Home » Writing » My Love/Hate Relationship with my Blog

My Love/Hate Relationship with my Blog

I love blogging. I hate blogging. I vacillate between extremes. I don’t have any writer/blogger friends, so I don’t know if my love/hate relationship with blogging is normal, or a sign that maybe I’m not cut out for it.

Recently, Nina Badzin wrote a post “Wondering About Other Writers” in response to Kristen Ploetz’s post “Nine Things I Wonder About Other Writers”. Many other writers commented on these posts and others wrote responses on their own blogs. I found all the posts fascinating because I often wonder about other writers. What stuck out most prominently was that most of these writers have formed an online community of support. Her second question hit home. “How much of your “real life”  family and/or closest friends read your blog?” Many responded that most of their “real life” friends and family do not read their blogs regularly. I realized that I have not formed a wide audience online separate from my real life family and friends. Instead, I am the annoying person who publishes my posts on my personal Facebook page and begs real life friends to visit my website.

Oh, I have made so many cringe worthy missteps throughout the process of blogging. I may have committed every single blogging faux pas. I blindly entered this world and stumbled through the creation of my blog on wordpress. I didn’t think it through or map out what I wanted to write about. I named it denvermommy.wordpress.com (ughhh!!!) because I thought I might want to discuss parenting in Denver and it was the only moniker available. I sent embarrassing emails to bloggers I followed about whether or not I should create a blog (sorry Aiden Donnelly Rowley). I wrote embarrassing comments on other people’s blogs with links back to my pieces.  I read somewhere that that was how to build an audience (it’s not).  There were embarrassing typos. I shutter rereading my earlier posts.  I wish I could edit every one of them.

Oh, how I cringe. I was clueless and I still am for that matter.  For instance, I am publicly admitting all my prior blogging mistakes rather than playing it cool.

For anyone thinking of starting a blog, here are my thoughts, my likes, dislikes, things I wish I had known, and a tiny bit of advice.

What I love:

  • I love telling stories.
  • I love the writing practice. Truly, the more you write, the more you improve.
  • I love that I rediscovered my love of writing and storytelling.  As a stay-at-home mother, writing this blog keeps me sane.  I need a creative outlet, something outside of parenting small children.
  • I love having an audience.
  • I love the connections I make with random people. I receive emails from old friends and strangers, telling me that they appreciate my stories and they relate to my experience, highlighting the notion that none of us are alone on this parenting journey.  Our experiences feel unique, but they are pretty damn similar to other mothers around the world.
  • I love that I am getting published. It provides validation that my writing does not completely suck.
  • I love that I have received paid work opportunities, stemming directly and indirectly from this blog and literally putting myself out there.

What I dislike (hate is a strong word)

