Friday, November 14, 2014

To Be a Fan (Or, Alternately, The Blogger is Out)

Flickr Credit: Neal Sanche

Well hi there. 

I have no idea who you are. Maybe you have no idea who I am. We could be anybody, couldn't we? 

But thus far in the post, I have a fairly good idea of our relationship. I am the writer, and you are the reader. You expect me to be devilishly charming and possibly witty, a very intense narrator who has something to give to you—someone isn't going to waste your five minutes. 

I'd like to change that, just for a week. 

I don't feel like an awesome blogger or writer this week. You may remember that I posted Writing Promises, and participated in the Beautiful Books Linkup and Teens Can Write Too! Blog Chain. All three of those things were closely linked to other blogs, and it's given me a chance to read a lot of other blogs. It's fun, but it also sparks thoughts in the brain that look something like this:

Wow. You have no writing voice.
You realize that this person has a billion followers and you have what? Six? That is literally 999,999,994 more followers than you have. Fail-ure.
Did you ever think that your blog has no focus and maybe that's why it's so hard to read?
Everyone else has Bloglovin. And Twitter. And this other platform you've never heard of, but I'm sure that's why they are better than you.
The problem with your blog is that you use Blogger instead of Wordpress, which isn't something respectable at the best of times. 
Too bad you can't polish a manuscript like other writers.
Clearly, everyone else has better ideas than you. 
Get it together already—you're being stupid. 

And these are not my favorite thoughts to have. In fact, they are some of my least favorite thoughts, and they don't make blogging enjoyable at all. 

So I'm taking the week off for blogging. Or, I can at least promise I'll be back by the 25th, because no matter how unfun I'm feeling today it seems like a first Blogaversary would be a sorry thing to miss. 

Here's what I am going to do: 
  • Keep reading and commenting on blogs
  • Think about where I'm at as a blogger and as a writer
  • Write a post or two for Wandering in a Blur, because that place has been seriously neglected by yours truly
  • Not feel guilty that I'm not blogging
  • Read other blogs as a reader—I will be there only because I want to be there, and not because I have misguided hopes of gaining followers or to make a good impression
  • Work on my WIPs
  • Be a fan
The last one sounds a little weird, but it ties in with the rest, I think. What I know is this: blogging is kind of pointless without other people to read it. You blog to be helpful, to share who you are and what you have to say in a semi-coherent way. 

And sometimes it's easy to forget that. "I'M the writer, so the blog is about ME and people write because they want read what I wrote and comment on MY ideas." 

So this week, I'm not going to be the blogger. I have no reason to be anywhere but for my own pleasure, and for my own chance to enter discussions and learn more about my craft. For a week, it's going to be about other blogs, learning what they have to say, what secrets they might hold in their midst. What makes them awesome, what makes them shine. 

And then it's going to be about showing that I care. That I didn't just scroll down to the bottom and write sweet nothings in their comment box, that I didn't just look at the GIFs and ignore the words, that I actually read the stuff they wrote. That I am a reader, and I'm not there for attention. 

Call me an explorer. Call me crazy. 

Whatever I am, the general point of this post is a thing I already said: NO POSTS THIS WEEK. 

Hopefully, they'll only be better when I get back. 

In the meantime, if you have anything you think I should take a look at—anything I should try being a fan of—share it with me in the comments or on Facebook! I can't promise I'll fawn over whatever it is you share with me, but I can promise I'll give it a chance. 

(And, as a bonus, I'm going to promote the things I am giving reader-ship to on the Facebook page, so if you follow that you'll still have plenty of interesting things to read.)

Adieu, and hasta la vista! 

So, do you know of anything awesome I should take a look at this week? Feel free to share it with me in the comments so I can check it out!

26 comments :

  1. I understand feeling like a failure in comparison to other bigger blogs. *sigh* I spent 3 years really frustrated that I couldn't build my audience and that...it was just slack. But something clicked and *shrugs* I AM happy with my blogging now, but there are still soooo many better bloggers. It gets overwhelming. And exhausting. Taking breaks is good! I'm taking an accidental but enforced break at the end of November. x) I'm kind of looking forward to it though. Hopefully I'll come back to blogging with fresh ideas and excitement.
    I think it's a wise idea to sit back occasionally and just be a fan. But don't ever lose faith in your own blogging!!

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    1. Well, it's good to know that other bloggers do this too, because sometimes you'd think everyone else is having a party and you're the only one who's ever dealt with a rain cloud. :P But is that your trip you mentioned in your blog post today? Because that sounds like it's going to be a FUN break, and touristing is occasionally awesome.

      Thanks for the encouragement!

