Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Nonsensical Ramblings of a Newbie Blogger




I have started reading a number of blogs and following a handful of them recently. I decided it was time I checked out what other bloggers do; what the trends are; what the community is all about. I’ve been blogging for eight months and I hadn’t networked at all. I hadn’t even bothered to see who else is out there. (I was a complete Blog Virgin when I started this.)  So over the last couple of months I ventured into the blogosphere and found some pretty amazing women and blogs.

What I also found though is a bit of a crush to the ego. ‘Cause guess what I’m doing now, guys? Comparing! That dreadful, wicked thing we all do. Prior to reading other blogs, I had nothing to compare to, so I was ignorantly happy and proud of my little blog that hardly anyone reads. Now? Not so much. It kinda sucks because I’m seeing how much better than me so many others are; how much more interesting and entertaining and funny and eloquent and witty and intelligent and poetic and, and, and, <sigh> just better at writing and expressing themselves than I am! Better vocabularies, better use of grammar, better knowledge of punctuation, just better, better, better!! And I’m thinking “STOP, STOP, STOP!” because I know it’s wrong of me to compare and so not healthy. But I can’t help it. It’s human nature.

It’s also human nature to not be able to stop doing something once you start. The logical side of me says “OK, just go back to your cave and stop reading and checking out other blogs so that you stop comparing.” But it’s like a drug. I’m hooked and I can’t stop now.


Then there is also this new insecurity building in me because now that I’m networking, other bloggers are coming to my blog and it’s freaking me out! I find myself wondering “What are they thinking? They probably aren’t reading the entire post because my posts are so damn long. I wish I knew how to cut my posts shorter. They probably hate my stuff. My posts don’t make sense. Who the hell uses a blog to chronologically write their whole life-story - starting at childhood? My writing doesn’t flow like theirs does. They probably think I’m a nut. They probably can't make rhyme or reason of what I'm trying to convey. They probably think I’m pathetic with my lame pre-fab template.”

And let me tell you something else, my non-blogger friend, writing your story, putting your stuff out there for the world to see…it’s pretty scary and vulnerable, and to me, it takes a lot of courage (hence, the name of my blog). When I see the stats and analytics of my blog; when I see the numbers climb; when I see the posts that have gotten traffic and how many times pages have been viewed; and then I hear…<chirp, chirp, chirp>… crickets…well, in all honesty, it sucks.

It sucks to pour your heart into something; to allow others into your life and then not get any kind of reaction or response. It’s basically feels like I’m talking to a wall or like I know my journal is being read by 50 people, but I have no idea who those people are. I feel naked. It’s like I’m naked in my house and people can see me through the window. I know they can see me but I don’t know who they are and then maybe I see them at the grocery store and they’re thinking “Hey, that’s the lady I see naked all the time.” But I don’t know they’ve seen me naked, so I smile and say a friendly hello, completely unaware. And I’m not about to ask “Hey, by any chance have you been watching me through my window when I’m naked?” because that would be awkward. I mean, what are they going to say…”Yes and I don’t like it.” Make sense? Not a good feeling. But I know it’s part of the deal of putting myself out there like this on the vast, infinite world wide web.

The crazy thing is that I do it too. I lurk on blogs; read a number of posts and then I don’t comment. I think it goes back to feelings of insecurity, self-worth, and not belonging. I will read the comments thread and on most blogs it’s this little community of people who have an established connection with the writer. I hear myself say “Who am I to comment? Who do I think I am? My opinion doesn’t matter. She doesn’t know me!” But then what makes me feel even worse is when I do work up the courage to comment and then I hear those damn crickets again! (Since I am somewhat of a blog virgin still, I don't know what "Commenting" protocol is. Maybe replies are not the norm. In any case, many thanks to the sweet, thoughtful, bloggers who take the time to reply to my comments.)

A while back ago I was sharing with my friend Sandy about these frustrations of mine. I explained to her that when I see that people are reading but not commenting, it makes me wonder why they are engaging. Are they reading just to be nosy or are they truly getting something out of it? It makes me question their motives in reading my story. What are their intentions? Because my intention in writing my story is to be inspiring, not gossipy or attention-seeking, (as I've stated before). Sandy made me crack up with one of her wisest/wittiest comments to date. She said “You can’t worry about that. That’s like worrying about how a bum spends money after you give it to him. It’s not up to you to decide. If you give a bum money, you don’t have a say in what he does with it.” My friend Sara (who also blogs) had a similar take while we were messaging one day. She said “Jackie, who cares why people are clicking and reading? Just be happy that 35 people read what you wrote and that they keep coming back for more! Jack! People are reading your stuff!”

I also remind myself that I have control in how much I share and at any point I can shut it down.  It’s not like I have to have a blog. I can still write and not publish it on the internet. But the reason I think I took the blog path is for the instant gratification and immediate (supposed) interaction with readers. It’s a little thrill the writer gets when they see that someone clicked on their post. (At least it is for me. I don’t know if other bloggers feel this way.) Blogging is not like writing a book where I would probably spend a couple of years writing without anyone’s opinion or input; without any interaction with readers. Writing a book, all alone at home, and not sharing the chapters I’ve written with anyone until after I’ve written the entire book sounds about as appealing as going back to work as a File Clerk at The Auto Club.

