Monday, January 4, 2010

Blogging About Blogging is Like Thinking About Thinking. But With An Audience.

My friend Melissa B. - better known as The Scholastic Scribe - contacted me yesterday to ask if I'd answer a few questions about blogging. I sure didn't feel like I had any advice to offer, but I participated anyway. Check it out, if you're not already visiting The Scribe, which you probably are - but if you're not, you should be!

The timing was good, as I've been rethinking my whole approach lately. I started blogging in March of 2008. For the first full year, my readers consisted of my husband and a small handful of close friends. Many of my posts had 0 comments. The most comments I received was 4 or 5 - and usually 2 of those were me, answering back. I wrote when I had something to say. There was no schedule, no rhyme or reason, just 'lil ole me, blogging it out.

Then two things happened in quick succession. I joined SITS and I imported my blog to Facebook. Suddenly there were people reading what I had to say. Reading and RESPONDING to it! Soon I developed some bloggy friendships. My writing style changed a little, I think, once I knew there was an audience. It became more conversational. I liked it. My little blog was now no longer just a slightly more public journal, it was a social system. It didn't take long for it to become a lifeline.

At this point I became inundated with 'awards', memes, tags, prompts - you name it. I wanted to play by the rules and the rules seemed to include these things. I'd be a lying liar pants who lies if I didn't say it was fun at first. I joined in all the reindeer games. But it wasn't me. I didn't know how to get out of it once I was in it. I toyed with the notion of bagging the whole thing and starting a new blog, where I could just write.

But I wasn't sure I could live without the followers and the comments once I'd had a taste. Could I really go back to writing just for me?

Then the giveaway folks started contacting me. Holy man! Free stuff just for giving it a mention on my 'lil ole blog? Count me in! And I did it. And it was fun. But it wasn't me.

Then some stuff started happening in my life that I wasn't comfortable blogging about. Yes, even I, the naked blogger, have some limits. I checked out for a while. No dramatic good bye post - just stopped writing and stopped visiting. It was only a week or two. Followers dropped off immediately. And I realized I could live with that... Then I wrote a post (or two, or three - who's counting?) because - just like in the beginning - I had something to say. But I was still dealing with life-issues and I was still hiding under the dark heavy blanket of SAD. So I wrote, but I didn't visit. More followers dropped off. And I realized I could live with that.

I don't make New Year's resolutions, but I did use the new page on the new calendar as an excuse to do some thinking about the 'lil ole blog. I'm going to write when I feel like writing. I'm going to visit when I feel like visiting. I'm going to comment when I feel like commenting. Whatever I feel like I wanna do, gosh!



So that's where I am. I hope I don't lose more followers, but if I do, I've learned, I can live with it. My 'lil ole blog never set out to set the world on fire. I don't have any aspirations to rule the blogosphere. I am what I am; it is what it is.

Thanks for sticking with me.

39 comments:

blueviolet said...

I'm not going anywhere. It doesn't matter to me how often you write, just that you write. I have enjoyed your blog from the first time I landed here. :)

mama-face said...

This post is close to my heart...I think you know that.

I'll always be here...I think you know that.

xoxo

Traci said...

That sounds just right (or write? -- sorry sometimes I can't resist a pun). You write when you want and I will be here to read it. Because I like what you have to say and how you say it. So whether it's everyday or once in a blue moon, I will be coming back to read it.

:-)

M said...

I love your blog for exactly the reasons you mentioned. It is like you are thinking, and it never appears that you are in a contest. Unlike some of your readers that dropped you because you disappeared for a while, I tend to drop people because they get too caught up in the "game", and their whole blog becomes inundated with giveaways and personal promotions. I hate that. I'll admit that sometimes I see a blog and wonder why they have so many readers, but then I think that a good percentage of those readers probably don't even read the blog unless it's title says "GIVEAWAY" or something like it. Even with my small reader population, at least I know that my readers (LIKE YOU!!) are faithful and sincere, and actually read what I write, and that makes it all worth it. Keep telling it like it is, and I'll be hanging on your every word!
M :)
http://Mandthe2Henrys.blogspot.com
http://HomemakerPhD.blogspot.com
http://52WeeksofM.blogspot.com

MaryRC said...

you continue to amaze me with you being you.. xoxo

Melissa B. said...

