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Saturday, July 24

Blogging Blues

This week I've been sort-of following a summer-long Build a Better Blog challenge by SITs, The Secret is In the Sauce. If you haven't heard of them, click on the link or button on here and follow them right away. If you have a blog, you won't regret it! I find new favorite sites from their featured blogger of the day, and I've learned a TON about blogging. Mainly, that blogging well is really an art form requiring lots of strategy and computer know-how in addition to writing skill.

I see now that my original concept of a blog was very naive. I thought I'd just write posts now and then, people would find them, read them, follow me, and post comments, all on their own. After all, I didn't notice Julie in Julie and Julia posting her posts to facebook, twitter, stumbleupon, and RSS feeds...whatever those are...and she was a hit! Well, based on the fact that lots of people tell me they read my blog, but don't FOLLOW ME, and prefer to send me emails or facebook messages instead of commenting on my posts, I'm beginning to see that it takes more than a new background, new widgets, and diary-esque posts to have followers (Btw: you don't have to have a blog to follow mine). Don't get me wrong; I've greatly enjoyed the emails, facebook messages, and in-person comments! But I always find myself wishing I could copy and paste what you say onto my blog so that others can enjoy it too. After all, that's what blogging is all about- sharing, meeting new people, and learning new things (and support!).

I'm beginning to wonder, if I don't have a Twitter account, if I never figure out how to add the facebook "like" button, if I don't learn how to embed videos, if I don't know how to network, is my blog a failure??? What if I can't define my niche? What if my page and my posts don't have a matching theme? What if I don't have a blog button? What if nobody thinks I'm funny?

In the midst of all the new information inundating me that I may never really understand (What is SEO?), I have picked up a few things: Good writing has an Audience. To have an Audience, writing must have a Purpose, and this Purpose should be clearly stated. That brings up more questions: What is the purpose of this blog? Why do I blog? Why do I care whether or not people follow me or even read anything I write? 
  •  This blog is to keep my friends and family up to date. It is also to provide encouragement and hopefully insight to those who read it. I also want to share helpful information and tips on various topics. Now, how do I sum that up in a nice sounding phrase? Any suggestions? 
  • I blog because, well, I LIKE it. I really do. I LOVE reading posts by blogs that I follow. I especially love honing my writing skills and developing my computer knowledge. I love the idea of having my life, my ideas, meout there for people to read about. I'm not really sure why that is, except that it's very validating. 
  • Why do I care... now that is the question. If this blog is for my family and friends' benefit, why does it matter to me whether or not those family members and friends want to publicly identify with it? I've thought about it long and hard, and the only reason I can come up with is that I am selfish. Yep, it's true. The little girl inside me is standing on a chair, yelling red-faced about something but really meaning: "NOTICE ME! I want ATTENTION! I want, I want..."
 Which leads me to the next question, what do I want out of it? I want to feel like I'm good at something. I want to feel liked, accepted, and loved. And this blog, and my attempts to make it successful  are only one small expression of that very human desire. 

However, while I know it's a very real, very human desire, I also know that this blog isn't going to fulfill it, even if I do someday have 100's of faithful followers and figure out what an RSS feed does. 

Really, I don't need to be affirmed through this blog, because I (should) know who I am. I'm a jar of clay. (See verse in the blog subtitle) Empty. 

If I'm going to keep blogging and keep my sanity, I'm going to need to remind myself often of the main Purpose of this blog: Glorifying God. He's the only one who can fill this jar of clay and pour it out as a blessing to others. So, this is my Blog Building Challenge: 
  • To focus on developing the writing skills God has given me, instead of comparing myself to others, with the purpose of glorifying Him by blessing others. 
  • To focus on sharing honestly with my readers, instead of counting my followers. 
  • To enjoy writing, both that of other bloggers and my own.  
  • To do this, one day at a time. 
Thanks for reading this far...I think this post was more for me than you. But, if you have an idea, a suggestion, or a word of encouragement for me, I'd love to hear from you- in person, email, facebook, messenger pigeon, note in a bottle, smoke signals...however you prefer, just not in an RSS feed.  

