Beliefnet
Mark D. Roberts

In my last post I presented the thesis that blogging is like jogging. Even as many once became joggers, only to quit after a while, so it is with bloggers.
One of the reasons people quit blogging is that long-term bloggers must have several traits, most of which are somewhat unusual. I’ll mention four of the main ones here.
First, enduring bloggers must have a fairly strong sense of self. Not only do they need to think that their ideas are worth publishing, but also they need to put up with the inevitable criticism that comes by way of comments, e-mails, and the derision of other bloggers. Blogging, especially if one touches upon controversial issues like politics or religion, is not for the thin-skinned. There have been times when I thought about quitting my blog because I was tired of being blasted by my critics.
Long-term bloggers must also have lots of ideas. Preferably, they’ll have good ideas, at least for the most part. But good or bad, ideas are the stuff of which blogs are made, and this means bloggers need to have an over-abundance of them. Most people who try blogging have enough ideas for a couple of weeks, but then they run out of things to say.
Effective bloggers must be able to write easily and quickly. Would it be that bloggers were also fairly decent writers! But if you’re a great writer who labors over your work until it is a masterpiece, chances are you won’t be a happy blogger. For better or for worse, bloggers must suffer with loggorhea (“loggorhea” = from the Greek logorroia, meaning “flow of words;” in English it has a negative connotation of “flow of too many words.”) If you try your hand at blogging and stay with it for a while, odds are high that you’ll become more proficient at writing. I don’t know if my four years of blogging have improved the quality of my script, but I think they have just about doubled my speed.
Bloggers must have a sense of purpose that transcends popularity. New bloggers often get excited about having people visit their sites, understandably so. Maybe they even luck into a popular post that drives lots of traffic in their direction. I remember how it felt when, for the first time, I got more than 5,000 visitors in a day. I was stoked. When I began blogging, I used to check my stats (number of visitors, etc.) on a regular basis. Now I hardly ever look.
For me, blogging isn’t about getting lots of readers or some miniscule amount of fame. Rather, I blog because I want to communicate with people, speaking on issues from an intentionally Christian, thoughtful perspective. I want to help people think about the stuff of life in light of biblical truth. I hope to make some small difference in people’s lives, in the church, and in the world. That’s why I blog, and that purpose keeps me going when I’m a. tired or b. bored or c. discouraged or d. feeling embattled or, e. all of the above.
So, if you hear anybody boast about the world-changing impact of blogging, listen with a grain of salt. Remember, blogging is like jogging. And when the pundits perform funerals for blogging, take out that grain of salt once again. It’s still true that blogging is like jogging. Most bloggers try it and quit, just like most joggers. But some, those who are particularly suited to the blogging medium and who have a larger sense of purpose, will keep on blogging for years and years. (Photo: a grain of salt greatly magnified. From istockphoto.com)
The good news, for those of us who are long-term bloggers, is that we won’t blow out our knees, though we might need to buy pajamas with a larger waist size. In fact, faithful blogging is rather like physical exercise, only for the mind. Blogging demands critical and creative thought. It forces us to work through ideas and to support our theories with evidence. It sharpens our skills as writers, at least when it comes to speed.
Unlike jogging, blogging benefits more than just the individual. When I jog, which I still do occasionally after even 35 years, though much more slowly than I did when I was 15, I derive some modest personal benefit. My heart rate rises and I burn a few hundred dreaded calories. But when I blog, even as I profit from the mental exercise involved, I hope my readers profit as well. Thus I’m motivated to keep up my blogging pace even as my jogging pace continues to slow.
If you think you have something to say to the world, go ahead and start a blog. If you happen to be one of the few who stick it out, great. If you join the majority who tried and quit, don’t worry. Blogging is a whole lot cheaper than running shoes and short shorts.

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