This weekend I had an interesting conversation with my best friend about blogging. She’s been blogging for a year and a half, updates on schedule like a fiend, and averages at least 35 comments a day. I’ve been writing for five years, and am lucky to get 3 or 4 per post. I’m in the blogging communities. My posts automatically show up on my Facebook page after I’m done writing. I visit at least 15 blogs, and comment, at least every other day. So why don’t people care? I asked my friend what the trick was. Her response took me by surprise – why do you care?
I’ve always thought I was a pretty good writer – in school I was the A+ English student who read Jane Eyre for fun and actually looked forward to writing 15 page essays on the corruption of the church in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. I subscribed to endless Word-a-Day emails, and carried a thesaurus around to improve my writing while I was on the go. I loved the English language, and I loved to write.
Looking back in my archives, I was a terrible blogger. I’ve obliterated all posts about my Series of Unfortunate Relationships, and what’s left is the remnants of my post-teenage rambling about nothing of any substance at all. Only in recent years have I actually started to write, instead of keeping an online diary. I write about intense emotional experiences I’m having in regards to my personal growth, my dreams, pain and persistence. I write about my opinions on current events, music and movies. I write about things I’ll look back on and actually care about.
So why do you care about traffic?
The question took me completely by surprise. I thought about it for a few days, and came to several conclusions:
- A few weeks ago, over lunch with a coworker, she asked me why I was pushing myself out of being an introvert and into the spotlight, when clearly it made me uncomfortable. I told her “because I used to be able to” – and looking back on my life, she made me realise a lot of what I’ve done, I’ve done for the approval of others. Singing in a band, going to stage school, putting on talent shows – I enjoyed doing all of them, but I enjoyed being told I was good at something more. This is something I’ve only recently realised, but holds a lot of truth. I love to write, but I love being good at it, so naturally a lack of traffic would cause discomfort.
- I’m an INFJ. Apparently the rarest of the personality types, the description of it fits me to a tee. We are crushed by too much criticsm and can have their feelings hurt rather easily. They respond to praise and use approval as a means of motivating others, just as they, the INFJs are motivated by approval
- Having switched from a boring “this is my life” blogger to one who writes about things I actually care about, I guess I had the expectation that other people would too. Fact of the matter is, the Blogging World is just like the Real World. There are people who rule it, who can post about the contents of their bowel movements and still have a hundred responses, and there are people who can write about morality and politics, psychology and the human mind, about growth and inspiration… and get absolutely nowhere. I never did that great in the Real World; I grew up feeling kind of an outcast and today I can count my friends on one hand. So naturally my blogging experience draws a parallel.
- I don’t like schedules. I don’t like deadlines, and I don’t like planning things out and working on them weeks ahead of time if I can just put them off ‘til whenever I feel like them (this has been recently illustrated in my recent attempts at a bible study; my friend is diligent and excited to stay on the 5-night-a-week schedule, while I get to Sunday and try and cram everything in in one go). Maybe this sets me up for failure in terms of ever being a successful blogger with piles of responses and thoughts every entry. But I think I care more about doing it my way.
- I’m not on Twitter! It seems every blogger and their dog is on Twitter, and it’s something I just can’t bring myself to devote that much time and energy to. One week from now, I’m not going to care about what I was doing at 10:12 am on Monday morning, and I don’t expect anyone else to, either.
So maybe I’m spelling my own doom. But I’m going to keep writing, about what I want to write about, whenever inspiration strikes. It’s my blog, after all. And if, along the way, somebody’s motivated to respond… it’ll bring a pretty big smile to my day (I made somebody’s actual blogroll the other day, and almost fell off my chair).
And besides, I can’t be that rubbish. I just got signed up to write for an online music magazine. And that makes me very happy indeed.