These past two days as a
blogger writer have officially swirled me into the vortex. I have been astounded by the number of views, people from different countries and cultures (Hello out there, world!) reading my innermost thoughts, caring about what I have to say. I wholeheartedly underestimated the blog community and fluidity of the internet. I expected to immediately fall somewhere in the shadows of the abyss of this community, and, relatively speaking, I probably am, but this is still more than anticipated; I’m awakened.
What uplifts me is that I didn’t have the gut reaction I predicted. Putting my writing out there for the world has been one of my biggest fears, and, three days ago, 300 people reading my thoughts was completely intimidating. Now, however, I find myself emboldened by the support and eager for more readers. I began doing my research: reading articles on how to be a “blogger,” perusing the top blogs and analyzing what they have to offer people, and I do see the trends, but I don’t know that I could ever fall into a line or find a “niche.”
The idea of marketing and tailoring what flows from my fingertips to what other people want to see makes me feel uncomfortable, and I would sacrifice my voice and the heart of my writing – why I write. I don’t write to write; I write because it is my passion, and I have things to say about this world and how I view it. I don’t want this aspect of who I am swirled into the vortex, spitting me out the other side candy-coated and shining, the perfectly marketed blogger feeding my followers out of my mouth like little birdies.
Here is what I noticed people like:
1. Lists (Ironic, right? Look at me fitting in, blogger world!)
People apparently love lists. I felt like I was reading Cracked.com whilst scrolling through blog after blog of list after list. “10 reasons why you should list things,” “8 steps to becoming a better lister,” “5 researched examples of how listing can help you list.” You see, this is not how my brain works. My stream of consciousness is a bowl of spaghetti; it’s messy yet delicious. I may occasionally produce a list (like right now…) if what I’m writing lends itself to it, but I can’t frame all of my thoughts into lines; they have a mind of their own.
2. Lifestyle blogs
I saw several blogs with eclectic, interesting photographers conveying their life through the lens. They were in interesting places, snapping pictures of beautiful things. I will say it bluntly: I’m really not that interesting. I’m a textbook introvert, and if I were to post my day-to-day (like I do on my Instagram), it would be a repetition of books, cats, and wine, with the outliers of exciting adventures (shout out to my Instagram followers who put up with my crazy-cat-lady inspired lifestyle posts). Sure, occasionally I do cool things. I’m about to go to Mexico for my summer vacation, and you can fully expect a “lifestyle blog” with pictures of my travels, but don’t expect them to be anything more than amateur. My life is simple, and that’s okay. The bottom line is that no one will get their escapism fantasy needs met on my blog.
3. Fashion blogs
Many bloggers were posting their “Ipsy haul” or their outfit of the day, etc. I have been putting more effort into my appearance lately because it is summer, and I can wear whatever I want, but you do not want to see me during the school year. I suppose I could fake it and create some teacher-tailored “look what I wore to school today” blog, but the reality would be my hair in a basic bun, some business-casual outfit and (one time this really happened) maybe even mis-matched shoes. And make-up? An accidental smokey eye applied whilst half asleep at 5 in the morning. My reality does not lend itself to this type of blogging year-round. The closest I could come (isn’t even fashion, but whatever) would be unpacking my weekly Hello Fresh box, but that market is already taken. There are much more interesting people who actually know about food writing these blogs.
4. Political Posts
Especially in this political climate, everyone has or wants a word in edge-wise on the state of affairs. I’m very grateful for this, actually, because I can always see what the collective consciousness is thinking and ensure I’m not completely bananas. But – I’m very secretive with my political beliefs. I’ve never known a successful political conversation. I’m educated and know where I stand, but I have no desire to share in the conversation, rather than lurk. It’s not my life goal to make others think like me. So – post on, political peeps, while I quietly lurk in the shadows reading your posts.
I’m not trying to knock these types of blogs. Some of them were very interesting and well-written; the authors have real talent. It is just not my style, and I don’t know what is my style yet, to be sure.
I was explaining this to my husband yesterday, and he asked me, “Well, who are you doing this for – your readers or you?” I’m doing this for me. I’m officially a believer in blogging. The vortex has swirled me up, but I don’t want it to spit me out a wholly different person. I want to quietly evolve over time, remaining true to myself as writer, while fine-tuning my voice (insert butterfly metaphor here).