You type out your thoughts and ideas.

Sometimes words flow easily and your fingers, though nimble, can’t keep pace. Other times you type, delete, backspace, start again. You stare at the white of your screen, the blinking cursor. You wait for the words to come.

When you finish your post, those three or four or five hundred hard-won words: you tweet, you wait. You’re looking for a response, some comments or a string of re-tweets. You want to be read. You want to be heard. You want your words to make a difference — to someone, somewhere.

You may blog to build your business, build your portfolio, or build your life. But what you’re really building is the opportunity to influence others.

Even if you tell yourself that you are blogging for yourself (to practice writing, to keep a record of your life) or only for your family (to keep them up-to-date on your life, to make it easy to share pictures), you might secretly wish that your blog will connect with others, grow a following — that through it, you will find community, find new opportunities, or land a book deal.

Your desire to be influential may be clearly stated or well-hidden.

My new series of posts will explore influence and blogging, offering ideas and suggestions you can implement in 2011 to increase your influence.

As we begin, I want to encourage you to reflect on a few questions. Answer here, in the comments, or answer in a post on your blog and link in the comments here so we can all learn from your ideas.

How do you measure success as a blogger?

What are your primary objectives in blogging? What are your hidden objectives?

What are you willing to invest to increase your influence?

Note: My idea for this series began with a conversation with Chris Edmonds, who is relatively new to the leadership blogging scene. You can follow him on Twitter @scedmonds; engage him in conversation: he’s listening!  If you haven’t met him or checked out his excellent blog, I encourage you to do so, today. Chris has a passion to help people affect change within their organizations. His weekly posts — look for new posts on Mondays — can be easily applied to increase your effectiveness as a person and a leader. I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know him and introduce him to you. Chris, I look forward to more conversations and collaboration in the future.