Colette

September 14, 2017

This post is overdue. If only in my own mind. It’s been percolating since I wrote my post Thoughts on the Blog as I approach my three year anniversary (part one?)  back in March this year. As I said then, and I say to myself often, this is not a job, my blog is not a job. Yet….I have a sense of obligation to it that I can’t shake. Or I don’t want to shake. It may not be a job (there’s no pay, no set schedule, no deadlines, no people “counting on” me) but the blog is an important part of my life. There is no denying that.

My postings this summer have been skimpy. It wasn’t for lack of ideas; I had a number of them in mind that I never posted. When other things in my life need to take priority, the blog has to drop down the list. The irony is that in not posting, I saw how much posting means to me. It isn’t that I didn’t know exactly, so much as NOT doing it made very clear how important blogging here on WordPress is to me, even after three plus years.

One of the things I sometimes think about WordPress is that line from the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy says, “People come and go so quickly here!” When you get attached to a blog or a blogger and they disappear, with or without warning, it can be quite disconcerting.

I didn’t follow Doobster religiously, but I did read his blog Mindful Digressions a number of times as did many others. He got tons of comments on his analytical, thought-provoking posts. He seemed like somebody that would be blogging indefinitely. Then, in 2015, he was gone. Just gone. The boiler-plate WordPress message said the blog was now private and you could “request” access. I requested. Nothing. I requested again. Nothing. Gone. (As someone who didn’t read regularly, the most I could find via someone else’s blog is that he quit for personal reasons.)

Some of you followed John of Get Off My Lawn Please. Over a year ago he had substantial changes in his personal life, promised to return shortly and never did. When you know people only online, it can be tricky to gauge how far to push your interaction. Saying,”Where the hell are you?! Come back!!” to anyone you don’t know well or only know online doesn’t really seem appropriate. (I told John not to let anyone pressure him into returning prematurely, including me. I take it back.) Still, in the end I realize you have to respect what other people do or don’t do with their blog. (Note to self: Repeat as necessary.)

I spend quite a bit of time online. I am attracted to social media. I follow community groups closely on Facebook. Email is a significant part of my life. Other than this blog, though, I don’t share a lot of my personal life. The blog is definitely the place I talk about myself; my life, my interests, my thoughts, my past.( It’s also the primary place I post photos.) What really appeals to me, both in writing and in reading other blogs, is the DEPTH that is available in blogging. I like to write – as well as read – long, thoughtful posts. I’m not on twitter. Most people do not have brilliant, witty, insightful 140-character thoughts. I don’t think in 140 characters, I don’t talk in 140 characters, nor am I particularly interested in reading the same.

On WordPress, especially when you stick around awhile, you can get to know how someone thinks. I won’t say you can intimately get to know them, but in many – or some – cases, there is an approximation. There may be a tendency – both on my part and others’ – to extrapolate, to read a bunch of posts and fill in or assume the rest of the person’s personality. I try to guard against that as I’ve learned (not on WordPress but elsewhere online) that what people write on the internet can be quite different than the reality of the person. Over time and hundreds of posts and comments though, bloggers do reveal themselves or significant aspects of themselves.

I mentioned this in my March post but I won’t argue online. Never have, won’t do it. It’s a rule (when I’ve broken it in private emails, I have usually been sorry). I will, however, argue with you – people I know – in real life. Debate what is being said. Challenge someone. Which is a part of me I largely leave out – or soften – here. Arguing with strangers, that is people I’ve never met, doesn’t seem wise or profitable. It’s like arguing with phantoms. (I also think words online are so easily misconstrued; arguing is just asking for trouble. We are more empathetic in person and maybe less reactive.)

The little corner of WordPress I’ve carved for myself strives to be decent and if not profound at all times, at least worthwhile. And when I refer to my little corner, I mean what I am putting out in my own blog, but also the kind of people who are drawn to my blog and vice versa. I have no doubt there are nasty, mean-spirited corners of WordPress, same as everywhere else online. I just don’t see the point. Not that my blog is any kind of Pollyanish zone – NEVER! – but I want decency to prevail. I think the people who read my blog would agree, both those I know of (by name or blog name), and I imagine, those I don’t.