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  2. Ooh, I love this post! This is my first time seeing your blog but I really enjoyed reading this and I think I'll be following now. :-) I totally understand that feeling, by the way - I just started blogging and I've had ups and downs, and had to remind myself that it's a thing that takes work and doesn't always work out, and that's okay, as long as I'm writing about things I like. Best of luck!

    aimeemeesterwrites.blogspot.com

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    1. Haha, I'm glad you love it, and thanks for the follow! But you're so right—blogging has its ups and downs, but ultimately we're here to just keep practicing and figure out what does work.

      *goes to check out your blog*

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  3. I've only been blogging for almost 2 years, but some days I feel exactly the same way. I used to try to to be witty, provide entertaining content and just be ore fun. But it was too tiring and it wasn't me. I thought I had to compete with other blogs, but in the last year I realised that I don't. At all. I've been able to find my audience just by being myself. Some weeks I post three or four reviews, last week was only one.

    But there's been some blogs that only post weekly and have a huge following. They share their lives, loves and passion in their posts and that's what makes an awesome blogger for me. Be yourself and post when you want and what you want. Even going by this post, I'm a new fan and will be stopping by to see what you're up to / stalk you.

    I'm a friendly stalker, so you'll be safe.
    Unless you have cupcakes, then it's on like Donkey Kong.

    Thanks for sharing Heather and remember you're part of a bigger community and never alone <3

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    1. You know, you're totally right, and you said it in a way I hadn't thought about before: "I thought I had to compete with other blogs." And it's easy to think that if one person spends time on someone else's blog, it's in direct proportion to them not spending time on mine... and that's a huge lie! I think I fell into that trap too, but I don't have to outshine anybody—I just have to shine. "Lives, loves, and passion," just like you said!

      Don't worry, though. I too am part of the order of friendly stalkers, so feel free to hit me with my best shot.

      And again, thanks for the comment and the excellent reminder: blogging is definitely meant to be a community event!

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  4. I feel the same way quite often- I'm glad I'm not the only one! Every blog feels a million times better than mine (and I view your blog as one of those).
    I took some time a while ago to observe other blogs and I think that it helped me find my little corner of the blogging world.

    Have fun with your week off! :)

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    1. Absolutely not, ma'am: we are definitely not alone. XD It's funny, though, because your blog is so pretty I always thought you had it figured out too.

      But I agree—taking a little time to stop and think is a useful exercise... And you can bet I'm having a ton of fun already! :)

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  5. Ugh, I know exactly what you mean. I think most bloggers would agree with this. There's always someone who's got it more together than you have, someone with a better blog design, more followers, wittier posts, better ideas. It can really be overwhelming sometimes trying to keep up. Taking a break is a great idea. Hopefully when you come back you'll be full of ideas and refreshed for your own blogging. In the meantime, I'm loving seeing the blog posts that you've been sharing on Facebook.

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    1. It's funny, because before I did this it didn't really occur to me that other people deal with this two, even if they seem like they have it together. Overwhelming is a good word to describe it, but I'm also figuring out that keeping up doesn't necessarily mean how your blog looks, but how your blog reflects your actions. Maybe? It's a curious thing!

      Anyway, I'm glad you're enjoying my great finds. :) It's surprising where a single link can take you.

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  6. *smashes head against wall* I saw this a while ago and meant to comment, but completely forgot. Anyways, just wanted to wish you a happy non-blogging time! Hope you find some awesome blog posts to read and write a lot of also awesome blog posts when you feel refreshed! :D

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    1. Don't worry—that happens to me sometimes too. Thanks for checking in, and don't worry, I'm finding WAY more awesomeness than I anticipated. :)

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  7. It can be overwhelming looking at all of the fancy huge blogs, but they didn't start out with lots of followers, or probably with as good of a voice. I think the trick is to just stick with it and to enjoy yourself. I totally understand how you're feeling though because I stress over everything too. But I try to keep blogging fun or what's the point.

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    1. You've got that right. But, thanks for the solidarity. It definitely adds to the point of this entire week.

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  8. *hugs*

    what nobody told me before i dived headfirst into blogging was that blogging is a seriously time-consuming hobby. it takes a load of time to read books, write posts and oh, i still have to network with ppl? *groans* i've never been good at networking and blogging has been a great deal of challenge. but never feel discouraged!! i took quite some breaks while i blogged and they helped me to refresh, recharge and refocus. my advice would be to have as much fun in your break now, get a feel of how other blogger blog, then think about what will make your own blog unique and keep working towards it! i've been blogging for 3 years now and i am still learning everyday. it's really fun, and well, all of us will always be here for you =)

    p.s. early happy one year anniversary!

    alicia @ noverly things

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    1. *hugs back*

      You're totally right—it's easy for people to say "Write a blog, it's fun!" without telling you about all those other things you mentioned. I think that's another thing that can easily blow you back: "You mean I have to know stuff?" But thanks for the advice and encouragement—refocus definitely seems the theme of the week, and it's changing a lot of perspectives I didn't expect to change.

