Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Blogging Fears

Once upon a time there was a girl named Heather. She really liked writing, and heard that blogging was a good way to practice. She wanted to blog, but at the same time, she had failed at blogging in the past. To decide what to do, she made a list of reasons in favor of and against blogging, just in case.

She decided to blog. For eight months she blogged, even though it was hard, and she didn’t know any other bloggers, and never got any comments, and wanted to give up…

Coffee House Clarice 2
Flickr Credit: Maxwell GS

It’s been about a year since I really started getting into blogging and enjoying myself, meeting new people, and trying out new things. I thought I’d look at my list of reasons not/to blog, and see if this time, I have new thoughts to share.

(Note: if I refer to “last time,” I am referring to my first blog, which lasted about a month.)

Benefits

  • It’s really good practice—it holds you to a schedule and you have a chance to work on brevity and maintaining reader interest.
    • YES. Consistency, brevity, and interestingness are all things I try to hold to—with varying success, obviously.
  • It really strengthens voice as you work on making it clear who is talking and the way they’re talking.
    • Depends. (You worded this one weirdly, old self.) I have been avidly using the internet and/or writing since sixth grade. I have had a long time to learn how to say the things I want to say. I think I’ve learned more about being concise, rather than changing the specific way I speak.
  • Builds an online portfolio—though this could be interpreted as a good thing or a bad thing.
    • *shrugs* Publishing isn’t as much of a dream for me at this point. Neutral thing for me, but true for others.
  • Gives me a chance to hold myself accountable to writing on schedule.
    • Well, other people should hold you accountable, too!
  • It’s a good chance to test out the waters and get your feet wet.
    • Sure.
  • Teaches you discipline.
    • Or how to be CA-RAZ-YYYYYYY!
  • Forces you to think.
    • You should be thinking regardless of whether or not you run a blog.
  • Creates relationships.
    • NO. Blogging does not automatically create relationships, as my January-August posts show. Blogging gives you a chance to reciprocate. You have to hunt relationships down yourself.
  • Fun!
    • Yes.
  • Builds confidence.
    • Sometimes.

Foreseeable Problems

  • The big problem with last time was no audience. No audience equals no motivation, and no motivation means no enjoyment or interest in blogging.
    • STILL TRUE. Blogging is partly fun because you’re around people—so find people you think are awesome when you start to blog.
  • Typically blogs revolve around one subject—writing, one’s family, and so on, and so forth. I’m not sure I can stick to one subject, which means I don’t know whether practicing in this way is valuable.
    • *shrugs* I have no idea what I’m doing and I still have people following me. If you stay focused-ish on a narrow subject—for me it is writing, blogging, and reading—then you might survive.
  • At the moment there is no real mission statement in mind, and I’m not really sure what success means in this instance.
    • You and me both.
  • Previously I’ve worked on two blogs. The first one, I did NOT have fun, and I haven’t quite isolated why, but I definitely enjoyed making my atomic history timeline immensely.
    • It’s because the first time you were alone and didn’t know what you were doing whereas on the atomic history timeline our chem teacher was our audience and you knew EXACTLY what you were doing and you got complimented on it at Parent-Teacher Conferences. Boom.

Disadvantages

  • I don’t have all the time in the world. I know very well I’m in high school now, and that’s a rough life. 
    • If you care about blogging, you’ll make time for it. If you don’t then you won’t.
  • Some have it rougher, but it’s still time consuming, which means that squeezing in blogging is something tough.
    • PRIORITIES. I JUST SAID THAT. If you prioritize blogging, then you can squeeze out 1-4 blog posts every week, and any of those numbers can be perfect.
  • I don’t have a specific angle, topic, or audience to interest readers, which means it’s unlikely I will attract a solid group of people.
    • Well, we’re all working on that. It’s okay. If you start out with an idea you like and find other people who will like it, too, I think you’ll manage.
  • I really have no purpose or goals in mind—I just want to practice writing, which seems like a nice way to set up for failure.
    • Sorry, but practicing writing is a goal. You didn’t set up for failure there. 
  • It takes a lot of time and effort to get the ball rolling, and some of us are short on patience.
    • You are only short on patience sometimes. And if the time and effort is worth it to you, then the rewards you get, no matter how small, are going to be worth it.

Going-on-two-years-blogging Heather has a lot more insights than newbie Heather did. And I think newbie Heather did have some important questions to ask, but at the moment… this Heather knows that she likes blogging, and that if you are interested in blogging, then the best way to answer your questions is to try it out!

Going-on-two-years-blogging Heather thinks it’s worth it, anyway.

What were some of your blogging concerns when you got started? What were the answers to your questions?


Who are your favorite fictional friends? If you want to help me write the last fangirl post for Saturday, be sure to tune in!

14 comments :

  1. Heather, I am so glad you stuck with blogging. Your blog is one of my favorites.

    I think my biggest blogging struggle is narrowing down my content. Right now my blog is supposed to be a place for me to post study abroad tips and experiences, recipes, book reviews, writing updates... it is just too scattered. I thought if I started out broad I would be able to narrow it down once I realized what I enjoy focusing on. So far, I WANT TO BLOG IT ALL. So I am trying to figure out if there is a broader theme I could use to make it all cohesive, or if I should just start a second blog to separate my study abroad adventures from my adventures in the world of fiction.

