The Evolution Of A Blogger Or What Jane Will Write To Get Dessert

I have evolved.

Into what, I don’t know. But I know I’m different. I know that I possess more information than I ever thought I would about blogging. I also know that I know very little about the world of blogging.

My one year anniversary is coming up in August and I still feel like a newbie. But then, one of you visits my blog and you really are a newbie. Showing all the same, desperate signs I used to.

You know the signs. Commenting anywhere and everywhere. Plugging your blog, not knowing that your name is already linked. Singing the praises of a blogger you barely know. (Oh wait, that was just me.)

And then your traffic picks up a little. And you have a lot more comments. So, while you’re commenting everywhere and anywhere, just trying to keep up, the laundry falls behind and you start feeding your family more take-out. And you stop and say,

“THIS IS MADNESS!”

So you stop. You breathe. And you adjust.

You start writing 5 posts a week and not 6. And then wheedle it down to 4. You use the “extra” days of the week to catch up on comments or writing brilliant posts.

But it never seems enough.

And you start wondering…who am I? Why am I here? Do people really care about what I have to say? Why doesn’t SallyJo look at my blog anymore? What if I run out of ideas? What if I’ve plateaued? What does it mean to have more readers? Do I really need that validation? Can I have an ice cream sandwich? (Oh. Sorry. Just me again.)

Who am I? I am Jane. I speak my  mind. Sometimes it’s intelligent or insightful or indescribable (because I babble) but never insidious.

Why am I here? Because I saw a silly movie about a blogger and thought, Hey! I can do that! (And then started singing “I Can Do That” from A Chorus Line.)

Do people really care about what I have to say? Apparently. And you’re still here reading. I have to say, I’m a tad amazed that people still check in. That I haven’t gotten too stale, tired or boring. Thanks. I appreciate your stamina.

Why doesn’t SallyJo look at my blog anymore? I have to admit. This has me stumped. I don’t know why, but I miss SallyJo. (Names were changed to protect the neglectful.) I also have to admit, I don’t check in on her blog much anymore, either. It’s not a tit-for-tat kind of thing. I just wasn’t finding anything of interest. And my comments started to feel empty. But now, MillieSue? I miss her, too. And her blog is fantastic. She used to comment here all the time. I always have something to comment on her posts. But she’s stopped coming here, too. No matter how often I visit her. I just don’t get it.

What if I run out of ideas? Me? Run out of things to say? I’m actually laughing out loud here. Nope. Not Jane. Sure, I need a little nudge now and then and that’s where Google searches come in so handy. But let’s get real here. I might suffer a little slump but I’ll crawl right out of it.

What if I’ve plateaued? Now this, I do worry about. I may not run out of ideas but what if my writing never improves? Or, while I might have something to say, I never find a more creative way to say it? What if my 12 faithful readers are all I’ll ever have? Which leads me to…

 What does it mean to have more readers?  Do I need more people to feel guilty about not having the time to read their blog, too? Am I really like the Facebook fanatic that simply MUST have 10,000 friends? Isn’t it just more important to connect with someone, anyone…as in any one person out there? Yes. It is. But my emotional-10th grade-self still would love more readers.

Do I really need that validation? I suppose I do. That is where I have evolved. I enjoy writing. I enjoy engaging other readers. I enjoy being inspired and entertained by other bloggers. But I also enjoy the validation that comes with comments and emails, knowing that others hear what I have to say and are moved enough to say so. But quite honestly, I don’t like it that I have that need, no matter how small. So that is where I am evolving to. To a place where validation isn’t necessary. Wish me luck.

Can I have an ice cream sandwich? Yes, Jane. You have completed yet another post. You can have an ice cream sandwich.

Mmmmmmmm!

43 Comments

Filed under How We Roll, Lessons Learned, Observations, Ponderings

43 responses to “The Evolution Of A Blogger Or What Jane Will Write To Get Dessert

  1. Steven Harris

    This is an excellent description of the things that have gone through my own mind concerning blogging and my relationship with my blog. Maybe some of us write in any medium because we’re self-reflective and even shaky in terms of self-esteem at times. Which might be why I and others can lay awake wondering why the SallyJo’s seem to stop reading. But mostly I realise I like having the small but quite loyal community of readers and writers I have found myself a part of and don’t crave a billion hits a day. Can I have an ice cream sandwich now too please?

