There are times when any long-term blogger looks at their site and says “Why?”
Sometimes this is a positive thing. It’s always worth reflecting on what a blog’s purpose is, whether it’s to provide an outlet for creativity, or to act as a hub for citizen journalism, or to serve as a launchpad for the next great novel. Blogs tend to evolve a purpose of sorts, even if that purpose is just to get some of the random thoughts out of your head and into black and white. It’s good to have a purpose.
Of course, “Why?” can be a different question, a soul-wrenching cry born out of near-Lovecraftian despair. I had a moment like that earlier this week – I think all bloggers do from time to time, when you realise that the post you’re incredibly proud of, that expressed wisdom and insight, that was the result of hours of hard work, has been read by almost no-one.
It shouldn’t matter really. We’re doing this for ourselves. Search Engine Optimisation is a fickle mistress. Blah, blah, blah. The fact is, when we don’t get readers, we take it personally. Maybe it was something we did wrong – maybe we picked a dull subject or split an infinitive. Maybe it’s the rest of the world that doesn’t get it, the Philistines, and we’re left unappreciated, like Van Gogh.
That’s a particular problem with general blogs like this one. The received wisdom is that you should pick a subject and stick to it, building up a niche audience. That’s probably sensible, but I like having a blog that covers politics and religion and Indiana Jones and Bruce Springsteen and Superman’s folksong influences and the visionary Martin Luther King. Probably not a recipe for becoming the next big breakout star of the blogosphere, but enough to keep me interested.
And that’s the trick, I guess. Remaining interested, maintaining the passion, writing for your own enjoyment and out of your own experiences, beliefs, principles. If they don’t reach a wider audience, well, let’s not kid ourselves, it sucks, especially when the stats of the posts you love get mauled by illiterate kittens. The trick is to get over it – swallow the disappointment and carry on. If you don’t reshape blogging as we know it, so what? Very few people do. What you can do is touch someone’s life, change how they see the world, make them think, make them laugh. Those things are worthwhile, certainly more worthwhile than a thousand hits from Russian spambots. Keep on blogging!
Hey, I like having Russian spambots come to my site. Makes me think there’s something there they enjoy. I couldn’t agree more with you here…many a day I’ve asked myself why I do it at all. But I hope you never give it up, for I like reading too much.
Thank you – no real plans to give it up. I just go through periodic moments of writer’s block and whatsthepointitis. I get over it quickly though!
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I do it because i want to learn how to write better, improve my english skills and to help others with the information i can provide.
I think those are some of my motivations too. I just like the idea of communicating something that people may not be familiar with. Deep down, it’s possible that I’m a frustrated teacher…!
Loved this post! You put my thoughts into words. I love writing about everything too…and when others tell me to just focus on one thing…I think, ICK! Boring! So thanks for the uplift! Blogging is for ME first!
You’re welcome! I think it’s important to focus on what interests *you* about your blog, because then the passion and interest will (hopefully!) translate to the reader. Hooray for generalists!
Thank you! In thinking of starting a blog soon 🙂
Go for it!
I liked this post – of course you express something that we all (all?) feel but so many never talk about. I always get people telling me it doesn’t matter who reads/how many comments as it’s for ME! But of course it isn’t just. Otherwise I’d write in a black notebook and keep it under my pillow.
I wonder what makes me go on….but in the end I love writing, it keeps me sane, and sometimes I get found my interesting people who become friends – virtual or real.
It’s a good thought about being more focussed on one theme – I too like to be a general writer but perhaps this too works against me. I know there are people who hate the ‘personal’ stuff and others who find the ‘information’ a bit boring.
Good thoughts – thanks
Thanks. This is so comforting. As though you read my thoughts!
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Thank you so much for writing this! It saved me from doing it from myself… then crying silently into the night. OK, maybe not the last part…
It’s nice to read a candid blog that isn’t tied up with some Media and Marketing company robots telling you that you’re a lazy ass for not following what everyone else is doing on the Blogging Black Hole, Tweetspace and the FaceBot.
You definitely nailed what it feels like when you look at your stats and see no one has read your latest post. But as long as you still think it’s fun, it’s worth it.