Ans. 1: Someone who knows something about marketing and writing told me it was a necessity if I ever expected to sell any books.
Ans. 2: Once I began, I discovered it was more or less equivalent to "journaling," and I know that's a practice reputed to be necessary for a serious writer.
Ans. 3: After someone read one of my posts and saw fit to reply to it, it was like winning a small prize. I got a taste for it and craved more feedback.
Ans. 4: Now that USA Today has printed an article about the possibility of an editor making contact because of reading a blog -- how can I stop?
Given to circular reasoning as I seem to be, I'm about back to the first answer. The problem, however, arises when the blogger has a target audience not only in mind, but probably the only possible one. I'm not a writer who can take advantage of trends or fashions. I have long-established prejudices for and against various kinds of reading, and they color my view of what I want to write and what I'm able to write. Most of my most likely audience would never look at a blog. (This has more to do with non-familiarity with computers than snobbery, I hope.)
No matter how much or how little ego one might possess, the act of writing in any serious way (as opposed to the social network "tweets", et al.) is meant to result in acquiring repeat readers. And, in the immortal words of the Bard, "there's the rub."
How does one get those? Without doubt, wittiness is an advantage; humor is almost essential, even if sometimes it's either too subtle or just a flop. You need a good animal story or cute pets or adorable grandchildren to photograph, and then you're ahead of the game. But here's the thing: most of the time I'm not funny (and if I am, I have to hope it's obviously on purpose); I have a hundred animal stories, but most of them are of interest only to people who are familiar either with the critters themselves or with others of the same kind. My grandchildren are too big to be photogenic as children since they're mostly adults. W. C. Fields said it all about children and animals. If you can't top them, don't go there. You won't be noticed among the fur and feathers anyway.
Have I garnered any notice as a writer from these posts? Very little. Fortunately, I'm enjoying the few readers who bother to let me know they've seen them, and they've become friends. Editors, agents, publishers? Forget it.
But that's the trouble. I can't forget it. If there's no purpose other than to massage my own ego, this is an enormous waste of time. Still, it has done one valuable thing for me: I've discovered that I may have written my last novel. Fiction is just too much work! Diana Athill said something like that in her latest book. Having been reared, as she was, with the notion that one shouldn't be too impressed with oneself, I hesitate to do this blogging bit because it's so self-involved. Just because it interests me while I'm doing it isn't enough excuse to suppose others won't be bored stiff. Yet, now that I've found out how much easier it is to write what we were taught in school to call "personal essays," I've discovered how much fun it can be. [I just wish I could find an agent for the third novel, though!] I wonder if there isn't a book of essays in the offing -- if anyone reads essays any more...
So, if you've read this, watch out. There's apt to be more where this came from.