Ranting and Raving

Dear Blogging Experts

It seems like at least once a week I read articles or tweets discussing the demise of blogging.  Lately I’ve heard that:

  • You have to write lists because people don’t read paragraphs.
  • No one reads book reviews
  • You have to monetize your blog
  • You have to make every post a Pinterest-ready how to with graphics.
  • You need to do x, y, and z to make sure that you are growing your followers.

It is crazy making.  If people are trying to follow all the advice that is out there, no wonder the average life span of a blog is about six months.

I admit there are times when I get distracted by the hype.  I start looking at posts about “I made $20 gabillion this month on my blog!” and wonder what I’m doing wrong.  Or I start reading about 5 Strategies to Increase Your Blog Followers and start to feel the pressure of needing to increase numbers.  But then I stand back and ask myself, “Why?”

I started blogging back in 2004.  I started because at the time I was married to a person who was not interested in any opinion I had.  I started blogging as an outlet for my thoughts.  It was an online journal.  If people found it and interacted with me that was a bonus, but it wasn’t and has never been the point.

If no one ever read what you wrote, would you still write?

If you can answer yes to that question, then you will probably stick around the blogging community.  If you aren’t receiving intrinsic rewards from the joy of the writing then probably any extrinsic rewards like stats or money isn’t going to be enough to keep you going.

For me blogging is not a money maker.  I’ve deliberately not monetized the blog except for Amazon links.  I don’t want that kind of pressure.  I’m fortunate in that I’m financially secure enough to be able to pay for my blog hosting fees and some giveaways without having to make the money up on the blog.  I’m not against people making money on their blogs but I find that whenever I think about it, it takes the joy out of the hobby.

I post book reviews because I want the opportunity to download the book and my thoughts about it out of my brain.  I write travel posts to highlight fun places to go.  I write discussion posts to vent.  I write less personal posts than I used to mainly because my life is pretty drama-free at the moment (Dear Universe, that is praise and not a complaint!).  I post less about quilting because I’m a slacker.  I don’t want to ever think, “If I post this, will it drop my numbers?”

This blog has never been particularly popular.  Maybe if I restructured it according to all the “rules” then it would be.  But it wouldn’t be me.  It would be me conforming to what the experts say I need to do and they aren’t the boss of me.  So I’ll be over here writing about whatever comes to mind knowing that those experts will probably be gone soon and a new crop will come along with different rules that I’m going to ignore too.

 

10 Comments

  • Tina

    Keep going. I just started up a new book blog because WordPress was driving me crazy (new editing format) and I never once thought about who might follow me there. It’s important for me to write because I like it. I’ve seen the articles you mentioned and don’t think about following their suggestions. Rock on and write what motivates you!

  • Rachel

    I have no interest in monetizing my blog, which is why I went the cheap old Blogger way. Everyone told me I was wrong. I replied that I had thought about it and didn’t give a poop. Blogger fit my needs better, and I was familiar with it because of my retired blog.

    I’m fascinated with my stats and check them multiple times a day. But I love any set of stats, so that’s not weird. I’m super proud when I get more than one comment on my blog, and thrilled when a post gets 40 hits. I’m proud of my 3 Google Friends followers. That’s probably a “not popular” blog, but I’m happy with it.

    My point in blogging is to write and think critically. I’m mentally ill, and writing is very cathartic. I write 30 page letters to my cousin each week. (They include the blog posts. He’s in prison with no internet access.) If noone read my blog, I might quit. But since 15-40 hits makes me happy, that’s not a problem. 😊

  • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    This is so true. I remember awhile back writing a post entitled “I Wasn’t Stressed About Blogging Until I Found Out I Was Doing It Wrong” which highlighted the myriad “rules” that people seem to put out there about blogging and how it’s impossible to actually follow them all (and how I don’t really even want to!). It’s great that you blog for your enjoyment. I do have some goals when it comes to my blog, but those are my goals – none of them have been imposed on me. I think that’s the only way goals will work!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  • victoriansoul

    NoseGraze did an article awhile ago to explain that unless you were a really (REALLY) popular book blogger, you couldn’t live off of the proceeds from your blog. I never cared about stats when I started, I don’t really care to start caring now 🙂 , even though I do keep track of which months/posts were the most popular and why (it’s like an ongoing human experiment). I decided when I started I would never do ads or even links, because this is just another hobby for me, and I spend a lot more money on my other hobbies than I’ll ever spend on blogging. In short, when I see those posts, I ignore them, or click and read to amuse myself, as some of their advice is so laughable.
    I love your “they aren’t the boss of me” line- I can’t stand anyone telling me what to do either.
    ~Litha Nelle

  • Literary Feline

    There was a time when I cared about stats and would get really upset if I didn’t receive comments on each and every post. I burnt out after awhile. I know I use this excuse too much, but it really is true. When I had my daughter, it forced me to take a step back and re-evaluate my attitude about and purpose for blogging. I enjoy blogging. I like the community aspect. I don’t post every day anymore. I don’t pay attention to stats. I still like comments, but they aren’t the end all be all. I take breaks whenever I feel like it, sometimes taking weeks off at a time.

    I don’t make any money off my blog. I review books and participate in a few hated memes that the experts say to avoid. I never look at my stats anymore. I do what I want at my own pace. My blog isn’t my first priority and it’s not my second or even my third. It’s a hobby for me. I am a much happier blogger now than I was when I put myself under all that pressure.

    I think you’ve got a great attitude–blog in a way that works for you and what makes it fun for you.

  • Laura

    I’d really like to think I would still write, even if no one read it. My own blog isn’t particularly popular either, so it can feel a bit like I’m just writing for myself anyway, but I quite like that in a way. I feel a lot less self-conscious about what I write and giving my opinions if I assume no one else is reading!
    I do read all those posts about making money off blogging and about increasing followers too, and it does make me and my little blog feel a bit inadequate at times, which it really shouldn’t. For me, blogging is a fun hobby, and one where I get to share my interests with other people, however many or few of them there are.
    Great post!

    • heather

      I don’t tell anyone I know in real life where my blog is because I know I would censor myself more if they were reading it. No one understands why I can be more open with strangers on the Internet than people I know. It makes sense to me.

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