Leading up to starting my blog I was super excited. I had spent months planning how I would organize sections and writing lists of topics I would write about. And during that time I spent countless hours doing research on the topics I wanted to write about how to actually start a blog.
The big things they talk about are how you have to do things a certain way or else you’re wrong. If you aren’t trying to sell a product in every post, or you don’t have a mailing list, or you don’t use keywords to maximize your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), then there’s no reason for your blog to even exist.
I wasn’t really interested in that.
Sure I’d like to be able to get a little bit of money from it just to offset how much it costs to run each year. But I wouldn’t expect it to ever be something I could consider a complimentary income, let alone a supplementary income.
I have no interest in having a mailing list. I post every Monday. I don’t see that as a reason to be spamming anyone’s inbox just to let them know I posted on Monday like I always do. Maybe when I have more posts to read it might be worth reminding people of what I’ve written in the past but I’d tried to organize everything in a way to make it easy to find everything.
Search Engine Optimization didn’t interest me because the way everyone said to make it easier was to write about what everyone else is writing about at the time you post and lots of pictures and visuals. I already had things I wanted to write about and wasn’t interested in the popular things everyone else was writing. And even though I did end up having a header image for each post I know they aren’t very good because I’m not an artistic person.
I didn’t realize until a couple months after I actually started that it was a good idea for me to ignore these “rules.” And I really only figured it out by reading blogs from people who also didn’t want to do those things. I thought the majority of bloggers followed the “rules” but it was really that the big ones did.
The blogs of people who just want to write about things they enjoy had pages with no images or keywords. They had spelling and grammar mistakes. But they had people regularly coming to read their posts.
I think the reason is exactly what draws me back to their posts. I feel like by reading the genuine stories they tell or guides they write I start to almost know them as an old friend.
And when I see a new post from them I get excited to see how their life is going. I feel their pain when they suffer a loss or have something come up in their life that is wearing them thin. I look forward to hearing that the difficulty they were going through is getting better.
One of the reasons I wrote about for wanting to start my blog was about living through the experiences of others. I didn’t realize before I started that I didn’t need all those fancy things to help people experience new things.
Another big thing that almost stopped me was fear. I had read so much about FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and how it was the best reason to start a blog or something like that. It was a big SEO thing at the time so everyone was writing about it in an effort to stay on the front page of Google.
But all the fear I might have had of missing out on something big with blogging was being cancelled out by my long-time friend FOJI (Fear of Joining In). It had prevented me from doing so many other things in the past because I was afraid of what could happen if I did do it.
A large part of it was a fear of rejection.
I don’t do many things in my life for the sake of getting approval from others. I wear the same clothes today that I wore in middle school (literally the same shirts) instead of trying to keep up with fashion. I get my hair cut when I feel like it’s getting too long so I go from having it cover my forehead to being buzzed off then let it grow out again instead of getting it cut into the popular style every couple of weeks.
But even though I don’t do things to get other people to like me, and I don’t care if people dislike me, when enough people are saying negative things about you it will eventually break through and have an impact. This connects back to the “rules” of blogging that all the louder blogs were posting where they said you have to have a picture of yourself on your blog.
I agree that it’s nice to see what the people you’re reading about look like and when I find a blog I like I usually check to see if they have a picture. But I still can’t bring myself to do it.
I’d hate for someone to recognize me and then start hassling me about something I wrote because it makes them look bad.
The only person in my life that I know has any knowledge of my blog is my brother and that’s only because I needed to tell someone in order to convince myself to go through with starting it. He’s the closest person to me that I knew I could tell without it going in one ear and then into the ears of everyone else he knows. I don’t think he even reads anything I write.
And for people that don’t know me I don’t want them to see my picture before they even read what I write and assume I’m someone who I’m not. When I go to a new blog I only look for their picture after I’ve read some of their posts and have an idea about who they are as a person so I don’t make any unfair assumptions about them.
I also didn’t know how people might react to some of the storied I have to share, or if I actually want to share some of them. I don’t want to share a story about something bad that happened in my life and have people feeling sorry for me. Also, –I know this is more of an issue of being louder than being more common– I didn’t want people to tell me they don’t believe I could have actually gone through something or that it doesn’t matter that it happened to me because someone else has it worse.
So when it got to be November in 2018 I had to make a decision of whether to start or wait another year. I know that I could have started any time of the year. But for my plan of how I wanted to arrange things and the posting schedule I wanted to follow I needed to start with the new year.
As much as it is stressful sometimes to decide whether to go with the post I had planned for a certain week or use a different one, and then getting everything ready to post, I’m glad I went through with it. The fun of researching and writing and then reading what other people write made it worth the anxiety I had to go through when I started, and continue to go through sometimes before I post a personal story.