I recently came across a blog post entitled ‘letting down my guard and writing what I want to write’ by Miriam. I find the post moving in its honesty. Therefore, I was not surprised to see the large number of emotive comments, in response, from people who feel the same way as Miriam does. The post and one of the comments from ‘lostandfoundbooks’ inspired me to write this post in support.
DO YOU EVER FEEL LIKE THIS?
‘The more followers I have, the more I feel obliged to write for them. Then I spend more and more time ploughing through posts and commenting on other bloggers work. I started out full of enthusiasm, I read and listened to all the ‘experts’. Now I am overwhelmed, my in-box is overflowing, I feel out of control and it has started to become too much for me. I feel like I’m working for charity — full-time and unpaid. I know it shouldn’t be like this so I am taking a rain check, posting what and when I want and commenting on other blogs when I have time. If I don’t do this I may close my blog altogether. Life is too short!’
RE-ASSESS EVERY 6 MONTHS
None of us wants to feel like that. Your blog should be fun not a chore. My suggestion is; re-assess your situation every 6 months and change what needs to be changed. After my first 6 months of blogging, I decided to assess my progress and I wrote a post on how I tackled the new task of becoming a blogger. My views haven’t changed radically since that assessment in February 2014. However, I have modified them with regards to social media as I think this the main area which creates problems for ‘hobby’ bloggers.
WHY DO YOU BLOG?
As part of my assessment, I wanted to re-affirm the reasons why I blog. The primary reason I blog is that I love writing, and blogging gives me the opportunity to research, write and share with others at no cost to anyone. That was impossible when I was a young man. Sharing knowledge and information is now an everyday occurrence and I want to contribute. We all have our reasons to blog and they will vary. Make sure you know what your’s are.
SO WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
In my case the problem was, not severe but, I realised I wasn’t enjoying blogging so much any-more because I didn’t have time to do what I love most, WRITE. Admittedly, since I started in August 2013, I have modified my thinking as my blog has evolved but in essence, blogging is my hobby, not a business. I love, observing, researching, recounting experiences and writing about things that interest me. If other people find my blog and enjoy what I am doing that’s a real bonus but firstly I must enjoy what I do. I must have fun, do it my way and be satisfied that it meets my standards.
WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF THE PROBLEM?
I realised that I didn’t have the time because, unwittingly, I had, like millions of others, been sucked into the vortex, the ‘social media’ cum ‘promotion’ cum ‘marketing your blog’ trap. You know the stuff I’m talking about – hyped up by all the clever buggers (sorry, bloggers) who tell you how to blog, market to the world and get thousands of followers.
Now my blog was starting to run me!!!
Why do they do it? Because they are in business and they know they will get thousands of followers who are desperate to know how to get thousands of followers too. So the self-appointed gurus don’t actually need any content (the lifeblood of blogs) which is of any interest. They just need to know how to do everything. Doesn’t it feel a little like a ‘chain letter’? All you need to do to make a fortune is send $10 to the person at the top of the list, put your name at the bottom and send this letter to 10 people and ask them to do the same. In 4 weeks you won’t have enough room for all the money you are going to receive. Why have we all been working for so long?
Would I ever join Facebook, and subject myself to the mindless ‘tittle tattle’ daily, if I didn’t have a blog? An emphatic NO and my views have definitely not changed on that one! So why did I join? Because when I started out blogging I believed what I was told and that it was crucial to do so. I still have a social media presence but I only use the ones I like selectively. Facebook is bottom of my list and I reluctantly call in occasionally.
I started to get really worried when I believed an article which encouraged bloggers to post less.
It read (not verbatim);
‘Many people fall into the trap of writing more and more creative, informative and interesting posts instead of spending their time marketing and getting more followers.’
It actually went on to say that if you don’t follow this advice you are effectively wasting your time. I may have some sympathy with that view if my blog is my business, but it isn’t. Here’s the rub. Most of these ‘gurus’ don’t explain the difference because it is not in their interests to do so.
Imagine telling Renoir to stop painting after one creation saying; ‘get on your bike and keep cycling around the town until someone buys it, then you can paint another if you like.’
WHAT IS THE LIKELY OUTCOME?
Having identified the cause where is this all leading. Quality content must be the priority for any serious blogger. Without content, there is no basis for communication and reaction to our work we may desire in whatever measure. So it must be the first thing on the agenda. If we bring marketing (social media) to the fore are we not ‘putting the cart before the horse’? And if so what is the likely outcome?
Aggressive promotion of second-rate content looks like the only scenario, which doesn’t fill me with joy.
There is a world of difference between a blog and a web-based business so have the blogging waters got somewhat muddied. We are either being confused or are guilty of confusing ourselves. If you are a web-based business you need the marketing machinery, accepted. If you are a non-commercial blogger you don’t need it unless your ego has got the better of you.
Identify the problems take CONTROL, do it YOUR WAY and you will bring the FUN right back into your blogging quicker than you think.
Your blog is you, don’t compromise.
I’m sure you have a lot to say.
So say it please, you may surprise
The ones who listen, just might stay.
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