Who really likes being stuck in traffic anyway?

Traffic

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.

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19 comments

  1. Em… I love reading your blogs, in fact, sometimes, when I haven’t read your blog in a while, i feel bad, you clearly put so much thought, feeling, energy and time into them that when I get a bit tied up and behind on things i think ‘I really should have made more of an effort to read that’. Your blogs do provoke a lot in me sometimes, sometimes its nice to hear about what you’ve been up to, but like the other day, when you wrote your piece on animal cruelty and what you would like for your wedding presents, or should i say you’d like contributions made, I actually stopped for the first time in a long time and really thought about ‘how can I make things better for other people?’ and I was stumped….! you have such clear outlines, and know how to fill them with the things you love and think about most… I was really thinking, me? I don’t like making the decision about which good cause to help… there are so many…HOW DO I CHOOSE?? but I’d love to help you with your cause, so much so that I’m really considering doing something quite drastic, just not sure along what lines….

    But anyway, i’m getting distracted… I LOVE YOUR BLOGS… just because a comment hasn’t been left does not mean your writing skills, experiences and thoughts are any less than the next person, you some how manage to get your point across, not in as few a paragraphs as possible, but in a compact, concise, actually relative article that I for one enjoy reading 😀

    And… who cares if you cram your bible studies in on the last day?? you were busy living for the day not the moro, a day which for all we know may not come, so don’t feel bad, your not sealing your own fate if your busy making yourself a richer soul through love and life, both of which you seem to have accomplished in abundance…

    Me? my writing skills may not be as tuned as yours, but I Blog In pictures 😀

    FOR BLOGS SAKE KEEP BLOGGING

  2. Oh it’s so cool to see your responses to this!

    The other thing is that it takes a lot of time to find people who relate to you, who will take the time, and who you have relationships with. It’s like forming friendships- you just have to stick with it if you want traffic, and you have to put a lot of time into building relationships.

    That means commenting, sending e-mails, giving up on some blogs and sticking with others over about 6 – 8 months of regular posting. But you’ll find your voice, and your audience. It just takes some time.

  3. Hi it’s J from Frequency Magazine. I think you are a great writer which is obviously why I accepted you on board to the project. The thing is… it seems that how many comments you get or how many people are interested in your blog are not related to writing ability. At least not all the time. I’m not sure sometimes if people comment on some of the blogs on my blogroll because they can relate or because it’s a popular blog and they are trying to get hits lol.

    This week, I’m working on cutting back on the number of blogs in my reader and having a select core of blogs that I read and comment regularly because I really enjoy their writing!

  4. I’m new to your blog and I must admit, I often find myself feeling the way you do. But one of the things that attracted me to your blog is the quality of the posts. I don’t want to read about your bowel movements, but I am interested in everything else you have to say. Your blog posts will attract a different type of reader – probably an introvert who may not feel the need to comment on everything.

  5. Write whatever is in your heart, everything that will give you satisfaction, this is what blogging is all about.

    I’m sure there are passive readers who share your experience and learn from them. They may just not be vocal about it.

    Keep on writing gal, the world hears you. 🙂

  6. Good for you, sticking to what you like to write about.

    Write for yourself, and eventually you’ll find people who like to read. People can tell when you’re interested in something or not, you can’t fake passion. xo

  7. I feel like blogging is such a strange phenomenon — it’s completely random, I think. Unlike friendships in real life, when you’re usually forced to see each other in class or in work, blogging is completely opt-in, meaning that we choose who we read and comment on a daily basis. It’s weird, and it’s also completely affected by our outside lives, of which no one has any insight into! It’s definitely strange, but I don’t think comments and such are any indication of your talent. You’re obviously a great writer, so don’t you worry! I’m glad I found you 🙂

  8. I’ve thought about this before, too. I totally wish I had more followers!!!

    Really, we shouldn’t worry about it, but it’s fun to share what you have to share and see what people have to say. It’s like books, you get them published so other people can read them, you don’t write one and feel satisfied knowing that you wrote it and no one will read it. Writing is communication. If you are writing you probably feel that what you have to say is important, otherwise, why would you write it?

    I’m not sure why certain people read certain blogs more than others, but I’d much rather have people who care about me reading my blog than random people who only follow me because they want what I’m giving away or because it’s what other blogreaders are doing.

    I honestly think I had someone follow me the other day and then unfollow me when I didn’t follow her. That seems silly. I’ll follow who I want to follow and if you want to follow me, go for it. It shouldn’t be a race to have the most followers.

    I just realized that I’m not sure how exactly to follow you…I usually click where it says “Follow” on the sidebar but yours doesn’t work for me! I would follow you if I could! 🙂

  9. I’m new to your blog, but I totally know what you mean about the comments mattering to you. I am the same way. It seriously makes my day!

    Thanks for stopping by & commenting on mine! I have now added yours to my reader!

  10. Kyla’s really right – it’s about forming those connections. The initial connection is always through the blog, but what really gets me to keep reading somebody is the connection you make outside of it – the emails, the chats. That’s what keeps me reading as much as the blog itself.
    I used to think like you – until I asked what being a “successful” blogger actually looked like. There is no “success” point for me, just as blogging really is only for me. It’s a funny balance we all learn to strike here!

  11. Hi! First, thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂 I love finding other Canadian bloggers!

    I am more like your friend, I schedule my posts ahead of time, try very hard to post at least four times a week, and I have a decent-sized audience, averaging about 15-20 comments a day.

    You know what I’ve noticed, I will write these insightful posts, about really important things and that I feel really strongly about and I will get very few comments. And then I will write some mundane post about what I had for dinner that day and, whoa, my comments will skyrocket. It’s weird.

    I agree with what Kyla said, though, I’ve found the more I connect in the community – reach out to other bloggers, reply to comments through email etc. the more connected I am to my readers and the more likely they are to comment. I think it’s just a work-in process really.

    PS: That is incredibly crazy that he found a BANGLE in your computer!!

  12. Hahaha you are way too cute. I feel the same way with how many hits my page gets. I always ask Kyla how she does it and why she can’t give me more tips, and she always tells me that it takes time.
    And it really does. She is completely right. I have been weeding through the blog community, and have found some of the greatest people from other sides of the globe to speak with.
    ps – You have been on my blogroll for quite some time. And I’m glad that you were so happy about it!

  13. Hi!
    I really enjoyed this post.

    You write SO well, it’s ridiculous. Though, I would like to know more about YOU.

    A while ago, I wrote a post about ME (totally narcissistic, but eh…) in order to try to get anyone who reads my blog to tell me about THEM. I am extremely curious about you, where you’ve been, how you got there. High School? College? Hopes, dreams, whatever!

    Hook me up with your life story.

    1. Hi! Thank you SO much!! I’m glad I found yours too – I’m looking forward to reading more 🙂 I always feel weird writing too much about myself – I guess I’m still struggling to find out what people actually want to read about – but maybe I will do a mini “life story” post 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!!

      1. Please do!

        Here’s the link to mine:
        http://soundofsilent.blogspot.com/2009/09/narcissistic-about-me-post-but-i-want.html

        I got a pretty substantial response, which I was SO excited about.

        But we read all these blogs, and you sometimes get a sense of what someone is about, and what they like/do/think, but you don’t get so much of WHO THEY ARE…which is exactly what I am curious about.

        I think I just figured out why I like reading the blogs I do…I’m a creepy people watcher, so it’s nice to have a sense of WHO someone is.

        Does that make sense, or am I making up nonsense?

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