  2. Hi Jane:

    You totally have me pegged in this post…I just had my 4-month anniversary of my blog. I too was inspired by that movie, but being a procrastinator, it took me a few months to get started!

    Even after this short period of time, I feel like the blog has changed me…the best part is that I’m writing regularly again after a 3-year hiatus!

    I am thrilled by nearly every comment I get (except those weird spam ones!), and get really excited when I see that someone has actually subscribed to the e-mail feed. I still check my stats all the time…numbers matter to me.

    I worry that people will get tired of hearing about my mundane life, but then I get a nice comment, and everything’s okay again.

    Love the idea of rewarding myself with dessert at the end of the post…hmmm…

    Really glad I found your blog (and all the other amazing ones I’m linked to!).

    Wendy

  3. Jane, I think every blogger has had all of these thoughts running through their mind more than once. I try not to think about the whole high school, popularity, validation thing anymore. I’ve made some great connections in the blogosphere and I treasure them and I appreciate all nine of my readers.

  4. Aha! Such important blogger questions 🙂 And yes, I’m asked many of them of myself. I’m trying to consciously NOT GO THERE, you know the world where it becomes work, where my writing becomes about the reader and not about me. With every post I write I remind myself: be honest, be true, say what you want. I do that because I want it to stay what it started out as-an outlet. I think I’ve evolved too, for me that has been about finding the courage to write what I really want to write. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s all part of the process of learning and having fun with it.

    I only read who I want to read and I’ve discovered the difference between what I think are good blog and bad blogs (highly personal, of course) and I won’t comment on a bad blog just because. Nor will I keep reading a bad blog. If I don’t like the blog, I move on. Sometimes there are those who have been in my reader for a while, I read, I grow bored, I delete. I think it’s natural. But there are those who I have made a real connection with, and those are the people I’m eager to read as often as I can.

    Can you tell, I’m rambling! I really enjoyed this post. I think so many of us can relate.

    • And I’m honored you’re reading me! Thanks for the reminder, too, about writing for you and not your reader. I stumble around with that often – worried about offending someone, afraid of turning someone off or someone taking a post the wrong way. “Write for you, write for you!” – this will be my new mantra!

  5. Jane,

    I’ve thought all of these things myself. I love how you describe the blogging process, the ups and the downs and why it fulfills you. I suspect we all evolve some by writing our own blogs and commenting and reading other blogs. I believe that is the whole point of this process. We explore hoping to gain some insight about this thing we call life.

    I really enjoyed this post and often feel your posts are well-written, humorous, and reflective. Thanks so much.

  6. Newbie, here (well, 2 days shy of a month, that’s pretty new, right?). I love how you always write about what’s on my mind, Jane.

    I have been truly amazed by the blogging world — such wonderful (and horrific) writing and insights everywhere you look. I have so many questions: How do people post so often? (I have material, but treasure my sleep) How do they follow and comment on so many blogs? (Can you tell I have issues with time? And…guilt!) If they are also writers in the “real world,” how do they compartmentalize? Rhetorical questions all, but still mind-boggling to me.

    I think I may stop, and then…I am back again. Blogosphere has its hold. Excellent post~

  7. My one year is in August as well!
    And I think I’ve gone through everything you just wrote… good grief 😉
    I keep saying I’m going to back off for a while, but it never happens…. I read the same amount, might comment less, but I still feel the pull. How crazy is that??
    This was an excellent read 🙂

  8. I’ve gone through all of this too. I think that at the end of the day, all we bloggers can do is write from the heart. The readers may come and go, but as long as your blog is quality, I hope, that is all that matters.

  9. Blog anxiety! It goes in cycles for me. On some days, I’m just too busy to worry or feel bad that so-and-so doesn’t stop by anymore or that a blog friendship I’ve tried to cultivate is being met coolly from the other end. Other days, I feel that tenth-grade sting. It’s hard not to want the pleasure of connecting with others, in whatever form that takes!

