My thoughts on: Blogging
"The fortunate man, in my opinion, is he whom the gods have granted the power either to do something which is worth recording or to write what is worth reading, and most fortunate of all is the man who can do both." Pliny the Younger.
When we read blogs, under whatever motivation, there is a certain level of expectation we hold. We want to gain something from reading a post that we invest our precious time in. Whether that be entertainment, inspiration, aspiration or to gain a greater understanding of something, we read them for an outcome. As a blogger I have always been very conscious of that.
Recently I haven't been thinking a lot about my blog, in the nicest possible way, I have had other things on my mind. But, when I have thought of it the momentum hasn't been there and I have put it to the back of my mind again. All of the thoughts seem to go in the same direction: "I'm not blogging enough. I wish I gave myself more time to do it. OK, this time here, I'll block that out and dedicate it to my blog. But what will I even write about? I mean, I have that backlog of drafted posts but what are they really? I don't want to bore people with more empty posts that are just different versions of what everyone else is doing. My writing isn't good enough. I don't have enough followers to worry about my choice of topic to be boring. Not that I should worry about followers. Stop thinking about numbers, Becki......How can I get more followers? I should write more frankly. I should write what I want. But what if that upsets someone? What if I'm controversial? God, what if I'm too boring to be controversial?! Nobody cares what I think, I'm not that influential. You shouldn't write something that can't have a positive impact in some way. You should only talk about exciting or topical things. Talk about the exciting things you do. Wait, what are my exciting things? Tile shopping? Jeez. Ok, so topical, we can go topical. Wait, do I know enough about this to write about it? Would people even care to read my opinion on this? What if I get it wrong? What if I'm oblivious to a glaringly obvious part of this topic which would change my opinion entirely?! What if I'm wrong?! What if people start to hate me?! What if I offend someone?!?! I think I need to lie down."
You see, I don't really buy into the whole "loyalty reader" thing – outside of family members who I know read my blog regularly only because they have told me so (and who I am very grateful take the time to do so) - unless of course, you are of a level at which you develop fans, a concept I find truly disturbing if I'm being totally honest. We are a society with the luxury to pick and choose what we do and do not consume, and with that comes the choice to pick up what posts from the saturated blogging world we choose to spend our time on. Which means that in order to get anywhere you have to stand out. But that is a difficult thing to do when there are so many voices to shout differently to.
Blogs are, now, a huge part of society in many ways. They have outgrown the niche of the blogging community and are now seen as replacements for magazines by many outside of the community, evidenced by the rapid decline in magazine sales and subsequently the amount published. Some blogs are like reading Glamour and others more like reading Psychology Today, meaning that some are there to entertain whereas others act to inform.
Someone that I work with has a blog that gets a good amount of traffic. The blog has a very clear niche and an audience that consumes the content because it has facts and stats they want to know. At work they are happy to talk about their blog and actively encourages other people with an interest in that niche in the office to give it a read. They are confident in their content. I am entirely the opposite. I tell people that I blog and that I have one – mainly in the vain hope that it makes them realise that I know what I'm talking about professionally – but very rarely do I tell people what it is and how to find it. It's a very separate entity to me. I don't like to cross those boundaries on either side. It makes me feel uncomfortable. But it is also driven largely because I don't feel as though my blog is...valid?
I have neither consistent followers nor a niche. It just exists. Mainly in fear of not saying something in the right way or saying something wrong entirely. Like I've said before, it is as though I am frozen in fear with it all.
One of the things that makes me hold back the most is the constant stream of duplicated content that I see on my feeds from bloggers. Whether from local bloggers all attending the same event and writing it up in the same way afterwards, or on a larger scale when the whole community jumps on a new or seasonal product. I see you, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Lush Halloween bath bombs and Jo Malone advent calendars. It makes me feel powerless to go against the tide. The truth of the matter is I don't like Pumpkin Spice Lattes, hell, I don't even like coffee. Jo Malone is just so overpriced and you can get nicer smelling products for a fraction of the price and lush? I hold my breath when I walk past them because the smell – despite being reasonably nice – makes my eyes water.
Ok, so that was quite therapeutic.
Let me get this straight, I hold nothing against those that like these things, I just find digesting the reams of content about them difficult, and more so, I find that these things hold me back because I don't conform. It makes me feel as though my content is not digestible. I don't have information to give and I fit into a blogging box, but I'm not sure I have my own box to give as an alternative.
I'm certain that there may be people out there that would read this and roll their eyes with a tut at how very first-world-problem this all is, and do you know what in part I agree with them. And that right there is the crux of the problem. I am in an eternal battle with myself. Sometimes I want to find my soapbox, jump on and raise attention to feminism or child exploitation or politics, but sometimes I want to blithely write about the new notebooks I've purchased or the fact that I really fucking love jumpers. And I'm not sure if the two can coexist in one space.
There is no end point to this post. I have no solution for myself. I am not ready to give up on this yet, I feel as though there is something left in me to give so I will continue. My concern is that I'm not recording things worth recording and that what I am recording is not worth reading.
1233 words later I will leave you to get on with your life. Thanks for taking the time to get this far.