During a recent online conversation with a fellow blogger, I was told that the reason for my frustrations with blogging was the result of not having enough guidance on how to be a blogger. I replied with “Maybe” and added that, to me, blogging shouldn’t be exclusively about ads, business, traffic, numbers, brands, and chatting up PR.
I explained that I write for my love of writing and I have no interest in compromising my personal integrity or dignity just for the sake of numbers and looking good for PR firms or brands. I’m not against it and would consider pursuing the right opportunity but doing it for traffic and/or popularity’s sake is not me.
To say I was only slightly annoyed would be an understatement. I was told the information I have received was not good information because I struggled to understand it and make enough sense of it to put into action on my own blog.
Because it was late and I had been sipping wine, I eventually left the conversation and decided to just think about what was said. Am I really confused about what or who a blogger is and what a blogger does? Have I been doing things wrong all this time?
Or am I right in that when it comes to blogging the best course of action is to follow your heart and not compromise your personal integrity just to cater to the masses?
I discussed this with my friends and they understood writing is not something I do to intentionally appeal to readers. Do I want readers? Absolutely. Do I want to be able to engage and inspire those who visit with the things I have to say? Of course. But will I write only what’s popular or ideal just so I can rank high on search engines? No.
Some may then argue, “Well, that explains why your numbers are so low.”
But then I look at one of the biggest pieces of advice about blogging and realize I am not wrong: “Be authentic.” Also, “Be yourself” which tends to go hand in hand with staying true to your own authenticity.
I am a writer. And while my traffic is low, my opportunities minimal, and my knowledge questionable at best, I can sleep at night knowing I remain true to myself.
Writing a blog is something I have done for over 2 years on two blogs, this being the one that has lasted the longest and I’ve enjoyed the most despite frustrations. I may not have become an expert in those two years or learned as much as I probably should have.
I often suck at promoting my own posts via social media, sharing others’ content, and even struggle to make friends with other bloggers. I admit I am somewhat socially inept, especially with women my own age plus or minus a few years. I’ve finally learned to accept this fact and feel I have made excellent strides in learning to socialize with other bloggers.
On the technical side of things, I am still lost when it comes to SEO, Google Analytics, page rankings, earning an income without posting ugly ads, or finding opportunities that allow me to experience something new or different.
Sometimes this is frustrating and leads to me think, “Maybe I’m not cut out for this. I should just hang it up and do something else.”
Yea, maybe I should, but why? Writing, along with photography, is one of my outlets. Sharing those two things, while infrequent at times and even mediocre on occasion are what makes me happy. I may not be a successful blogger in the grand scheme of things but there is one thing my friend pointed out that did put my mind more at ease:
He said, “People do know you or at least know who you are. They know your stories. And that matters a lot more than numbers.”
Perhaps I don’t know what a blogger is or how one is defined but what I do know is that I can learn and adapt accordingly without risking my integrity, dignity, authenticity, or peace of mind. To use a phrase many consider trite and cliche, at the end of the day my main goal is to simply continue moving forward and learn as much as I can.