3 Uncomfortable Truths About Blogging

Posted 13 September, 2013 by Amanda / 56 Comments

discussion

Standard disclaimer: This post is not a vague post directed at any specific person. It comes from thoughts I’ve had while writing my next ebook on blogging and observing what people say and how they say it.

1. No one cares as much about your blog or blogging activities as you do

You’re the one who cares the most about your blog and what you’re doing. So just do it. Stop seeking the approval of others. Stop asking if you should do something different. Just do it. Or don’t do it. We don’t care. We’ll support you either way.

This means it’s pointless to make negative value judgments when you compare yourself to others. So people post more, get more comments, have more followers, receive all the good books, read faster. So fucking what? You’re the only one who cares. Do your thing. Own it. You’re fine just the way you are.

2. You’re not entitled to page views, comments, or return visits

Blogging is hard work and you want to be recognized for it. Doesn’t everyone? But publishing a post doesn’t mean people should stop by and visit. You have to go out and get readers. No one cares until you make them care.

Give context and value. Share others’ posts. Visit people without expecting anything in return. There are no shortcuts to building relationships with bloggers. Attempting shortcuts is only going to make you frustrated. And it takes time.

3. Your actions speak louder than words

Do your actions mirror what you’re saying? Because many times, they don’t. (Don’t worry. I include myself in this.) Cut down on passive aggressive updates. If you truly dislike something, stop engaging.

What are YOUR uncomfortable blogging truths?

Filed under: Discussion,

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56 Responses to “3 Uncomfortable Truths About Blogging”

  1. Simple and to the point! I hate that some of us seek approval from others, especially from the “big” bloggers. No one has control over your blog. If someone does not like something you do – SO WHAT! It is not the end of the world. Go ahead and pimp out that sidebar with Disney FM tunes!

    2. A lot of bloggers demand visits and the like, or suggest that they think they’re entitled to return comments. This is pretty silly. Sometimes you can produce the most original content, and feedback is still pretty low.

    3. GAH! I hate, hate this one! Sometimes I find myself wanting to be ultra passive-aggressive. Earlier, I was uncontrollable, then I realized how immature it is. If you have a problem with someone, tell them. Confront them. Don’t be all dramatic on Twitter.

    • Heh. Disney FM tunes. And why the hell not? If you’re not happy blogging, then blogging isn’t worth doing. In the business world, many experts say that you need to boldly be yourself. Will it turn some people off? Sure. But you don’t want them anyway. The people best suited for you are going to be the ones who like you when you’re being you.

      And sometimes you can produce something you don’t think will get much feedback at all (one of my first in denial features) that turn out to be something people really like! We can’t always predict what people respond to.

      Twitter does turn into a passive-aggressive, drama-filled playground. I usually just get off Twitter when I see drama happening. It’s not that I don’t care about what’s going on. It’s that I can’t handle how quickly the situation nosedives. I’d rather walk away than engage. Or even watch.

  2. Melissa W.

    When I started my book blog a few years ago, I was continually seeking the approval of other bloggers. After a rather difficult day, I decided that if people wanted to comment that they would and there was nothing that I could do, except just post and do it the way that I wanted to do it and hopefully people would make a comment or two and that you couldn’t force them to comment.

    • Very true. You can’t force people to comment, and you don’t want people to pity comment either. Because do pity comments turn into regular readers? Probably not.

      It’s hard not to seek the approval of others because yeah, we totally want to be liked. But that’s a hole that can never be filled because there will always be someone who doesn’t approve.

  3. Great Post!
    It makes me feel a whole lot better.
    I know I blog because I love to but sometimes… it gets to you when it seems like things are going nowhere, sometimes you just need to know that other people understand.
    Thanks :)

    • Absolutely. When I have asked for feedback, I find that a) I get conflicting responses or b) no one really cares. Like the general consensus is “Whatever you want.”

      And really, that’s what we should do. Whatever we want.

