Lately I’ve been really stressed about blogging and making sure I just stick to writing travel posts. When I write, I worry about if my posts are to formal for what I’m writing, too informal, too informational, too wordy, too boring, not engaging enough, not enough pictures, too many pictures, too much background, to impersonal, too personal, etc. I stress about how I have a very small readership and hardly any blog followers (i have 4, one of which is me and two others are my parents). I wonder what on earth I’m doing wrong and why people aren’t finding my posts interesting. I worry that I’m writing too often and then that I’m not writing often enough. I spend a lot of time trying to think of what I can change to regain the readership and engagement that I used to have. And then it hits me.
About two years ago, back when my blog was a lot more active, I was writing about ME. I wasn’t writing just about travel and the things I did while traveling. I wrote about what I was thinking during the day, my thoughts on things I’d heard on the radio, my opinion about movies I’d seen and books I’d read, I vented about things I was stressed about, I wrote about random nothingness. It’s weird because I thought that by making my blog be more about travel and the things Troy and I saw and did while living in Malaysia that I could gain additional readers and turn this into an actual job. I bought a domain and did everything I’d read about to monetize my blog. I’ve made some money. It’s been a couple of months and I’m up to $6.44. (Yay! I’m rich!) For a long time I didn’t make any money at all, but then people started clicking on ads periodically. That’s where the bulk of my riches has come from, people clicking on ads. But, I do make a little bit of money from people visiting my site, usually .01 a day. At this rate, I’ll be independently wealthy by Christmas! Hooray!
Oh, wait, sorry, that’s Christmas 6418.
Looking at all these factors and analyzing how much my desire to blog has dwindled over the past months, I’ve realized that the more I worry about what I’m doing wrong and why I’m not getting the hits I used to, the less I feel like writing. I’ve been reading all these different ‘how to draw people to your blog’ articles and according to each one, I’m doing some things right and a lot of things wrong, though each article has differing opinions on whether a particular thing I’m doing is right or wrong, so then I wonder which article is better.
The thing I finally realized, though, is that when I started blogging, I didn’t care how many people read my blog. I didn’t care whether or not people commented or shared my posts. I didn’t care that I wasn’t making any money from it. I wrote blogs because I wanted to share my life with my family after I moved across the country and I wanted to express what I’m thinking and feeling. I’m not a talk-on-the-phone-for-hours kind of person. I’m not a sharing and open kind of person. I don’t like to sit and chat with very many people. That’s not me. I just don’t like to talk very much. But I love to write. I’ve always loved writing. I can be eloquent and open in my writing in ways I’ve completely given up on when being verbal. I can write for hours and still have more to write.
Yet when I try to write in ways other blogs advise are the “best” ways, I freeze up. I worry so much about writing the ‘correct’ way that I lose all ability to just let the words flow. I’ve never been good at doing things the way other people say I should do it just because they say I should do it that way. If it’s possible, I always like to figure out a way that works best for me. Because, really, there is no one way to do a particular thing that is going to work for 100% of those doing it. Everyone has a way that works best for them and as long as what needs to get done gets done it’s no big deal. (unless you work for someone who thinks that any way different from theirs is wrong and stupid, in which case that person sucks)
Anywhooo, I’ve decided that I’m going to go back to blogging my own way. I’m still going to write about the trips Troy and I went on and the things we did, but some days I may just write about what’s on my mind, like now. Sometimes I just need to release the pressure valve on my brain and get my thoughts out, which is why I started my first (private) blog in high school.
So, I’m going to get back to that. I’m going to stop worrying so much about whether or not I’m following the proper formulas and patterns of travel bloggers. I’m going to write my way. I’m going to be true to me and have fun doing it. I may never make money doing this or have many blog followers, but at least I’ll know I felt good about the way I wrote and was able to get back to writing for the original reason I started writing in the first place: for me.