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Myths and facts of my blogging experience

Everyone likes to dole out advises, write out a ten-point list, offer suggestions and insert cautionary clauses in the field they are, or at least believe are, an expert-through either experience or extensive study. Likewise, if you are a blogger, you might have come across numerous articles on how to blog, why to blog, how to blog better, benefits of blogging which also includes benefits of blogging everyday.

With due respect to writers who share their experiences, I'd like to admit to myself and publicly on this space that all the theories of benefits of blogging daily have back-fired for me. The first time I took part in a month long blogging marathon was in December 2011and although I did not run out of topics during that period, the sheer effort almost killed me at the end of it all and I faced a major writing block for the next few months.

I steered clear of such exercises for a very long time and silently vowed never to undertake one in a hurry, yet, as they say, I was enticed by the unbelievable benefits endorsed by popular and seasoned bloggers all over. Now, of course, I wanted more readers, especially when my blog was in a comatose condition at one point. And, who didn't want to be famous, with fellow bloggers clamouring for your attention and asking you to take time out of your busy schedule to write out guest posts for them? So, in a weak moment I signed up for yet another marathon, this time a daily show for an undefined time. Definitely, the wires in my brain had gotten messed up.

Myth one: You'd get more readers.
Fact for me: Nope. For a few days, I wrote patiently, following all the rules mentioned. I visited and discovered so many new blogs, religiously read their posts, commented and waited for my blog to be discovered in turn. People came in, surely, but out of politeness and not because I was the next biggest find in blogging history. If I failed to visit theirs, I could rest assured that those many number of comments would go missing on mine. To be fair to the entire process, it is not quite humanly possible to genuinely spend so much time on other people's blogs, add them to your list and make an appearance in their comment section each time a post is out. Especially, when so many people out there write so well, perhaps better than you, are also dishing out a post each day, have their own life apart from blogging and also have better things to do. So, net-net, you end up having only those many true readers you started off with. Maybe after months and months of a rinse-repeat of the above scene might result in a spike but by then I think I'd have gone nuts.

Myth two: You'd start writing better.
Fact for me: Not sure, maybe not. Some days are just not yours and no matter what other experts say about not bothering about the post being perfect, you can't write average stuff and still expect people to read and appreciate. And, when there are no readers, I'm not motivated. If I'm not motivated then I cannot write better. I'm yet to arrive at the point where I write for the love of writing. If I were to achieve that state of mind, then I'd not blog publicly.

Myth Three: You get a better Alexa rank
Fact for me: True but not relevant. I blog because I like the banter that takes place between bloggers via comments and also to hear at times that I write well. Of course I'm a narcissist. How does it matter if I rank 40 or 80 on some random scale, the basis of which I don't know, when I hardly get one or two genuine comments on my post?

Myth Four:More comments/invites to guest posts/shares/backlinks
Fact for me: Nope. I admit that the number of comments went up by sheer numbers but that did not mean that I bonded with those many bloggers and they came because they became a genuine fan of my writing. They came because we wrote for the same writing prompts and more as a courtesy and greed for quid pro-quo. Again, no offense to anyone. I did the same, so I understand.

Just like one medicine does not work alike for two different people even if the symptoms and illness may be alike, so also, there are theories that could have worked for an entire generation of people, yet may not work for you. So, it is really up to you to figure out what works or does not. If it did not work, it does not prove the theory to be wrong (hence these are myths and facts FOR ME). It only means that you get to write your own theory or find the one that works for you.

So, I shall blog only when I feel like and write what I feel like. That way I'll not be under the wrong impression that I wrote a literary piece and feel bad about no one reading or commenting on it.

Comments

  1. LOL Uma, got to agree with the premise of what you're saying here. Challenges sometimes make me feel like I'm putting out something just for the sake of it, and not really writing from the heart. Have fun writing only when you want to :).