  4. The constant seeking of approval is most definitely a big thing with some bloggers — and they need to just do what makes them happy. I don’t mind a question or two (it’s hard to get a second opinion IRL when no one you know blogs) but some bloggers do it constantly. Come on. Just pick a book to read or a blog design or a meme to do already! If it’s good, it’ll stick. If not, change. It’s that’s simple.

    You hit the nail on the head with this post, girl! Boom.

    • Constant seeking of approval is a life thing, not just a blogging thing, but yeah. Totally agree. Gotta do what makes you happy.

      Sometimes I wonder if we ask not necessarily because we want approval, but because we crave interaction. And asking a question is somewhat less intimidating than initiating a conversation. Especially if the question is “What book should I read?” Everyone’s got an opinion on that.

      I’d love to have a blogging brainstorm or accountability group. Kind of like a space for bloggers to come and bounce ideas off each other. Because it IS hard to get a second opinion when you don’t know a lot of bloggers.

  5. Awesome thoughts on this, Amanda!! It’s so, so true too.
    I care A LOT about my blog… I’m sure most people don’t even notice half the time when I change things or bust my butt to get an extra post out or even if I miss a post. But caring DOES make a difference whether people notice or not…… Although I think you just have to be okay that you blog for YOU and the comments and views are the bonus! Not expected. I actually work REALLY hard on my blog, connecting with readers, and hoping that that connection with other bloggers draws them to mine as well. I would never never never go around asking for views or comments — and I think that’s a … “mistake” (I guess for lack of a better word) that some newbie bloggers make. People like to visit your site because you have good content. No one is obligated to look at and read your blog. Even if you comment on theirs. Even if you comment on theirs ALL THE TIME. It’s common courtesy, and it’s polite, but it’s never an obligation. I work hard to post my links on social media, comment on other people’s blogs, interact, and really connect with other bloggers. It makes a BIG difference.

    • Yup. I realized about a year or so into blogging that if I missed a day on Twitter, people didn’t even notice—even if they love talking with me. Because while I’m my own world, I’m just one part (probably small) of others’ world.

      I recently made changes to the theme I was using. And while the look and feel is similar (colors are the same, graphics are the same though size is different, menu is different), I actually had to start the design from nothing and rebuild it to look the same. I’ve come to see blog work like that as a reward in itself. So rebuilding my website is a source of pride for me, even if no one else notices because I DID IT ALL BY MYSELF. I have full control over it. And it looks decent.

      I do think caring about your blog and community shows in everything you do and that people will naturally be more drawn to you because you care. And I think you nail that. When you connect with people without placing obligations on them, they’re more likely to return the favor. Because we really do appreciate having people comment on and love our posts and blogs.

      And. And and and. The content part is SO IMPORTANT. If you don’t have good content, it doesn’t matter how often you try to get people to your site because they’re not going to want to return. Content matters.

  6. #2 is one that I struggle with a lot. Well, not that I think I’m entitled, but the whole “go out and get readers” thing makes me really uncomfortable. I either feel like I’m being fake, or like I’m that annoying girl who thinks she’s better friends with everyone than she really is. I try telling myself that all of the blogger relationships I do have had to start somewhere, but it doesn’t make me feel any less awkward about it.

    • I don’t think commenting on people’s blogs has anything to do with being friends. (I mean, obviously, you can be friends. But I don’t see comments from people and think, “Oh. They’re totally trying to be my friend and they’re SO NOT.” I appreciate it for what it is.) Commenting to me is more of a way to say, “Hey. I read this and really liked it, so I wanted to continue the discussion on your blog. Here are my thoughts on the matter.”

      Sometimes, though, it can take time to become comfortable with sharing your thoughts.

  7. Oh Preach it sistah!

    Okay, I’ll stop channeling a Baptist preacher now.

    But honestly – right on. If you blog for the attention or for the page views or the likes… then what’s the point? Your content will suffer and you won’t get any of the things you wanted in the first place!

