Whether we blog as a hobby, or blog to become rich and famous, we all had a life before the blog.

Until Davina Haisell of Shades of Crimson mentioned it, I had forgotten what I did with my time before I started blogging.

Today’s Lesson

I remember spending a lot of time on the computer, but it was what I’d call “unproductive”. I played Spider Solitaire, manipulated photographs, searched Google for random articles of interest, clicked on links and ended up deep into the dark hole we call cyberspace.

When I look back, I realize I wasted a lot of time. Time I’ll never get back.

But that’s the past.

Now I blog.

Even though some say blogging is a waste of time, I don’t see it that way. With blogging we’re able to create an online personality, share that which we’ve experienced in life, make new friends, learn from others who have “been there” and practice our writing skills.

With blogging we can showcase our talents, advertise our wares, create a business and in the process build a foundation from with we can grow.

I see blogging as an activity which has endless possibilities.

Starting a blog is one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time. It’s brought more joy into my life than I could have ever imagined.

For me, it’s truly a blessing.

How about you?

Today’s Assignment

How did you spend your free time prior to blogging?

Was starting a blog a good decision?

Care to share?

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  1. MikeNo Gravatar says:

    A lot of my time was spent “learning” things on the computer, building early websites, earning a little bit back when Google actually had a pay per click search plan, and figuring out how to use the computer for presentations and publications at work. Blogging is a natural evolution from what I was interested in and doing before. I suppose that’s part of why I feel no need to get away from it.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike,

      It sounds like blogging was a natural progression for you. With you being so familiar with the behind the scenes workings, I’ll bet setting up a blog was a piece of cake. And I’ll bet you’ve seen many changes along the way.

  2. John HoffNo Gravatar says:

    What did I do?

    Got out a little more often LOL.

    You know, I just worked a normal job, dabbled a little in real estate investing, and tried a few earlier online businesses.

    My blog is definitely a blessing because it really has propelled my online knowledge, but I do have to say that I don’t consider myself a “blogger.” I use to be, but these days I’m not (because I don’t post on a regular schedule).

    No… I’m more of an online entrepreneur/niche marketer who happens to “have a blog”.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      LOL John,

      Like you, I used to get out a little more, too. :)

      Your comment reminds me of how a blog makes a great stepping stone for other possibilities. With you being an online entrepreneur now, your blog makes for an ideal resume.

      I wish you well in your endeavors.

  3. Like you it was mostly spent reading email or playing solitaire. Even today when I’m bored I’ll waste time on solitaire, but now it’s usually on my phone. I don’t get to the computer as often as I once did, even to blog. As shown by the last time I probably commented here! It goes in spurts, but even though I don’t think blogging is a waste of time, it certainly takes a lot of it and time I don’t always have to give. I miss it and being able to read others’ blogs, though. I’m excited to see your new blog (it’s not up yet, right?) and maybe some time I’ll post on it.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Debbie,

      Solitaire can be addicting too, hey? But I’ve heard it’s also a good way to exercise the brain.

      You’re right. Blogging can take a lot of time, and like you said, if we don’t have it to give, the blog is put on the back burner.

      RE: the new site (Writers’ Blogk). I’m almost ready to reveal it in it’s “test” form. I’ll continually be asking for guest posts, so whenever you’re ready, just let me know.

  4. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. well apart from a job of many hours .. then some sport, and going out .. that was it really – what everyone does. I too looked to learn via the net .. that was my main interest ..

    Now the circle has turned and I feel I am achieving something – I love the blogging fraternity .. and love the learning. Because of my mother’s illness I set up the blog, and realised that I had a talent at writing .. which I need to develop – as that will open many doors: books, ebooks, newsletters or similar, speaking engagements, writing stories .. and other opportunities as I’ve been learning other things.

    So having kept my door open, despite not being successful .. the opportunities keep popping up – all learning curves ..

    I learn so much from blogging – books to read, information I never knew about, history, and I can move on to learning different things …

    It’s opened a wealth of choices .. and it’s all a matter of choice – we can spend as long as we like here (or there) .. or as little as we choose ..

    Getting known is the challenge at the beginning .. but once up and running – we don’t have to be successful .. we can just enjoy our blog and its offerings, each others’ company while interacting with blogging friends (probably with different interests – but interesting educationally), around the net ..

    Where else would I have had the chance to learn how to write by taking up Davina’s offer:

    “The Write Impact is a workshop I’ve designed for writers who are interested in learning and practicing the craft of story structure. Through this practice and with the support of a small group of writers, you will develop an understanding of how story structure can support your writing process.”

    Except by being here .. it’ll be fun, informative and a great learning curve for me ..

    & as always .. we learn so much from you .. thanks so much .. have a lovely Sunday .. Hilary

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Hilary,

      That’s true, isn’t it? With blogging and our other online activities, there is a lot we can learn. And like you said, the possibilities that await us are endless.

      I like what you said,

      ..we don’t have to be successful .. we can just enjoy our blog and its offerings, each others’ company while interacting with blogging friends (probably with different interests – but interesting educationally), around the net ..