As per usual, we're on the same train track, I think. I get intoxicated with all the attention, too. But sometimes I feel the need to step back, to ignore numbers, to be myself. Not that I'm not always myself, but I think you might know what I mean. Thanks so much for helping me sort a few things out!

Anita said...

I've been where you are, and I must say how I've come out on the other side is a much better place. I finally realized I'm not into all the awards and memes just for the heck of writing something. At times those can be fine, when blocked or if you really want to play.
I'm not going anywhere!

Mandy's Life After 30 said...

I couldn't agree with you more Tammy! Really!

I too found myself awhile back caught up in the SITS world (which I left) and the drama circles (which I left) and now it's back to the basics. Now it's more about sharing stories and insight. Back to me and my little ole' family with a few funny stories or questions I may have from time to time. I haven't gained any followers in a long time. I'm okay with that. I don't go out seeking too many blogs these days b/c I don't have the time to keep up with it (nor do I want to spend my time doing that). I visit when I want to as well, not every post or every person. Probably just twice a week lately.

I love blogging and I think you do too. You're a great writer and have so much insight to share. But let's face it - hiding in the virtual world sometimes keeps up from enjoying the real world. I hope to make 2010 a year to live life to the fullest in reality and to stop and write about it when/if I want to. That's where I am too.

I'll always come back to see you. I like you. Period. No strings attached. No fluff. ;-)

MiMi said...

You're stuck with me.
And I don't understand that "follower" thing. I'm gone for a week and I TOLD everyone I was gonna be gone but still I lost followers. It was like a roller coaster, lost, gained, up, down. Whatever! The ones who matter won't leave you.

Jenn said...

You go have "You Time" and we'll be here when ya get back. Whether it's 2 days or 2 weeks!

Ms Bibi said...

That's the way it should be. Write when you feel like it and when you have something to write about...good for you.

I've been doing some changes to my blogging life as well.You need to be yourself and enjoy otherwise it's just a waste of time.

Cassie said...

Write when you want and visit when you want, you are stuck with me. Think of me as your own personal stalker. Maybe you should be glad we don't live closer :o)

Just kidding I wish we did I think we could totally hang :o)

Eva Gallant said...

I agree that you should write when you feel like it and visit when you feel like it. At this point, because I'm retired, I write almost every day. But I do find the blogs that are all about give aways somewhat annoying. They have tons of fowllowers because they require that participants follow to be eligible for the prizes. I had one giveaway, and it was only because I found this fund-raiser calendar with what looked like nearly naked men of various ages and sizes on it. I bought the calendar for the giveaway, figuring it was a charitable donation, and I had fun with it on my blog. I don't know if I'll ever do another, but I know it's not what I want my blog to be about. I enjoy writing and making people smile, 'cause that's how I roll, as they say!
I'll be reading whenever you post, because I enjoy what you have to say.

This Mama Works It! said...

I think your blog is great. I just started blogging but I do see what your saying. As I read lots of blogs I realize that everyone blogs for different reasons and thats OK. But that the beauty of blogging it is all your and you can do whatever the heck you want with it. But I have been a follower for awhile (just recently started commenting) so I am not going anywhere. www.thismamaworksit.com

Ronnica said...

It's SO hard to not let the comments/hits/awards etc. go to your head...it's something that I'm constantly having to remind myself!

linda said...

I feel the same way. I just blog when I feel like have something to say (which seems to be less often these days!)

You're a wonderful, talented writer and I'll be reading no matter how often you post! I'm not going anywhere either!

Happy New Year BTW!

Badass Geek said...

This space is about you, and it should be about what you want to write about. I know you know that, but it can be hard to keep track of.

Even if I don't comment, please know that I do read.

Nicolasa said...

You took the words right out of my head. I have been thinking about this the past week or two and I took a step back from feeling like I had to visit everyone in my google reader and now I only visit a few blogs each day that make me go 'oooh!'.

You are so right and I hope others can see that!

Debbie said...

It is hard to see followers drop off. And I have certainly noticed that if I am not commenting for a few days, the comments on my blog drop off dramatically.
But, I'm here to stay! You can't get rid of me that easilty.

otin said...

With you to the end of the road, where an whenever that might be!!

Tsquared417 said...

You know I'm not going anywhere!! Or as Olivia says "An-ah-wear!"

carma said...

Well said. I just read your quote over at Mel B's place...