    • Blogging for the attention, page views, or the likes is very empty. Meaning you’ll always be seeking out MOAR. But you’re so right. If you write for the attention, your content suffers. And content is what keeps people coming back.

  8. Ever since I started blogging a little over a month ago your insight has helped so much Amanda! I think the biggest uncomfortable blogging truth I had was that my friends don’t care, or at least not much. When I sat down with the other people who post on my blog we all thought we would be getting at least X amount of views simply because we have so many friends with similar interests. Your truth #1 in this post is very applicable here.

    • People who aren’t frequent blog readers or who don’t understand the appeal of blogs won’t gravitate toward blogs, even when they have the same interests. My boyfriend’s mom is a HUGE reader and technically follows this blog, but she rarely visits. I don’t have a problem with that—it is what it is. (And, well, she’s basically my MIL. So there’s that too.)

      I’ve made better blogging connections by seeking out other bloggers within the same niche. Because even if they still don’t care as much about my blog as I do, they understand how important blogging can be. There’s more common ground. Most of the readers in my life just want book recommendations—not to actually read my blog.

  9. Oh, this post rings so much of the truth! I agree that I’m the only one who really cares as much as I do about my blog, because most of my readers have blogs of their own to take care of. I think it’s important to be your own blogger, and not a sub par copy of someone else. You can’t please everyone, but as long as you’re being you, and you’re being honest, lots of people will be out there to share their support! :D And I think its important to reach out to others. You can never just expect to find your blog without a conscious effort to find other blogs of your own. It’s a give and take for the most part, but it should never be ALL about getting visits or comments in return :) And I agree about the actions. I usually just go with the flow, but of course, I have to be completely honest with what I post. Otherwise, its just not me anymore. So yeah, great discussion, as always :D

    • Absolutely. Never copy someone else. You’ll never be them and you’ll be unhappy doing it.

      And yes, blogging goes both ways. If you take and never give, people can sense that. And it makes them less likely to give.

  10. This is all so true! It’s funny because I’m scheduling my blog into 2014 right now because of baby, but I know that I’m doing it mostly for me so that I feel better knowing that I have content on the blog. I’ll be so happy if people still check it out, but it’s a comfort thing for me.

    And I SO agree with the stats thing … I used to check my stats all the time, but now I try not to think about it. If people check out my blog and comment, that’s AWESOME, but if they don’t, that’s okay, too. I started the blog for me and will continue to run it for me, too! Having dedicated readers are just some of the wonderful perks — but definitely not expected.

    Great post!

  11. I totally agree with all of those statements! I’m a beginning blogger, but I’m honestly mainly just blogging for myself. I like to read. I like to record interesting things I do since I don’t get to do interesting things very often. If my only viewer is my mom, that’s cool. As long as I’m happy.

    & FYI, because it’s always nice to hear, I just discovered your blog on bloglovin’. & I’m loving it! Great job!

  12. I’ve been struggling with what I really want for my blog a lot lately. Since I’m a grad student in CS, my blog will literally never matter as more than a fun hobby for me, and yet my perfectionist streak makes me obsessive. I want to figure out how to get more followers and pageviews and ARCs, and then I sit back and go WHY??? There will definitely come a day when I will have to step back from blogging because being a professor and mom is too much work on it’s own, so I really feel like I should care less about building up my blog. I’m trying to find a balance between having a blog I’m proud of and prioritizing correctly (homework and research are more important than review books no matter what my brain says!). Thanks so much for this post! It was an excellent reminder, though I’m still going to have to think for a while to come up with a compromise between the devil and angel in my head ;-) (which is which? Who knows!)

    • For me it’s always been about building a community. Followers and page views fall into that (because you can’t have a community without them), but they’re not my primary focus. People are my focus, not numbers. Even though people = numbers. If that makes sense.

      If blogging makes you happy, it’s worth keeping as long as you can, even if it’s just a hobby! By the way, I totally commend you for being able to maintain a blog while going to grad school. I purposely started mine after I was finished because I couldn’t handle it all.

