What's The Purpose Of This Blog?

I received an email a couple of days ago that has me thinking about the purposes of this blog. I won't go into the details, but there were a few lines in there that have me asking myself for the umpteenth time, why do I come to this site and post?

Money? Fame? Fortune?

Nope, I haven't turned into the next BIG HUGE BLOGGER that gets thousands of hits per day...and I'm not necessarily bothered by that. I don't think this site is a failure simply because I don't have as many readers as someone else thought I might end up having.

My sixth anniversary of blogging is coming up in mid August so I've been in a reflective place, thinking about changing this site's design, thinking about shutting it down completely and just holding onto the domain name, thinking about how I have so much more to say about race, class and parenting, this City of Angels...and of course, about Depeche Mode.

While sorting through all that I realized I have to have a clear answer to two questions 1) What do I get out of this space? and 2) What do I contribute to the world, to the greater good through this space?

The answers? I'm a grandma in the blog world. Six years is a long time in the grand scheme of things. When you've been blogging for this long, you didn't start off blogging because you had dreams of becoming the next darling of the blog world or because you'd heard "mommy bloggers" got swag and had cool conferences with even more swag to take home.

Monetizing a blog wasn't even on folk's radar back in 2005. Or at least, it wasn't on MY radar. Instead, telling stories and sharing life was the raison d'etre. And for me, a very frustrated fiction writer with a thousand stories ripping through my heart and saturating my dreams, it was a creative outlet. After all, if I couldn't get the fake scenarios to click on paper, at the very least I could write what I saw, smelled, heard and felt in real life. Voila, Los Angelista was born.

When I first started Los Angelista, no one read it. No one but me. And I was OK with that.

If that was ever the case again, I'd still be OK with that.

That's not to say I'm adverse to having a massive readership. I'm not, but frankly, I find lots of the blogs I'm supposed to be aspiring to become are horribly boring.

I'm also not against making money from this space. I'm not, at all. Money can help me acquire these amazing $155 shoes I'm wishing would fall from the sky and land on the ground next to my feet.

But I digress...

I don't like putting profitability in opposition to creativity. I get tired of that myth that all artists are broke, or being an artist means you're destined to be broke, but I'm not always motivated by money. I'm motivated by the idea that I'm going to push my thinking, your thinking and change someone's life. I want to make the world a better place by sharing information and diverse stories.

Not everyone needs a higher purpose in life to keep them going. Me? I need a deeper reason to get up every morning, and I need to know that what I write makes a difference, whether people hate what I write or love it, I like the feedback, the comments, the thoughts that push me to do better and be better.

But again, if no one ever read this space, EVER, I'd still write it. Paid, or unpaid. I'd still write it.

So, you tell me: Should I be trying to become the next ginormous blogger? Should I be setting a goal that by January 2011, I'll have x many thousands of readers every single day?

What's the purpose of your blog?


I hope you keep blogging. I think you have so much to say. You make me laugh AND you make me think. Your thoughts on race are so valuable. Please keep it up! :)
The818 said…
I loved this post. I have no idea what the purpose of my blog is, and I kind of like it that way.
nick said…
Well, if you (or I) had thousands of readers we'd completely lose touch with them and we couldn't have the cosy kind of relationship we have with our wee handful of visitors. So no thanks!

Personally I blog to clarify my thoughts about things that interest me, and get perceptive comments back that clarify my thoughts a bit more. And my blog visitors can be a lot sharper than some of the people I know in the flesh!
Toni Campbell said…
For me, the purpose of your blog is to make me laugh & think & be happy, which it does.
The purpose of my blog was to keep track of the books I'm reading and the clothes, that I'm sewing. Haven't done much sewing, though!
Dr. Sethi said…
Liz, You do YOU! And that is a fabulous contribution to the world - blogging or otherwise. I think we all get tripped up when we use external criteria for success to define our own. Inside-out definitions of success are precisely what serve us better. We can define our own purpose and ... release what others think we should be doing - that give you creative freedom, and that seems to be part of the point really. LOVE you and LOVE your blog. Keep at it.
Anonymous said…
Whatever you decide? I love your blog and your thoughtfulness. Your words make me happy and keep me sane.
No more anon said…
Please keep blogging! I love the sincerity of your blog. I love that you are your authentic self and don't feign "deepness", you just are. I also love your hair :-). I hope you continue to make me laugh and make me think.
Erica said…
Good question... I think the purpose of my blog changes depending on what's going on in my life. Sometimes it's a support line for me, sometimes it's information for my friends, sometimes it's a diversion. I don't think you have to stress about the purpose of your blog. If you want to be the next big blogger you can work towards that goal - but I don't know... I read some of the big famous blogs and I think sometimes they lose something. It becomes more of a responsibility and less of an outlet.
I too hate the mentality that things are only worth doing if you can make money. What a horrible way to live.

