I’m just going to get straight to the point.
I haven’t been reading your blog.
Please don’t take it personally because when I say I’m not reading your blog, I mean I’m not reading any blogs. Pretty much ever.
I know this makes me a pretty rubbish community member. I do feel badly about that. Supporting the people in your own community is a no-brainer. I know that if I participated more, my own blog would likely benefit – by increased traffic if nothing else.
But here’s the truth. I didn’t start writing my blog for you or with the hopes of being like you. And not because you aren’t fabulous and worth emulating, it’s just that I really didn’t know who ‘you’ were. I began writing a blog much the same way bands would put their music up on MySpace (is that still even a thing?). Rather than wait for the powers-that-be (editors for writers, or record labels) to deem it worthy, I saw a blog as an opportunity to publish my own work, invite friends and family to read it and with a little bit of promoting via a Facebook page, hopefully build a profile that way. And it worked.
I wrote for me and other mums. And the feedback was heartening. I figured I would use the blog to finesse my writing and then start the real work of submitting freelance pieces for payment.
And then something crazy happened. The blog grew. Just humbly but enough to make me rethink the whole gig. Maybe I should learn more about this blogging caper?, I thought.
I began participating in a weekly groups. It stretched me as a writer. It introduced me to some other wonderful writers. Some of connections I made with bloggers remain today (although I am hopeless at reading their blogs, too). I enjoyed the community although my participation was still sporadic at best. I wondered then and I wonder now, where do people with very small children find the time? Do bloggers sleep???
At that point, all my interaction had been with UK bloggers. I still remained largely unaware of the growing community of bloggers in other countries. Through Facebook groups and Twitter, I began to learn the names of other bloggers who were gaining popularity. I did some link-ups, read some new blogs, left comments, discovered some lovely women who could really write. It was obvious that there was a really supportive community here.
But the problem still remains…who has the time? As all bloggers know, comments are like crack – we crave the validation, for someone to let us know we’re not just screaming into the void. For this reason, unless I had time to properly comment, I felt I couldn’t read. Reading posts on the mobile seemed like a convenient thing to do at quiet moments during the day but trying to type a comment on a smart phone is crazy-making so even when I was reading, I wasn’t letting anyone know I had.
Acknowledgment is important. When bloggers the time to reach out to me is meaningful and I like doing the same for other writers. I want to contribute more. But I don’t want to leave a thousand comments on every blog in town in the hopes of driving traffic back my way either – even though other bloggers are the best kind of traffic because they give good comment. I hope my readership has grown because of the quality of my writing and not because I am a comment whore.
But here’s my other problem. When I start reading blogs, I begin to wonder if it hasn’t all been said before. Many of us write about the same things and I find I get confused about my own voice or lose faith in it. Even though everyone has a different take on topics.
And the other thing is that when bloggers get together, they inevitably talk about blogging. The politics of blogging is mind-blowing and this I have learnt just by hanging around on the peripheral of conversations on Twitter. I have missed out on excellent business advice and even more so, missed out on making some great friends. But whenever I have delved in just a little, I feel like my initial aim just ends up getting confused.
I just want to write.
So forgive me, it’s not you, it’s absolutely, unequivocally me.
I need to stay my own course.
In the meantime, I promise to read more, more often, and share fabulous posts as I find them. I really do support you, even if I have a funny way of showing it..
Now I am off to read some posts of some favourite bloggers I have discovered.