Much has been made recently of the lack of chat on some blogs, and the need to always be useful in every post forever, lest we waste our readers’ time.
Last week I admitted I had the worst case of writers constipation the world had ever seen, and my blog suffered for it. When I couldn’t just chat, and was too tired to be useful, my brain shut up shop and I’ve been straggling about ever since.
But it seemed to spark a discussion among other bloggers who felt the pressure to be “useful” all the time in order to succeed – we’ve been told it’s the best way to grow your blog. And it is – providing value is of huge importance if you’re in this like a business. But so is being personal and real and sometimes even vulnerable. If it’s a hobby, a creative outlet – anything goes!
It’s kind of like the blogosphere had swung so far into how-to territory that people forgot that a bit of a friendly waffle was still very much wanted.
It can be difficult to navigate the line of what you want to write Vs what your readers want to hear. I always say you do you, and your people will find you. But when you gauge the reactions to your posts and they are confusing (Facebook doesn’t help – you write something and 002% of your audience actually even sees it and 0000001% “like” it or click through to read, you can assume nobody’s interested in what you’ve got to say and then you try to figure out what your readers do want, then you go back to the “be useful” mantra and all of a sudden you’ve got yourself nowhere), then you’re caught, again, between what you want to write and what your audience want to spend their valuable time reading.
I forgot that the thing I love the most on blogs is the chatty life stories. I forgot that maybe people wanted to read mine. Writer’s block and my day job, which is … dun dun dunnnnn…. teaching people how to blog and make money from it… and high unsubscribe rates and low Facebook engagement made me think that my semi-useful-mostly-me-writing-jokes-on-the-internet wasn’t really cutting the mustard any more. I was still talking about mustard, but most folk were just scrolling on by.
I love useful blogs. I have a Bloglovin’ reader full of them. I also love the “documenting my daily life” blogs and I used to eagerly check in on them, watching their world turn as I sat with a cup of tea. I would read anything they wrote because I was invested in them… there was even that day I read every word of a post that The Pioneer Woman wrote that was nothing but her detailing what she found on the floor when she swept it after a week. No shit, every word. And I still remember it, six years later.
So there’s been a sigh of relief among some of us who have felt like maybe they’re allowed to chat again, and a call for others to do the same. You can read about their own struggles and realisations here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here. Yeah… that’s a lot! A lot who’ve remembered that perhaps the “uselessness” of a conversation or story is useful after all. And that they’re often the funnest things to write.
When my brain stopped working, I also stopped reading blogs, and it’s been like catching up with old friends lately as I’ve poked about to see what they’ve been doing since I’ve been gone. The best part is that the people who chat have been doing just that, day in day out, making a lot of people very, very happy.
There are so many blogs I love for the peek into their daily lives (some have stopped blogging, but I do love a stroll through their archives):
So if you love a blog, go read it. If you’re a blogger, remember what made you love it so. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned this week, no blogger is ever “too big” to bother leaving a comment. I raise my mug of tea to you all!