piece of paper (unless you feel it helps you), but you should consider it before you first start to blog and keep it in mind at all times. A definitive intent will keep you focused and make sure your blog is streamlined and meets the needs of the readers who are looking for the content and information you have to offer.

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