Back when I originally started my blog in 2007, I didn’t have any definite plans for it—in fact, I wasn’t even sure I was planning on telling anyone I even had a blog because I kind of liked the idea of just keeping it private (kind of like an easier form of journaling, but with pictures). Eventually I started telling some people (close friends and family) about it so they could catch up on my life if they wished, but I honestly wasn’t even aware that blogging for profit was a thing.
When I returned home from my mission in 2010, I discovered that people actually wrote on their blogs almost every day (!), and that some people had thousands—even hundreds of thousands—of what were called “followers.” After I clicked onto my first fashion blog late in 2010, I was hooked–I had had no idea of all the potential that lay in wait in my blogging adventure, and I was determined that I too was going to “make it big” and determined to start blogging 4-5 times a week starting January 2011.
And here we are, 3 years later, still plugging away. My following has grown quite a bit since my humble beginnings (when only my roommates and my mom read my blog), but here is something I’ve learned:
Each and every day, blogging is an exercise in vulnerability.
Each time I post something new, I am opening myself up for potential criticism or–even worse–no response at all. This is something that not a lot of bloggers talk about—that when you blog, you’re putting your heart out for everyone to comment on, “like,” or share via various forms of social media. Every time I post, I hope somebody will be affected in some way; I hope people get enjoyment out of reading the thoughts I’ve put so much time into writing, and I hope that I maybe spur my readers to think and ponder on things they normally wouldn’t.
The problem with blogging though, is that it can sometimes feel like a one-sided conversation. There are some posts that are one long frustrating conversation, where I’ve eagerly shared things that I’ve never shared with anyone only to have . . . no response (or some generic response like “Nice!”, much like a half-listening husband murmurs when he wants to appeared more engaged in the conversation than he actually is).
Now, this is not to say that I’m the perfect blog reader myself—I read several blogs nearly every day (sometimes as many as 15-20), and it would be pretty difficult for me to comment on them all every time. And there have been many times a post has brought up some definite thoughts or feelings in me, but I only keep those to myself and don’t bother sharing them because I’m either lazy or I think that what I have isn’t worth sharing.
And that’s where blogging gets hard—sometimes I feel like a party hostess trying to get people to mingle who just want to eat the appetizers and leave. Sometimes I think that if it weren’t for Facebook (where most of the comments seem to happen), I don’t think I could handle the one-sidedness that it all feels like sometimes.
I know this is silly. I know that I spend far too much time thinking about and worrying about what is still a hobby (as I haven’t tried to turn my blog into an actual money-making venture yet). But sometimes I feel like my life is like one great big episode of me continually sharing things and getting minimal feedback on whether or not anyone’s listening. (I mean, I AM a 7th grade teacher after all. You think those kids ever admit that I actually taught them anything?).
I guess I just wanted to write this to say that blogging—especially the further along you get into it and the more “followers” you get—gets complicated. What used to be something I honestly only did for myself and the sheer pleasure of getting to type out my thoughts rather than writing them down in a journal now sometimes just feels like one more risk that keeps leading me to feel like I’m failing.
But the wiser part of me knows that continually allowing myself to be vulnerable by taking risks and putting myself out there is a skill that can only benefit me in the long run—after all, if I never try, I will never succeed.
I promise I’m not trying to guilt-trip you into commenting more on the blog; this has just been something floating around in my head that I needed to get down.
Thanks for listening.