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    1. Yes, it began as fun but somewhere along the way the fun got lost and it seemed like I was simply running to reach nowhere. Will do, Aparna :-)

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  2. I know what you are talking about, Sistah! It sure feels good when the number of followers/ comments increase, but when you write straight from your heart, it doesn't matter. You go girl :)

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    1. Yes, Aathira, at least when you write from the heart, it feels cathartic and you don't need any kind of approval from others :-)

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  3. I love this post for its honesty and rawness, Uma :) As long as you are blogging and some people are reading, I think it is wonderful. You are a lovely writer. Don't let the lack of comments hold you back from penning your thoughts. How often you write is always your prerogative. Never go by what the experts say :)

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    1. Thanks a lot, Shailaja..I'm trying to start afresh like the initial days of blogging when I wrote because I liked to. That raw spark, enthusiasm had gotten lost in all the statistics and strategies and mania to get ahead and achieve something. Maybe some day along the way, I'll figure out a way to marry the two. For now, I'll just focus on enjoying the journey :-)

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  4. I understand your points, Uma. Writing for the self should be there always otherwise we will feel lost at some point. As I sai before Ioved reading your old posts with no prompts. But you do wonders with prompt too. Truth to be told you are one of those rare writers who knows the way around writings with or without prompts. And I must say that I am thankful that you wrote for five sentence fictions, that's where I fist met you I think. Whatever be it, your writings are unique, Uma.
    You are right, blogging daily does not bring a lot of reaers. and it is exhausting too. I participated in NBloPoMo during October and I got no comments when I didn't write based on prompts. It was discouraging at first but I don't mind that now. I write for me to begin with. If it helps me even slightest then I should be fine, right. But of course feedbacks are joys of blogging.
    I am hoping to read more from you, Uma. Writers like you are an encouragement to all of us who likes to write and read. You better understand that, Okay?

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  5. Vinitha, I can't tell you how much your comment means to me. This is what I meant by finding genuine readers who don't stop with a cursory reading and commenting during writing prompts. And, I'm so glad and humbled to hear such kind words of appreciation. Thank you so, so much! You continue to write with so much passion despite not finding readers and this is where you inspire me and I do sincerely hope that I do not fail you by not believing in myself. Thank you for such encouraging words!

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  6. Agree 101% Uma. I am one who was lured by the promise of comments and followers by taking up the everyday challenge. And ended up lost and frustrated.

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    1. Hey Nisha, I know the feeling. I visited your blog but couldn't leave a comment. You have an engaging style of writing, so don't lose your morale :-)

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  7. Each and every point here resonated with me Uma. Yes we should write what we want to and when we want to. The points about people commenting as a courtesy and with expectation of a return favour is so true. We are no exceptions there of course.
    In favour of these excercises, the short less ambitious ones sometimes have nice prompts that trigger some interesting thoughts. Am not for the month long marathons either.
    About writing for the love of it alone, that again is a yogic state :) But there is an intermediate state wherein you write from your heart and eagerly wait for what your regular readers have to say. On the other extreme is blog marketing which i do not enjoy doing at all - though i cant say it is wrong.
    So as you rightly said, each of enjoy doing what we feel is right. This is a well written 'from the heart and mind' post. Enjoyed reading it!

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    1. Actually, Aarthy, I realized that when you write about your innermost feelings without masking the emotions, writing becomes enjoyable because then it becomes cathartic. Here you don't need outside approval.Other forms of writing are enjoyable too but there you are experimenting with style, content and imagination and need a third person to validate that it's good stuff..hence creative writing needs a lot more motivation, especially when there are no readers/comments. Will need to practice a lot of yoga to remain unaffected :-)

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  8. Well said Uma. Have tried all that in bits and pieces and ultimately realised that self-actualization is the way to go:) Writing for the sake of writing! Though I do admit it is encouraging to receive comments and know you have readers. I am very happy to have discovered your blog and love your style of writing, and the way you experiment with styles, genres. It does stand out from the crowd.

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    1. Of course, Vibha, while you do write for yourself, it feels flattering to know that another person has taken the effort to read and comment on it. Writing is a difficult art because what you want to say needs to come across as accurately as you have thought out in your mind and a comment is a validation of the same.
      Thanks a bunch for such warm words, Vibha and I can same about your writing style. You must write more often.

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  9. Ah, so the wisdom dawned on you now? :P I used to believe these myths but then figured them out when I stepped out of college. It happens. Even if you have a set number of genuine readers and each of them will have a big reader list. So, it is perfectly fine when they cannot find time for reading or even if they read to comment on the posts.

    I have learnt to write to express my thoughts and because I love writing. I love it when I put words a certain way and they make sense to me and maybe a few others.

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    1. Oh, Maate, I should've met you earlier for some enlightenment on this :-p It's great you wasted very little time on cliches..True, not even your regular readers can comment on every post of yours.

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  10. Keep writing Uma...you have talent..you neednt expect comments or approvals from others..write if you enjoy writing ..thoughts can always be expressed either in words or prose...and it is better if written..we are your ardent followers.

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    1. Yes, I'm going to concentrate more on enjoying myself..and I know you all are always there for support :-)

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