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To be a good blog writer, must you be a good blog reader?

This is something I’ve been pondering about on and off for the last few months. I’m always really hesitant to blog about blogging here as, mainly, I think it’s desperately dull for the people who read this blog and don’t blog themselves. So if that’s you, feel free to look away now.

For the rest of you, I’d like to know your opinion. Which is why I’ve decided to publish a completely self-indulgent, blog-naval-gazing post.

So, blogging. Is it enough just to have great content? To be a good blog WRITER (if that is your thing), do you need to also be a good blog READER?

I grew up an avid bookworm. I loved reading books and would immerse myself for hours at a time in other worlds, completely unaware of what was happening on the other side of the page. But I also loved to write. By the age of ten I had amassed a huge collection of stories, many with illustrations. I would read, feel inspired and then write.

The same is true of more recent years. As a journalist, the more newspapers and magazines I read, the more ideas I would have for articles – both on the radio, online and in print. I really do think that the more “content” you consume (novels, news stories, features, photographs etc etc), the more you can be inspired to produce your own unique content.

But when it comes to blogging, I feel a bit lost at sea. The sheer volume of amazing blogs out there can sometimes be overwhelming. And the pressure to comment and let people know you’ve read and enjoyed what they’ve written or posted can sometimes be enough to put me off reading altogether.

It hasn’t always been this way. This time last year, when I wasn’t stretched to working 60+ hours a week, I would happily read LOADS of blogs and comment on nearly every single one. These days, time is non-existent. I’m now lucky if I get 6 hours sleep a night and that doesn’t always leave me in the best place to fit in blog reading time. So I guess I’ve become a bit of a bad blog reader.

I’m often guilty of reading and running, will often mean to share a great post but run out of time, don’t always read a post that grabs me and too many times have had to make the decision between posting on my own blog or reading and commenting on another. And because I’m clearly not an altruistic enough blogger, my own content will always come first.

But that has left me feeling a bit uneasy. Surely one of the great things about blogging is that level of engagement with other bloggers? It’s fine to just post and do your own thing if that’s what you want to do, but my blog has really benefited from engaging and commenting and sharing with the blogging world. On days where I read lots of blogs and comment, I notice a jump in my stats. I find new ideas to inspire me to write new blog posts. And when I’m doing that I feel like a “proper” blogger.

But it just isn’t possible to keep that up all the time. Commissioned writing that I’m getting paid for has to come first and (occasionally) I also need to sleep. Not to mention the tiny fact I have a demanding toddler who takes up just a tiny proportion of my time *cough*.

So where does that leave the blog? If I can’t be a good blog reader to the extent that I used to be, does it follow that I can’t necessarily be a good blog writer?

I’d love to know your thoughts on this, because I’m stumped for an answer.