I love your blog. It doesn't matter to me if you're making money from it or not. I read it because I like your writing and POV.
@growmyafro said…
I think this blog a manifestation of you. If it can't be easily categorized it's because you as a person can't be easily boxed in to one category.

LosAngelista as authentic and unique as you Liz, and I think it shows you are many things at once. A woman, mother, wife, advocate, multiracial, joyous, frustrated and incomplete being.

You're not confused, but many who see each side of you may be confused at first by your many facets.

More than anything, I like reading this because I think you — like many of us who read LosAngelista — are looking for the meaning that lurks beneath the surface.
R- N- said…
Please keep writing. I get so much out of your blog. I can't really express all the reasons why, but I do appreciate your insights and words of wisdom more than you can know.
Jameil said…
I was about to be really mad if this was a goodbye blog!!! I didn't realize we're about the same age blogwise! 6 years already! Sheesh! Time flies when you're doing everything else! Lol. I still say, "I can't wait to write about this on my blog!" so I know I'm still gonna be around for a while. I started it b/c I was lonely in Pittsburgh looking for a way to connect. It's grown to include friends I wouldn't have imagined and a boyfriend of 2 years (on Sunday!) I REALLY never would've imagined. :) I write about my life (good & bad) and I love it!
K. Rock said…
6 years is a long time ti have been blogging. I could definitely understand re-questioning it after so long. But I hope you don't stop. I just got here!!

I started my blog a little over a year ago. It wasn't an outlet I needed or anything like that. Honestly, I was in a rut and I wanted a way to meet new people. So far it has proven pretty successful since I have been able to strike up convos with all types of folks now.
Lisa Blah Blah said…
Funny that you should be posting this now, as I am going through something similar with my blog. My family has hit a very rough patch and work has been nuts = me not blogging very much. When I do get around to it, I question what I am doing it for. Should I focus on X? Should I specialize my blog in some way? There's a lot of second guessing that goes on.

Back to you: quite simply, you write because (as Brenda Ueland famously said) you have something to say. You have a unique viewpoint and you write things that make people nod, and ponder, and laugh, and question. You might not have a ginormous readership, but it certainly has grown over the years. We like you, we really, really like you! :-)

Please keep writing.
Lisa Blah Blah said…
PS - I am just a tiny bit mad at you for linking to the Anthropologie site, where I have just spent ten minutes that I should be spending elsewhere. Tiny bit mad, but I'll get over it. (Am eyeing the "In-Season Peep Toes" longingly. I am kind of a shoe junkie.)
Bronwyn said…
Oh, now I want those shoes!

I started writing mine because I was a white teacher from the suburbs teaching in Oakland and my friends did not believe my stories. They did not believe the racism and obstacles, although they were on board with the heartwarming stories. I realized that before I was there, I wouldn't have believed me either. So I write about it. Also, because the kids there deserve more of a voice than they have.


Anonymous said…
My blog is about dealing with depression and healing from depression. I couldn't make it make sense if I didn't write it. I'm still not sure I can make it make sense!
Caryn B said…
I too hope you keep blogging!!! You are an amazing writer....

You have me thinking about my own reasons for blogging.....
Liz Dwyer said…
Yesterday I was so super busy, busy, busy with the All Star Game festivities and work related to them that when I came home I fell out and went to sleep and did not reply to all of your thoughtful comments prior to doing so. Thank you for them.

I keep thinking about so many things I want to write about, so I have a feeling I'll keep blogging. And I'll definitely keep writing about race. LOTS to say about that. ;)

Maybe not knowing the purpose/ not fitting into a specific niche or category makes your blog more easily adaptable and gives you the ability to write about what you see fit. I like that.

