I've been hearing a few murmurs of worry amongst the new bloggers. 'Am I doing this right?' 'I don't want to compete, I just want to write for the love of it.' 'When will I be recognised?' 'I feel like I don't fit in.' 'I just can't get the engagement that others have.' A lot of this has stemmed since Problogger, and I think that understandable because there were so many passionate bloggers talking about it all at once, and there were so many messages of how to grow your blog, how to make money and how blogging has moved from solely writing to being on all the social media platforms. (I've encouraged bloggers to write for the love of it, and not to feel pressured by what others are doing. Bloggers blog for man reasons - to make money, to share knowledge. to write and to connect. Blogging can be anything you want it to be.)
The reality of bloggers feeling anxious because they don't feel like they fit in, or a part of a community, or even feeling like they're overlooked (for competitions, brand sponsorships or even just readership) makes meet sad. Because I've felt that way too - in blogging and in other aspects of my life. I wrote this on my Facebook page and wanted to share it here.
(I know I've had a high concentration of blogging posts lately, but I'm just so inspired by Problogger. I will space them out soon.)
Being a blogger is so rewarding. There is readership, friendship, the practice of writing, and some perks. As bloggers, we put our heart and soul into our work - writing, photographing, sharing and connecting. Putting yourself out there is brave and scary and should be noted. For many it costs money to blog - website design and hosting, education courses, travel and tools. These reasons make it hard. It's bloody tough. If can be isolating, competitive, cliquey, costly, overwhelming, pressured, hurtful, tiring and downright dead-ending. And it's constantly changing. I met a ghost blogger last week, who adopts different personas for blogs. What even is this?! I thought!
Sometimes bloggers just don't feel like they're a part of a community. They give and give with little reward - both in terms of community and remuneration. One of my favourite bloggers, Little Wolff, has decided to say goodby to blogging. She feels burnt out. This post made me cry.
I discovered her blog one night last year and devoured it - reading years of archives and commenting on almost each post I read. I love her writing, her view point and her creativity. Her photos are amazing. We've become online friends and I am so thankful for the advice she's given me recently.
While many bloggers (including me) are writing for the love of it, sometimes there is frustration and anxiety about a low readership, about missed opportunities and about not fitting in. I've felt this way.
Good blogging is about the love, as The Everywhereist says. And that love goes both ways as bloggers.
I urge you as bloggers and blog readers to tell your favourite bloggers what they mean to you, and to share your favourite blogs so they have a wider reach. It's easy to drop someone a quick email to tell them. I did this a couple of weeks ago; and the blogger said I made their whole month!!
Bloggers: include new bloggers in the community - if they write to you to tell you you're awesome, take the time to write back. Give them shout outs on your blogs. Recommend them to brands. If you guest blog, even if you're not a blogger, share that post with your online networks. (I admit to being pretty disappointed when someone who wrote a post for me - whose story I was so excited to share and put a lot of effort into doing so - didn't share their guest post on their highly subscribed network.)
And brands/publications: give these smaller bloggers a go. Look at engagement and passion, not just page visits. Take note of their commitment and skill. If they do well on their blog, chances are they'll do well for you. Blogging is more than a hobby now, it's an industry, and for many, it's their main income and creative outlet.
I'm always sad to see a blogger go - many cite giving up blogging is because of lack of time. But it makes me even sadder when it's because they don't feel part of a community.
Do you agree?
I challenge you to give a shoutout to the not so well known bloggers you love in the comments below. I will share each one on my Facebook soon. And let them know they're awesome by leaving them a comment. Let's bring back the community spirit.