03 July 2014

Blog For Yourself (+ A Little Hidden Letter To Myself)

Throughout the entire month of July, I am going to be gone doing Camp NaNoWriMo and in my spare time, will be blog designing and working on the chapters on my collaborative novel with The Magical Violinist. In the meantime, while I'm getting out of my writer's block, I will be planning and dedicating some posts about blogging tips I've picked up for the past sixteen months I have been a part of the blogosphere. I've been wanting to do this for awhile, and I'm excited to share with you all what I have learned!

Before I start typing up this post along with all of the other scheduled posts, I've got a couple of things to announce and to remind you guys. The writing contest is still open, and I've only received one entry! :( So if you want to submit an entry, please do so ASAP! If you want to review the guidelines once again, click the askerisk: [*]. Secondly, because I am going to be gone continuing my Bee novel, I will let you guys decide on what sort of writing tidbit you want me to post. Whether it's another excerpt or another character profile, it doesn't matter. Just tell me in the comments! And finally, I'm so happy about blog designing; I've now designed five blogs for people! :) Two of the five are in the progress right now. I'm squealing with joy, like:

(image via wordpress)
Yeah, I love Giselle's cheerfulness. ^.^

Anyways. My first tip isn't going to be about how to start up a blog or simple HTML/CSS tidbits you could do and use, no. Rather, this first post is all about why you would want to go into blogging yourself and who you should blog for. These are important tips/lessons that sooner or later, you will come across and will have to understand. Yes, it's long, and yes, it's heading toward more of a deep sort of route, but just hang on tight. Alright?

When you first start off blogging, you feel a little young and naïve compared to other bloggers. You're unsure of what to do, and you spend hours agonizing over what to write about for your first post, and how to customize your blog and make it look professional. Trust me on this, it can be stressful. My first week of blogging was spent on making my blog look pretty and professional. Or maybe you feel confident and hold your head high because you have real life friends who blog as well and you've gotten a free design by some of the best bloggers out there.

Then you get the hang of it of blogging. You write posts about the things that you have been dying to write about. When we first start off, we always have something to write about. We're fresh of the press and intuitive. There's always something about that fresh start that gives you this bright, spunky spirited aura screaming, "I am new to blogging, and I am LOVING IT!"

(image via Pinterest)
We make some blogging friends from various cities, states, provinces, and countries. The famous NYC, Ottawa, Minnesota, Georgia, Nova Scotia, US, Canada, the UK-- wherever you may be, you all constantly follow each other's blogs. New posts are somewhat like breadcrumbs to a flock of pigeons; when one makes a new post, you all rush to read and comment. 

When you get a comment or a new follower, you get elated and feel tiny shrills. People are actually reading and liking the content your blog that you've dedicated time to spend writing, and you're not just rambling in your little corner of the Internet while the entire world is spinning and going on with life.

Then somehow, you hit the big numbers. You reach 30, 50, or maybe even 100 followers. That bright and spunky aura has now been replaced with some slight pressure with you thinking, "Oh my goodness. I have to live to what my readers want to read, which may be some mainstream trend or piece of news that occurred recently. I have to strive for perfection." And okay, maybe not some "mainstream trend," but something popular. And that thought might soon become an action. You blog about what the readers want to read about, your thoughts are restrained, and you feel a bit unhappy.

Stop. Pause right there. What is wrong with this picture that I am trying to depict to you?

That's right. You are blogging for them, but due to the midst of blogging what they may want, you may not be exactly blogging for what you want. It may seem a bit selfish saying that you should blog what you want, but the first person that you want to appreciate what you are writing and taking time to post and show to the entire world, is yourself. We're always told that we shouldn't be selfish (unless, of course, you are the Abnegation, whom have been brought up their entire lives to not be selfish at all) but there are some things that you should be selfish about-- selfish in a good way.

