So, You Call Yourself A Blogger?

Bloggers are different. They are the green grass on the other side. They are the friendly neighbour. They are funny. They are genuine. They love pizza. And when they leave a comment, well, they put YouTube commenters to shame.

I think I just inadvertently described Canadians. 

I’ve been blogging long enough to notice that all bloggers face the same hurdles.

A lot of us think the same way and possess the same sense of humour. It’s eerie. I love it.

Many times, I have an idea for a post, when all of a sudden I scroll through my Reader and see someone else has stolen my idea and beat me to it. Now, I can’t copy them. I go back to the drawing board.

Kudos to them for having the same thoughts as a genius like myself!

All bloggers start off their “journey” with the dreaded first post. Almost every first post follows the same outline.

It goes something like this:

Start off the post with a rolling start. Say this is your first blog and first post. You don’t really know what to say. You guess you should introduce yourself. (You guess?). Try and be humble. Try and be humble. Act nonchalant. Mention that you don’t think anyone will read your blog. Say that it doesn’t matter if no one reads your blog. You are blogging for yourself! Tracking your progress. If people read it, great. Running out of things to say. Ask rhetorical questions. Reiterate that you don’t think anyone is going to read it. Use the strikethrough feature a few too many times. Ask people to tell you what to write about. Sign off. 

That sums it up, no?

Let’s not kid ourselves, we all care about our statistics. We all care about views, likes, and follows. Let’s stop beating around the bush and admit it. Can we all just admit it? We refresh our stats page and hope the numbers change because that means someone in the world actually cares.

WE JUST WANT PEOPLE TO CARE.

It hurts when we post something that we put our blood, sweat, tears, and bad breath into, and yet it gets very little response.

And if you think I don’t know what that’s like because my recent posts have been getting close to 50+ likes and comments, then go check out everything I wrote between June 2013 – February 2015 and tell me how much interaction I got back then.

I REPEAT, WE JUST WANT PEOPLE TO CARE.

I’ve used the “I blog for myself” line before. A lot of bloggers have. I’ll admit, I was lying. Sure, one of the reasons why I blog is for myself. But it’s not the main reason.

If I was only blogging for myself, I’d write all of my posts in Microsoft Word and then call up my imaginary friend Carlos so we can meet up at a coffee shop and sit at a table with crumbs on it, where I would just stare at ‘arlos (my nickname for him) and not tell him anything I just wrote.

As bloggers, our most important post is the next one. Sometimes, it gets really hard coming up with that “next one.”

Every single day I’m looking for something I can turn into a post.

People were slow at the buffet. Maybe I can turn that into a post? Done.

A fly is attacking me in the dark. Maybe I can turn that into a post? Done.

I can’t tie a balloon. Maybe I can turn that into a post? Done.

Dogs hate me. Maybe I can turn that into a post? Done.

It’s a never-ending struggle. Because when we do find that “next one”, and press publish, we are once again in search for another “next one”.

When we don’t know what to write about, we write about blogging. Ever notice that? We write about blogging and preach from our high horse how other people should run their blog. We write about what blogging means to us and the connections we’ve made. It’s cute.

If we haven’t posted in a while, we feel the need to apologize. I stopped doing that a long time ago because I felt silly. If I don’t post anything for an entire week, why am I going to come back and bring attention to it?

If you haven’t posted anything in an entire month, I don’t want an apology from you. It’s too late too apologize. I want a pizza at my doorstep, a hand-written note, and your tears on that note.

Honestly, don’t apologize. It’s your blog. You write whenever you want to write.

I can be a bit cynical. Do people really care about my post, or are they just interacting with me so I check out their blog? Or do they comment because they know I have a lot of followers and they can win some over by invading my posts?

Don’t tell me I’m the only one thinking this.

Yet despite all the struggles behind the scenes (in my head), the genuine interactions I have with other bloggers is what makes this whole thing beautiful.

You make me feel like I did something right when you tell me you can’t stop laughing, or that you found something I said very relatable.

A single exclamation mark in someone’s comment on one of my posts is enough for me to throw a pizza party. 