True, then you might be one of a dozen "Nick's", when really there's no other Nick but you! -- And you do have some brilliant thinkers coming over and commenting.

You've done more sewing than I ever have! I'm a complete failure at sewing. I'm glad I make you laugh, think and be happy. That makes me happy.

Yes, it made me wonder why I only think I'm "successful" when someone else says I'm successful or worthy. Hmm... Thank you for the love. Thank you and hugs.

They keep me happy and sane as well. That makes two of us. As my youngest says, "We're twins!" ;)

No More Anon,
Thank you for saying so. I've never been a fan of folks trying to be deep. I've always been more of a fan of the say what you mean in the most clearly understandable way... but I often fail at doing that.

Speaking of hair, yesterday an elderly white guy asked me how he could get my hair to grow out of his head. He had such a twinkle in his eye. For a second there I was like, is this old dude tryna mack??? Ha!

The Mama,
Oh my goodness, your baby is a CUTIE! I love your profile picture! Anyway, I'll stop gushing. I agree, over the years, my blog has played MANY different roles. I much prefer the multi-faceted aspect. I sometimes wonder if of the things about being a "bigger" blogger is that you start to censor yourself as a writer because you begin worrying about losing all that fame/fortune/recognition.

It is a pretty horrible way to live. It's no fun being broke, but not everything that's worthwhile comes with a dollar sign attached to it. I like your writing and your POV, too. And I admire your courage in following your dreams.
Liz Dwyer said…
Grow My Afro,
I'm going to print what you wrote out and stick it somewhere I can see. Thanks for saying it. I think you articulated all the reasons folks used to call me weird, but I figured if that's what "weird" was, I'd take it. :)

Thank you for saying so. I don't always see my words as being wise. I think I need MORE wisdom...then again, don't we all?

LOL! Would you get on a plane and come to LA and slap me if it was a goodbye blog? Yes, six years. Blog grannies. Where are my orthopedic shoes? I still think it's SO cool how you and Rashan met thru blogging. Forget documentaries, I smell a RomCom script!

I don't think I'm ending it just yet, but I do wonder at what point do folks decide to end their blogs, and do they miss them afterwards? Blogs are definitely good for meeting people - building a sense of real community is something everyone's clamoring for but we so often lack the time to actually do it.

I feel guilty when I don't blog. Like yesterday I went to the All Star Game and we had a bunch of events with some of the Refresh campaign grantees earlier in the day. It was great but I was WIPED out and could not open my laptop to save my life. But I felt bad for not writing. I've thought about the specializing thing... although I know this will never be a "best cooking" blog. Ever.

I'm mad at Anthropologie for even having those shoes on their site at those exorbitant prices. They need to just have all ugly stuff so I won't be interested. BTW, we should really meet so my boys can meet your girls. Arranged marriages! ;)

Aren't those shoes cute? Where is my fairy godmother to bring them to me?

People always want the heartwarming stories but things get uncomfortable when the evidence that we're not living up to the ideals of freedom and justice and access to a top-notch education for every single American. I'm glad you write about what you see/experience.

Broken Saints,
But if blogging about it helps it get closer to making sense, I say keep doing it. I don't think people are very willing to talk honestly about depression so I'm sure your blog helps folks immensely.

Thank you for saying so. It's very kind of you. How long have you been blogging?
Dena said…
i reconnected with you (after some years) through this blog. believe it or not, i visit here almost everyday to read your words, understand your thoughts & to laugh! keep the blog going, liz. you have so much to say & such a creative way in saying it :)

sending love from your chi-town sister!
Miss Leliel said…
I would be sad if you no longer blogged! You write about things I would never otherwise experience myself (especially race issues) and honestly have taught me a lot!

Any place that makes me think and makes me laugh in one go is a winner!

If you're still interested in revamping the design, I'm still willing to work with you on that! May have to wait till August though, since I've got some other projects and George's surgery in the works.
Tafari said…
Liz, I stumbled across your blog maybe about 3-4 years ago when you wrote a piece on visiting New Orleans & from that point, I feel in love.

The way you write stimulates my imagination because your so vivid with details.

The randomness of your thoughts, observations & rants are thought provoking. And you are a bit of an activist, which I find inspiring.

