But what most of us learn early on is that putting stuff out there doesn't guarantee a big audience. Or a small audience. Or even anyone. It is manifestly not true that "if you built it, [they] will come." (That's a cinematic reference to "Field of Dreams", a famous drama about baseball that's worth watching.)
It's ironic that opening ourselves up to the world can feel isolating. When we create wonderful posts and get only a few comments, we're sad. We want to be heard, we want to be seen. That's a natural human emotion.
My reflection on this led me to an insight years ago -- we have to blog for ourselves, not for others. Their reaction (or even existence) can't be why we blog. If you need validation, find another, more effective way to get it. The online world is too big; we get lost in obscurity. Unless you're a celebrity or actively promote your blog, you won't get a thousand comments. Or a hundred.
I blog to express myself. My authentic, individual self. Whether the audience is large or small doesn't affect my satisfaction in creating artistic content that displays my true nature. This benefit may not be as significant for those who have and can express themselves in real life; I wasn't able to do that during the first fifty years of my life. In the past decade, through this blog, I've seized freedom which enables me to grow as a person in deeply-important ways. Just being able to admit attraction to feminine clothes and female-associated activities is life-altering for me. Hiding that attraction is painful and stifles my personal expression. Engaging in desired activities satisfies life-long dreams I never thought I'd be allowed to pursue.
Are you happy with the audience-size of your blog? Does it meet your needs?
A big part of my enjoyment in blogging is having the opportunity to exhibit my photographs. Pictures I take while traveling, while dressing up, while searching the world for beauty. I recently noted, in a picture I took on a trip to Montreal this Summer, that the motorcycle-trunk is reflecting the landscape and clouds. Isn't that beautiful?
A thought provoking post, Ally! Even though it's nice to have an audience, blogging should definitely be for oneself in the first place. I've always had a longing to write, but never thought I'd get so much enjoyment out of it. Like you, I also use my blog as a platform to show my photos to "the world". I'm happy enough with the audience I've got. At least I know the comments I got are sincere. Who needs a hundred comments anyway? Love your photo! I always try to catch reflections, but they're even better if they're unintentional! xxxReplyDelete
Thanks, pal. I can always count on you for a wise reply.Delete
This has touched on something that is a constant struggle for me, "Why do I write if there isn't an audience?" I have a hard time with it.ReplyDelete
If a blogger writes something and no one reads it did it really exist?
Would I be better off keeping a personal journal? Would I bother?
What's the point if I'm not connecting with someone on some level?
Initially when I started blogging, 12 years ago (unbelievable!) I did it for marketing my other business. After that business wound down I transitioned to blogging for amusement and thought it was weird if people did comment. Ha!
Now though if I spend lots of time writing a post about something I'm passionate about like the environment and sustainability, I'm very disappointed if I'm not able to connect with my readers, some of whom have outright told me they won't read those posts because I'm not writing what they want to hear. It is very frustrating.
I continue to blog because of the people I've met through blogging like you. Otherwise I would have given up on this none-paying-time-sucker called blogging ages ago.
The photo is very wild. I reminds me of the oppressive heat we used to get when I lived in Montreal.
I'm reading those posts, Suzanne, and I love them, even if I don't comment!Delete
I read your posts, too, Suzanne and cherish everything that comes out of your brain. Listening to smart people makes us smarter. Thank you for getting philosophical: that's my bent, too.Delete
I think blogging may be a watered down version of the immortality project (Ernest Becker). Or as the Counting Crows sang: When everybody loves you, you can never be lonely.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the Becker reference, Mike. I wasn't familiar with him and went off and did some research. Very interesting. I certainly struggle with the anxiety of insignificance and it fuels my blogging. I plan to read "The Denial of Death" and learn more about his ideas.Delete
It is supremely frustrating to put yourself out there and then not get the validation from comments. But I do read my stats and I know there are more readers than commenters. And like you, I have learned to blog just for me, more than anything. Although sometimes it feels like shouting into the void, doesn't it?ReplyDelete
Yes, it does. I was going to mention the idea of readers who aren't leaving comments but didn't get to that. Occasionally, I'll get e-mails from an unknown reader who says she's been following my blog for a while without commenting. So, yes, they are out there -- and that can give us hope that ripples we make in the pond of society sometimes spread beyond our awareness.Delete
When I did have a proper blog, I definitely worrying over stats. The main thing I learned to draw people back to mine, was simply - go visit theirs! Being a repeat reader and commenter meant they (usually) return the favor. I cared more about building my friendships with those who wanted to speak to me. One of the reasons I left this style of blogging was that I felt my IQ drop 30 points every time I attempted to leave a comment. Some days it's nice to read "cute top", but I also feel like I should comment on their post, their words, their story. Because so many of my blogging friends lead rich, beautiful lives that keep me coming back.ReplyDelete
Unfortunately, it's also a challenge for the mentally ill of my ilk. Sometimes getting out that "great dress!" is me saying "Hi, I've read your post. I want you to know I did. But I'm having difficulty articulating anything more profound."
