On blogging.

Recently, a friend gave me the opportunity to reflect on life as a blogger. I use this term loosely, of course, as I still consider this a little side hobby that is mainly for my own amusement and a bit of a creative outlet.

However, I surprised myself by actually having quite a bit to say on the topic and well, we live in a postmodern world so I suppose it's appropriate to be self-referential, am I right?

On a more serious note, thank you for those who read, those who comment, those who pursue their own creative outlet day after day. It is a huge blessing to me to interact with all of you and I am honored by your words. Also, if you have any feedback for me regarding how things are run around here, please share! I am all ears.


* * * * *

(Note: This has been edited for both an attempt at brevity and because, well, I was talking to a friend and now I am blogging and while this may surprise you, yes, there are things I will not share here.)

1.  Do you write posts ahead of time, like in a chunk but then slowly post later? 
Sometimes. Generally I will just write it, quickly edit and post it all right there...If I am writing more of a story and/or if I am just having trouble expressing myself but really want to write about a certain topic, I will write a bit, save as a draft and come back another day to finish...The only time I've done an extended "planned posting" marathon was recently when I was in the DR.
2.  Do you have any kind of plan as to what topics you will post when? 
Not really...generally I write as I feel inspired which is generally why I have such a large flux between serious/silly. Sometimes I want to be more disciplined and have a plan but I keep holding off on that because I think at this point I would rather it be genuine than forced. HOWEVER I do also see writing as a craft and one I sometimes do need to push myself to develop (even with writing silly posts) so sometimes I tell myself "Okay I am going to blog today" and then come up with something.

3.  How do you decide what to post and what not to post? 
...At the beginning I was a lot more concerned with topics and so I would just basically trial and error different topics [to see what works]. Sometimes now I can start a post and think "Ehh, seemed like a good idea but not workin for me" and then decide to save for later or abandon altogether. I don't really have a focus for my blog which I sometimes dislike...but I'm not sure what my "niche" would be or if I want a "niche" to define my content so I just keep doin my thang* and hope it'll work out. 
4.  How do you get new readers that are not your personal friends?  Do you try to actively do this? 
I don't actively try but I am getting more and more interested in this. Lately, I have been taking the plunge and commenting on other blogs I follow (but who aren't my friends). I think this has brought a few more followers--and also more spammers, unfortunately. I generally comment on friends' blogs. ...I would actually love to write for a bigger platform and "guest post" somewhere. Just need the guts and opportunity.:)
5.  Do you get disappointed if your blog isn't being read by as many people as you'd like? Yes. Sometimes it's hard for me to not get caught up in that...but I feel like it's a weird desire and don't want to be consumed with that thought and become fake. Sometimes I read blogs and can totally tell they just want more readers which is annoying. And then I think, if I don't have something fresh to offer, then I can't expect more readers. And if I am just trying really hard to be "fresh" or "funny" or "relatable" then I am not being genuine...Honestly, it is a HUGE HUGE honor when I find out people read my blog, especially people who know me and tell me in person. It makes my day. And I know that the number of actual "followers" is deceiving but it is hard not to focus on that stupid little number.
6.  Do you have goals or general plans about how often you'd like to post?  How did you decide this and, if you don't write for a while/meet goal, how do you let that not bother you? 
Ummm yes and no. Again, keep toying with making a rigid schedule but generally just wanting to post a few times a week. I tried doing daily and it seemed a bit too forced for me but I may try to move in that direction again just for practice. For me this was all just trial and error. I want to interact with people through my posts and I feel if I don't post a few times a week, it fizzles. But I think it's different for everyone.
7.  Who is your audience? 
I ask myself that all the time...Usually, and the overall intent for me personally (for better or worse), is to think of it as an online journal. I'll get into why it isn't EXACTLY a journal in my #9 answer...but that really is how I approach it. Like okay, what am I thinking and feeling today, right now, that I would want to share with my friends. So yeah I guess it's like a journal that I know other people are reading...which makes it a bit more "storytime" and a bit less raw/vulnerable...but sometimes it tends to go that direction too...As a PR person I struggle with not having a neat, clean line of "this is who I am targeting" because hello, first rule of marketing: KNOW THY AUDIENCE. I guess instead I am more like "Know me and pull up a chair if you'd like" and see what comes next.  
8.  How do you get started, with that first post? 
I just went for it and as you can see, it is really just a timid toe dipping in the blogging waters. Like literally just saying "um, hi, so here I am" and then just going from there. The first is the hardest but really the only pressure is from yourself.
9.  How do you decide how much to share or not to share about yourself personally through this forum? 
This is a hard one. It's really difficult when you don't know who is reading (which of course is the nature of the beast). Like, okay...is it worth the cost of sharing [personal] information when [people I love] could potentially read that and be hurt by it or read it the wrong way? Not for me. ...But it is a personal blog so it is...well...personal. And words are tricky--sometimes in the moment I am feeling really heavy so I write about it and then feel weird later thinking "oh crap are people going to misinterpret that?" or "how do i know when too much is too much?" but also...not wanting to just be bubbly when sometimes things ARE hard and sometimes my most honest posts are the ones that seem to resonate most. However, that is judging from the comments on each post which is a slippery slope that is similar to judging from "followers"...not really accurate. So that can be hard to remember. 
10.  What are the best/worst parts of blogging? 
I love to write and it really is a feeling of accomplishment to get what I'm feeling out and down into words. It really is the best way for me to create. It's cool to have people say "oh yeah I read that on your blog!" and be like "really?! you read that?!" and so that's really fun. It's really hard to not get wrapped up into blog envy and turn it into this competition or something. ...Also, sometimes I think it's just plain narcissistic so that adds another element of "do I even think it's good for people to CARE what I think? shouldn't they just ask me IN PERSON?" etc.  
11.  What mindsets, things, etc. have changed/evolved from when you first started blogging?
I think in the beginning I linked to information a lot without responding to it and sometimes I still do that but then I started thinking, if I am just noise that is constantly linking to someone else, then I don't really have something to say and don't need a blog. I love writing about my experiencing. I love breaking the weirdo American idea of perfection and trying to maybe challenge people but more just bring people aside with me and live life with people. Also, lately, I have had some really passionate opinions about things and started to post them but then thought you know what?  I definitely don't want to be another snarky voice so I had to take a step back and say "why am I sharing this?" and "is this just spewing words out or is it meaningful?" I think those are important questions. [and questions many people forget to ask for some reason when communicating online]
12.  Your best advice?  
DO IT! And figure it out as you go. And then tell me because you'll be the expert. :)

*I'm not sure why I said "thang". But it seems dishonest to edit for being a dork.


lauren said...

As someone who wanted to be your friend based on the personality you shared on your blog, and who felt nerdy saying that until I actually did (remember? Ali's shower?) and you thought it was funny too, I would like to say YOU ARE AWESOME!! both digitally and in-person. :) It's great to hear your thoughts and know how you're approaching this writing adventure. I think I should start putting a nickel in a jar every time I think "Sara should write a book!" There would be a lot of money in it.

I hope you keep finding satisfaction in writing your blog! I love reading it!

Sara said...

Lauren, you are the best. Thank you for being such a consistently encouraging voice in my life. I cannot tell you how much I value your friendship! I love how it began and that it has only continued to grow stronger. Thank you friend! Times a million. (if I could bold this entire entry, I so would). :)

Oomph said...

thanks for sharing your reflections on blogging intention and intentional sharing, interesting reading to a more-or-less novice blogger.

Sara said...

Oomph--thanks for reading! Glad you enjoyed! :)