Personal Blogging

by Neil Fein
I’ve heard this over and over: “To make a blog work, you must have a niche. Something you can point to and say, ‘my blog is about this exact thing.’ ” I went through my feedreader blog list and found a few bloggers that break that “rule” and get away with it.

Blogging used to be a slightly less-private version of the cloth-bound diary; a personal thing, a publicly-visible site filled with people’s impressions and thoughts. Blogging was a pointless, self-indulgent pastime, for those who knew a little HTML or, a few years later, could type in the Blogger URL. Now, with the hordes of Facebook and Twitter users, I’m noticing that personal blogs seem to be more at home on the community-like Livejournal and Tumblr. WordPress has a vague sort of community of bloggers, and I think there’s also a small crowd who uses Google+ and its easy security settings for private blogging. (I know one guy who does that, in any event.)

For a while, everybody blogged, but the freely-visible personal blog seems to have faded away, mostly. There are blogger journalists, professional blogs and reference blogs, science blogs and cooking blogs. But journal-like, opinion-filled blogs? Not so much.

A lot of those old blogs were little more than people mocking other people. That gets old fast. Want to blog for personal reasons? That can still bring an audience, but you’ve got to be good. And mocking the world doesn’t bring in the pageviews unless you’re funny and smart.

  • The Barefoot Foodie has been blogging for years. She’s written about her kids, her husband, her weight, food, clothes, airline travel with kids; really, whatever strikes her as interesting. Brittany Gibbons is a gifted writer, and, yes, her acerbic, funny style may put you in mind of 1997, but she makes it work. She complains about other people, but she mocks her own flaws. And you can’t help but root for her when she does it.
  • The simply-named Zachary Maichuk’s Blog is well-written and always fascinating to read. It’s a crime that more people don’t know about this well-spoken, opinionated, doctor of clinical psychology. He blogs on Occupy Wall Street, political correctness, human behavior, and whatever else he wants to write about. Sure, he’s moralistic, and maybe a little smug; but he’s also approachable and friendly and never boring.
  • I almost forgot Wil Wheaton‘s blog, WWdN: In Exile. Wil is a net celebrity: an actor, a beloved personality, and a skilled writer. Some of his ramblings about geek culture, Star Trek, and gadgets are more focused than others, but they’re all well written.

I’m sure there are more of these gems out there. Anyone here follow any well-written personal blogs like these? Tell us in the comments!


Neil Fein is a freelance editor who specializes in novels. If you’ve written a manuscript or are getting close to finishing, you can get in touch with him here, and even ask for a free sample edit. He’s also the guitarist in the band Baroque & Hungry, he rides his bicycle as much as he can, and he paints when the mood strikes him.

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5 Comments to “Personal Blogging”

  1. My wife and a lot of my friends love Heather B. Armstrong’s dooce.com. Her blog is often hilarious, witty, and very well written. She’s got quite the slew of followers. I like Kelly Oxford’s kellyoxford.tumblr.com. Though it’s not your typical personal blog, she does write a lot about the funny things said by her kids and husband.

  2. Personal blogs are the best out of the lot because it doesn’t get any more real than that. I love the post. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I think there’s a bit of marketing sleigh-of-hand going on. I’m thinking of the infamous “Mommy bloggers.” What makes one a mommy blogger? Well, you have to have both kids and a blog. You can then blog about whatever you want, really, because it’s your identity and marketing that make it a “mommy blog,” rather than your content.

    If I were smart, I suppose, I would market my blog as a mommy blog. I guess Perfect Whole is a personal blog, but I was young and naive when I set it up last year and did not realize that such things were now disreputable.

  4. Barefoot Foodie has some Mommy Blog in it, I think. But it’s much more than that. I thought of Perfect Whole while going through my blogs to make this list, but PW is more of a literary, philosophical thing about education and reading and writing.

  5. thanks for guiding me towards Zachary Maichuk’s blog- well written and interesting.

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