The bonds we create aren’t forced. They aren’t built off of a series of comments like “Good post” and “I agree.”

They are built off of our willingness to share our real thoughts with people we’re 98% sure aren’t psychopaths. They are built off of how willing we are to turn the comments section into a conversation.

They are built off of a genuine need to know what someone on the other side of the world is experiencing on a daily basis.

There are some blogs I follow that I need to read every day. They have become a part of my daily routine.

Because when people, who I may never meet, can make me truly care about them, while constantly putting a smile on my face and forcing me to see things from their perspective, then everything else – the stats page; the struggle to think of a new topic; the cynicism; the flies that attack me in the dark – does not matter.

I call myself a blogger because of the friendships I get to make with people around the world, without ever leaving my house.

Though it may try, my stats page will never give me the same gratification.

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About Paul

This is the part where I'm supposed to write something interesting about myself and you'll read it and think, "That's not that interesting." So let's not do that and just think about pizza instead, on the count of three. One, two, three. Donuts. Now, wasn't that interesting?
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191 Responses to So, You Call Yourself A Blogger?

  1. MonotoNaut says:

    It’s sad how right you are about the whole “next one” ordeal. I feel so worthless the day after a new post simply because I have no idea what will come next.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Do people really care about my post, or are they just interacting with me so I check out their blog?”

    … I don’t know why… but after I read this part in my head I was like ‘yeupppppp I just want you to check out my blog man!’ haha but then again that can’t be true because I actually enjoy your writing. 🙂 And thank you for pointing out that you can do whatever you want with your blog schedule because it’s your own work!!! Sometimes I get weird anxiety about not posting enough and then I need to remind myself this isn’t school. And I’ll do what I want! And it’s totally fine!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Gelene says:

    Thinking about what to post next has become a concern for me too. My blog’s just turning one this August and there are months when I can’t come up with good topics to write about. Sometimes my life could be that boring haha! It must not be a concern, right? But…

    “Let’s not kid ourselves, we all care about our statistics. We all care about views, likes, and follows. Let’s stop beating around the bush and admit it. Can we all just admit it? We refresh our stats page and hope the numbers change because that means someone in the world actually cares.”

    You are so right. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Miriam says:

    Hey Paul, even though you wrote this over six months ago when I didn’t know you, I can SO relate and I really needed to read this right now. A great post about the next post which is sometimes bloody hard. Thanks for the words when I needed them. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What did you do about your next post after being featured on Freshly Pressed? I know you’ve been featured multiple times, but were they harder for you to write? Did you feel more pressure after all the views and new followers? How did you manage expectations…asking for a friend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Oh man..it varied each time! The first time I was Freshly Pressed was terrifying haha. My little humble blog of 22 followers and about 3 likes per post shot up up 100+ followers. I honestly just wanted to hide in a closet until it was over. I did feel a bit more pressure after it, but it also made me realize I could write about anything I wanted. The second time didn’t really have an impact on me. The third time though…that was a lot of attention. For many months after it I felt like I would never write anything as good ever again. Then I eventually forgot about it. Being featured is definitely a blessing and a curse. Because if I post something that I think is one of my best posts ever, and it isn’t selected to be freshly pressed, then I think it wasn’t good enough – when in reality, the WordPress people probably never even saw it because there are millions of blog posts to read.

      Sorry this was so long!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s exactly what I thought. The fact that you’ve been featured 3 times is amazing, Paul. After my 16th fear of not graduating college post went viral (for me anyway) I felt a ton of pressure to produce something quality. It was hard to get out of my head, and just write. I’m working on getting something ready now, so I’ll post it Wednesday. Any other tips or things you wish you knew before you blew up?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        All I’d say is don’t let all the attention change the way you write, or what you write about. I know that can be hard. There were some times where I didn’t write about things I wanted to because I didn’t think my new readers would care. Then I realized that I’m the one who shouldn’t care what they think. As long as I’m satisfied with a post, I’ll share it – whether people like it as much as an old post, or not, isn’t up to me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you. That’s exactly what I needed to hear. I knew you’d have the answer. I need to write “Do you. Your voice matters.” And put it on a posit above my desk. I think I feel a blog post coming on…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Yes! Do it! Those 5 words sum up blogging in a nutshell.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Do you. Your Voice Matters – Repurposed Genealogy

