The Loneliness of the Long Distance Blogger

20110705-160253.jpgThis blog is getting old.

Between Livejournal and WordPress it’s been around since the back end of 2005. I suspect blogs age like dogs, and therefore this place is about 112 in human years. Thing is, now I’m having a crisis of confidence.

Don’t get me wrong, I love blogging (or at least the reading/writing part of it, less so the SEO side of things), but I’m now getting fairly convinced that I’m not going to achieve any critical mass with it. And I’ll confess to the sins of pride and envy; I want to be read. Every blogger does, it’s why we do it.

Of course, people do read my stuff, and believe me, it’s appreciated. I guess I just got a bit depressed when I looked at my stats and realised the bulk of them were robots from Russia.

I’m also having a bit of a creative block, which isn’t quite the same as writer’s block. I know why this is – I’m not reading enough, and you can’t be a good writer without reading – books, comics, magazine articles, other blogs, liner notes, whatever. Why aren’t I reading? Well, a) Twitter addiction, and b) looking at my blog statistics and being taunted by the aforementioned spambots. And given that the Twitter thing is at least partly motivated by getting ideas for the blog, I think I can diagnose my problem – I’ve become so caught up with the business of blogging that I’ve lost sight of the important stuff – the writing, reading, commenting, learning, communing.

(Search Engine Optimisation is like the One Ring, shiny and tempting and dangerous, and so every now and then you need a couple of short dudes to metaphorically throw your computer into a volcano, releasing you from its thrall.)

I know this sounds like I’m about to quit, but I’m not – at least I don’t think I am. I get comments saying they like what I write and that keeps me going. Sometimes it feels like a bit of a struggle though, and that’s not how it should be.

(I’m also aware that describing blogging as an occasional struggle should invite ridicule from anyone who’s going through a really tough time at the moment, blogging from a warzone or revolution or something. But you know what I mean.)

So how do you do it? How do you keep the creative juices flowing? How do you avoid the sparkling lure of your analytics page? How, how, how?!



6 thoughts on “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Blogger

  1. Esther

    For one thing, I put no pressure on myself to perform or to produce for someone else to read. I write because I want to write and if someone reads what I write, that is just icing on the cake. Just write for the fun of it. And read some of the other blogs around. Just fun, no pressure.

    1. matthewhyde Post author

      I think that’s part of it – write for yourself, not a hypothetical audience. I tend to write about things I’m interested in, but the trick is to appreciate that it’s enough that *I’m* interested – can’t worry about everyone else!

  2. Deborah the Closet Monster

    I feel so, so much better about blogging since I decided I’d only write twice a week. Have I written only twice a week even once since I made that decision? Nope, but taking the performance pressure off left me so much more energy to focus on the parts I love–reading other peoples’ blogs, commenting on those blogs, and commenting on the reactions to my own entries. That seemingly small act made a huge difference in how I felt about blogging.

    I had a blog online ’93ish to ’00ish. Reading through that is so funny, because I didn’t think about optimization or things like that. I had something to write, I wrote it and moved on. Oh, how sweet those days were!

    Also, even before I read any of the text of the entry, I said, “This is why I love this blog!” Ba.D. asked why, to which I described the image you posted . . . leading him to chuckle, too. I love your blog and hope you find the right balance to keep it going for a long time yet, at intervals and on subjects that flow for you. 🙂

    1. matthewhyde Post author

      Aww, thank you! It’s appreciated; your blog is great, very well written, so your comments mean a lot. I think it’s true that bloggers shouldn’t put unrealistic expectations on themselves. Being disciplined is one thing, but once the blog becomes a chore, it’s time to have a rethink…

  3. Crazy Jesus Freak

    Yeah, I’ve heard never sell out and start writing simply to get hits. Just write about what you like. Visiting other blogs and networking with other bloggers in your field of interest will help too. In terms of creative juices, mostly all artists have to find their “muses”– It can be person, place or thing. An environment, a certain kind of weather, a tv show, an attitude, etc. that just puts you in the mood to create something. You can also revisit ideas from 6 years ago and do follow ups.

    1. matthewhyde Post author

      Thanks for the comment – I think the idea of the muse is important. It’s something I struggle with, finding space to just get inspired (although I tend to get inspired in the shower, which isn’t altogether practical most of the time…)

      Doing follow-ups is a good idea. I think I might look at that…


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