Personally speaking, I am an attention whore but when it comes to my blog & why I write, I do it for myself. If I can entertain, inspire one or two people that's cool!

So many blogs are about making side money & that's not cool to me. All the ads makes sites either slow or to busy to look at or both. Not to mention bad designs.

So much has changed in general in since we started out BACK THEN. LOL!!!!
Sundry said…
Thanks for sticking around. I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to tackle tough subjects. It has inspired my own writing, though not so much on my blog.

My blog started out as a challenge to myself to take a photograph a day for a year. If I did that, then I figured I deserved to buy myself the Nikon DSLR that I wanted. After I bought the camera, I went on taking and posting a photo a day for a year.

Now, I find myself looking stuff up on it every month or so. What was the name of that Vietnamese restaurant I loved? Where was that little kitchen shop in Paris (my mom, sis and niece are there right NOW, and I was able to send them a link) that my mom and I loved three years ago.

I love telling people about the good stuff I find out there in the world, reminding people that there's something beautiful about every day.

Thanks for telling, and asking!
I started to blog as a way to share my journey in building my acting career with other actors, and to impart information to them that I wish someone had imparted to me!

I've been blogging for about 5 years (I think) and I have changed as a person, my career has changed, and so has my blog. Sometimes I take breaks from it because I can't receive if I'm on "transmit" all the time. Sometimes it's just time to be still and quiet.

I've thought about monetizing, but that would require me to write with more regularity than I do right now. I'm not sure I'm up for that right now. I don't want to turn it into a "job" or a place where I feel pressure to come up with a gimmick to drive more traffic. I like the fact that it's my little corner of the internet. I may feel differently at some point. We'll see.
I should also add that, though I began talking only about my journey as an actress in Hollywood, now I talk about whatever I want. I've changed, and part of that process was evolving to a point where my career is PART of my life, not my whole life. I talk about things that inspire me, piss me off, and other things I think about, and when I have nothing to say, I don't blog.
Liz Dwyer said…
This blog IS a good space to reconnect with people and I'm so glad to reconnect with you. That makes it all worthwhile. ;)

Thanks for saying so. I think part of my problem is that I've been so busy, I don't blog as much as I used to and so I put pressure on myself to be perfect...and then when I get emails like the one I did...sigh.

Yes, I'd love to talk about the design. I think August is OK. I wanted to change it before then, but I'm not sure that will happen.

I'm glad you stumbled across my blog! That post about New Orleans...was it the one about the porch steps? My goodness, I wanted to move there - that city inspired my creativity like few places I've ever been. I was in a space there that is rare for me. I don't feel that creativity right now. I'm thinking of getting rid of my ads but these two boys eat a LOT. Every little bit counts.

Anyway, I think I'm printing out a bunch of these comments and putting them somewhere special for inspiriation. I like that you say I'm an activist. Some folks just say I'm militant. I think that's because they don't have a clue.

I like your photos - especially when you go on hikes. I still have to get out there and hike around. I have a feeling that'll have to wait till it cools off. It is pretty neat to have a record of where you've been and what you've seen. I really like that.

I think it's great that you aren't trying to force your blog to be something it's not. It reflects who you are/where you are in space and time and so it stays true to you.

I agree about needing to be still sometimes. I really need that.
First can I say that I hope you keep blogging too. I primarily read sewing blogs, yours is one of the few lifestyle blogs I read and I would miss it terribly. Plus I like coming here and expressing opinions while they are not the same as your own all the time, are still respected.

I write a semi-popular sewing blog (my hits can number in the 1000s on some days) and I write it because it allows me to express how I feel about my art (yes, I consider sewing to be an artform!) and to share my creations as well as some technique with the blogging world.

It is also so vastly different from my day job (the thing that allows me to pay for the sewing) and it serves as a creative outlet and release. I, too, would continue to blog even if only my mother and a few friends read it. It allows me to express who I really am (with some limits to keep the day job) and I can no longer imagine not doing it.
Tafari said…
Yep, that post was about a porch. *flashback*
Liz Dwyer said…
I'm glad you feel you can have a different opinion from mine. That's one of my goals. I don't like comment sections where you feel like the blogger's trying to "school" folks. I admire your sewing ability. I have none whatsoever so I'm jealous. ;)

I went back and re-read that post. Dang, it's kinda good!

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