One of the reasons I enjoy Instagram as a microblogging option is that it will crosspost to facebook automatically for me. And it serves as a back up server for images I want to keep. It's not really about the likes, those are nice, but it's more in line with what I wanted my blogging experience to be 6,7, 8 years ago. It was about tracking my progress. Like you say, finding your freedom.
Mine is - seeing my health, my style evolution, and just generally keeping a record for myself.
Sometimes, I suppose we are just shouting into the void, but I think it's also a good reminder to step out of the void ourselves, and tell someone "I'm listening".
Brilliant ideas. Thank you, Megan. You are one of the smartest people I know and your thoughts carry great weight in my view. Plus I personally relate to much of what you write here. Thanks for contributing!Delete
This is a great post Ally and something I've thought about off and on. I've always said I blog for myself first, to have a place to collect my thoughts and have my memories, and the fact that people join in is the icing on the cake. And I've decided too I'm happy to be a small fish in a big pond. It's quality over quantity as far as I'm concerned!ReplyDelete
That's a healthy attitude, Beth.Delete
I also blog to express myself. It's not my job. It's a big passion and I think that's why I keep blogging and I am still enthusiast about it. KissesReplyDelete
Fashion and Cookies - fashion and beauty blog
I sense that reading your blog. Obviously you love it and that comes through.Delete
Reading your blog, among others, helps to understand that we are all different but that out in the human landscape we have many things in common. I find it amusing that so many of your commenters are women into fashion. I, on the other hand, find that we have walked many similar paths as cross dressers. Knowing that we are not along in our interests is a form of affirmation that is important to our well being.ReplyDelete
Keep on doing what you are doing even if you at times think that you are the only one benefiting from your thoughts and words.
Thanks, Pat. Encouraging words.Delete
Yes it is! The way the light reflects is beautiful.ReplyDelete
I am glad that you’re able to express yourself and find satisfaction in the process. I do as well. Blogging is really quite time-consuming and reward can be variable .
You do have many years to catch up on. I hope you do that with gusto. I really enjoy your blog amd can see the joy that dressing the way you want to, finally, is so satisfying,
That jumps out to me and feels joyful.
Sorry I have been a bit absent.. lots of real life happening here.
Thanks, Elle. I'm pursuing this with brio!Delete
Blogging has changed so much. My blog has been around for over 11 years and things are so much different now than they were back then.ReplyDelete
I definitely enjoy making money from my blog. But what I enjoy more is the relationships I've formed. Blogging, for me, started out as an online journal. And then suddenly people were reading my words and I had a chance to connect with people who got strength from the experiences I shared.
Although I like making money from this passion, I like forming relationships even more.
Keep on keeping on. You're one of the good ones. And you're not alone.
INteresting post! I regard comments as being like friends coming to visit nowadays. I am always glad to hear from my old friends. It's nice to meet new bloggers but I am more fond of having visits from my pals! I seem to be so busy nowadays and not doing so much blogging of either kind and it does make me feel guilty!ReplyDelete
You said it well, we have to blog for ourselves first. It's always great if others join :)ReplyDelete
Just the other day I had a fellow blogger comment that she was going to stop blogging because she was not making over 300.00 USD a month and that blogs were "out" and it was not worth it. I was appalled. I've not made money ever from my blog, thankfully it's not the purpose, but I just felt like I had been blogging for the wrong reasons maybe?
I am happy documenting what I wear and my CPW - I guess it depends on each persons goal.
Yup, you're right.Delete