A little bit of honesty and hopeful encouragement about blogging

I am going out on a limb today, try to write honestly about my roller coaster relationship with blogging. Bekki (at the Creativity Cauldron) has some great advice about asking questions during creative process,  I find this is a marvellous strategy especially when I am encountering blocks.

I have been struggling with this blog recently, mostly because I feel torn in several directions:

When I first started my blog I wanted it to be an authentic space, where I can express who I am.

Over and above that was an opportunity for interaction with others –  to have a discussion about the things that matter to me.

Since I wrote stories in school, I had a passion to be a published writer – back then it would have been an incredible feat; now it is easy.

It still gives me a little thrill to click a button that says publish! I can get my writing out there for people to read: how great is that? To be noticed – to have an audience. I want it out there.

My little web within this massive world wide web that says

hello this is me

But…After a few months I realised I want a successful blog, I would read other blogs and notice that they had hundreds of followers, or comments!

(Comments were as rare as hens teeth  on my blog for well over a year!)

Isolated among the world of bloggers

It was not enough to write and be published, I wanted a response and so  I had to get my voice heard, attract followers, get noticed – get something back.

With all this connectivity, it was no longer talking within my circle of friends, or at my local ladies group or even in my community.  its like getting my voice heard globally, among the whole world of blogs, and honestly, sometimes I feel as if I am competing to be heard – while everyone in the world is singing ‘I’d like to teach the wold to sing’ (you have to be a certain age to remember that coca cola advert!).

I started to read about blogging, actually laying out funds for books like…. ‘In order to have a successful blog I should be doing…. x y z’ – or an on line course… your guide to the first 1000, followers.. after reading all these my blog felt like a job in itself and not the fun I thought it would be.

The advice suggested my blog should be different:

  • I needed to focus on one subject matter.
  • I should be mindful that people needed to be motivation to read my blog, I had to give them a reason to read.

My blog was no longer about me and my voice but pleasing everyone else..  you know the saying … you end up pleasing no-one and driving yourself crazy in the process.

sigh – back to the initial question,

Why am I writing a blog?

(I made a mind map…using colourful felt tip pens, a big piece of paper and a great deal of writing I came up with a few reasons)

One of the first thoughts was that blogging has dented my confidence at times.

While my circle of friends are encouraging about my creative endeavours enough for me to want to share it with the world, it has been daunting.

There are lots of talented people on the web, with quantifiable numbers of blog followers blinking away on screen. There are times when my efforts looks so small, especially when its followed by a deafening silence.

I realised I need a strategy to make me more resilient to maintain a balance and perspective. Nothing more than a way to re-frame thinking and curbing my competitive nature so that I still feel I have something to add to this global creative soup.

I need a strategy

Advice tells me to stick to one subject yet I resist; restricting my blog to a specific theme goes against my desire to express myself feely – yet it does make logical sense. I would not like to pick up a magazine on crafts and find articles about motor bike repairs!

I live a varied life, with many interests – narrowing my blog means choosing!  Do I start multiple blogs about different aspects of my life?.. that would require a lot more time and makes me feel exhausted just thinking about it.

The process highlights that I need to separate the business aspect of my life, to support my classes and my writing. It thrills me that students ask for details of my blog but I hesitate because it is so personal. So I shall be maintaining a blog about my sewing – and maybe a second for all that is left over.

This questioning session has been useful, I need to create a balance -decide how much of my time and effort I wish to give to this process realistically. There is only so much time you can spend recording and cataloguing your life rather than simply living it. This post itself has taken me the best part of a working day to compose.

The overwhelming conclusion of all this pondering is that I love blogging, despite its ups and downs.

