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If You Blog, You Should Start a Journal…. Whaaaaaaa?

If You Blog, You Can Transform Your Life

“If you blog, and you want to change your life you need a blogging journal,”

Steve Woods, formerly of Technorati.

In the four years since Steve and I first talked, journaling has become the “rage of bloggers.” This updated post includes 6 questions to ask yourself to make your blog a richer, more productive place, 5 Google Docs to create, and 2 assignments to get you started.

With the onset of COVID 19, sheltering in place, and the protests over the death of George Floyd, a journal becomes more important still. It will take you through these historic times. If you haven’t started one, it’s not too late.

Join the journaling craze and make it work for you.

How a Simple Journal Can Improve Your Blogging Experience

As Steve Woods and I hashed out ideas about two blogging books we might co-author – Because of Blogging and Transformational Blogging, this was the first post in a series about journaling on this blog, Always Write. 

Steve, the more experienced blogger, posed the following questions to ezpand my thinking about the blogging experience.

if you blog

Question #1 What is it that transforms our lives because of blogging?

The primary difference between blogging and writing a private journal or a book is immediate community feedback.

You might live alone, or in a houseful of folks that drive you nuts, but your friends live on our computer.

It is the surprising response, support, and encouragement from your blogging community that heals and transforms you.

Question #2 What is your goal in blogging?

  • Vanity/hobby blogs – not selling anything – generally personal, philosophical, stories, poems, photos, and information
    • Challenge – blogs that call for reader participation on a regular basis
  • Commercial blogs- primarily information for the purpose of developing a loyal customer base

“Vanity bloggers are not selling anything, but we want to build our community. We want to link with those who WANT TO read about our experiences.

We read about their experiences in return. Right?

Let’s suggest to friends who are vanity bloggers, whose lives have changed because of blogging, that they start a journal,”

Steve Woods

“Whaaaaaaaaaa?” I answered Leonard-style of the Big Bang Theory, without the t. “

Always Write Assignment #1

Try keeping a blogging journal! Tell me what you think after a week. Have you read more blogs? Made new friends, achieved any goals?

Question #3 What if we became more intentional about our vanity or hobby blogging?

Jeff Goins created the Intentional Blog Course to help his clients who are primarily commercial. He advises bloggers to invest some thought in what they write online.

“It’s time to focus on what really matters. Because there is a conversation happening out there that you need to be a part of.”

Jeff Goins

Question #4 How can you make blogging intentional?

Jeff is a great guy and offers a a great course. However neither Steve nor I suggest that you have to take a course to improve your blog, Steve made one simple suggestion.

“No, if you blog, you need a journal.”

Steve Woods
  • You need a place to keep track of the conversations you have with your friends.
  • You need a journal to keep track of posts you might want to visit again, or ones you ought to read that you did not have time to read when you were there.
  • You need links to your favorite posts or bloggers so that when you quote them, you can add a link to your post without visiting their blog and getting distracted WHILE you write your post.”

For vanity bloggers, the goal is not to sell products. What if we could focus on the goal of building a community?

teddy bear typing on a keyboard

Question #5 Is Your Community Fresh or Stale?

Do you remember how the world opened up when you started blogging? You realized people out there were interested in you, and you became interested in them. Conversations started.

After a while, did your world narrow so that you only corresponded with a few people?

When you comment on someone’s post, do you take the time to read the comments that follow? Sometimes they are amazing. Do you click with that commenter? What do you do?

Always Write Assignment #2

Here is one solution to keep your blogging experience fresh.

  • Read all the comments on posts you like.
  • Cut and paste those comments into your journal for safekeeping.
  • Include the post link and blog of the commenter.
  • Visit the commenters you like and introduce yourself to them on their blog.
  • Tell them on whose blog you met them. Using your journal to refresh your memory, you can remind them of the conversation.

As you continue to blog you notice which friends comment on each other’s blogs. It’s almost like being in a book club.

Question #6 How would a blogging journal look?

Do you ever write a comment and by the time the answer comes, you can’t remember the chain of the conversation?

Okay, it’s just me, then.

To help us to remember what we read, Steve asked me to design a transformational blogging journal. To save confusion, I call it the Always Write Journal. Here are some tips to use an online blogging journal.

you blog
Sample of entries in your blogging journalCreate

To create the journal, I prefer using Google Docs. Click for help with Google Doc.

  • First start several Google Docs, one for each ongoing list.
  • Title them according to their purpose.
  • Create a Google Doc. master journal for each month or week. Create a list of blogs you visit along with comments you want to remember.
  • Email me at and I will send you a link for my template.

5 Google Docs to record information you need.

  • Your social media URLs You need these when you write guest posts.
  • Your favorite bloggers’ URLs
  • SEO-ready posts if you have a self-hosted blog and use plugins. Most hobby bloggers don’t worry about SEO, but knowing about it can help you create a more concise, better-written post.
  • Your niche list – posts you wrote about specific topics, genres of poems, or types of photos. You can search your blog by category or by word to find a list of articles. List the URLs so you can refer to them if you write a new post or answer a blogger.
  • Hashtags you use regularly

The Result of Intentional Blogging

How and why does a journal tranform your blog?

  • New bloggers write too many posts.
  • They burn out.
  • They struggle to think of topics.
  • Worst, they do not read other people’s blogs.
  • They do not grow a community of like-minded people.

I know. I’ve already made the mistakes for you.

Solve those new blogger problems and make the connections you desire to improve your blog and make it grow.

Journaling helps you remember to read. Better still, you will remember WHAT you read.

What do you think? Start a conversation with me. I’ll write back. 🙂

Related Posts

How to Create and Use Your Own Transformational Journal

Ah, The Secrets You Can Share In An Online Journal a guest post on Debby G. Kaye’s blog

13 Mammoth Reasons to Start Online Journaling Even if You Hate to Write

Nine Tips To Use Your Blogging Journal Guaranteed to Make Your Blog 100% More Interesting

17 replies »

  1. I can’t imagine starting another writing project, even though your idea sounds amazing. This weekend I have two blog posts to prepare and a commissioned magazine article to write. I will leave the journal writing to you Marsha, but I’ll be interested to hear about its progress.


  2. I’m not really getting what your trying to say, but I’d like the template, anyway, since it probably is self-explanatory. So I’ll email you in a bit. ❤ K
    P.S. I like this theme!


  3. Great advice here Marsha. I like the idea of journalling to remember what you have read and what you promise to do. I have always read all the comments and often it is the best part of the post because the conversation can really get going. I think I’ll give it a go. Thanks for the ping.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are welcome for the ping. I love your book reviews. You go into great depth without giving anything away. I am reading American Dirt now. You mentioned not knowing any Hispanic author writing about this subject. At a history conference, I met Sonia Nazario. She wrote Enrique’s Journey about a boy who traveled on top of trains to reunite with his mother. It’s heart wrenching. She won a Pulitzer Prize.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for Sonia Nazario’s name. It is not available to me on amazon whether that is because of where I live or because it is no longer for sale I don’t know. Will keep an eye out for it. It would be interesting to compare the non fiction with the fiction. Perhaps you can let me know your thoughts.

        Liked by 1 person




Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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