As a child, before the days of word processors, my rough, unruly script would fill pages of lined A4 books that I absolutely abhorred. Each page was coloured a pale, insignificant brown and the page itself was so thin and malnourished that I was convinced that it could not support my words. Yet my words tore holes in those pages as if the act of creation required an equal measure of destruction. Feverish script, misspelt words and thoughts that ran away with me, my hand was barely able to keep up with my mind. I wrote in that muddy book with a fire in my heart. I’ve grown taller since those days of my childhood, but the fire that burned then still does now, and it is this fire that led me to start my blog. Of course, this isn’t the 1990’s and now, very often, it takes something far more than fire to get a blog off the ground. This is what no one tells you about writing a blog.
1: Why don’t you love me?
Husband comes home and I unfold myself from the couch, leaving a behind a grumpy dog and a trail of biscuit crumbs (I’ll start the diet tomorrow okay). I am armed with a mouthful of words that I aim and fire at him at a frantic, rapid pace. “Did you see my blog? Did you read my blog? Did you love my blog? I don’t know why you don’t love me.” Even before he can recoil from the rapid fire, I am off to the kitchen, on to complain about something else and in search of more biscuits. You see, Husband is not only meant to be my number one fan, it very often feels like he’s my only fan. It is a heavy burden for a man who has only read three books in his entire life (I know, I know, I married him for his good looks).
For me, one of the hardest parts of blogging is the self-doubt and the feeling sometimes that no one will ever (EVER) read your work and that you’re basically just talking to yourself. Don’t get me wrong, or start alerting the authorities (I’m not that kind of crazy), the self-talk is great and so is getting to write, but sometimes, just sometimes, I’m left wondering “Why does nobody love me?” in the most dramatic, rolling on the floor like a two-year-old fashion.
2: But my blog is better than that
So, here’s the scenario. You dated this wonderful human and for some reason things didn’t work out, the break up wasn’t your idea but you weren’t heartbroken over it, in fact you knew that it was the right thing to do. Things ended amicably. A couple months go by and you bump into this person, they’re married with baby on the way and their spouse is as close to a perfect example of a human as possible. I don’t know about you, but what I would feel is blind, unadulterated, jealousy. Clearly your ex’s spouse has stolen the life you were meant to have, clearly, you’re better than this person in some way (even though you don’t know how, you just know you’re better). Somewhere along the lines the comparisons start. Did I notice a bit of tummy flab? Did the sun catch a few wrinkles? You try to destroy parts of Life Stealer just so you can feel better.
Well if you’ve lived through something like that, you’ll live through seeing blogs with huge followings with content and writing that is “just so” (in fact sometimes downright bad- there I said it) and you’ll walk away thinking “My blog is so much better but I don’t get a fraction of the recognition”. Learn to live with it and convince yourself that if you’re really that good, it will happen for you. Two things I’ve realised from this is that there is always an opportunity to learn how to do things better and also, more importantly, there isn’t a finite number of likes and positive vibes in the world. What you give, you shall receive.
3: If you write a blog and no one see it, did you actually write it?
Some of my favourite blogs are the ones that no one has seen or read, which I get is totally my fault. There is a deep dark social media hole and I seem to be somewhere at the bottom of it. I am old school and stubborn, I think that just trying to put out my best work is enough (yes, that is how old I am). More than anything, what I’ve learnt is to write for myself (which is completely contrary to what is expected of a good writer who writes for his/her audience). More than anything I’ve also learned to love my blogs, to love my time with my words and if that is all I have, I guess it will have to do!
4: I love your blog
So, I mentioned self-talk before and the fact that I’m at the wrong end of the social media pit so often I am quite unprepared for someone, either that I meet in person or online, who loves my blog. Of every kind of person in the world, these are my favourite. Those great, generous people who take the time to remind you that you have a voice and that they’ve heard you, those wonderous people are the ones that get you to write when you’ve lost hope. So, thank you from the depths of wherever love resides in me, thank you a million times over, your support nourishes me. What I did not realise is how much I would need that positivity, no one ever told me that this would often be a lonely journey and it is only recently that I discovered the tonic of the soothing and encouraging words of my fellow bloggers. It’s taught me to love, in earnest, the blogs of others. Learn to handle the love and more importantly, learn to give it back!