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!