I first started this blog as a way of keeping my friends and family in touch with how my impending move to the US from the UK was going. I had always wanted to have my own blog but I had never felt that my life was interesting enough to warrant one. Who would want to read the banal story of my existence, that kind of thing is what Facebook and Twitter is for right? When I announced that I was moving to America and lots of people expressed interest in how the process worked I realised that I finally had a use for a blog. Instead of having to explain to everyone how painfully slow the visa process was and all the details I could direct them to my blog instead.
I started blogging and linked my blog to my Facebook account. The first month of my blog I only had 80 viewers and it was almost exclusively friends and family and the odd person who was looking for something on Google and got lost. The next month my blog had 200 views and it was more of the same but then a wonderful thing happened; other bloggers started finding and following my blog. Perhaps it was my awkwardness and the amusing mishaps that seemed to happen to me on a daily basis once I moved to the US. Like the time I spent 10 minutes trying to find the pound key on my phone only to discover it is what we call the hash key in the UK. Maybe it was the anecdotes about people who asked me if I’d met the Queen or if I was Australian.
I realised that I loved blogging; WordPress was not like Facebook, I could share my life without people reading my statuses and thinking “oh shut up” because they had chosen to visit my blog (if you are reading this now and thinking exactly that then I do apologise, I may have misjudged the situation). Even better, I checked out the bloggers who discovered me and found an amazing range of blogs out there. There are bloggers who make me laugh and bloggers who make me think and even bloggers who make me think why? Everyone has a niche on WordPress and the best part of blogging has been meeting other bloggers.
The problem was as I got more into blogging and more and more people started following me and liking my posts I started to focus too much on the metrics and not the love of writing. I would challenge myself to increase my views month on month and post things that I felt would attract more readers and not what I wanted to write about. I would get stressed if I had been over a week without posting because I knew it would have a negative impact on my page views. If I was travelling I would be aiming to get that great photo I could post on my blog.
Eventually after being stressed for a whole weekend because I couldn’t think what to write about I realised it had got silly and I wanted to go back to how I was when I first started blogging. So I made myself some new rules; I would write things that were a reflection of my life and I wouldn’t spend time looking at my stats or worrying about whether something would prove popular or not. Instead of making Buzzfeed style posts because I couldn’t think of anything to post, I would wait until I had something to say before posting. If that something turned out to matter only to me then who cares, the beauty of WordPress is that you only need to click on posts that interest you in the Reader anyway.
Since I started to focus on writing about my life and what matters to me rather than what I feel would be popular I have become a better blogger. The content may be no better but I am writing for my own enjoyment and to make other people smile (usually by sharing my mishaps) rather than to get likes or new followers and that is surely the point right? If I go a few weeks without posting because I lack inspiration does it really matter? The followers I already have are amazing and supportive, whether I have posted about my first novel writing attempt or going through a rough patch. Since I have reevaluated why I write I have realised that I have rediscovered my love for blogging and it has become fun again so you might be stuck with my anecdotes for a while yet.
Have you ever had a similar rethink of why you blog?