A word on Stats. For readers who are not also bloggers, “stats” are numbers available to bloggers to show how many readers have read your blog each day. These stats do not reveal WHO is reading, but simply show figures. It can show which posts have been popular and which not so much. Stats may show where the readers came from; that is if they came to your blog by way of Google, for instance. (One of my favorites showed that someone arrived at my blog by typing the search term “potatoes that look like rocks.” You wouldn’t think that anybody would search such a thing, but there they are! When I see something like that I hope that the person isn’t disappointed by arriving here as a result of their search. Yes, I feel beholden to strangers doing searches on rocks. Such is my life.)

At times I’ve felt quite frustrated with my blog, wanting to “grow” my readership and seeing well, not a whole lot. It’s times like that, somehow or some way – so far  – that I get just enough encouragement to keep going. Someone will write a lovely, thoughtful comment, or I’ll see a surge in my stats, or the mood will pass. To be quite honest, I can see that my thoughts on the blog are not much different from some other areas of my life where I get frustrated or disappointed at times (and question why I’m doing something or feel a sense of impotence, that I’m stalled so far as “making things happen”).

Expectations and I have a long, muddied history together. I am no Buddhist. I HAVE EXPECTATIONS. WANTS. DESIRES. With the blog, as life, finding the Happy Middle Ground (the place that allows you to keep getting out of bed and putting one foot down in front of the other every day year in year out) is my challenge, balancing my expectations against what is or can be.

I have such philosophical internal meanderings about the blog and sometimes the way out is I think of something funny or see or hear something that makes me laugh and I’ll post it and it kind of saves me and moves me past inertia or waffling. When something is funny to me, I must share it! And here’s the blog, waiting patiently, always, for just that.

Something that’s been kind of nice in this Summer of Scant Postings in the Year of WordPress 2017, is that as I’ve continued to check in (if not post), I’ve seen that people are still reading my blog, reading old posts. That is very gratifying. It’s like the time I’ve put into the blog over the past three years still pays dividends. Emotional ones, if you will. I think it’s great that people have come around even when the blog doesn’t have fresh (and in blogging, “fresh” is pretty much that last 24-48 hours) posts. It gives my heart a little lift.

I didn’t plan to be so absent this past summer. I am not leaving WordPress or my blog. Or the other bloggers I’ve found and cherish here. I didn’t forget people (other bloggers might be surprised how often I think about them, people I’ve never met or even spoken to). I don’t know exactly how the future continues for WriterInSoul, just that I want to continue to blog – infrequently or not – and hope that in three years, I’m still sticking around. I can’t imagine anything taking WordPress’s place in my life (well, unless they start charging those of us with freebie blogs or get bought by Jeff Bezos or something). I’m hooked.

28 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Blog after three years (part two)

  1. C.E.Robinson

    Nice to see you are still blogging. I can read how important it is to you. I’ve been a sparse blogger too, and I’m amazed that people still visit my blog. Writing a book takes up so much time. I limit myself to one blog a month to support a friend or another blogger. I still read posts & comment to stay connected though. Keep blogging, we’ll be there when you do. 🌷 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. writerinsoul Post author

      I noticed early on that people who’ve blogged for years tend to drop off in post numbers. Year One usually is packed; Year Two not so much. It’s always interesting to me how other people relate to their blogs.

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  2. Kate Crimmins

    I’ve been blogging 6 years. Almost all of my first group of readers are gone. Many of them were an inspiration to me and I miss them but then I find new ones who are amazing. I’ve learned to manage the “feelings” part because you do feel like you know people. I cry when they lose a pet or family member. I laugh at their jokes and rejoice in their victories. Then they are gone and it’s like I’ve lost a friend. Blogging is very different than what I thought it would be.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Oh YES Kate! It is hard to adjust when you get attached but like you say good new people come along and that’s exciting/encouraging too. I think I have two people who’ve been with my blog from near the start (and a few non-bloggers too). I just didn’t know how much blogging would be about other bloggers – I had vague ideas what blogging would “be” but I was off-target about who would read it or be invested. I’m a little wary about feelings and the internet and try to maintain some kind of healthy balance; I want to care but also not forget how people can go “poof.”