I read a lot of inspirational blogs that are thankfully honest about their journey; they have written posts about how difficult it is at the beginning.  Some have generously shared their process. Some allow a peek behind the scenes to a more balanced perspective from the blog ‘shop window’ with their beautiful photography, lives of blissful creativity and blog following counter in three figures. (Numbers are so quantifiable that it is hard to resist the comparison)

As  I follow other people’s blogs I am privy to these lives, I learn about the positive pregnancy test, the trips to tea rooms and valentines meals, the creative up cycling or revamping, the adorable crochet hat for a newborn nephew.

A notification about a new post, feels like hearing from a distant acquaintance – over time a new type of friendship develops as I follow the journey they are on. Their advice or experience is often a nugget of wisdom that carries me forward on my journey. Can I really have that type of relationship with thousands of followers?

Blogging transcends borders and is a pleasant place to hop around the globe! 

I can read about women in other countries enjoying the same small joys of living every day, in a different climate or culture; they are usually upbeat. We all struggle, we all strive for greatness and we deserve to tell our story.

Reading blogs is positive, for example Jen was posting on her blog (Make do and Mend) about the little libraries set up in her village, it is such a delightful idea. Reading about these positive things creates a balance towards the wonderful things that are happening in this world – an alternative to the catastrophic dismal tirade that is ‘News’.

In this enormous crowded world wide web where it can be surprisingly lonely – I have been profoundly encouraged by my blog readers, especially when they take the time to comment.

It is with that in mind that I try to do the same, because I know how much those few words at the end of a post mean.

In writing this honest account of my struggles, I hope that it encourages others who might wrestle with their blog, or their creativity – to feel the fear and do it anyway.

Perhaps  someone else is reading this and has strategies that has helped them overcome these barriers, I hope they are willing to share here or point me in the right direction.

No matter what, it feels good to be writing and pressing that little button ‘publish’.

ttfn.

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12 thoughts on “A little bit of honesty and hopeful encouragement about blogging

  1. Hello! Thank you for such an honest post. Roller coaster is definitely the word – or rather two words. And all in all it sounds like you’ve survived the roller coaster and now have your feet solidly planted in positivity. Hurrah! Building an audience unquestionably takes time, but I wonder out of all those followers you see others having thousands of, how many are genuinely followers. It’s easy to click on the wordpress follow or the Bloglovin’ buttons then completely ignore the feed. Just as with twitter and other social media, many people explore, follow then give up. I also think a lot of people read blogs and never comment or follow. An old friend I rarely hear from sent me a picture on FB the other day of the lanarte cross stitch I blogged about as one of my UFOs on my boot camp procrastination list – which she had completed. I had no idea she even knew I was blogging.

    I think you’re right about focus. However, I think blogs evolve too. In life we constantly work out what fits and what doesn’t; what we’re good at and what we’re not, what we enjoy what we don’t. Blogs surely are just the same; the blogger explores what they want to write about. Your first year has been a natural exploration of how blogging works and what blogging is about and if it’s for you. Well done for feeling the fear and doing it anyway!

    I’d also add that my attitude as a new blogger is that if I put out something positive, hopefully it will resonate somewhere and help someone. And if what I write helps one person or adds something positive to one person’s life then it’s been worth my while writing the post.

    Finally, thank you so much for saying such a nice thing about me. Glad to have been helpful 🙂 Also you mentioning it has added something positive to my life today. Thank you 🙂

    Bekki

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Bekki, lovely to read your comment and great advice as always!

    How reassuring to read your words about the following counts and comments! I shall bear that in mind when I next wobble on the blog front!

    I was pleased to give you credit for such a brilliant technique for resolving blocks, it works! Thank you x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoy reading your posts, they are written so beautifully and honestly. Although it’s great to get more followers it can feel quite addictive and frustrating at the same time. I try and stick to using my blog as an online creative diary to remind me of how to make things and what I’ve been up to. Hopefully some of my posts might help people find their own creative side too. Although I would love to write more often I’ve opted to find a balance between everyday life and the blogging world.

    Like

    • Hi Stitch sharer,
      Thank you for your comment, its so kind of you to write those encouraging words.

