Saturday, January 22, 2011

Blog Thoughts About... Blogs

Recently, I've had some conflicting thoughts with my dear old blog. I sincerely hope the next few paragraphs don't offend you, but it's something that's been weighing on my mind.

I wrote my first blog post on June 12, 2007. At that time there were plenty of blogs but I didn't know many and I read very few. I didn't tell anyone about my blog at first, mostly because I looked at it as an online journal for Michael and myself. I eventually told my parents and then a few friends. Two years later, I quietly added it to my Facebook page.

In 3.5 years, I've written 305 posts. Some weeks I write four posts and some months I write four posts. There is no pattern, no rhyme or reason. I write when I want, about what I want, and it suits me just fine.

However.

About two years ago I had acquaintances tell me they read my blog. I had mothers of my friends tell me they read my blog. And suddenly, I had followers that I'd never met. It was a bizarre feeling, but I would be lying if I said it didn't feel nice. No, it felt great. From the time I learned to read, I've loved to write. And to hear that others enjoyed my writing was thrilling.

With this news came big responsibility. In the beginning I would click "new post" and just write. I didn't edit myself, didn't worry about offending anyone, didn't think twice about whether or not the topic was interesting. But now? Now I had an audience to please.

I hated it. I put myself under this ridiculous amount of pressure, when what had brought them to my blog in the first place was my lack of editing. And so I shrugged and went back to what I knew best: writing as myself and for myself. If people liked it, well that was just icing on the cake.

My dad has told me numerous times to put ads on my blog and really promote it so I can retire in a glorious beach town and spend my days drinking fruity drinks with tiny umbrellas (ok, he never mentioned anything past "so I can retire"). But those of you that blog know that there are steps to becoming a big-time blogger. A few options are:

1. Comment the crap out of other blogs
2. Write reviews, how-to's, how-not-to's, etc.
3. Giveaways!

I. Can't. Do it. I read a ton of blogs, but regardless of how popular you are, if I don't connect with you for some reason or another, I just click away. (As a sidenote--I'm a terrible commenter for blogs I love. I need to work on this.) The closest thing to a "how to" was my recent photography post and that was exhausting. And I'm not sure Michael would be cool with me buying things and saying, "I'm going to mail this to a complete stranger because they added me as a friend 15 different ways!"

This is where I tell you that this is a personal decision and I do not, nor will I ever, judge what you do. If I'm being completely honest, I would be over the moon if I had 10,000 followers and this blog was a source of income. But if that were ever to happen, it'd be because those 10,000 people connected with me through my life and my writing, which are both a (wait for it...) work in progress.

I am so grateful to those of you who do read my blog and stayed with me while other blogs blew up. If you're a follower, I know it's because you care about my family. Or maybe it's because you're too lazy to remove me from your Google reader, and that's fine too. One of my favorite things about the blogging world is the overwhelming support people give one another. It's quite humbling but also such an inspiration to me. I hope at least one of my posts has inspired you, even if (or especially if) it's buying a fat cat to spoil. Bonus points if s/he has extra phalanges.

I guess what I'm trying to say is if I lost all readers I'd continue to write, because at its core, this blog is for me.

But I sure would miss you.

9 comments:

Aubrey said...

I think it's wonderful (and completely obvious) that your blog is for YOU. Since writing is as natural as breathing for you, why complicate something so beautifully simple with adds and giveaways and tons of lists?? (FYI, I don't subscribe to any blog like that.)

Yes, loads of extra income would be nice, but if it makes blogging less fun it isn't worth it. So write on, friend! I always love to read your words!

Ashley said...

I'm in total agreement with you. I was contacted to do a giveaway, and I thought, okay, this will be fun and I'll get to see who really reads my blog. But really is made me mad because people found my blog through weird google searches on giveaways, it wasn't just people who read my blog, it was people who didn't give a flying flip about me or my life, they just wanted something for free. Haha, clearly I feel very strongly about it. I won't do another giveaway. If I only ever have 50 followers, I don't care. I'd rather have 50 followers that enjoy reading my blog for whatever reason, than have 10,000 who just want something for themselves!

Leslie said...

AMEN!

Susie said...

Your words are great. Music to my ears and always will be!

Kaitlin said...

Well you know how I feel about this :) BUT, I read a blog the other day that made fun of "mom" blogs and I found myself a little perturbed...b/c well, I'm a mom and my subject matter tends to be mostly about a certain 11-month old baby (who is one of the reasons I started the blog to begin with!). In the end, I decided what do I care?? If someone clicks on my blog and finds it boring/annoying, then I'd prefer that they kindly click away. I write for myself and a few family & friends. It's been an easy way for me to journal current events in our life and to share things with those we love.
If you can make a living off your blog, go for it. To each their own, right?? I say write away, b/c you know at least 50 or so people enjoy it!

Jax said...

I SO agree here. SO agree. Sometime last year, I started to get REALLY overwhelmed by people commenting and I just took a big blog hiatus. I didnt find it fun to blog anymore. The people commenting would often say "Love your blog" and that was it. Cute. Short. And evident that they probably didnt read my post, but instead wanted me to just go comment on theirs. Annoying. So, I stopped commenting and blogging. Slowly but surely, I picked it back up and only started commenting on the blogs I like and started focusing on just saying what I want. I enjoy that policy and still try to stick to it. And I've been contacted for giveaways and I ignore them all. I JUST recently had a company contact me that I found worthwhile...but it's still the ONLY one I plan to mention. Ever. And they're giving me a gift card...haha... Whatever, I'm a sucker for beauty products. :)

Long and short, I love my blog and some of the friends I've met through it...but I, too, work toward that "staying true to why I even do this" on a regular basis... Cheers to you, friend!

Candace said...

i think it is so important to blog for YOU! i love blogs that are real, authentic, and true. That is why i follow you!

p.s. i totally didn't mean for that to rhyme, so please just go with it! ha!

Trish said...

This post is really interesting to me on so many levels. Mainly because I tend to be a niche blogger (at least started that way) so 99% of my readers are part of that "community" rather than people I know--though I do have some family members who admit to reading (by leaving comments). My dad told me the same thing--promote the blog to generate some income off of it, but at least in my niche you have to become that annoying blogger and it just didn't seem genuine to me. Plus I see how hard some of these bloggers work to promote themselves and sometimes it just leaves a bad taste behind. It's kind of nice knowing people read because they want to rather than because you're a hot blog that everyone else is reading. Blogging can be SO political! And in the book blogging world it can get really catty and people get downright mean.

It is hard to ignore audience--I've tried and tried but the only time I was able to succeed was when I was blogging in total obscurity. I think you're doing great staying true.

Jamie and Ryan said...

I love you Mere! Reading this post made me think you were going to quit blogging all together...until I read the last part. Whew. Thanks for keepin' on keepin' on!

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