That’s all I have to say, dear reader. Thanks for stopping by, even if you don't comment, because truthfully, it would be so much more depressing if no one was reading these nonsensical ramblings of mine. So, I guess I just came to my own conclusion...just be grateful that I have readers, even if they are radio silent.

Speaking of radio, here's my song for this post. It's meant for both you and me. Let's be brave and let the words fall out.


P.S. I had no idea I could post a link to a video this way! Yay!!

8 comments:

  1. I tried to comment earlier, but it looks like it didn't work. Just wanted to say that I see you naked, and I LIKE it. mwahahaha. :) xoxo

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    1. HAHAHAHA!!!! Phew!! Now we won't have to have that awkward conversation at the grocery store. HAHAHA!!! XOXO P.S. I've always known you see me naked. You've been a great source of support for me with this thing and I truly love you for it. That...and a bunch of other reasons. :)

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  2. Oh, Jackie...I don't know you very well at all, but I could jump right in this post and be you. I started my blog completely ignorant of what any part of blogging was about. Heck, I still have no idea most days. I only got on facebook like two weeks ago - I'm a sworn hater. Long story.
    Anyway, I'm with your friend. Don't sweat it - any of it. You may not get replies or get comments for a while, but you will. Somewhere, someone will be moved and you'll get a comment. Then two. And it grows. It does. I think any blogger who doesn't admit that they kind of live and die by those comments isn't being completely honest - the comments are where it all really happens. I mean, maybe people who are in it for big numbers or money or ads or sponsors or whatever would disagree, but the people I've come to know are pretty genuine and they care about the writer. Truly. And sometimes people might not read because they just can't get around. for some reason. I am so far behind on my reading this week, I haven't even gotten to posts of the bloggers I read daily and faithfully - my "besties" if you want to use that term. If someone likes what they've read, they'll be back. Give it time.
    It may take a while, but just keep doing what you're doing. Find a handful that you like. Read their stuff. Leave comments. Check back to see if they replied - I wouldn't rely on that e-mail thing. After you've read a while, you'll start to get a feel for people. I've often felt like "wow, I have no right here" but honestly, if the writer is nice and cares about their reader, they'll talk back. On many blogs you are probably right that it seems like a tight little group - and in many cases it is. But I can tell you for a fact that those groups often ebb and flow to expand and welcome new people into the fold.
    Now I'm rambling at you and you certainly didn't ask for a dissertation. Hope somewhere in here is some piece of something that helps you out.
    Hang in there! Keep reading and visiting and be brave - leave some comments!
    Oh and for the record? My blog design? Template! ;)

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    1. Dear Sweet Lisa - Bless your kind heart!!!! Thank you SO much for your encouragement and COMMENT!! (You are one of the bloggers I was thinking of when I said "thanks for replying to my comments", You, Lizzi, and Dani, as well as Karen at Mended Musings have been so gracious and warm. I'm sure I'm forgetting someone.)
      What I'm taking from this is that I'm not alone and that's really all anyone ever wants to feel. So thank you! And again, I really do appreciate your encouragement so much! Templates Rule! ;)

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  3. Hi Jackie, we have interacted just once and from that little interaction I can tell you what I felt... you are expressive, your words are easy and genuine. Please don't go back in your cave... I for one would love to hear what you have to say about my posts and would like to read on your blog too! The comparisons are natural and over time, every blogger finds their comfort zone... ask me, I have been at it for 11 years now :)

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    1. Thank you so much! That's so nice to hear. Wow! 11 years! Congratulations! I deeply appreciate the encouragement. It means a lot! I'll be back to check out more of your blog. I love girly-fashion-make-up stuff :)

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  4. I too am fairly new to networking out and reading other blogs. Blogging has really been therapeutic for me and as much as I convinced myself that it's not about readership I certainly check the numbers and try to get a sense of who's out there. But when it comes right down to it my writing helps me to get clear about my life and my journey, and as much as I want to share it with others lack of an audience won't change my approach. Today I'm content with my sporadic publishing, low readership and blog template!
    I've enjoyed reading your blog, although I have to admit I haven't read a ton of it yet, and yes your posts are long, but I haven't found it to be a deterrent. Clearly you find fulfillment blogging, and that's good enough for me.

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    1. Hi Candace - I 100% agree with all of it. I'm like you. Writing is my therapy and what I run to when I need to work things out in my head. It gives me clarity and allows me to look within for answers. I've given this more thought over the last few days since posting and I've gotten to the root of my issue with the numbers. It's all just ego. I also changed the background of my template and I'm loving it much more now! LOL. Thanks for your kindness and encouragement.

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Hello Dear Reader:

If you comment, I will buy you a cookie. Not really. But we can both pretend I gave you one. To get you started...what's your favorite kind of cookie? Mine is chocolate chip. I especially crave them when I'm PMS'ing.