Blogging can be addictive, especially when people start reading what you write. It is not the same as the writing done by those who are putting together an article for a newspaper, magazine, or journal and even more unlike the writing done by people who author books. A blogger can experience almost immediate gratification by simply clicking “Publish” and waiting for someone to comment. If a blog attracts a lot of commenters then this may demand that the blogger give more attention to what s/he wrote than if it receives little to no comments.
Bloggers who write frequently and who interact with their readers are far more likely to sustain a popular blog than those who do not. Infrequent blogging leads to your blog being forgotten. A failure to respond to readers can be misunderstood a million different ways and any one of those ways may lead a reader to look elsewhere for conversation (or trolling-style debates). Bloggers who want to do a post here and do a post there often come to wonder why they are blogging in the first place. No one reads their blog. No one comments on their blog. May as well keep a personal journal instead.
Students live busy lives. Blogging can be time consuming and if you don’t have time to be consumed it can diminish the quality of your actual academic work and your learning experience. It has been pointed out in other conversations on this topic on this blog that those who want to do graduate level work—especially those who are aiming to be doctoral students—need to spend their time reading, learning research languages, etc. Now, while it is altogether possible to maintain a successful blog while doing these things as well it isn’t always easy or expedient, especially if you have the type of personality that craves attention and immediate interaction. Blogging may become a beast that you can’t control that feeds on seconds, minutes, and hours of your day. Soon you realize that you’ve spent far too much time responding to comments and far too little time doing the sorts of things that will make you a better candidate for the program or job to which you applied.
If you are going to be a student who blogs make sure you are disciplined. Do not let it control you. Do not let it become the sort of thing that you obsess over as you wait for people to respond to your comments. Do not feel obligated to write a post when you need to be doing other things.
This blog is a group blog. I write a large majority of the posts, but if you look at our other contributors you’ll see that one is doing a MA in Biblical Studies, one a M.Div, one is ABD in his Ph.D. studies. These people are busy, so rather that trying to maintain a biblioblog alone they’ve joined a group blog. This allows everyone to continue blogging without the pressure of contributing every day.
Also, let me present something else for consideration. You can be a blogger without writing a daily essay. A blog post can contain a quotation of something you read that you found interesting. It can request help in choosing a book to read or for journal articles on a subject you are studying. You can write three paragraphs asking for people to give you their thoughts on something you are studying. All these approaches can enhance your learning without taking much of your time.
So, if you are going to blog and not waste a ton of time consider (1) group blogging and (2) avoiding essay length blog posts. In my next and final post on this subject I will address the problem of “prioritized writing.”