If you’re one of the 10,000 subscribers to this blog, and you thought I was gone for good, I wouldn’t blame you. Of course, that number–– TEN THOUSAND–– a number I worked so hard for and I coveted when I saw on other blogs; a number I thought was the grand prize for my hard work; a number I strived for, that 10,000 is a very deceptive figure. It’s another mosquito in my Seven Year Itch as a blogger.
But let me go back a bit; let me explain. B is for Blogger/blogging. When I started blogging on WordPress seven years ago this June, I was as naive and clueless as they come. I didn’t know how to add photos, quotes, colorful wording, links, or anything other than… my words. While I’ve gone back and gussied up those first posts, they were originally a black and white page. I visited other blogs and saw clever visuals and things that engaged readers, but I had no idea how to do any of it.
I started with WordPress tutorials. They are invaluable; use them. Then I followed the #1 blog advice: I read other blogs and left comments. I interacted with other bloggers, who in turn were willing to share advice. Admittedly, I took those folks for granted in the beginning. I was grateful, but I didn’t get it. I was passionate and motivated. I got past the inevitable initial hurdles of blogging, and started to find my own groove.
And it paid off. About six weeks into my WordPress blogging journey one of my posts was Freshly Pressed (now called Discover)for the first of what would eventually be three times. When it happened I blindsided. In fact, I missed it all together until a friends asked me why my blog was suddenly “blowing up.” Honestly, I was gobsmacked. When I wrote the post The Grass Is Always Greener On Someone Else’s Head, I figured it had a clever title and the subject might appeal to a few other readers. It received 287 comments and took off like wildfire. If you click the link, I urge you to read the comments. While the post itself is okay, I found the comments from readers to be the most dynamic element. (Mostly) Women had a lot to say about their hair, beauty, and self-identity. As a new blogger who had had only a few comments on posts up until then, it was a total game changer.
However, the reality is I didn’t start blogging to be a blogger. In fact, even the term blogger was nebulous. I began blogging as a means to an end. Blogging was a route to getting a book published. I was working on a novel, and everything I read said I needed a “platform.” I needed to build a social media presence, so that when I tried to get published I could show I had clout as a writer. It was all a foreign idea at the time.
I used a name that had been in my head for a while and signed up with WordPress. I started putting out posts, and Tales From the Motherland was born. A new blogger was born. My initial posts were met with deafening silence. No one was reading them. No. One. No one hit like or left comments. I wrote; I posted; I checked daily, and nada. I sucked up my ego and wrote on, with no obvious rewards or accolades. And that is key. Blogging, I’ve come to believe, is about putting yourself out there. It’s about being authentic and finding your groove. It’s not about the numbers, or the rewards. Don’t get me wrong; all three Freshly Pressed (one, two, three), and the Discover, each of them was and still is a huge honor. Each brought in lots of new readers, and was a nice pat on the back for the writing I was so committed to. I’m overdue for another coveted disc, but I’ve learned: the rewards are not what it’s about.
B is for Blogging, and the C is Community or Connection. As I enter my eighth year, and struggle with my ability to keep up a pace I once found easy, the most important thing I’ve learned about blogging is that B=C. It’s all about the community you build and the connections you make. It’s not about the numbers. Over these seven years I’ve been fortunate to have connected with some truly outstanding people. Some have been there each time I post. Others pop in and out. A few have become friends. We’ve met in person, or we’ve messaged, or we’ve just supported each other in this saturated world of blogging. Today there are 500 new sites on WordPress each month and approximately 87 million new posts monthly! Some days it feels like hitting publish is like whispering during Beyonce at Coachella, and expecting anyone to hear. But your community is everything. They hear the whisper.
I’ve been struggling for a year now. No awards. No more blogging on Huffington Post, where my ego was stroked weekly. No more hitting send after easily pounding out words and thoughts. The 10,000 subscribers are entirely nebulous. The reality is there are about 20 people who consistently stop by. There are 20 people who leave comments, root for me, encourage me, or just have the kindness to say hi. But it only took one blogger, one person in my community, who sent a message recently saying she missed me. She reminded me that I blog to connect. I blog to build community. The platform, the awards, the goals I once set mean nothing compared to the voices who says you matter, I miss you. I would rather have 20 steady members of community, who are authentic and real, than 10,000 digits who never hear me whisper. B=C. Start there and the rest will come.
Are you new to blogging? Do you have wisdom to share? Leave a comment!
Stop here and watch the WordPress Live Activity map. It’s way cool!
* * *
KAPOW! Have you stopped by Tales From the Motherland Facebook page to spread some fairy dust? I’m grateful for each Like. Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does (for real)! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. Honest, constructive feedback is always appreciated. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, no spam.
©2011-2018 All content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, I’m grateful, but please give proper credit and Link back to my work; plagiarism sucks!