      (And thanks! I'm excited!)

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  9. I think this is something everyone struggles with at one point or another, and I definitely am the type of person to have this sort of mindset too. It's really easy to get down on yourself and lose motivation. It's easy to say "Oh, do it because you like it" but you inevitably want more out of it, especially when there are so many blogs out there to compare yourself to. I tend to take more than a few blogging breaks because I lose motivation a lot, nothing wrong with that! :) For me, it was getting myself out there and visiting other blogs and making connections with people. Like I might have never found you unless you reached out and visited my blog and now I'm wondering why I wasn't following you before. I also worry about lacking a voice, especially in my book reviews-they are almost like reading a textbook. Ah, well. Hang in there!

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    1. You're so right, and especially saying that "liking it" isn't always enough to get the most out of it... The expectations we set upon ourselves sometimes make it hard to let it simply be a fun activity. But I think you're also right in getting out there—I know my first blog failed because I knew literally no one else who ran a blog, and so it fell through. Currently, I have a rule that I have to comment on (almost) every blog post I read, and I have to click through on every link to a new blog post; that's how I found your blog! And so getting those connections and finding awesome people is a sparkling experience, and one I hadn't anticipated enjoying. Thank you, though... With each new story I hear I feel a little fuller and a little more eager to get back in the thick of things. :D

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    2. Exactly! Plus I don't think it's entirely wrong to set goals for yourself, you definitely want to see some sort of reward for all the hard work you put in, it's just important not to get blinded by that (which happens to me all the time, leading to the blogging breaks) It really is amazing at how many people are willing to communicate and connect :) Yay, I'm glad! :D

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    3. Absolutely—we're not blogging to get famous, but we're not blogging just for fun, either. There's some sort of balance in there that's hard to define and that we don't always succeed at. But, as someone from High School Musical would say, we're all in this together, so we'll figure it out somehow. :)

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  10. Aw this post really puts a lot into perspective, right? I love blogging because it's a platform for me to voice my opinion and to write my heart's content out. But it's a time consuming hobby and sometimes life vs. online happens and the balance gets out of whack. But I do what I do for me and I never worry too much about it. That being said, I love doing what I do and have, at times (aka all the time), find myself writing, editing, commenting in the early, early hours of the morning. BUT it's only because I want to, you know? If I feel like I want sleep more then I'll have it because you've got to think about yourself first, above all, to be honest. It's a wonderful community though so never lose faith. You'll find your niche and you'll shine! <33 x

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    1. Your story definitely sounds like one I'd like to imitate myself someday. :) In the meantime, I think I'll keep on keeping the faith, and, as you say, learning to shine. :D

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  11. I feel like this sometimes, too. Sometimes it can seem like you barely have an audience as a blogger or you're not funny enough, interesting enough, or a good enough writer. What keeps me going is taking breaks, just as you're doing right now, and remembering that I blog for fun. It sounds cheesy, but I didn't start blogging for the followers, and I still don't blog for followers. Of course, I love that I have an audience, but even if I didn't I would still blog. Just keep blogging and eventually you'll get where you want to be.

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    1. Those are definitely two things I'll have to keep in mind as I jump back into the fray. This is, after all, a hobby, but it's okay to take a break from hobbies, too. I'll keep practicing, however, when it's all said and done. Thanks for sharing your perspective. :)

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  12. Great post. I totally get this. It's easy to become self-absorbed and to think you're not good enough while blogging. I just had these thoughts recently actually, because last month my views went drastically down. It's why I try to look at as many blog posts as I can especially for small bloggers and make sure I comment, because I know commenting means so much. It's amazing how good one feels from a comment. It's important to write good posts, but it's also important to encourage other bloggers like yourself. Thanks for posting this. ^ ^

    Stori Tori's Blog

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    1. Absolutely—it's especially easy to forget that it's not just about you when something that matters to you flips on you. I know that lowered views make me nervous, too, but the ironic thing is that by giving attention to other people will increase the attention you get as well—which is why, as you said, commenting means so much! I, for one, love getting comments, and I try to put thought into the ones I give, because, surprise, surprise, we're all a community.

      Thanks for reading! I'm glad you got something out of it. :)

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Check it out, comments and stuff. I love to hear from readers, and I always respond to commenters! Here's the fun part—if you leave a link to your blog I'll show up and comment back. I have just one rule down here: Don't Be a Problem. This spans the entire umbrella of rudeness and crudeness, so I reiterate: Don't Be a Problem. Thanks for stopping by!