  • I dislike the self-promotion aspect of blogging. I want people to read what I write, but I hate publishing it on Facebook.  It’s a double edged sword, because if I don’t publish it on Facebook no one will visit my website and I want people to visit my blog.   I created Justine Solot Writer page, so I wouldn’t have to harass my friends and family, but I often still do.
  • I dislike caring whether the post gets any “likes” or “shares”. When I started blogging, I felt as if I returned to junior high school as the awkward unpopular kid. The good news is that I am beginning to care less.
  • I am an introverted person who thrives on connections. I am a sharer, but it sometimes feels uncomfortable writing about my life and sharing it with the world.
  • I dislike the blogging rules, perhaps I dislike the idea of following certain criteria to deem one’s blog successful.
    • Rule (1): At a minimum, one must publish posts each week.
      • I strive to write weekly, but I can’t find the time to keep up. Sometimes I am able too, which feels great, but then we all get sick and I don’t write for ages.
      • It is true that in order to create an audience one must post regularly. Each time I publish an essay I recruit a couple of new followers.
      • There is a balance, write, but do not write too much.
        • Some bloggers write multiple posts a week. I don’t know if they do this to gain followers, but it annoys me to receive several emails a week from the same blog.
    • Rule (2): One must visit as many other blogs as possible to obtain more followers. Again, this ties into feeling obligated to write weekly.
      • In order to court followers, you must comment on other blogs in hopes that those bloggers will visit your blog, comment, and follow you back.
      • Sometimes this happens, and sometimes it does not.
      • Visiting as many blogs as possible and commenting on everything feels disingenuous.
      • I love reading other writers’ blogs. In fact, I spend an inordinate amount of my free time perusing what other people write.
      • If you take the time to find them there are amazing writers all over the Internet, but it is hard to find them.
      • It is important to let other writers know that you are reading and appreciate their words. Initially, I read other’s work, but I didn’t always comment. Now, I realize the importance of voicing my appreciation.
        • My issue lies with bloggers that comment to comment and play the game of “I comment on your blog, so you comment on mine.” This feels uncomfortable to me.
        • On the other hand, it feels uncomfortable to comment on someone’s work and never ever have them visit your website.
    • Rules, rules, rules – there are so many rules that tell you how to obtain blogging success – i.e. certain days to publish, twitter, etc.  If I ever decide to get serious about blogging, I may need to look into these rules.  One day I may actually sign up for twitter. 🙂
  • I am beginning to dislike (feel uncomfortable) writing about my children.
    •  I write stories inspired by my life. Currently, my life revolves around my young children, so it follows that my stories are about my children. I feel fine writing funny stories about my baby and preschooler, but I am beginning to feel it’s inappropriate to write about my Kindergartener. “Mom, that’s embarrassing,” is a phrase that regularly comes from her mouth, regarding the music we listen to at school drop-off, her Dad’s Steelers jersey, and my show and tell suggestions. I think the frequent use of “that’s embarrassing” is a sign that I need to stop writing about her on my blog.
    • In 2015, I hope to explore more topics (writing, books, social issues, short stories, etc.)

Advice & Tidbits:

  1. Visit Nina Badzin’s Blog. She offers honest advice about creating a blog and her own experience developing her writing career. What is magnificent about Nina is there is no ego involved in her advice. She is not competitive about her writing and helping other aspiring writers out.
  2. Visit Beyond your Blog, a site that lists places to be published “beyond your blog”.  There are many other websites that offer writing advice.  I am a blogging novice, so I love to discover new ones.
  3. Sign up for Bloglovin. I learned about this from Nina. I follow blogs via Bloglovin and I get one daily email that contains new posts from all the blogs I follow. This way my inbox is not inundated with emails from numerous blogs. Also, since Facebook may not be sharing everyone’s posts, this is a great way to stay up to date without worrying about social media.
  4. Write weekly if possible. It gets you in a good rhythm and helps you build an audience. The more you write, the more you improve. In 2015, I strive to write more often.
  5. FYI, you won’t make money blogging unless you create the next Scary Mommy, Momastery, Dooce, or Enjoying the Small Things. However, you might make money from opportunities that arise as a result of your blog or writing.
  6. Do what feels comfortable, but also do what feels uncomfortable.  I sometimes feel uncomfortable sharing my writing on my blog.  However, writing publicly has been enormously rewarding.  To a certain extent, I feel as if I am realizing a dream.  I finally feel as if I am on the path to becoming a “real writer” and have concrete aspirations as to where I want my work to appear in the future.
  7. If you want to create a blog, then create one.  The blog will grow and morph with you.  You can’t let fear and failure prevent you from following a dream.  The blog isn’t my dream, but writing is, and a blog is a great stepping stone for those of us who dreamed of writing.
  8. If you want to be a writer, then start writing.
  9. Fake it until you make it, (and then confess how little you know publicly on your blog, oh, maybe that’s just me).

For my fellow bloggers, do you have any advice for those of us starting out?  Does anyone else have mixed feelings about blogging? Is my love/hate relationship normal?  How do you feel about sharing stories about your children?  Is it important to continue posting on your blog while trying to get published other places as well?

