I have always been a writer. I was the kid in school who loved to do the essays, the creative writing pieces, and always kept a diary. I loved reading and would spend my weekends curled up on the couch with a book instead of out with friends.
Books became my friends during the times when real ones were few and far between. I was the girl who enjoyed the company of characters more than humans, as humans were often such a let down and rarely had a happy ending.
A few years ago I took up blogging. At first it was some small pieces here and there. Then as I found that the process of blogging was more therapeutic than I had expected, I went at it with more effort. I even started reading about pro bloggers who started cashing in on their ideas. How great is that? You can sit in your house, or coffee shops as I prefer and blog about life as you see it and have others around the world read your every word AND get paid.
That sounded like a job for me.
I read everything I could about how to make money blogging, how to gain more readers, how to keep that social media interest alive. I set up blogging schedules, held contests, worked on my graphics, I even started weekly writing challenges. I had the mind of a blogger and I was ready to be on the blogging circuit. I even started gaining advertisers, making a little bit of money, and the excitement of it all coming together was thrilling.
It didn't take long before things started pulling me away from the blog.
A dark shadow hung over the idea of sitting down and writing. At first I thought it was some negative feedback that I’d attracted. But there really wasn’t anything solid I could put my finger on. I knew from the start that not everyone was going to love what I’d write about.
Sometimes my topics could get a little dark, even feisty. I was ready to accept the negative commentary. What I couldn’t face was that I talk about very personal things on my blog, and when I gained readers I also had to deal with some people from my past that wanted to make comments, attract drama, and remind me that I wasn’t really ready to deal with that pain with them face to face.. or through exchanges posted publicly.
I made excuses, spent more time on Facebook, started a garden. I looked for every excuse not to write possible. But really, I was falling out of love with blogging because blogging wasn’t giving anything back to me that felt good.
I write from a deep emotional place that sometimes really draws in some lingering ghosts.
I found I wasn’t really ready to deal with some of those situations and conversations. I did what I am good at, I walked away.
Blogging didn’t call me back, didn’t even make any attempt to reconcile after our break-up. In fact, I was easily forgotten and replaced by dozens of Mommy blogs filled with how to take better photos of your cute babies and how to spray paint mason jars. ( By the way, painted mason jars are actually very cool. )
There will always be a better blogger than you.
There will always be someone who has a better pitch for bringing in readers. Someone who is enthusiastic and ready to launch their next big thing in your face. And if you find yourself falling out of love with the things you are writing about, you might as well just leave blogging to them. And for a while, a long while.. I did.
I know that I am never going to be happy writing about butterflies and rainbows. I am not sure I can trust the darker side of being an emotional writer, the depression that sometimes comes after you rip everything out of your soul and lay in down on the screen is hard and painful.
It forces you to really look at everything deeper and uglier. There are no ways to glitter paint talking about rape, dropping out of school, fighting poverty and bullshit. I don’t think I’d be happy trying to.
So my words of wisdom for those of you out there writing your great American dream blog.
Write for you.
Write because you must.
Don’t write to gain readers, they will come and go.
Write because it is in your blood and you have no other choice than to pour it out for others to critique.
Don’t hate the blog when the relationship fails.