      • Community is an excellent focus, and I think that that is getting to what my brain wants (to say that in the weirdest possible way >.>). So I totally get what you mean, even though that indirectly means numbers, it emphasizes a different approach to getting them.

        Haha, thanks! I’m keeping with it since it gives me a piece of life that I can always make progress on (not that hard to make progress reading a book :D), so even when research and classes are completely impossible, I always have this one thing that I can feel productive doing! I have also heard that reading speculative fiction can help keep your brain agile to think of new research-y things and that’s how I justify it to my advisor :D

        • I found that it was important to have something to focus on besides school work. Your brain needs a break. I just remember being so mentally exhausted, I could only handle watching TV—I read on breaks only.

  13. I liked that you didn’t sugar coat this!
    I always used to compare myself to other bloggers, especially with all the books some of them get, and it never really did me any good. Plus, now they’re drowning in books they probably can’t read, and I get to enjoy my own stuff!
    Now I do post more for myself, and I’m happy when people comment thoughtfully but I don’t expect it. :)

    • Some truths are easier to swallow when they’re bluntly stated. :)

      The way I dealt with the comparison monster was a) I don’t need all those books, b) I have enough books to read as is, and c) I hate the obligation of review books. So I just focused on my books. Keeps me from burning out too.

      Posting for yourself is perfect! :D

  14. Perfect! Love this I got caught in the “comparison trap’ then realized I wasn’t nearly as happy – so I use tips from those I admire – and avoid the pitfalls of those I can’t agree with .

    • It’s easy to get caught in the comparison trap, I think. Part of human nature. But it’s good that you were able to recognize it and make changes. :D

  15. I loved this post but especially the last point which is actions speak louder than words! What a great and very valid point. Blogging can be a very time consuming activity but it can also be so rewarding. It is just important to remember all three of these things that you talked about :) Great, great post!

    • We often don’t realize how our actions aren’t in line with what we’re saying, I think. It’s tough to be objective about what we’re doing!

  16. I can really relate to points 1 and 2- I don’t think I’m passive aggressive :/!

    1. When I first started blogging back in July of this year I drove my poor brother crazy talking about it non-stop. I was so excited because people were actually reading my blog (which I hadn’t anyone to read except for my mom and brother) and I was asking him to help me come up with a better design (he’s a graphic design student). Poor guy put up with me starting and ending conversation with my blog. But I finally have realized that, yes – I do love interacting with readers and other bloggers, but no – they don’t actually care about my blog the way I do.

    2. when I first started I didn’t expect anyone to read my blog, so ever comment or view was a thrill. And then I started thinking about the “big blogs” and how I would like to be as successful as them and got obsessed about my stats. It sucked out all the joy because instead of being super excited for every comment/view a post got I was frustrated about all the ones it wasn’t getting. I spent about a week like that before realizing that I was putting more energy into monitoring my stats than actually enjoying the blog and creating good content. So I’m back to where I started, creating content that I enjoy and being thrilled when others enjoy it too :-)

    Wow I had a lot to say! What a great post!

    • What’s that saying? A watched pot never boils? I suspect monitoring stats are a lot like that. Shucking the stats and focusing on content and your readers is one of the best ways of growing your numbers. :)

  17. I don’t think I do the passive-aggressive thing, but the first two points certainly rang a bell. I’ve definitely been guilty of occasionally getting too wrapped up in the stats, worrying about why they were so “low.” Low, schmoe — when I first started I would have been ECSTATIC with views and comments like I’m getting now. When I remember that, and remember that I’m doing this because I want to, not as a competition with anyone else, then it feels fun and exciting again!

    • Absolutely. Stats are easy to get wrapped up in because they’re very tangible and easy to track and quantify. They’re not sustainable though; there’s never an end point. You’re spot on about blogging not being a competition!

  18. I’m going to read this and re-read this. And then read it again. ;) This is a great post that is really making me think. Thanks a zillion for sharing it!