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  3. vanbytheriver

    I’ve missed your posts, and your comment play, Collette. Glad you mentioned John, he is also missed. It did surprise me at how quickly one can become involved in this WP stuff. I have taken extended breaks this past year, for very personal reasons, but, like you, I enjoy coming back. It matters to me.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Aw thank you. I think about you regularly. WordPress is good for me. I think you’ve felt the same for yourself. Both of us waited a long time in our lives for an outlet like this (to air out old demons and their ilk among other things). I am glad you don’t leave.

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  4. JT Twissel

    I remember John of Get off my Lawn. I miss him too. I was wondering which of the blogs I follow became private. Why would someone do that? It’s frustrating because you don’t know who to stop following! I’ve been absent a lot too. It’s okay. Just don’t go away.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      I knew other people missed John too. I suspect/wonder that some blogs go private after trolls or other nasty sorts come aboard and hassle and unsettle the blogger. Or something has really gone bad in their personal lives. Just guessing! Thank you; I see no reason to leave but breaks are almost inevitable.

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  5. Pistachios

    I’m sure I’ve read somewhere before that people tend to be more honest on blogs compared to other social media. I think it’s because, like you said, there’s so much more depth (or at least potential for it).
    Blogging has become a big part of my life too, and sometimes it surprises me, but mostly it doesn’t because I reckon it has made a positive difference in my life. For me, writing is therapeutic and nurturing; and reading other people’s blogs can be so comforting and heartening.
    I feel like I’m starting to ramble, but I’ve also been thinking and reflecting on my WP experience lately. It’s probably enough to fill a post (which I’ll write eventually…)

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Yes to everything you said. And I don’t think you ramble. I think of my blog as my outlet. It relieves the many ideas an thoughts that build up in my mind. The interactions can also be so rich and meaningful. And I want to see that post! (I am to catch up on blog reading soon.)

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  6. battlewagon13

    I agree with the comment above. I think people tend to be more honest in their blogs than they ever would be in real life – really putting themselves out there and not just writing superficial drivel. That’s why I feel that the relationships I have made with some bloggers is very special – we’ve never met. We’ve never talked in real life. Yet I feel I know them probably better than some of their own family knows them. And THAT is what makes this special.

    I’ll admit that I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus this Summer as well – and it’s partially due to the fact of what you mentioned – the lack of stats. The blog cannot be about stats – it can only be how you feel. If people care about how you feel, they’ll read it. If they don’t care about how you feel, then you are writing for only the sake of getting your feelings out there. However, there is something very discouraging about putting your feelings out there for all the world to see, and having only 30 people read it. Or 5 people like it. When you can’t even get your own immediate family to ‘like’ a stupid blog then you’re really in trouble.

    So that’s the struggle that all of us have. Making it fun and not making it a chore to just see how many likes you get. I, for one, always enjoy your blogs even if they don’t necessarily pertain to me (I have never once turned a child’s sand bucket into a chandelier), but I read them because I enjoy getting to know YOU – without talking to you and without meeting you.

    That’s what blogs have to be about.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      I know your frustration. You hit that wall where you say to yourself, “Why am I doing this? Is this the best use of my time?” But blogging can be truly addictive and when it works, very satisfying. You weigh that against the “stats” at times.

      It’s different for me in that I’m particularly honest in real life as well, more so than is a lot of people’s taste…. the beauty of the blog is that you know the people reading value that.

      How about this. A blog is like a marriage, with high’s and lows and just plain old everyday stuff. On whole, it works so you keep at it.

      And I know not everything I write about is going to grab you and I truly appreciate that you keep coming around. We go way back, you and I in WordPress years!

      Liked by 1 person

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