Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Love the Blog You Have...

I have been blogging for about 16 months now.  By no means am I a super blogtastic know it all, not even by a far stretch of the imagination.  When I started out I really had very little clue what it all entailed...I had a friend, the lovely Kylie Hodges, whose blog I read regularly and that was about it.

So one day, I sat down and I started to write, a little awkwardly.  It took me a while to find my online voice and to start making connections with other people.  To realise that there is a whole world of other bloggers out there.

I have definitely been a sideliner; I have seen some people (who are obviously more savvy than me), start a blog and watch it explode into the stars.  They run successful linky parties, they are featured on blog networking sites, they get invites to the best PR events and become ambassadors for fabulous companies.  Some started only a few months ago and already have a trillion visitors each month.

That can be hard to swallow when you have only just broken the 1,000 unique visitors per month mark and it is a reminder to me constantly how easy it can be to get sucked into the cycle of blog stats and blog networks and making sure you get the best reviews.  Recently I joined some blogger groups on Facebook and it made me really uncomfortable to watch as people scrambled for PR contacts and asked for advice on how to get free stuff.  Then to hear and see the flip side of that as other, dear bloggers, whose words I have read faithfully and daily, start to get disheartened because they aren't getting the approaches that others are.

I have become angry at watching 'blaggers' who don't take the time to consider whether what they are writing is even grammatically correct, never mind clicking on a little spellcheck button, get freebie after freebie.  I rant at my Other Half about the unfairness of it and then he reminds me, that that is not the reason why I write.

I love my little corner of the cyber-world.  I have made some fantastic friends and I *fingers crossed* am going to actually get to meet some of them this year.  I have been inspired, brought to tears and laughed my socks off at some of the things I have seen written by other people.  It has opened my eyes in a big way to just how many different lives are led out there, and how amazing some people truly are.   I love that I get to share this platform with them, and that some of them take the time to come and visit little old me.

Before I started blogging I had no idea of the hard work and effort that went into it.  I literally spend every day either writing something, taking photos for a post I'm going to write, or thinking of new and exciting ideas.

It saddens me that increasingly what I hear are people who have become disillusioned with blogging because the pressure is too much.  They haven't got the time to post every day, to join every blog-hop or to come up with creative things to share with their readers.  To watch as people become caught up in the popularity contest, trying to befriend the big wigs and get onto their radars.  I have given up trying.  As in life, so in the blogosphere...I am never going to be the one that everyone wants to know, and you know what?  That is ok with me!  My blog is MY blog and I write what I want, regardless of whether that gets me shunned by the community or loses me PR opportunities.  Those are a perk of the hard work I put in, but they are not the bread and butter of Catch A Single Thought.  I don't say this to be arrogant, but to protect myself from feeling like I'm not stacking up, that what I write isn't blowing the pants off people out there and maybe I should be trying harder.  So the next time I realise I have fallen off someone's 'blogs I read' list, it doesn't shake my foundations and make me cry (ok...that part is probably not 100% accurate...)

The same goes for the number of people who read my blog, whether I ever get picked as 'fantabulous voice of the month' for a blog network, whether I ever understand how to optimise my posts for search engines(!) or simply just continue to tick along as I have been doing, grateful for the things that do come my way but mostly enjoying the space this gives me to share my thoughts and ideas.
  
So, why am I writing all of this?

Well, in light of all the negativity I have seen bandied about recently, I have decided to start my own little campaign called 'Love the Blog You Have' - you don't have to sign up, post, wear a badge or anything like that.  Just give yourself a break and love the blog you have.  Remember the relationships you've built, the opportunities you may have had, and don't undervalue your contribution on the internet.  You really don't know who might be reading your blog.  Not too long ago I was contacted by a lady who said that I had really fantastic way of writing and she loved to read my posts.  I don't think she's ever left me a comment so that brightened my day beyond belief.  Had she not thought to send me a message, I would never have known.

Love the blog you have.

Yes, work hard to achieve what you want your blog to look like but let's stop giving ourselves a hard time about it!  

Please?