      So true.

      I hope you had a wonderful Sunday, too.

  5. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I spend a lot of time on my creative interests such as painting, jewelry design and so on. Blogging opened a whole new world to me. I knew I enjoyed writing but never this much!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Evelyn,

      Isn’t that wonderful how blogging ignited a love of writing for you?

      It’s no wonder your vision board ended up being published in a book. It sounds like you’re VERY creative.

  6. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    I think I’ve always had a blog ever since I got broadband. Before that, I did spend more time playing solitaire because browsing the web simply isn’t as easy on a dial-up connection. But back then, all the blogs I read are friend’s Xangas so there is more of a limited supply. Once I finished reading them, that’s it. If I want to find interesting things to read, I will actually have to go and search for it.

    Now my RSS reader (and Twitter and Facebook) seem to just give me an endless supply of things to read. It’s good, though, that if I need to get something done, I am able to ignore the unread blog posts in my RSS reader, for the most part.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kelvin,

      Things have changed a lot, haven’t they?

      You’re right. If we’re following other bloggers we never lack for new reading material from all different genres. How cool is that?

  7. I’m not certain I had a life before blogging! Just kidding. I am finding that the interactive aspect of learning from people and sharing our experiences is what makes blogging so much fun.

    I have major blog envy today of you Barbara because every time I come over here I see you have at least 40 comments! I have to get over it. How long did it take you to build an audience? I’m on my one year anniversary.

    Happy day friend.

    Julie

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Julie,

      I agree. The interactions we have with others online is what really makes blogging enjoyable. Where else can we communicate with others from around the world with just a click?

      Re: comments. I’ve been blogging for over three and a half years.

      Happy Blog Anniversary Julie! Keep up the great work! :)

  8. Keith DavisNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara
    I did a little website design, html, CSS and graphics using Adobe Fireworks.
    I realised how long it took to design a site from scratch and then I started to see some of the WordPress themes.
    Never looked back and would advise anyone who wants a conventional website or a blog, to use WordPress.
    My own site is set up as a sort of conventional site with a front page, which links to the blog.

    My early dabblings haven’t been wasted What I learnt allows me to make changes to some of the styling on my site and to add optimised graphics.

    Am I a blogger? Guess I am but a leisurely one. LOL

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Keith,

      So for you, a blog was a natural transition, hey? How fortunate you are to know the behind the scenes workings. I can see how that comes in handy with optimizing graphics and/or post titles.

      Even though you call yourself a leisurely blogger, you’re a great one. Keep on, keeping on. :)

  9. MelanieNo Gravatar says:

    I spent a lot of time browsing on the internet, reading news and checking e-mails. Now, I love reading blogs – especially yours! I started a blog that was more like a journal, and now it has become a creative outlet.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Melanie,

      Reading other blogs is fun, isn’t it? We can learn so much.

      I was just on your blog and thoroughly enjoyed your Release Your Inner Geek post. Your writing truly shows your creative side.

  10. Hee hee! I’ve been building sites now since 1994, so I’d say that before blogging, I’ve, well, built sites, wrote infoproducts, built 100s of autoblogging portals and the like.

    Now when I have free time in front of my computer, I work me way thru my feedreader to see what exciting new posts have arrived (like this one!).

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Barbara,

      You sound like one busy and knowledgeable lady. I commend you for all you’ve done and continue to do.

      Blogging must have been an easy move for you as its’ a perfect compliment to all of your other accomplishments.

  11. ElizaNo Gravatar says:

    None of what I did prior to blogging was a waste. I did not sit in front of the TV. I did not surf the Internet. I did not play computer games.

    I knit. I read fiction. I played piano and guitar. I sketched.

    So, interestingly, I actually gave up wonderful activities to blog.

    Would I have it any other way? Nope. I simply traded those creative outlets in for another form. I’ll get back to that other stuff someday :-)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Eliza,

      Isn’t that interesting how that happens? How we give up other passions to blog? And we have no regrets.

      You’re right. “Someday” we can get back to past activities we once enjoyed. HaHa! Typing that reminds me of your brother’s site and the “Someday Syndrome”. :) (P.S. I hope all is well in his world. Give him my best.)

  12. I used to read a lot. I miss that. But I’m back to reading books now – not as much as before, but I’m READING BOOKS again which makes me so very happy.

  13. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barb! Life before blogging? Hmm, hafta check my journals, haha! I know I did a lot more intensive reading, writing, painting, working out. I’m trying to get that back – at the expense of my stats but oh well. I’m a big fan of LIFE. I’m not using blogging for a living so it is really not as critical as my prior addiction would have me think it is. I’m glad going back to school sort of woke me up to just how my days were sucked up by the computer! It is soooo not me!
    hugs
    suzen

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Suzen,

      You’ve raised a good point. When we step away from our blog to pursue other dreams, we soon realize how blogging, or other online activities eat into our time. I’m so excited you’ve gone back to school. That’s a great way to expand your knowledge base outside of blogging and meet others in the real world.