(Photo credit: www.Dreamstime.com)


10 comments:

  1. Isn't it awesome that in Christ we are a new creation, that we are "validated" in the eyes of God, because he sees his Son, from whose fullness we have received grace upon grace.

    But it is also nice to have people give us encouragement and to notice our accomplishments. I enjoy reading your blog and hearing about all that you are doing, your life has been so eventful as of the last few weeks and months!

    Oh and RSS feed stands for "real simple syndication" or another words it is a way that people can keep up on when a blog is updated. I use Google Reader to track several pages.

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  2. Wow Emily, if I could write like you I would have written the same thing -- except I don't write, i try to take pictures.

    I enjoyed reading this piece so much -- funny, just over dinner my husband asked me the same "what is the purpose of your blog?" question. And even with the 31DBBB challenge which is helping me to define my blog (thus me in a way), I still don't have a "purpose" -- I'm not trying to sell anything, and I'm actually just getting a kick that a few people have visited! If it ends up just as a place people come to proverbially hang-out and chat, say something, then great. If it ends up being a vehicle to allow me to meet people which then in turn evolve into other projects, or a simple friendship, then great!

    In the meanwhile, keep writing -- you do it so well. I'm new to Twitter too and don't understand all the ins and outs, it's all a learning curve.

    I love the design you have here -- really, it's lovely.

    All the best,

    Andree

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  3. Emily,
    i came across your blog through the SITS Spirituality blog feed. i really like your writing, and can agree with a lot of your sentiments. i don't really know how to get my blog out there (and sometimes i still wonder if i want to), and i've just begun to have a small number of people follow me besides my family and friends. But if my blog never gains a ton of followers, i want to bring God glory and find joy through writing it. Anything on top of that is just the icing!

    Keep up the good work!
    melaina

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  4. I don't know if I can relate as far as wanting strangers to read my blog, but I do enjoy comments--they give you encouragement to know that someone besides you thinks you're interesting :-D. Don't worry, you're readership will increase. You are a very witty writer. You have a lot of talent...easy on the eyes :-D.

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  5. I had to laugh Paul; it's too ironic that the RS stands for "Real Simple."I guess that says something about me! Thanks so much for explaining that! Thanks for your encouraging comment too!

    Andree, you speak eloquently indeed with your camera! Thanks for the compliments :), but you really write much better than you give yourself credit for!

    Melaina- I love your blog :)Just what I read today was inspirational to me! Keep it up!

    HonorMommy- You'll definitely be getting some comments from me, because I know you and your kids :) And thanks, I'm glad you enjoy my writing. I enjoy yours too!

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  6. Hi Emily,
    I know you you feel about finding the point of your blog and trying to under stand all the technical issues. I know I tend to get over whelmed by the brillian words, lovely pictures, and techy know-how of the established blogs I read. I just have to remember they had to start somewhere as well:)

    In fact, I wrote a blog post very similar to this at the begining of my blog trying to figure out WHY I was establishing a blog. Now if I was good with technology I would have just imbedded the link to that post in the word "post" in the previous sentence. However, I do not know how to imbed links into comments I am just going to post the URL so you can easily find my post (if you care to read my ramblings on the matter). Here it is: http://ablithespirit.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-i-have-blog.html

    I enjoy reading about your adventures in AZ and it is nice to know another new blogger wrestling with some of the same questions I have wrestled with :-)

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  7. Janelle, that is so true, they had to start somewhere. I get impatient and forget that! Thanks for following me :) I've visited your blog once before, before you had really written much, so I'm heading back there to check out that link right now :)

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  8. This is a really great blog post. And I think that YOU need to decide what a successfully blog means for you. Success is not the same to everyone and if you just keep writing for yourself you'll be fine. Keep it up!

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  9. This is something that I struggle with as well. I don't think that I could say it nearly as eloquently as you! :)

    P.S. I think I'm going to add you to my google reader! :)

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  10. I think eventually honesty is what wins readers over. I'm going through some similar thinking after reading everyone's Relevant posts. I want to revise my About Me page to reflect a better purpose and focus, but I'm still not exactly sure what it is! :)

    Partly, like you, I just enjoy writing!

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