29 comments:

  1. AMAZING post!!! I agree with every word.
    The community around blogging can be brilliantly supportive but at the same time terribly competitive and I've always disliked that side of it. Like you, I've always stayed true to why I started up my little space on the Internet, and I think as long as you do that you can never regret what you do. So keep that, whatever happens.
    X

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  2. YES! I love it. I am one of those that is disillusioned by how corporate blogging has become, but I still want to blog because I would miss it and the community I've found if I didn't.
    Sometimes I can't be bothered to blog much and I start worrying about losing followers etc - I don't want it to be like that. Which facebook/ blogging groups are you a part of?

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  3. Fantastic post and so true! Like you I get a bit fed up of seeing some people become popular overnight and go to all the fab events and get free stuff. But, like you, that's not why I blog. I blog to share my stories and record memories. If I sometimes get free stuff that's great, but I've started turning a lot of free stuff down. I want to blog with integrity and I won't accept stuff for the sake of it.
    I love the blog I have! :)

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  4. I too only blog about things that interest me..I have turned down free stuff...I don't want things I have no need for. I could never compeate even if I wanted to I just don't have the time x Blogging is a great hobby and that's the way I want to keep it xxx Loving My Blog x

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  5. Well written. I love your blog and read often even though I can't always comment. I am also proud of my little blog. I really needed to read the post its reminded me so much as to why I blog thank you

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  6. Lovely post..Am very new to the blogging scene and was feeling overwhelmed and confused with the whole thing the last last few days! Was considering giving up but think I may stick around a while longer now :)thanks x Hellolittlelovely.blogspot.co.uk

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  7. I'm so glad to have come across this! I've been blogging for about 20 months now and although I try not to let myself get caught up in the popularity contest, it can be hard sometimes wondering why no-one's as interested in my blog as they are in others.

    Like you, I try to remind myself that that's not why I do it and I try to focus instead on the wonderful people I've got to know and those opportunities I have had as a direct result of blogging.

    Ultimately, I don't want my blog to be the same as the "popular" blogs, I want it to be true to myself so I will keep plugging away and try to settle comfortably into the right corner of the web for me!

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  8. I've just found your blog through a link to this post, and had to comment as I really agree.

    I value good writing (and/or photography) and an honest voice above all else on a blog. My relationship with blogging goes back to 2005, and in that time I've left several blogging circles as I've seen them overtaken by PR and the push for people to turn blogs in to a career rather than a love. My current blog is over 2 years old (although it has a large gap in content) but I'm lucky if I get a couple of hundred unique visits in a month. Sometimes I mind, but mainly because I'd like to get some feedback on the things I write, and because I haven't yet even managed the "making supportive connections and friends" part of blogging, not because I want to make money or get free stuff. At the end of the day though, I write because I want to. I love my blog because it's a record of life with my son. I do feel sad for people who have obvious talent that gets overlooked though, and sad for the people who've put in months or years of effort who get by passed by those whose only talent is in grabbing a freebie. I'd like to find a better way to find those kind of blogs and share the love with them too!

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  9. Yes. Thank you for this. I have never been paid for anything I have done on my blog, and though I've reviewed a couple of things, I've sometimes wondered why my little space has been overlooked by the business side... But you know what?! I don't actually want to write sponsored posts or reviews for the sake of it and I never want my blog o be about money making! Thankyou so much for saying this. It's reminded me why I do it! I think you know I love your blog! :-) xx

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  10. I love this Jess!
    Me + You + Cocktails = Soon!!

    I am very much like you. I blog for me and no one else. If PR contact me, my mind is blown and I am genuinely thrilled my little old blog has been considered or even found! But I absolutely love your style of writing and your blog. It's very easy to lose sight of why you started, so it's good to stay humble!

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  11. I'm so glad I read this - so true and what a great reminder for us all xx

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  12. Great post and something that's worth reminding us all! I've been blogging for almost two years now and by no means am I popular or super cool in the blogging world, I have made my own little community and normally get shunned by the big wigs (Im obviously not on trend enough or live in the right postcode!) But one thing I have learnt this year that's become invaluable to me is to really love my blog and what I've achieved, it's nothing spectacular but remembering why I write keeps inspiring me to love what I do! You say it all for me in this post and I'm excited to have a look round and get to know your blog some more! X

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  13. I love my blog! It has motivated my photography, I can look back on amazing memories and I have "met" some beautiful inspiring people.

