Like I wrote in my Announcement post, I’ve been looking at my blog and reevaluating why I’m here and what my goals are.
And the truth is, I think I started blogging for the wrong reasons.
When I finished my memoir last year, I naively thought it would be as simply as printing out my manuscript and shipping it off to the big publishing houses. Surely they would appreciate the compelling story it contained and agree on publishing it. When I actually started looking into the process of publication, I realized that it isn’t as simple as that.
So I decided to learn as much as I could about it. I did a ton of research. I read articles. I talked to different people. I studied a publishing program kit. And everywhere, everyone was saying the same thing. Build your platform. Your message, your story, everything about you, is essentially pointless if you don’t have a following to share it with.
I was told that unless I built this following, unless I attracted an audience, no publisher would be interested in my book.
With this daunting knowledge weighing upon me, I hurried to set up my social media sites. I started a blog on Blogger. With the sense that I had already wasted years of potential audience-building in my ignorance, I felt like I was in a race against time.
All I succeeded in doing was overwhelming the life out of myself.
And I mean that literally. The creative force and inspiration that had aforetime spurred my love of writing withered and died. It became all about the numbers. Once, I had enjoyed blogging. I had been a part of a blog as a teenager for a fitness group. I had blogged regularly and loved it. But not anymore.
On my Facebook page, I would often joke about my spinning head and splitting headache because I was so overwhelmed all the time with trying to make everything work right from the get-go. I had no room left to enjoy the process. It was a chore. A requirement. A job. And when I look back at my old posts, I see that reflected in my writing.
The worst part was, I felt like I fraud. I wanted to write more about my struggle with blogging than actually blog. (And I do realize this is ironic given the current subject material of this post – bear with me.) An element that kind of robs from the over-all magic of the experience. Bloggers are almost like entertainers, at the end of the day. And the show they pull off, from the actual writing of the post to the images embedded, the keywords they tag it with, the catchy headline and the subtle but persuasive promoting is an art in and of itself. And I felt like some kind of one-woman show trying to pull it all off behind the drawn curtains when I wanted nothing more than to pull that curtain back and reveal my struggle.
Having reached a point where I’d rather not blog than blog just to fill up space, I’m revealing that struggle now.
It’s not the popular approach. It’s not the recommended approach. I’m tempted to let the (poorly executed) magic live on. But I don’t think I was fooling anybody. I think anybody could tell that I didn’t know what I was doing or why I was doing it (if the infrequency of my posting was any indicator, at least). I felt like a fraud because I knew that I was only blogging to build a platform. And that isn’t a bad motive, necessarily… Everyone’s trying to sell something. But it’s not the motive I wanted to start out with and it’s not the motive that was doing anything for me. It was killing my creative juices and I felt like I was throwing together content that I didn’t really care about – and because of that, I doubted anyone else was really caring about it either.
When you take all these elements and mush them together with the very integrity-oriented nature of yours truly, add a healthy dollop of good, old-fashioned insecurity, and a personality that veers toward the high-strung, sensitive, and shy, you get a proverbial mess.
And that mess was me.
In my recent hiatus, I’ve had a lot of time to think. And I’ve come to this conclusion.
I’m not going to blog with the aforementioned mentality anymore. Sure, SEO and engagement is important. Always will be in this crazy Internet world. But if I’m going to blog, I want to enjoy it. And I want to know that I’m sharing something that’s worthy and valuable – not just created with the intention of attracting views.
I figured I should circle back to the beginning – no, not the beginning of time, but the beginnings of me. The back-story that I’ve purposefully left out, the one I’ve alluded to so often but have yet to really relinquish. It’s the why behind my memoir. It’s the reason I am who I am today. It’s what I thought would come out little by little but instead remained firmly locked in the archives of my mind, under the section that reads I Dare Not. And subtitled No One Will Care.
It’s my story.