A blog is a space in which to log entries of any kind. A blogger is one who fills the spaces of his or her web log with such entries. The goal is to produce quality content that we enjoy and love. This should be the reason we begin blogging and why we continue. To produce our passions.
So when did being the spectator become more important than being the producer?
When I began blogging, it was hard to ignore the blogging bureaucracy. Like most, I quickly learned the rules of the trade. They aren’t easy to miss. Guides to blog success are posted at every major intersection of the internet like big electronic billboards: Interact with the right bloggers! Read read read! Don’t forget to comment! Participate in the blogging community! Guest post and reblog!
So, upon the birth of 25toFly and my discovery of WordPress, I immediately found a slew of blogs that I liked and followed. I got to know the people behind them. Friendships were formed and everything was just dandy. It was like being in the popular clique that I was never a part of in high school. And it was fun.
But cliques are exclusive, and exclusivity limits the experience. I started to develop bad habits. My writing was laced with inside jokes that half of my readers couldn’t decipher. I was supporting ideas out of loyalty instead of sincerity. I found myself leaving drive-by comments. I stopped giving new blogs the time of day. I second guessed my own content if I didn’t score a certain number of likes. All of which pointed to the glaring fact that I was caught up in a popularity contest.
None of this was fair of me, because none of it was me.
Reading other works is important. It can inspire us, help us network with other writers and artists, and give us new perspectives, but without balance and authenticity, it can be detrimental to our own growth.
I was so caught up in what everyone else was doing, that I severely neglected my blog. There was so much to read and so many opportunities to seize. By the time I finished chiming in on everyone else’s conversations, writing a post of my own felt like trying to backstroke through peanut butter. So I wouldn’t write anything at all. The next day, the cycle would begin again as soon as I opened my reader, spinning me around like my shoestrings were tied to a high speed merry-go-round.
I had enough. I fell hush.
My comments resembled crumbs, and my Gravatar was practically an apparition. At first, I worried. Were all of the people reading my blog only there because I read theirs in return? Is my blog a stinking pile of uncovered cat poop without my comment reciprocation? Will I vanish into an internet black hole never to be “Liked” again? But then, I realized that it didn’t matter, because even if my thoughts rang true, I’d still be blogging.
To my surprise, detaching myself from the noise for a while allowed me to enjoy blogging like I did before the need to be liked took over. When I finally returned to the conversations, I made sure they were the ones I really wanted to be a part of and that my engagement was genuine.
You see, we are all worthy of the Blogger title, whether we are the next Mark Twain or just want to post pictures of our cats. Your blog is yours. Show it some love, and don’t compare it to everyone else’s. Produce what you love, whatever that may be, and make it your priority. Without it, your blog doesn’t exist. So let’s put the blogging bureaucracy to rest. Your blog, your rules.