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  14. Fantastic post. I agree wholeheartedly with every word. Its so easy to get sucked in to the rivalry/freebies/linkys etc but its not why I started my blog and I want to remain true to myself. Yes there have been some perks and freebies but they are the icing on the cake. The blog has brought me some fantastic opportunities. I've met some great people, tasted some fantastic food and found new friends both online and off #ilovemyblog

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  15. Great post, thanks! I am new to blogging and am really enjoying it, I love writing and thinking about my posts and connecting with some great people doing the same. I don't think I am very PR friendly or likely to attract a huge following, but I love my blog life and hope that I will remain like this and not get caught up with all the other stuff. I started to blog for me, for fun, and the fact that even one other person wants to read what I've written is a bonus for me! Thanks so much...

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  16. Fab post and just when I needed it as I have been stressed about how little time I have for my blog at the mo. But my blog is just that - MY BLOG!

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  17. Thank you for writing this post. My blog doesn't fit into a set genre...I don't yet have children, my cooking is generally one pot wonders and my fashion sense does not need to be shown to other people! But I do love writing...to get one comment makes my day. I'm never going to have a massive following, but it is so easy to get sucked into daily viewing figures and lose touch of the real reasons we each started our blog...and now I'm off to check out everyone's blog who has commented on this...spreading the love!!

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  18. Great post, funny when I started my blog it lead me to another world. I take so much pride in my blog and spend far to much time on it, post and comments... eek best do some house work now lol

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  19. I really needed to read this! What an awesome campaign! I am often feeling disheartened that I don't get many views, comments, approaches etc. like may others I see BUT I love what I do with my blog so I need to keep in mind that I started writing for me, not free stuff, and will continue to do so! *Off to share!* x

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  20. What a great post!!! everything you said I have certainly felt too!! definitely love your blog :) found you on the pocolo linky n glad I did x

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  21. Brilliant post - I agree with every word #PoCoLo

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  22. I'm a newbie too - found this post through Britmums MBPW! I'm finding it quite difficult to keep it up and turning over on a regular basis - with little kids and a part time job its difficult to find the time and I have pretty much given up my normal evening 'relaxation' time without actually feeling like I'm achieving very much with any kind of following. Having said that my last couple of posts I've really enjoyed and loved writing as they are childhood summer holiday memories - but I know this kind of thing may not be of much interest to anybody else (except maybe my sister!!). Gotta love what you do though...

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  23. Popped over from #PoCoLo and this is sadly the first time I've seen your blog. I absolutely love your post and couldn't agree more. I had this exact conversation with my other half a little while ago and he too reminded me why I'd started to write - because it's fun and I enjoy sharing.
    Thank you for sharing this post and i shall enjoy looking out for your future posts. :-)

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  24. What a really inspiring post honey, i count my blog lucky stars everyday .. in fact i am still shocked someone other than my mum reads it.

    thank you for sharing such a thought provoking post with #PoCoLo xx

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  25. Loved reading this. It is so refreshing to read something this honest, particularly for someone like me who has just started blogging and has been a little overwhelmed by everything that's already out there.

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  26. As you know I loved this post when you first published it (being away on holiday not conducive to commenting!). Popped back for #PoCoLo :)

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  27. Great post! I have been struggling to write posts let alone read any over the summer and its silly really. It is meant to be a hobby. And I love your blog too x

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  28. What a great post. My little blog never really had many readers and with three children I just dont get time to write. I think to be part of the bigger blog scene takes an awful lot of time and commitment and as a busy mum I'm not willing to give up that time away from my hubby and kids...and staying up til the early hours of the morning would not produce any decent writing as I need my sleep. Hats off to those that manage to squeeze it all in. Having said that, I still blog if and when I get a spare moment and no longer dwell on whether anyone reads it. Xx

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