Blogging is hard. I know that title makes me sound really whiny – like wow Chaz, typing an 800 word post 3 times a week must be terrible for you. It’s not just about that, though. I feel like people severely underestimate just how complex blogging is when they first start, and I was one of them.
It’s not all sunshine.
I started blogging in March (You can read my one month of blogging post HERE) and honestly I am quite proud of where it’s come to so far. I did 4 days straight of research on blogging, reading other people’s blogs, getting idea’s for graphics and stories. Read about pinterest, SEO, self-hosting, money, statistics. I wrote it all down and jammed it into my brain more than I can describe, and I still got it wrong.
You can read as much as you like about blogging and the world of blogging before you start, and it does help. It helps to know about the community, the ‘ins and outs’, the more complicated stuff like SEO. However, what that doesn’t prepare you for is the interpersonal relationship that YOU will have with blogging. You see all these bloggers telling you how to make a blog, how to self host, etc. What you don’t see is how they truly feel about blogging, how difficult it has been for them to get where they are. You don’t see that they probably have weeks where they absolutely loathe writing posts.
It’s a constant battle.
Even after you’ve set up your blog and have got a few posts running, it’s a battle. You’re constantly battling against many other bloggers to get your work seen. I’m not saying that it’s all a competition, because the Twitter blogging community is THE BEST community ever. Everyone supports everyone, which is great. The truth of it is that you are competing. You’re competing for people’s time, people’s support, even money sometimes. That’s what they won’t tell you.
Everyone has goals when blogging. People want to make it to 100, 500, 1,000 followers. People want a certain amount of reads on each post, or want to aim for a sponsorship deal that week. A quick google search brings up this article which says there are over 440 MILLION blogs in the world. 440 million people, all competing for their voices to be heard the most.
Not all of it is a competition, like I said. The community are very supportive and everyone tries to help everyone else out. There are some things that you just have to be truthful about, though, and that is this. It is a competition, it’s a business, it’s some people’s livelihoods. You have to keep that in mind when starting a blog, otherwise you’re dooming yourself to be upset by irregular statistics and 50 followers.
The feelings I’ve felt since I started my blog have been a rollercoaster and a half. I started off so full of hope, aspirations, I’d read all about it. “Chaz. You are the best blogger out there. You can do this.” were basically the words I would tell myself every day. Then when one of my posts didn’t get to 100 views, or it wouldn’t quite reach the amount of interaction I wanted on Twitter, I’d cry. I felt as though I was a failure, even after all this hard work I had done.
“What did I do wrong? People hate my blog. I might give up.” Were then the words that came to my brain more often. The amount of times I’ve been ready to just delete my blog and retreat into a cave or something is more than I can count. The statistics really bothered me, because I felt if I wasn’t in a ‘get famous quick’ scheme then surely that meant nobody cared about my blog?
Now, nearly 4 months later, I’ve realised that isn’t the case. 4 months is a very short amount of time. No matter what those massive blogger advice pages say. ‘Get 1,000,000,000 views in your first MONTH!’ type of articles are the damaging ones. Yes, YOU did that. That doesn’t mean I can also do that just by following each step you did. Maybe you’re more likeable than me, maybe you had a bigger following before you started. There are so many aspects they don’t tell you about.
Trying to move past the ‘blogger blues’ and get on with blogging without statistic focus is hard. It took me a long time, an email from my nan, and a lot of talking to other bloggers to get through it. It’s not that I want to be ‘famous’ or have a bunch of money (although I would like to be able to afford a coffee). I just want my voice heard, and like everyone, I want reassurance that I’m doing okay.
People are so scared to ask for that, I think. You get called attention seeking or superficial just because you want people to like you. Of course I want people to like me, if they don’t then fine, but I still want them to. If I said anything else I would be lying.
Now I’m mainly focused on making sure that *I* love my blog. Not anyone else, for the time being. I want to make it so that I love it so much, when I talk about it to other people, the love is spread from me to them. Being passionate, TRULY passionate about what you do, is a good message to spread. Not how many views you got in April, or how many followers you gained in November. Those are extra nice things, and I will continue to celebrate them, but they aren’t my main focus anymore.
If you’re learning how to blog or making your own blog right now, all I can say is just take things with a grain of salt. Follow all the tips to the best of your ability, but don’t be upset or surprised when the immediate 100,000 views you were promised don’t come rushing in.
All you can do is your best, love your blog, make it your home.