  10. Oh how I can relate. In fact, I wrote a post that reflects this sentiment – validation – and it’s waiting to be published in a week as it goes along with my birthday post. Yes, bloggers have to be somewhat narcissistic. If no one writes about the all-important day (our birthday), then WE WILL dammit! 🙂

    I love that you touched on all the key points that plague a blogger, new or seasoned, because as much as we love supporting one another and air our insecurities, many of us don’t talk about our bloggy fears very much. I’m grateful for your honesty, and it comforts me knowing that someone like you could feel the same as someone like me.

    • Sorry, I accidentally erased the URL to my site. Trying to leave a trace here because as you said, “Commenting anywhere and everywhere. Plugging your blog, not knowing that your name is already linked…” except I broke my own link. So here it is. 🙂

  11. bearyweather

    Even though I have been writing for over a year, technically, I am a newbie. Basically, because I started writing my blog for me, just me. I did not care if it was seen by others and I never commented on anyone else’s blog. However, the longer I write, the more that changes and the more I realize I am seeking conversation … I want comments. And, this summer, I am finding great enjoyment reading and commenting on other people’s posts.

    I hope it is not “madness” and I will not become “desperate” for readers … but, from the “signs” listed in your post, I can tell that have definitely caught the blogging bug.

  12. It’s really hard not to get sucked up into blog-world like it’s high-school world. In general, people are more friendly, thank god. But I have all the same questions you do. I think about my blog so much, and I worry that it keeps me from writing anything else, which is important to me. I guess I love having a voice, and it’s sort of like an addiction for a mom, for a woman. (Hey, ever heard “Silent All These Years”? We’re not silent anymore! Yay!)

  13. Remember, too, that people (like me) are reading, though we may not always post comments.
    I think at some point in your bloggy process you decide who you’re writing for. And then you either go on, or leave it behind. And then do it again, every few months. Glad you’re around!

  14. OMG. You got me right here. And you’ve said it much more eloquently than I’ll ever say it. I feel like that a lot about my blog, but then I feel so lame for writing (or even thinking of writing) about it. (Not that YOU are lame. No no no. That’s not what I meant.) I want to know why readers don’t come back. I want to know what draws readers in. It’s about a specific type of “friendship” or at least community fellowship — just like at a party or something…. do I want to be the gal that people don’t want to be around? I’d like to know if that’s happening, but then I feel so egocentric by focusing on that. And then I get the comments “write for YOU”… and all I can think is, if I write for “ME”, I wouldn’t be doing it online and public! Of course I’m doing it as part of a community, and it’s a public personae that I’m portraying (not to say it’s not real, but I’m not going to go all bitchy and air dirty laundry on your FIRST visit. Maybe your third or fourth, but not your FIRST). I’m really glad to brought this up so I can get things off my chest (because we all know it’s ALWAYs about ME ME ME!!!).

    (By the way, I’m feeling very parenthetical today. Do you mind?) 😉

  15. unabridgedgirl

    Oh, Jane, I love this post! You present all the concerns, I think, of most every blogger. And for the record? I love your blog, and I love coming here to read about you and your family and your thoughts. You make me happy!

  16. I started blogging in February and did all the things you mention you did in the early days. Then more recently, with summer upon us and feeling as if there were not enough hours in the day and that I was neglecting other aspects of life, I started cutting back – not on the writing which like you (so far at least) I just cannot seem to stop doing and the ideas flow effortlessly – but the visiting and commenting and looking for new blogs etc. It all got a bit too much. Yet I still want MORE – more followers, more accolades, more more more!
    So thank you, you out down in words all I am feeling. Oh and mine’s a waffle cone with half a tub of Ben & Jerry’s in it 🙂

  17. One vote here for keepin’ on keeping on. No, you aren’t close to plateauing.

    You can always assume I’m cheering you on. I love being a part of your neighborhood. Everybody likes an Attagirl now and then. Well, except guys, I guess.