An example of being selfish in a good way is to keep in check of your wellbeing and having a vision of knowing exactly what you want and who you, as an individual, choose to be. Blogging is one of those things. When you've started, surely you didn't tell yourself, "Hey, I'm going to get over 300 blog followers?" Right? That wasn't the image you had wanted to start of with in your mind. Most likely, you started off just as this mini story began: a person who was ready to delve into the blogosphere and ramble on about their thoughts into a tiny corner of this big virtual place known as the Internet. You can think of we bloggers a bit like authors, when they start off. We write about the stories we want to write about.

Besides, if you look at the definition of blogging, it says:

(screenshot, definition via Dictionary.com)
1. n. a type of online diary that someone makes available to other people on the internet. (A very popular way to communicate one's personal details without any social interaction.)* *Source: Dictionary.com app

Blogging is like an online diary or journal that is visible to the world. Usually, when you write in journals or diaries, you write about what you want to write about. No fear of high expectations or being judged is there  (in journals/diaries). Blogging should be the same!

I'm not saying right now to not have lots of followers, that's not what I am saying. The numbers don't matter, but the people who do take time to read what you have written do. Followers are, or should be, readers who follow your blog because they appreciate the content and what you write on it.

In the end, you are kind of torn between two choices: to have a big blog with many readers and somewhat in-between limitation about what you can write due to the pressure, expectations and possible criticism you are facing, or a small blog which only a few people read but you are unlimited to what you can write. If you had to ask me, I'd choose being a small blogger, because my choice to blog about what I wanted to write with no limitations-- that was, and still is, what I wanted! I wanted to speak out and get my voice heard, from many or a few people, it does not matter.

There is a way to have a compromise and have both: it is just to keep on blogging and always be remembering that ultimately, you are blogging for yourself. You are the one setting the expectations for what your vision of your blog will be. In fact, this post? I'm writing it for myself (it will seem a bit more obvious when you read further below). If you lose followers or do not gain followers because you do not blog that "mainstream" thing going on, don't be sad. You still have those followers who will hang on to this words you have to say. They'll be there for you, no matter what. Don't take them for granted.

I have to admit, however, blogging isn't necessarily for everyone. It's a long hard process that you will need thick skin and patience for, traits that aspiring authors must have to survive in the industry. If your vision for blogging is to gain followers or your blog posts are to please people and they are just pictures or videos you slap on with a caption on the side, blogging just isn't for you. That's sharing, and not writing. There are plenty of other options out there that can suit you, such as Twitter and Tumblr (Tumblr is a bit like blogging, except I heard you mostly reshare the content that you like and it reflects you. I'm not sure. Correct me if I am wrong. I only know this because my friend Miranda has one.)

Sadly, some of us, after blogging for awhile, fall into that "sharing" trap than reaching for that "writing" goal. When I first started blogging, I wanted to blog about something that I loved, principles and thoughts that I firmly believed it. And now I've reached the big numbers, too. I almost have sixty followers at this point, and the pressure of striving to be perfect and resharing is getting to me. I know that not every single post is going to be as popular as some of my other posts, but there's that sense of, "This has to be popular."

For some, this may be an unpopular opinion, but have you ever wondered why, when we just write posts that are written without effort and are just thrown together like a sloppy sandwich, we just receive comments that are just three to five words long, like, "This is a beautiful post!" or "Nice job, [insert your name here]!", and we don't receive comments that elaborate more and seem like that person who comment is a friend chatting with you? 

Where is that spark that you had? 

Look at the situation this way. When you blog, you should seriously put the time and effort to create your content, the same effort you had when you first clicked on that "Create Blog" button. You may not be blogging for over hundreds of people, but if you do not put the effort into it, how will you, when you look back at your work months later, be proud of it? You should be proud of what you did. Blogging is just like pieces of art that you try to accomplish, like creating a new song or making a recipe-- you feel pride about what you have done with, after sacrificing time to watch TV shows you love to pieces or have been really anticipating about, like the Legend of Korra or the pilot premiere of Girl Meets World.

Blogging isn't just constantly posting a tons of pictures you love from Pinterest and typing in a brief sentence of how your life has been. It's okay to do it if you're on vacation, but there are ways you can avoid it (i.e. planning your posts or bringing in some guest posters). Writing your posts should be more meaningful than that. We should blog for the same simple reasons why we started to blog. We should be writing about something that matters to us.