I am off on vacation, so I may not respond to comments right away, but I would love to hear what any readers think…

26 thoughts on “My Love/Hate Relationship with my Blog

  1. I identify with these feelings. I agree that the more you write, the better you get. The best advice I ever got (from a writing coach) was, “Don’t apologize about your writing. Ever.” That was tough for me!

    • Great advice and easier said than done. A writing coach may be a good idea too. I would love to do a writing workshop this year as well. This has been a journey, an overall positive journey, but I have been haunted along the way by all of my missteps, so is life. 🙂 I may beat myself up about a typo, but I’m probably the only one that spends more than a second thinking about it. Thank you for reading and commenting. 🙂

  2. I love that you blog… I love reading your writing. I love hearing about your family and your personal thoughts. I don’t care if you write once a week or once a month. I don’t care if you follow blog rules. I just enjoying this gift you give me. Thank you. xoxxo Andrea…. and not just because I am your cousin….

  3. I’m not a blogger so I don’t know about all the rules- I just love reading what you write! Our kids are roughly the same age so it gives me an opportunity to laugh at a situation that we shared and know I’m not alone in my frustration, sleep deprivation, etc… Plus it makes me feel like I know you better. Keep it up, you’re amazing at it! Xoxo

    • Thanks Marilie, I can’t wait to reconnect in real life. Our generation needs to reconnect despite our parents broken ties. I appreciate your support and I’m glad you can relate. XO

  4. This is fantastic. I love reading all these tips about blogging learned from your own hard won experience. Thank you! And I love your humility, and questioning, and at the same time your self assurance, and your just plain excellent writing. Thank you thank you and bravo!!!

  5. I have had so many mixed feelings through the years and they’re really similar to all the ones you named . . . the issue of having to promote on FB, etc. if you want visitors, the chutzpah of tossing my hat in a very crowded circus, etc., the chutzpah of sharing my opinions, the worry that I will offend friends and family (which I have on the absolute most random of topics.) Anyway, my point is, you are NOT alone.

    The comment situation . . . I think of it like an ongoing conversation. Blog posts are often personal and something like a big question. The comments are answers and it becomes a conversation. I think many of us like (even crave?) comments because it IS that conversational piece that makes blogging satisfying. Otherwise we would be writing in our journals, right? And so, as a blogger, since we know how satisfying it is to have someone “answer” the big “question” that is our post, we “do unto others” and go around answering their big questions, too. I don’t think it’s disingenuous. I think it’s just the reality of social interaction and human nature . . . you treat others how you want to be treated, and so on. Also, I agree that if I was always commenting at someone’s site and they never did the same, I would likely stop visiting there. However, that doesn’t mean I was only visiting that person for the comment back. It really does not mean that. Still, I wouldn’t be able to help but notice the lack of an occasional (really doesn’t have to be tit-for-tat) visit back. A little “hey, I see you” gesture goes a long way. I cannot stand a diva.

    Most importantly, thank you so much for that generous mention of my blog and the tips I have there! I am one for trying to help people fast forward through what does not have to be a steep learning curve. I’m a share the knowledge type of person no matter the topic! Thank you for recognizing that– it really meant a lot to me!

    • You really are a breath of fresh air. I respect you so much. Thanks for your advice and for visiting my blog. I’m in Mexico, so I’ll keep it short, but keep doing what you are doing. With four kids, I don’t know how you wake up early to write. 🙂 I hope to one day be there.

  6. Hi! I discovered you through Nina, who shared this post on FB (so there’s a good thing about FB! Sometimes other people will promote you so you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting!) I agree, Nina is so generous with the blog and writing advice.. And I agree, there is so much to love and hate about blogging. I read somewhere (where? Where? I wish I could remember!) that blogging is practicing your writing in public. I think that is so true. I began blogging in 2007 with no goals other than to just write and the only thing I did right was to name the blog Whatevs… Somehow I knew back then that I wanted to have a place to write about whatever I felt like and I have done that, considering I was single when I started it and since that time I moved cross country, met and married my husband and had 2 kids! But yes I have many cringe worthy early posts in my archives and I don’t delete them because I figure they were part of my journey. I am proud to say I think my writing has improved a lot since then… Anyway I look forward to poking around your blog some more! Nice to meet you 🙂

    • Thank you for commenting. Nice to know I am not the only one who has mixed feelings about blogging. I like the idea of calling it public writing practice. 😊 I look forward to visiting your blog as well.