    (sorry–my brain is steamed.)

  18. I go through these same thoughts…glad to know I’m not alone.

  19. Great post! So many bloggers can relate to every word. I have definitely uttered the words “THIS IS MADNESS!”. I really don’t know how people balance blogging with the rest of their lives. I hate to admit it, but I do most of my writing AND reading at work (during lunch, but also during work time). I don’t like taking time away from my kids and husband to disapear into the blogosphere. Although I do it sometimes. It’s a big reason why I haven’t been around much over the past two weeks… We’ve been on vacation. I’ve tried to keep up, but I feel so very behind. But I’m still having fun. I only write when I actually have something to say, which isn’t nearly as often as most. But it works for me. Thanks, Jane! 🙂

  20. I ask myself those questions all the time. I quit blogging on weekends, most of the time – unless I’m moved by a thought. But I have a hard time understanding how you have time to reply to every comment made on your blog – and do those people really come back to see if you’ve replied?

    As to site stats, if you’re on WordPress, you might have to download a widget for subscribers to see how many you have. I have not yet figured out how to tell how many people subscribe by RSS, which is how I get your posts.

  21. Thank you! Now I don’t have to keep listening to the same questions in my head because you’ve answered them. I *love* it when you write exactly what I should write but can’t find the time or energy or creativity to actually follow through.
    Mmmm. Good ice cream sandwich. What do you mean I don’t get one just for agreeing with you? Sure I do! It means I have good taste. 😉

  22. But Jane–they “Like” you they really really do. I just met you but I’m sure of it. Really!

  23. Thought-provoking post, Jane! Echoes many of my own thoughts and experiences and evolution. =)

  24. You are amazing. Yes, go ahead and get another ice cream sandwich. You deserve it. I can’t even remember when, where or how I stumbled across your blog. It’s embedded in my day/week now to read it. Sometimes I comment, sometimes I don’t…but I always read it and think about the things you say. Your wit shines through and makes me giggle and smile. And some days, it’s exactly what I need to break a bad mood. I appreciate the comments you make at my place. Even though sometimes I don’t reply to them, I’m always appreciative of the time you took to write them. More readers are nice, but I value more the “relationships” built between with those who take the time to really get to know each other on a regular basis.

  25. I think we can all recognize ourselves – after a time – in this delicious post. It made me laugh, then nod, then smile.

    Our stamina. (laughing)
    Not running out of things to say. (nodding)
    Why Sallie Jo doesn’t look anymore. (laughing, and scratching my head along with you)

    Happy almost anniversary. It’s a great feeling. Not to be a newbie. To realize how different the world is from this place. To reach a year, and then to keep going.

  26. Totally with you on the ice cream sandwich. =)

  27. We all need a little validation from time to time don’t we? Not to be confused with ego stroking though!!
    I don’t have a sweet tooth but a bit of cheese wouldn’t go amiss…..

  28. Another great post. I happen to like your writing style – I can relate to a lot of what you write about, and giggle sometimes too. And thanks a lot for making me crave an ice cream sandwich! 😉

  29. You did it again, put up something that hits home in the secret heart of bloggers. Kudos, Jane!

  30. Lindsay

    Newbie here. And you’ve got me pegged, that’s for damn sure! Now I’m slightly embarrassed but happy to know I’m not alone!

  31. Yeah, I first started on WordPress blogging with a blog that I kept private. There was another one for my weight loss, and then my final one that I have public now is the one I share. I do just love reading blogs and commenting, there’s so many about so many subjects and it’s too much and too little time to do it all, right?

  32. jterrill

    I do consider myself a “newbie” especially when it took me 1/2 dozen visits to your site to find the subscribe button. I have visited several of the freshly pressed blogs and followed a couple, but I have not felt the connection with another blogger until I now. I hope that doesn’t sound too weird. Looking forward to following along!

  33. I’ve nodded in agreement to everything you raised and found myself laughing because I am an amateur blogger and at the end of month four still not sure what a blogroll is and glad that I now have learnt (from reading another comment) how to find subscribers… thanks for sharing and keep it up 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s