  7. Paul, I wanted to let you know that I gave you a shout out on my latest blog post with a link to this one. I also made a free printable of the quote. Thanks for your support and friendship.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Do you. Your Voice Matters. | Repurposed Genealogy

  9. ellem63 says:

    Lol, so funny! You’re right about the ‘first blog post thing’ … it’s almost painful trying to do that one but once it’s out of the way, it’s a huge relief. And (I started a sentence with ‘and’, hee-hee) yes, my blog is for my own research and I could just have written it in Microsoft Word but, as you say, there is a need to connect – it’s so heartwarming when someone responds. I’m being absolutely honest here though … if anyone visits my blog through seeing me here on yours, that would be nice, but the real reason I’m following yours now is because it it so good to have a smile put on my face at the start of the day. And (that ‘and’ again!) thank you for sending a little map of Canada into my stats page. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      My pleasure!
      My hope is that whenever someone leaves a comment on my blog, that other people see it and go check out their blog. I always try to do that whenever I new person follows me or likes/comments on my post. I have run into some occasions where I can tell the person is just trying to use me to get followers and that’s disheartening.
      Oh, and my first post was a train wreck.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. “There are some blogs I follow that I need to read every day. They have become a part of my daily routine.

    Because when people, who I may never meet, can make me truly care about them, while constantly putting a smile on my face and forcing me to see things from their perspective, then everything else – the stats page; the struggle to think of a new topic; the cynicism; the flies that attack me in the dark – does not matter.”

    Ha! That’s how I’m starting to feel about your blog! I’ve had a long tiring day at work and your posts and your stories and thoughts make me giggle and smile and lift me up. And some make me think a little bit more about life. I’m still pondering your “Growing Up Millennial” post.

    “Do people really care about my post, or are they just interacting with me so I check out their blog?”

    Yes, I do care about your posts. Nope, I don’t want or need you to check out my blog – even if my view count is low! 🙂 It would be kind of embarrassing and weird because my blog and my writing style doesn’t really have anything to do with you or your readers (warning,warning – family history blogger). You’re not really my “target audience”. I actually started digging around the wordpress blogosphere looking for someone to inspire me in life and open me to new ideas and thoughts and writing. Stretch my mind a bit. My own blogging community can sometimes seem a bit stale and monotonous, and it is easy to fall into habits of conformity and I wanted to shake things up a bit. You certainly do that! 🙂

    Hmmm. Interesting. Reading that back, I’m wondering whether that attitude just makes me selfish by shifting the burden on to someone else to make my world feel better and by not trying to give back or connecting in some way with others? Am I just assuming that no-one outside a very narrow band of readers will be interested in my blog? Well, perhaps rightly on that last one but maybe it’s time I thought instead about expanding my writing into new ways to express myself so I can include new types of readers? And did I also just put my own blog down?

    Damn. You’ve done it again. I’m going to have to think about this more deeply.

    And I only came around for a bit of a laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I’m happy to hear my blog cheers you up and makes you think a little bit!

      In my first two years of blogging, I always followed the same sort of blogs – they were either people who followed me, or bloggers around my age who wrote about stuff I could relate to. I remember a poetry blogger following me and I checked out their blog and thought to myself, “Ugh poetry. I have no interest in that.” Then lo and behold, here I am writing poetry a few years later.

      Now, I try to follow as many different kinds of blogs as possible, especially ones that aren’t specifically meant for people like me because it helps me learn something that I don’t know. It opens my eyes to a new world and a different way of thinking. So although you might be a “family history blogger” doesn’t necessarily mean only a niche group will be interested.

      Lol did I just give you something new to think about, yet again?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Curses! Yes, you have. But its long past due I got my brain into gear. I’ve been cruising for far too long! Though I don’t think I’ll venture into poetry territory. Well, I could, but I’m not sure I want to inflict such pain upon the world.

        Liked by 1 person

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