Saturday, February 27, 2010

Blocked

Lately it seems I've got nothing really to say. For anyone who knows me (and by that I mean has crossed paths with me for at least five minutes), this is major. I'm rarely able to keep my yapper shut for more than a few minutes at a time, and if we are more than three people deep in a Starbucks line and you initiate conversation, you're going to know my life story by the time you get to order that latte (a HUGE exaggeration, but you know, it's my blog; I can paint myself to be however I want--and apparently I want to paint myself as the world's most annoying over-sharer).

But in general, I am just feeling quiet lately. And it stresses me out. Especially here on the blog because in the world of blogging, quiet = losing readers. This makes me feel all angsty, because the truth of it is, knowing that people come here to read what I've written gives me a great sense of happiness.

I've hit the wall of realization that this blogging thing is never going to get me discovered as any type of writer; there was a time before I even realized there was a Jennifer Lancaster or Julie Powell or a Heather Armstrong, when I thought, "hey, maybe if I write this little bloggy thing, I'll get discovered and I'll get to write books! SQUEEE!" It's kind of embarrassing to admit that now, actually, but there it is.

Attending BlogHer last summer was a big turning point for me in terms of how I see my blog. I started my blog when I was on bed rest, googled my particular complication and found Amy's blog. It was the first thing I ever knew about blogging. I had never even heard of it before. I started my own blog as a way to pass the time. I told a few people about it, and loved the connection I felt to friends and family as they commented on my posts about doctor's appointments, hospital food and finally, bringing home our little screaming baby.

But as I further explored the vast world of blogging on the interwebs, opened a Twitter account and found a whole new world of bloggers, and attended BlogHer in Chicago last July, I grew increasingly intimidated. And uncertain about what I was doing and why. Was I simply a "mommy blogger"? Would I ever get into the world of product reviewing (I have since figured out my answer to that---a resounding, big fat NO; that whole genre (for lack of better word) of blogging makes me twitchy, as tempting as it is to get things for free.) Is it worth blogging if your blog never gets 1000s of readers? Should I start doing give-aways and contests to get more readers? The list of "should I''s and "why do I"'s went on and on.

There are millions of us out here writing stories, making people laugh, taking photographs, waxing philosophic and basically just sharing little pieces of ourselves with a largely anonymous audience. And the full realization of that kind of took the wind out of my sails. Rather than being inspired by BlogHer, I walked away from the experience feeling, for the most part, insignificant.

Don't get me wrong; it wasn't all bad. At BlogHer, I got to meet some people who have inspired me and made me laugh for years, some of them no more "successful" than me, when standing in the lobby of the hotel surrounded by the likes of Amalah and Jennifer Lancaster (I even got to have dinner with Lancaster, which was pretty damn cool) and other bloggers I can't identify, but who were being interviewed by dozens of different social networking sites.

Since then I've struggled to make peace with the disillusionment of my delusions of grandeur when it comes to the whole blogging thing. It's not so bad to be tiny and insignificant in the world of blogging, I guess. I've realized that my blog is simply what it is: a place where I share my stories with as much humor and honesty as I can muster on any given day, and where I can count of a handful of readers/friends to reach out with a comment or two. And I know that whenever I get a minute, I can click to any number of blogs I frequently read and find something to think about or laugh about as well. I've discovered that that is really all I care about when it comes to blogging. Checking in with those people I've come to genuinely care about, whether they live one town over and I see them often, or thousands of miles away and we've never met--that's what blogging is about for me now.

It's that connection I worry about losing when I start to feel a little quiet, like now.





9 comments:

lonek8 said...

I know what you mean when you say how insignificant the sheer number of bloggers out there can make you feel. I started blogging as a way to share my opinions on things with my family - and as time has passed it has turned into more of a mommy blog (no giveaways for me either thanks) and I have made some really great connections to people I consider good friends (like you). And I do want to grow it. I would like to get my tens of readers to hundreds or even thousands of readers even though I know that isn't likely to happen. And I would love to get a book deal and become rich and famous because of my writing on my blog, but that isn't likely to happen either. So for now I concentrate on writing for myself, and for the connection I feel it offers me to everyone else out there whether they are actually reading or not.

Corinne said...

I'm going to BlogHer this year (since it's pretty close by I know I'd be eaten with envy if I didn't take the short train ride down...) but I'm already anticipating the feelings you've mentioned. Because I get those now. There are a few dozen ladies that I cannot wait to meet, and hug, and actually talk with, but the hugeness of BlogHer (and with that the entire blog thing...) is overwhelming. The only thing that gets me by some days is knowing that I have made a tiny little dent in this community. Even if it's all of my sixty some on subscribers... I'll take that.

Emi said...

You may be tiny but not insignificant to those who love you and read you regularly. :-)

katdish said...

Found my way here because Corinne tweeted your post.

I love your honesty. That's the best kind of writing.

I blog because I like to write (and be ridiculous to a wider audience than my family), but the connections I've made in the blogosphere is what I love the most.

Elisabeth said...

I read your entire blog after I met you and was still working with Jack. You write so, so well and I enjoyed reading about events I knew had happened when you lived here and now it's my favorite way of keeping up with you now that you've moved away. I started a blog mostly as a way to organize some of my own thoughts. I don't expect comments because there ARE so many people on the internet, but just knowing that I can click over here to read something that'll make me laugh and see new pics of my buddy, E, makes me happy.

C (Kid Things) said...

I think that most of us with a little blog (compared to the likes of dooce or amalah) feel like this. With smaller blogs, though, the connections, I think, are greater.

angelynn said...

I agree with you completely. The connections I've found through blogging have been amazing. Being able to reach out and have others reach out to me has made such a difference. Just knowing that there are others out there going through the same thing and being able to laugh and cry with them is awesome. Even when you're quiet it says a lot because those who keep coming back will wait until you're ready.

Eyegirl said...

I've been pondering over these same type of thoughts recently, and I find myself going back and forth about my feelings. If it makes you feel any better, I have no idea who Jennifer Lancaster is, but I now know who you are thanks to linking up to your blog through one that you follow. Everyone is insignificant on a grand enough scale, and everyone is the most important person in the universe on a small enough one. It's all relative and it's all perspective. So far I've enjoyed your blog and I plan on returning to read more, as long as you keep writing.

Amy said...

Great point C about smaller blogs, I never thought of it that way.

You know I am reading and love to hear what you are thinking!