      I agree with you about the frustration of followers it sounds as if you have struck the right balance – I’ll take your advice on board, thanks for posting.

      Like

  4. I am also new to bogging. This week was the third month since publishing my first post. I can relate to much of what you said, and I am sure many bloggers can. You said it so well – it’s so crowded yet can feel so lonely in the blogosphere. I wasn’t expecting that when I started, and it is hard.

    As for focusing on one topic etc, I’ve had the same thoughts as you. In the end, I think if a blog is about expressing who you are, then you have to do what feels right for you.

    For me, the arching question in the last three months continues to be why am I blogging? It’s an exploration, and I will probably continue to blog as long as I can answer that question with a compelling reason, even if it’s just that I enjoy it.

    I try not to compare myself too much, and I don’t think it’s helpful to do so. There will always be people who are ahead and people behind. I just try to find satisfaction in what I’m doing.

    Thanks for sharing – I really appreciated the post.

    Like

    • I am so glad to read you resonate with my post, thank you for your kind comments. I wanted to express how hard and lonely I found it, but I am thrilled that in a small way you feel encouraged by the honesty. You are absolutely right it is a good idea to avoid comparison and enjoy creating your blog.

      Like

  5. Yes, comments are lovely, and I thank you for leaving one on my recent post.
    My blogging mojo also peaks and dives; I wonder/ponder about the disproportion number of downloads (lots and lots) vs comments left (not so many by comparison). It positively puts me off sometimes and more than once I have considered shutting the whole thing down. I would rather not think I do it for the comments! But yes, one nice comment every few days, or getting an email about a successful make from one of my patterns does really make blogging feel worthwhile and that a connection has been made. I try not to compare my blog to others, not always easy. Now four years of blogging later I still need to remind myself not to over-think it and most importantly just do what I do there to please myself and not let it take too much time away from the rest of my life while doing it.

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    • Thanks so much for writing so honestly – right now I am so touched to read about your own struggles mostly because I admire your blog wholeheartedly! What shines out so beautifully is not just your skills and talents, but your generosity – thank you.

      What your comment high-lights to me is that there is always room for encouragement, no matter how successful the website, and Vera Venus, yours is tremendously successful, we all need a few kind that make us feel our efforts have not gone un-noticed more over the time and effort spent is valued.

      thank you

      Like

  6. Great post…great honest share! Thank you! Interesting that I was just talking with another new blogger about the why of blogging recently. I started blogging in hopes of promoting my Etsy site, quite honestly. However, I do that occasionally, but have found a great hope that in sharing about life I can clarify my own thoughts and, perhaps, lift, motivate or otherwise inspire others. I named my blog and Etsy shop Facetfully because I like so many various things. I plan to be true to that, so I won’t be sticking to a theme, in spite of what the great gurus say!

    Of course, there is ego involved in the process. I would hope that is not part of my motivation, but must be honest about the comments and followers feeling like a reward. As others have said, I know some just blanket the Net with follows in hopes of building those numbers. I try seriously to read the posts and comments of those I follow. As that number increases, it gets more difficult because it takes lots of time. I just want to be authentic. Yes, there are posts that I quickly see are not of particular interest, so I might skip them, but I do check them out first. I also choose to follower bloggers that are sharing something and willing to be open about who they are. I don’t follow those who are simply advertising and have unfollowed a few that were just not a fit.

    Whew! Long comment here, but you took some real time on your post and I wanted to share the honesty and blog love! Hang in there, do what feels right for you and I will be following!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Facetfully for taking the time to write your comment – I wanted this blog to be authentic – there has to be a bit of honesty otherwise it feels like I am simply creating a cosy world that isn’t a true reflection of who I am. There is a lot of blog love out there, I have discovered some interesting people and enjoy reading about their lives and points of view. Like you I tend to skip the ones with lots of advertising – I love the connections it creates and like friendships – it always pays to be choosy especially as there are only 24 hours in a day.

      Liked by 1 person

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