    I'm at a crossroads and I am scared that I will disappoint my readers or become boring.

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    1. Thank you, Susanna! I'm glad I stuck with blogging, too—not only is it fun, but you connect with such awesome people, yourself included. :)

      Yeah, I'm stuck there too. It sounds like you could probably slide by saying you're a travel/book blog where writing relates to books and recipes relate to travel (like, traveling to the kitchen is totally a thing), but your other options are good thoughts, too. Perhaps taking a poll on your blog would help you make the decision, and see if people come for both the adventures or only one?

      I think that's always a fear we have as bloggers, but hopefully practice makes us better, and that's what matters.

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  2. To be honest, I didn't think that much about the effects of blogging when I first started. I didn't realize how much time it would take, nor did I realize that it would launch me into the most supportive writerly and bookish community. I just thought it looked like fun and something that I would like to try doing, and it has been both of those things. Pretty much the only thing I as worried about was privacy, which has also been fine seeing that I use a pen name and am careful about the information I reveal online. It's so wonderful that you stuck with blogging for so long even though you didn't have any readers. It definitely takes a while to find your place and niche and community in the blogosphere, but once you do, it's a wonderful feeling, and it's hard to turn back.

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    1. It sounds like we're opposites, haha. I did so much research I almost scared myself out of blogging. However, I'm glad that you did jump on to have fun, because I really like your blog. :) Privacy can be an issue, but I think that you have been really careful with what you share, and I appreciate that quite a bit. :) It's nice to be in a community with such awesome bloggers. Thanks for reading, Ana!

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  3. Ooh, this is a really interesting post, and I love how past-you and present-you are sort of debating. Awesome style.

    I don't even know why I started a blog. I think I mistakenly thought it would help bring people to my Figment page? Eventually I turned it back around and tried to bring people to my actual blog and sort of started blogging actual stuff. But I didn't start commenting until, what, a year in? *weeps* I would do so many things differently now, but I suppose the learning curve is important.

    But you're an amazing blogger now, no matter how past-you was like (with the same killer sense of humour, I'm betting), so YAY FOR PERSISTING.

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    1. Funny how me trying to talk myself out of blogging turned into a blog post!

      Huh, that's an interesting reason to get started, but I'm glad that you did start to branch out as a blogger and commenting. It can take a while to get into the swing of blogging, but now you are an awesome blogger! :D I always look forward to your posts every week!

      And thank you—I am nothing if not persistent and THAT IS MY SUCCESS. *baboom*

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  4. I'm a very new blogger myself (I just started a little over a month ago) and my main struggle is trying to meet other bloggers and people interested in writing and reading. And it's hard work. Networking is hard! It is fun, too, but it takes time and effort. I didn't realize when I started what I was getting myself into-- but I think it is worth it, and I hope to not give up.
    Thank you for this encouraging post! Nice to remember that all bloggers started out at some point with no followers and it took work to get where they are.

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    1. Welcome to the blogosphere! Networking is hard, isn't it? It isn't just in finding people you like, but people who like you as well. It does take a lot of time and effort, but I hope that your efforts to find and make friends pay off. Thanks for stopping by, Lily, and glad I could share my story!

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  5. AHH. I wrote a comment but it disppeared. :(

    I know what you mean about having no audience results in no interest. Well, past you, anyway! My past 19 blogs failed because no one was reading - my fault, since my posts sucked and my blog was about sharing things made by other people. Until I found my own voice. Those of us that persisted in blogging have come such a long way. It's a good thing you were one of them, since I love your blog and it's endless entertainment. :) Yes, you're right, failure is a crucial part of success.

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    1. Agh, I hate when that happens.

      NINETEEN BLOGS?! THAT IS CRAZYINSANE. I am so glad you found your own voice and now run the fabulous Bearable Blog; I always enjoy your perspective. Your failures certainly built up to your success! Thank you so much, Jo!

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  6. Yesss! Practicing writing was one of the reasons I started a blog( actually, partly was recommended by my english teacher.) For a few months we had no audience, and then boom! Book blogging, and everything is way better. And it's really useful and helpful and just good. this is a good reflection post. After about 1 year, I'm learning too! I enjoyed this post (thank Newbie heather for sharing, will you?)-Shar

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    1. That's interesting! I'm glad that you found a good place for you and your sister to blog; it's interesting to see siblings blog, since I don't see it that often. Anyway, yes, it is good to reflect, but I'll say that we need to keep learning! :) (I'll be sure to let her know. Thanks, Shar!)

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  7. I'm sorry your first time blogging didn't turn out to be such a great experience. I think I remember not liking blogging so much when I was starting out because I really didn't have much of an audience, so I think I might know how you felt. But I like your idea of listing the pros and cons, and it's super cool to see how you blog has grown in the past two years. I know my blogging life would be so much sadder without having a blogging buddy like you.

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    1. Well, it built me up so I could prepare for this one, haha. It is hard to blog without an audience, alas. :( Blogging buddies make everything better, though, so thank you for your comments! :)

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