(screenshot, taken by me)
P.S. The Legend of Korra and Girl Meets World were Two premieres I missed watching live while writing my last post, Java Programming. Luckily, it was recorded! Legend of Korra at least. I got to watch the pilot of GMW the following day. Thank you, cable box and TV memory space, for squeezing in the hour-and-a-half long premiere despite all of the Filipino recordings still saved! And does anyone know where to watch Sherlock? I don't have Netflix or Hulu. Plus, my friends who are die-hard fans don't have the CDs, and it appears nowhere on television. And that produces quite a conundrum, since I usually don't have much time to watch TV shows. Friday was an exception.



DISCLAIMER: So the second part, where I talked about blogging and sticking up pictures up there are such; that's my personal viewpoint, and if anyone took this and was offended, I'm really sorry. I wrote this last night until 11:00, and usually I tend to contemplate many issues (mostly about life). Writing anything but my novels in the evening can be pretty dangerous for that reason. Just don't take it too personally. Just eat unicorn cookies to cheer you up; they are yummy and are miracle workers. ^.^

15 comments:

  1. I haven't hit the "big numbers" yet as you call it, but I have gotten the same feeling. Wanting my blog to have a lot of readers and wanting my posts to be popular, but several months ago, the Lord showed me how flawed my thinking was. I remembered that my writing was first and foremost for my Lord, and secondly for my readers. It's hard, cause I think every blogger wants people to like their writings and comment, but we also want sincerity. Anyway, thanks for posting this. It is a great reminder to me. ;) P.S. I'll try to get my entry up sometime next week.

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    1. Yeah, that's true! And though people have expectations for our blog, we also have to, most importantly, live up to the expectations that we-- hear the emphasis on "we"-- have for our blog.

      xoxo Morning

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  2. Morning,
    Thank you for this post!! It is so true to life!! I've been blogging for a little over a year and still feel like I've just started. I have 28 followers so far and am very happy :)
    You really made a point:) Thanks for the tips! Keep it up. BTW, I will have my writing contest entry in ASAP! :D
    xxLizzie

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    1. Hi, Lizzie! You're welcome, by the way. ^.^ And I'll be sure to check out your entry ASAP!

      xoxo Morning

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  3. wow, actually I just checked my blog and now I have 30 followers!

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  4. Nice post. Very inspiring. Haven't hit the big numbers yet. It sometimes feel like I never will. I have writing on my blog for over a year after all, but I keep going!

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    1. The big numbers will hit you when you least expect it. I had about 30 followers after one year of blogging (the number was somewhere close to that) and after about another six months, the follower count doubled. Yeah, and that's the spirit! Do keep on going! Not every post is going to be a big hit, but we just keep trudging forward.

      xoxo Morning

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  5. This post is very true. You were very brave to write it. I'm working on creating a blog as well right now, and these are some great tips to keep in mind.

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    1. Thank you! And when you do have your blog up and running, tell me! I'd love to check it out XD

      xoxo Morning

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  6. Inspiring post!! :) Thanks for the tips!

    Sammie
    sammiethestargirl.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks and you're welcome!

      xoxo Morning

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  7. This is such an inspirational post! I am going to use these great tips to guide myself while blogging, thank you. I just commented to let you know that category one is open for Here's To Summer writing contest. You can view it here if you like xx
    The Joys Of Being Paige

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    1. Hey, Paige! I'll be sure to check out and post my entry of Category One ASAP!

      xoxo Morning

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  8. Sorry, just read this through and realized that I wrote writing contest! I meant photography ♥ xx

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  9. This post was really useful, thanks!
    (and the divergent references made it even better)
    Abbey <4

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Hi there, reader! Thank you so, so much for having time to read my posts and comment; I really appreciate it, and I promise I will try to reply back! I'd also love it if you would follow my blog too and spread the word; that would make my day. :D Have a great day!

Stay strong and wonderful!
xoxo Abigail Lennah