  7. Oh wow, yes I SO get this. So very very much. I’ve been blogging on and off for 10 years. Do I have much to show for it? No, not really… other than a certain wistfulness that had I known what I was doing back then (and been serious about it – the key point) perhaps I’d be further along today. And should I even admit how much of a oldster/newbie I am? (Because it’s totally embarrassing.) Eh… I don’t know. Maybe it will help someone else out there not feel terrible about themselves.

    All of those things you listed above? Yep, I dislike all of them too. Some for slightly different reasons, but yes. I dislike the linkups that end up being nothing but tit-for-tat following and no real connection. I dislike all the fake-feeling strategy that goes into figuring out the self promotion piece. What makes it all worth it is finding some one that I connect with.

    This is a great piece. It’s so honest – and I will connect with that every. single. time. 🙂

    • Thank you! I Am so glad I’m not the only one and that others sometimes think that it feels fake too. Your comment made me smile. Nice to admit/know that we are oldster/newbies and there are more of us out there.

  8. I have such mixed feelings about blogging. I’ve written posts about letting go of my blogging/social media accounts because all the rules. We “should” do this. We are “not supposed to” do that. I just want to write. But the online writing world doesn’t seem to work that way. I love writing and sharing stories, too, but don’t like the self-promotion aspect of it, either. So much of what you’ve written here is exactly how I feel. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  9. Yes, yes and yes! I’ve been there and know exactly how you feel! I’ve been struggling with a schedule as well or starting posts and leaving them in draft status, their timing no longer appropriate. I still keep at it for a few reasons: the connections/friendships, the writing practice, and a place to share my stories.

    I think you just made a bunch of writer/blogger friends with this post! 🙂 Keep at it!

    • I thought I replied to your post, but it must not have gone through. I was replying on my phone on vacation. You sound exactly like me. The amount of drafts on my computer is mind boggling, but I keep at it for the same reasons as you. I love to write and tell stories and this seems to be the place to do it. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting.

  10. I could have wrote this! I detest the self promotion side of it. I find it all quite embarrassing. And the rules?! I do not know how these expert bloggers do it! Sometimes i panic and publish something a bit crap. I enjoy your writing very much for what it is worth!

  11. I’m sorry I’m so late for commenting. I saw this a week ago and printed it out to read – which I finally did last night (twice). I also just jumped into this crazy world and made sooo many mistakes. I am grateful to and for Nina! I agree with all you pros and cons, as well. Great post@!

    • Thank you for reading and commenting. I have so many blogs open on my phone to read during a free moment, so I definitely understand the delay. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  12. Great post! I once mentioned to Nina that I wanted to post about how I hate blogging. She thought that might be a bit too negative. I agree. But there is pressure. Pressure to do it big, to do it well, to follow all the rules, to post every week. Sometimes the pressure makes me feel like a failure when blogging should be an outlet for creativity and conversation, not guilt.
    Blog on friend and never mind the so-called “errors”. We are all learning together how to support others by writing inspirational posts and responding to the humanness we encounter beyond the screen.

  13. Justine, it is so good for me to read this! I don’t have any blogging friends either, though finding a community of writers is a big part of why I blog. And I’ve only recently discovered “writer blogs”, a niche I didn’t think existed. I am in awe of all the creative people blogging, and long to be a part of it all, but it seems to take time. Or I feel a bit like you, like I’m back at school, the unpopular kid, everyone has their “clique” and there’s no room for me. Lately, though, I’m trying to dive in anyway. I find the writer-blogger community to be hugely supportive and accepting.

    Anyway, just wanted to say I hear ya and I’m happy to see I’m not alone. Looking forward to reading more from you! : )

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