Hi guys, just a quick update here. I don’t even know what I’m about to type but I’ve been seriously blocked lately when it comes to this blog so I guess I’ll just start typing and see what comes out, like I usually do in my private journal, except this time I’m intentionally writing to you.
I’ve been trying to figure out what this blog is now about. It started, as per my “about” page description, as a way to connect with other writers, and for me it has certainly served that purpose. Some of you mean as much to me as real-life friends, and perhaps know me as well or even better, since I tend to dump my inner life right here onto these digital pages lol.
It also started as a place where I hoped to “bloom through words” and it has, I believe, served that purpose as well. I have made some changes in my life as a direct result of exploring thoughts and feelings on this blog, and I believe those changes are positive. Writing has been a huge help to me throughout my life; it made me sane in moments when I felt completely unbalanced; it has brought me peace where there was turmoil. But until this blog (and the hesitant versions of it I had tried to iterate in the months beforehand), I had not published these types of musings publicly. I was far too afraid. Mainly of “not being liked.”
Then one day I just couldn’t hold it in any more, and splat, there went my thoughts on the internet. The key thing about the way I published them on the internet, which helped, I believe, was my openness to receiving feedback. Feedback helps us gain perspective.
Some of the feedback is silent. You know you’ve freaked people out in some way when there are lots of views but low response to something you publish. (Stats are essential, by the way, even in their most basic form, to analyzing performance. Luckily stats these days come even with most free blogging services.) Sometimes the comments are really helpful. Sometimes getting to know one other blogger or reader and the way they give or withhold feedback can say more than a thousand words about what they might feel about one particular piece of work. All of this is feedback. I have learned a lot from it. That’s thanks to all of you. Thank you!!!
But back to the subject. First off, I notice that even having just under 300 followers (okay well 277 to be exact, at the time of this publishing) feels heavy for me. Yes I’m aware that to someone with 3K followers, 30K followers, 300K followers or even 3M followers, this would seem hilarious. Yes I’m also aware that some followers may not be readers, they may be fake-followers etc. But even if only a percentage of you are “real,” I feel a huge responsibility to each of you. Perhaps to some that will sound odd. But that’s how I operate. Anyway, this also means that I begin to fall into old patterns of trying to fulfill expectations around any kind of persona I have built for myself, whether consciously or unconsciously. Which makes progress difficult. Honestly, I don’t know how famous people do it.
A month and a half or so ago, I started a new anonymous blog. This blog was to allow me to explore feelings around a specific experience I was/am having, without letting anybody down. I know that at least one of you, and more likely four of you, could easily be aware of which blog that is, since I have not tried very much to hide my identity, though my name is not on the blog. I’m still just randomly exploring over there and not ready to connect it all together. I might not continue that blog at all one day. However, one reader over there convinced me to finally pay for hosting so that WP ads would finally be removed from the site. It has its own .com domain now and everything. Which kind of seems to be acting as a blocker for me now in writing over there! hilarious no!
I would like to share some insights, with you, whom I consider my dear friends, who helped me so much or even just encouraged me in the comments on this blog (you know who you are! Matthew, Ailsa, I will mention you in particular, since you were there from the beginning and still we are in regular contact — and the rest of you I fear to name, lest I leave someone out, social bungler that I am wont to be, but rest assured if you have ever commented truthfully and thoughtfully, or even if you have ever “liked” truthfully and thoughtfully, you are one of these), on what I have learned from that alternate WordPress blogging experience.
- You can gain a lot of insight into the machinery of the blogging world by starting a second WordPress blog. Suddenly you will begin to see patterns that were not visible before. You know those massive big-time bloggers with thousands of followers whose attention you felt flattered by the first time they liked one of your posts? (If you are a sucker for attention, like me, lol.) They are mostly rampantly “liking” posts without reading them. This can easily be seen via the stats. (e.g. seconds after publishing: 0 views, 2 likes, both by the same mega-bloggers that liked your other blog.) Remain flattered if you like, and accept their likes with gratitude, since hey, it’s always nice to be “liked,” however, be aware of these truths and patterns, and certainly protect yourself from tailoring your posts towards them (or anyone else for that matter). The famous people out there (in the non-WordPress world, lol), for example, are often “followed” by millions of people who are not actually paying attention to what exactly the famous people are doing, but rather are hoping for attention themselves. Do you think the famous people are redirecting their attention towards those pure attention-seekers, checking out every single one of their profiles etc.? No, of course not. That’s precisely why they are successful. They don’t allow themselves to become distracted by such impulses, if they even have them in the first place.
- It is very freeing to write anonymously. Even if you have done nothing “bad” except perhaps violate your own code of ethics in some small way. (e.g. drunk blogging, lol).
- There is a wonderful, honest, caring bunch of anonymous bloggers out there, blogging about specific topics. If you choose to interact mutually and honestly via comments as well as likes, you can find yourself part of an online community that could be nearly as good as, or perhaps even better than, a “face-to-face” community; especially if for some reason face-to-face support seems not to be an option for you in your current local environment.
Guys and gals, I have run out of time to write, here, now. My awesome husband is calling me for lunch. But I’m going to publish this strange beast anyway. Sorry for any errors and/or omissions and/or over-sharings and/or under-sharings.
Basically nothing has been resolved. But I hope I’ve repaid your kindness a little by sharing a bit of the insight I’ve may have gained by “branching out” and seeding new blogs in the last little while.
May we all bloom and grow,
xoxo njl @ bloomwords.com.
photo credit: Photo by Dominik Rešek on Unsplash
(Edit: note to self: I got a heart-palpitation just after publishing this. eeeeeyyyyiiiiikkkkeeessss)