  19. These are so spot-on. The approval and action ones are hard for me, but that extends out to my non-blogging life as well. I think in some ways my real life personality traits and bad habits wind up exploding into my blogging life as well, and when I actually see that reflected back at me it only compounds the problems. If I’m seeking approval in my life, I don’t always get the persistent feedback that comes from, say, empty comments or readership numbers. In blog life, though, it’s right there staring us in the face. Same goes for not stepping up and owning my actions – if I don’t write a post, the visual evidence is there staring me down. I hadn’t thought about it this way before now, so thanks for the insightful post!

    PS – You commented above about the new theme and think it looks DIVINE. Seriously, it’s awesome!

    • Logan! I have missed you! <3

      Sadly, I don't think I can ever escape my real-life personality traits or bad habits in the blogging world. They just show up differently. I had a humbling moment last week while I was writing a post about how chasing perfection is bad when I realized I was guilty of chasing perfection. Embarrassing. Having visual evidence is tough. But we can persist and learn and grow and that's pretty cool.

      Thank you! I'm loving the new theme as well. Author boxes FTW!

  20. This post is so important for new bloggers! Especially the page views part. When I first started out, I was pissed that no one noticed my post and commented, when in fact, I wasn’t visiting any other blogs. I wasn’t doing the effort. I wasn’t communicating. I think that’s one of the things you learn as you go, how to build an audience/blogger friends. Also, the being yourself part? VERY important. I used to see those posts that say if you don’t post atleast one review per week, you’re not really a book blogger. It’s understandable why people feel that way, but honestly? There’s no set rules on how to be a book blogger. You just write things related to books, even if remotely.

    • Yup. I’ve seen a lot of people upset about lack of page views and comments. And while I get it—I have blogs that experience the same problem—it doesn’t mean I feel entitled. I might ask myself, “How can I entice readers to my blog?” rather than “Why won’t anyone visit??” The former can help me build an audience. The latter is just negative.

      Amen to no set rules. Actually, I’d say there’s one rule: Do what works and feels right for you. It’s your blog. ;)

  21. What a great post! It is true and I have to remind myself why I started blogging in the first place, because I enjoy reading and writing :) and I have to remind myself that I have a life other than blogging and if I didn’t get the post up in time according to my own schedule, it will be OK! Thank you for sharing!

  22. I love it! Number one really hits the nail on the head. I read all sorts of books and used to fear that my blog would never really appeal to any particular audience. Well, after some thought, I decided that I don’t read so that I can blog, but blog because I read and I don’t plan on changing a damn thing that will rob me of my reading pleasure. You are right. Nobody gives a shiz anyway except me. Great post.

  23. After blogging for more than ten years, long before it was the thing to do, I still enjoy blogging and do it for the same basic reason that prompted the whole thing: I have something to say and need a place to say it.

    I began blogging before any of my writer friends even knew what it was way before the whole idea of “book blogging” happened. It’s been a great ride and I love how some many people have gathered around this type of publishing platform to share their love of books and their enjoyment of reading. You are so right when you say no one owes you, a blogger, anything. It’s up to the blogger to communicate whatever he or she has to say and to do it in a way that will generate an audience. Some times you do and sometimes you don’t.

    My blog has kept me company through my early publishing attempts and through the last long ten years of caring for my elderly parents. Sometimes it’s been the one way I’ve had of casting my voice out with any hope of having it heard. Through the good and the bad, my blog has remained constant. It’s always there. It’s always welcoming. It’s always ready to do my bidding.

    Enjoyed your post. You made me want to comment. Thanks!

  24. I especially like point number 1. There’s a great deal of liberty in realizing no one else cares as much as you do about it. Because then you’re free to just do whatever you want, which is a lot more fun than trying to please anyone else :)

    • Precisely. I think getting caught in the trap of trying to please others results in never being happy with blogging. Because you’re always going to be seeking the [good] opinion of others.

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