Monday, September 19, 2011
Blogging and Being True To You
Last week, I had the immense pleasure of getting together with fellow blogger and friend, Jen @ When Pigs Fly while she was in Philly. And of course, we discussed blogging and some of the challenges we all seem to experience at one time or another.
Things like: readership, comments, writers block, change, and motivation.
I’ve only been blogging for five years, therefore am by no means an expert in the ways of how or how not to blog.
Yet, there is something I’ve observed when it comes to blogging that I would like to share.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
You start a blog. You begin by writing posts you feel inspired and passionate about because this is the whole reason why you started blogging - to create your own personal space where your voice and creativity have wings.
At first you have no readers, so it’s easy to express yourself because there is no feedback through comments. It’s simple. It is just you, your thoughts, and your space.
Then, after a month or so you start to get readers who are leaving comments.
Because let’s be honest….we ALL enjoy comments.
Then, after several months or even a year, you start to get MORE readers. MORE comments.
However, as your readership begins to grow you notice that not all your readers are the same. Meaning, they don’t have the same interests. Some may comment on certain posts because it touches them in some way, while others don’t comment because what you’re blogging about may not prompt them to respond, or they simply enjoy reading and not commenting.
And then you begin to wonder….
“Yikes….I’m not getting as many comments as I use to, what’s happening?”
“Am I doing something wrong?”
“I’m losing readers, what can I do to keep them?”
So, you start to conform what you share in your posts to your readers, but at the same time you realize it’s going to be a challenge because not all of your readers enjoy the same topics.
And you know this because you’re judging it by how many comments you get on each post.
You unconsciously start grading yourself on how good or bad your posts are by the amount of comments you get.
Slowly, you begin to question what you share because you don’t want to lose readers.
And then before you know it, you’re not writing your blog to express your voice anymore….you’re tailoring it to your readers; trying to please everyone.
Now I’m going to say something that may sound a bit blunt, but I have found it to be true.
You’re never going to please ALL your readers ALL the time.
And honestly, there is nothing you or I can really do about that.
The only thing we can do is share what we feel passionate about.
And I know this because in the five years I’ve been blogging, my readership and comments have fluctuated greatly.
And do you know what?
None of that should matter, because I can’t possibly help what my readers will enjoy. The only thing I know is that I enjoyed sharing it.
I’ve learned that I must be aware and considerate of my readers, but at the same time remain true to me.
Most of us are not getting paid to write our blogs. Most of us are doing this because we simply love to blog, express our creative spark, share stories, and meet people from all over the world.
Having a blog is like a newspaper. Some days people will read it daily, then there are others days when not as many people will. But that still doesn’t make any of our posts less news worthy.
So, if I can share any advice with those of you who have ever questioned your ability to sustain a blog, or begin to doubt yourself in anyway, I say this….
Don’t ever be afraid to take chances and share topics you assume your readers may not enjoy or initially understand. Because not only will you be denying your voice, but also the chance for your readers to discover something they might have never known.
Therefore, take chances. Change. Expand. Like life itself.
And just remember WHY you started blogging in the first place.
To express yourself.
Allow readership to be readership. And comments to be comments.
Because they will naturally flow like the ebbing of the sea.
And know in your heart….you are being true to YOU.
Blog on, everyone!