Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Insecurity of the Small Time Blogger

“I only have *so many* pageviews a day… what’s even the point of writing?” 

I think that this is something that every smallish (and maybe even every big) blogger finds themselves asking. Of course we do. We blog in a traffic-intensive and revenue-driven society now. It’s very easy to get caught up in the pressure of building our online presence. Especially for those who are involved in large blogging communities, where you exist in the shadow of very successful bloggers, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that it’s only a worthwhile pursuit if you have a lot of readers, or a lot of commenters, or a lot of people sharing your blog, or a lot of people buying your e-book, etc, etc, etc.

But, I want you to think back to when you started blogging. Did you log onto the internet one day, see that some people made money at this, and then decide to jump in? Maybe you did. But, I think that, for most of us, we didn’t. We started blogging because we loved to write. We started blogging because we wanted to share with someone what it was that we had written. We started blogging because God put something on our hearts. For most of us, growing into huge readership or getting to a spot where you could kill it on ad revenue… these reasons weren’t why we started blogging. So, why do we use them as the benchmark for whether what we write is important or worthwhile?

I started blogging over 10 years ago… And at the time, I just wanted to write. I had a lot of friends who also wrote, so we all sort of started blogging – or maybe it’s that we found each other BECAUSE we were all blogging. I can’t even remember at this point. But, it was a small community of writers… and we wrote for each other. Not for the whole internet -- blogging was new and not really like that yet. We just wrote because we did. It was just another way to develop community and friendship.

When I got into Celtic Thunder, I took a break from blogging… about three years. And when I came back in 2010, the blogging world seemed very different from the one that I had left three years earlier. Business had joined with blogging, and it was less about writing for your friends, and more about making money. It was about ad revenue, SEO, writing what your search results said your audience wanted to hear, selling your e-book, building a platform.

It was easy to get caught up in that. It is still easy to get caught up in that.

But… all that stuff isn’t why I started writing. So, when I start getting caught up in it or when I find myself criticizing my own blog because it isn’t building any of those fast enough… that’s when it’s time to go back. It’s time to go back and think about why I started blogging ten years ago.

It was for me. It was purely for me. It was because I loved to write. It was because those days when someone says, “Thank you for writing that… it really meant a lot to me” are worth more than any amount of traffic or revenue could ever provide. Even if those words come from just one person.

Some days, that isn't quite enough and I don’t write for me. Some days, I don’t feel like it… but I try to show up anyway (or at least without too many days off when life gets busy). Because of this one girl.

Last June, I felt bereft of creativity. I felt like I was in a rut, like everything I wrote sounded exactly the same, and that everyone must be sick of me. It was hard to find words… I eventually shared that on my blog, and a few days later, I got an email from a girl I didn’t know, had never “met” before, and didn’t know was reading my blog. She’d never commented, didn’t follow me anywhere that I knew of. I didn’t know she existed.

In her email, she introduced herself and told me that she’d found my blog by searching for Celtic Thunder reviews… but she had poked around , and she’d really liked all the other stuff I wrote, that it had really touched her where she was. And that she came back every evening to read what I written that day. She said that she looked forward to it, that what I wrote meant something to her… so to please, don’t stop writing.

And on the days that I feel like you do… like I’m a small blogger who is hardly a drop in the pond of big bloggers… I write for that girl. And just that girl. Sometimes it’s not the masses that we are meant to touch. Sometimes God asks us to keep doing what we love because what we love is touching ONE person. And maybe that doesn’t seem like much when you blog next to people who get thousands of hits a day. But it’s everything to that one person.

Keep doing what you love. Because what you love, while maybe it doesn’t reach thousands of people on the internet, and maybe it doesn’t bring in the revenue to count as a 2nd job in the family… it’s still important. And it’s still reaching people. And it’s still worthwhile.

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And to the godsend who wrote to me, Thank you.  The reaching out you did that day has touched me more times than you know...

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for taking the time to write this for ME! Love you, Jo!

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  2. Kindred spirit. I write because God gave me the words and well, that's enough. I won't lie and say the rest doesn't affect me at all, but I often discover that if I allow myself to walk down the path that others are on, I feel anxious and dissatisfied by the thought of writing for any other reason. Glad to find you over here. Bless you!

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  3. This post is lovely! And perfect right now. I feel like my blog is so small and insignificant sometimes but then I remember that that's not all that blogging is about.

    I'm a really inconsistent blogger too so that doesn't help. The first line in your blog really hit home. I've been feeling like that for the last couple of days.

    I wish I got an email like that lol. That would really cheer me up.

    Anyway, I'm glad you got your blogging mojo back.

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  4. Thanks for this, Jo. I am such an infrequent blogger myself and have to continually remind myself why I do it. I, too, started about 10 years ago, took several years off and then started (sporadically posting, at best) a couple years ago. I write because I like it and if something I write touches someone or inspires them, that is great. I will never have a huge following or make a single dime (I don't like ads on blogs) but I will put my words out there, get them out of my head, and if I help someone with those words, all the better. Keep writing. I like your blog and what you have to say.

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  5. How refreshing to read this today. I started blogging for fun, kept working hard because it brought me joy. Then, I started reading how I could make a business out of it. But that sucked the joy right out. I write from my heart, straight to the heart of others. Of course I would like to have plenty of followers and enough fan base to do big dreams. But even more? I want to have relationship with the people who come and visit me NOW

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