Friday, March 7, 2008

Blogging Basics 101: Getting Started and Keeping Going

Four generations of Riehl-Thompson-McCarthy authors

Blogging basics on how easy it is to get started, but how it takes passion to stay going. Mission drives your blog to stay the course.

1) Blogging experience

Q: How long have you been blogging?

A: Riehlife's blog birthday is January 13, 2007.

2) Starting a blog

Q. Was it difficult to get started?

A. No, it's not hard to get started. The difficult thing is to have a focus and to keep going. If you're going to have a blog, you want to maintain it. While my blog is in fact my website and took some doing to get designed and up and running, it's also possible to get blog going for free in five minutes on blogging sites like Blogger.

3) Amount of technical knowledge needed

Q: Do you have to be a real computer whiz to blog?

A: Absolutely not. If you can send an email, you can blog. There is a bit of a learning curve, but truly, it's not overly difficult and it's pretty intuitive. The technical side is the least challenging part of blogging in my experience.

4) Blogging frequency

Q: Do you blog every day?

A: Mostly, yes. I view Riehlife as a magazine I edit that includes content by others as well as myself. I don't want to let my readers down. Since my blog is Village Wisdom, in some sense it is a collaborative blog, though shaped and run by one person. I feature authors, published and unpublished on my blog.

5) Focus

Q: Do you have a particular subject in your blog?

A: My theme is "connection." More specifically my mission is to create connections through all the arts (writing, visual and performing) and across cultures and generations. I frequently feature the work of my 92-year-old father on my blog and both he and my readers get a kick
out of his wisdom and wit.

6) Audience

Q: Do you have a target "audience" when you blog?

A: I write my blog for people with similar sensibilities and yearnings. Somehow, that's created a niche for me.

7) Benefits

Q: What is your favorite thing about blogging?

A: Just as the theme of my blog is connection, that's also the part I enjoy most: using Riehlife as a tool for connecting thoughts, disciplines, and people. Since I'm in St. Louis I've been doing a
series on African-American fine artists and that's been helpful in forming friendships here and becoming part of the arts community.

Folks blog for all kinds of reasons. Some use their blogs as a marketing tool, others as an on-line diary (web-log = blog) without a lock, others for for friends and family, and so on.

The most important thing you can do before you begin you blog is to understand what your purpose and mission is.


Visit Janet Grace Riehl's blog "Riehl Life: Village Wisdom for the 21st Century" at for more thoughts and information about making connections through the arts, across cultures, generations, and within the family. You can also read sample poems and other background information from "Sightlines: A Poet's Diary" on Janet's website.

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