      ((hugs)) to you, too.

  14. One word. Video games. OK, that’s really two but that is what got me online.
    I think blogging is good and wish I spent more time doing than I do offline thinking about it. I know I would be much farther ahead than I am. I also think that if I had started blogging earlier and focused harder when I did start, things would be much better in my life than it is now. Yes, I do think blogging can be that productive.
    We live in a rare time in history. Right now, we can each individual create a message and nearly anyone anywhere in the world (mostly limited only by politics) can tune in to it. Never before has an individual had such an opportunity unless you were one of a privileged few in a powerful position.
    Yes, I think blogging is a good decision.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi James,

      I hear you. After I started blogging I thought, “I should have done this earlier.”; especially when we see all of the possibilities blogging provides. But since we can’t turn back the clock, like you said, we can use blogging to extend our reach and communicate with others from around the globe. Isn’t blogging great? :)

  15. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gail Gardner, Barbara Swafford, UrbanPanther, John Hoff, BELTfree and others. BELTfree said: #bloggingtips Before The Blog – Whether we blog as a hobby, or blog to become rich and famous, we all had a life bef… http://ow.ly/19Cc0L […]

  16. SaraNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    I love blogging. Sometimes I get tired, but there’s something magical to me about it. I love the connections you make with people you’ve never met and are unlikely to meet. I like that age, color of skin, gender, sexual preference doesn’t seem to be that much of an issue with blogging, whereas it can be in real life.

    I love the fact that blogging allows me to experiment and I feel safe doing it. I can try things out; sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t:~)

    Actually, I feel kind of sorry for people who have never tried blogging or those who think it’s just a waste of time. Every time I visit someone’s site and read a new post, I learn something new…it might be something about that person or it might something from their post. But I leave with something…

    I am also awestruck by the amazing talent I’m lucky to have found in the blogosphere…there are so many people that just stop me in my tracks when I see what they’ve created, either by word, illustration, photograph, video or a combination of all of these things.

    Last, but definitely not least, I love the humor that comes with blogging. I think I have laughed more since I’ve been blogging than any other time in my life:~)

    Thanks for helping me to once again know why I love this thing called blogging!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Sara,

      Yes. Blogging is definitely an awesome “hobby”. Like you mentioned, we find talent, humor, friends and knowledge with each click. Although we could probably do the same if we were just surfing the internet, I think you’ll agree with me when I say, reading another person’s blog makes it more special; knowing there’s a fellow blogging doing the same time I am.

      I echo your sentiments. I also love this thing called blogging. :)

  17. Dawn LeNo Gravatar says:

    I would say that I usually spend time on going around, looking for ideas, learning form others (including you). However, to be honest, finding myself a writing style is the most time-consuming part.

  18. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you Dawn Le,

    You’re right. We definitely can learn a lot from others. As for finding a writing style, I’d say, “just write like you talk” and your authenticity will shine through.

  19. HenwayNo Gravatar says:

    Prior to blogging, I used to spend my times in message boards and forums participating in online discussions and debates. I found it therapeutic, to be honest.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Henway,

      I haven’t spent too much time in message boards or forums, but do find blogging to be therapeutic, as well.

  20. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I still read at about the same level as before blogging…I do so enjoy the connections from blogging and right now I am missing make so many…
    I do not consider it a waste of time…and I only spend about 4 hours a day at it…because I do have another whole life…

    I just like living to the max and part of that is blogging for me.

    I love researching things on the internet and blogging makes it more fun.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia,

      I know you’re a reader, so I’m guessing now instead of reading so many books, some of your time is spent reading blogs.

      Like you, I also enjoy researching online.

  21. FaroukNo Gravatar says:

    i used to chat all the time and feel bored, glad i started my blog:)

  22. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I, too, am addicted to Spider Solitaire. 😀 I also did research, research, reading, etc. Finally had to get up and out to clear the brain n let the eyes rest on something else besides typed words!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Linda,

      I hear you. We can spend too much time online or playing games. With blogging, we can look to the real world for ideas and inspiration and NOT be on the computer as much.

  23. Keeping a blog has helped me to find direction in my life.
    Definitely one of my better decisions. lol

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Arts Web Show,

      That’s true. A blog can give us a sense of direction. Can’t beat that, hey?

  24. Hi there Barbara.
    I watched more tv, read more books and did more yoga. Plus, I cooked a lot more. I’d plan to cook a new meal at least once a week from the tons of recipes I’ve collected. I have about 5 binders. Ask me how many recipes I’ve actually cooked, lol.

    A part of me wishes I never started blogging 😎 because it does take some effort to manage the time. Then, I give my head a shake and I’m better again. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on connecting with all the people I have connected with. I’m grateful for that.

    Thank you for the mention, Barbara. This was a fun comment stream to read.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Davina,

      That’s true, isn’t it? When we look at how many wonderful people we’ve met via blogging, we realize all we would have missed out on if we hadn’t.

      I know what you mean about wanting to cook more. The intention is there, but not the action. :(