Blogging can quickly become a chore if you are governed by all the "musts" - ignore it and keep on doing what you enjoy. I've scaled back on the giveaways, too. What I enjoy is the creative element.

Napoleon rocks!!!

Pam said...

As you know Tammy, I struggled with this several months ago. I decided to go Award Free and joined the Guilt Free Blogging movement. And yes, I lost followers. Oh well. It's easy to get caught up in all the hype, but it's really awesome to get back to basics and blog for yourself. I'm glad you didn't pitch this blog and go private. I would miss your insight.

BONNIE K said...

This was very interesting to me, because I find myself also wondering why I blog. And I don't really have an answer, other than I enjoy it, and I've enjoyed following blogs and learning about other bloggers' lives.

Lynn said...

Oh, Tammy, WHO could resist reading you!?

Tater Tot Mom said...

Amen to that! I have been feeling the EXACT same way and I say more power to ya honey...It's your blog and your corner of the blogosphere, you're the queen here! I love your blog whether you visit me or not or whether you post all the time or not!

gayle said...

Ok so the video was not what I expected but it brought a smile on my face!! I love love this post ...so here I am sitting reading blogs when I should be in bed because I am afraid if I don't then.....What!!
I think I am going to start doing what you are doing...read what interests me and commenting when it does...and not worry to much about anything else...I have to work on me...I am sure most people only follow my blog because I follow theirs and comment on their. I love that I have followers and it is fun but I really started blogging just to write mostly about my grandson and family and whatever crossed my mind. Thank you for this post. Hope I am making sense and I haven't miss spelled to much b/c I am tired and should be in bed....going now..

Allyson said...

Well that's how I started blogging - as a way to MAKE myself "journal" because I'm so bad about actually writing. I never started it because I expected people to read it. But then people did. Really random people - like from my parent's church. And now I have a "follower" who's a woman living in Pakistan and tons of "bloggy" friends. As long as I don't let it become an obligation, it doesn't weigh on me and it's still fun. It sounds like you have just the right attitude to keep it up. You have such great stories about your kids and your family and just day-to-day life that I can't help but check back routinely.

Rosa said...

Being a total novice/outsider to this whole blogging thing, I didn't even understand half of what you said. As you're aware, yours is the only blog that I regularly follow. But I do understand this, people love your writing and will stay with you. If a couple drop off, you can live with it. But the loyal ones will wait.

Gibby said...

Ummmm, were you just in my head right now? Cuz I hear everything you are saying. I didn't even start my blog for readers, I started it for me. Now I catch myself editing posts to be what I think my "readers" would like. So dumb.

Great post, thanks for saying it.

And, I will always follow you. (Wait, that sounded really psycho-ish. Sorry.)

JennyMac said...

I will always come and read what you have to say. And I hear you on many of the things you wrote about not being 'you'.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Hey Tammy, So many of us are in the exact same boat. I've been reading a lot about "rethinking blogging" lately.

Know that I will be here reading whenever and whatever you post! You have a great voice and I love hearing/reading what you have to say-- regardless if you comment on my blog or not.

Here's to a great 2010!
xo

kys said...

I'll be here whenever and whatever you write. I agree with so much of what you said and struggle with many of the same issues.

I love your writing style, your sense of humor, and the stories you tell. I'm glad you aren't quitting.

Smooches!

Unknown Mami said...

You gotta go where you wanna go
and do what you wanna do...

Alex the Girl said...

::cheer:: I love it when you visit, I love it when you write, I love it when I visit! I remember Pam writing about the same very thing a while back...basically claiming her blog back.

WhisperingWriter said...

I really like this.

I also write what I'm comfortable with.

Matt the Bass Player said...

that's it...i'm outta here...



















oh, who am i kidding...

Sandy said...

Sorry it took me a week to read this. I'm a little behind.

You said exactly how I feel only with more style. You covered it all, except that no one has asked me to sponsor any giveaways which is just fine by me 'cause that is so not why I started blogging. (Why did I start bloggin?)

Great post as always and believe me, I'm not going anywhere.

Amber Page Writes said...

Okay, I'm way behind. Because I'm having a blogging identity crisis. Who am I? Who am I trying to be? Am I oversharing?

Sounds like you've gotten to a good place. Hope I get there too...oh, and I'll be here, no matter how often or little you write. Love your blog...