Earlier in the week a blog post was written about newbie bloggers that ruffled more than a few feathers. While I don’t agree with most of it, community in my opinion is very important when it comes to blogging, it’s been on my mind since and I’ve seen a completely different angle than my initial knee jerk reaction. Dorothy also wrote a follow up post which touched a little on the thought process I’ve been lead to, a thought process about the voice of blogging.
I came into blogging at a really good time, at least in my opinion. I came into blogging just as it was taking off, which means that there was information about how to do things at the tip of my fingertips, but not too much information that it was overwhelming. I knew that a community existed, because I was lucky enough to be friends with people who were already blogging. I came into it with my eyes open, something that new bloggers aren’t always given.
Blogging is a different beast than when I first started just over 3 years ago. It’s hard to believe that it could have changed so dramatically, but it really has. It feels like new blogs are popping up every single day, and that is awesome but I do worry that they are being lead into something that isn’t quite all it’s cracked up to be.
A quick Google will bring up thousands of articles of how to blog better, steps to create the next best blog and how to turn a quick buck from your writing. I believe that it’s these articles that are leading people to believe that having a blog is easy, that it’s as easy as following these steps and you’ll have a blog that everyone wants to read. In reality it couldn’t be further from the truth.
One of the most important skills in blogging is a voice, a voice that is true to you and that people will relate to. You can follow every blogging articles you come across and still have no audience because there is no authenticity there.
The posts I mentioned earlier talked about vanilla blogs and how there seems to be more and more of them. I don’t think necessarily think that following what a blogging article tells you are the best kind of blog posts will turn a blog into a vanilla one. I think that failing to add your own unique voice to the advice you follow turns you into a vanilla blog.
One of the most common things I see in blogging groups and even on social media is being too scared to move forward with your blog because you’ve found a blogging how to that doesn’t work with your voice. That worries me more than vanilla blogs. It worries me that people are stopping something that is their passion because someone has told them that they must do x instead of y.
My advice to the newbies, who are reading everything they can get their hands on, is to just stop, take a deep breath and get back in touch with why you want to write, why you want to share your voice with people. Take a look at your voice, is it in line with where you want to be? Do you feel comfortable with where your blog is heading? These are all important questions in my opinion, because the moment you lose your authenticity is the moment you start to lose your readers. Sometimes it really is as simple as write and they will come.
Do you feel like the blogging world is a ton of information overload at the moment? How do you make sense of all of the advice?
Linking up with Grace for FYBF!
Great post. Makes you think …. and reflect.
I started blogging in 2007 with my own closed blog for family only. It was more of a newsletter to keep people up to date with where we were at in life.
Then I created Deep Fried Fruit in 2009 to celebrate turning 40 and to embrace aging … and to force myself to write every single day to get my creative juices flowing for my author journey.
I remember getting lost for a while because of the whole “blogger” title and the “burden” of living up to that title.
But you’ve got to just do what you came here to do. For me I am just sharing how I age positively. It might resonate with people, and it might not.
But the bottom line is I write for me. If someone else wants to read it, then that’s just a bonus.
Is the blogosphere overloaded? Only for those who feel the need to read everything and every one.
I think the blogosphere as a whole gives great options, perspective, views and ideas. You’ve just got to pick and choose what resonates with you the most.
Hey … I just wrote an entire blog post in your comments section!
Sorry about that.
Thanks for awakening my creative juices this morning …
Happy Friday Tegan.
Well said Tegan. I hope in the last 20 months of blogging I’ve found my voice and that I use it. I guess when you write in your own voice nobody can pinch it!
My advice to new bloggers is to use the Mumabs as an example of what not to do. Mumabs has found her blogging voice and all its does is scream “Look at these hawt men!” Loudly!
More seriously I dont think people should enter blogging with the intention of making their fortune. The truth of the matter is that only a very small percentage actually do. Creating a blog that resonates with people is something that is difficult to teach – its all down to X factor.
I wasn’t aware of that post that ruffled bloggers feathers but I popped over for a quick read just now and it did get under my skin I have to admit. I have yet to read her follow up post. It is interesting that you have posted on this topic today because today my blog is 2 years old and I wrote a post on what I have learned over the 2 years and some advice for new bloggers based on my experiences. Some new bloggers stick around and some phase out … but I do believe all of them deserve the support and encouragement of the blogging community. And YES I do think that the blogging world has become overwhelmingly full of info overload. Two years of blogging and there is still so much for me to learn. 😉
I think one of the biggest problems in blogging (and outside of blogging, actually) is that people want all the answers now, and a proven formula. But that doesn’t exist in life. You need to stumble along, try, and learn from mistakes.
I think that’s why I’ve always leaned towards coaching when I’ve looked at ways to monetize my blog. A set formula doesn’t work for everyone. I suppose that’s also the qualitative researcher in me who happens to hate statistics 🙂
Now THIS is the post that new blogger should read. You make some very valid points and bring up some great questions for people to consider, Tegan. Love your work x
You know, I think this is one of the absolute best ‘how to’ posts I’ve read in a while! I’ve been going for about 18 months now and have recently had to take a step back and a deep breath and write down why I started blogging and why I continue blogging so I can refer to it regularly and not get sucked into the ‘noise’. I blog because I love to write, I love to connect with people and I love to read other blogs. The end.
We need to rewrite that Pantene commercial. It won’t happen overnight, and it may not happen at all. So make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons in the first place! I started blogging because I wanted to find my voice. I think I found it somewhere around the one-year mark. Still evolving, though. Always will.
I’m glad I have inspired you to write this. I have written another post, along similar lines. I find most of the blogging world right now incredibly boring, or maybe I just haven’t found the right blogs. Hopefully, the whiny question askers that inspired my first blog post have learnt something, too.
I am a big believer in community and in everyone having the opportunity to speak their truth. We are not responsible for other people’s feelings or their reactions to what we write. We can only write what is in our hearts. And right now, the great majority of new bloggers don’t.
I completely understand. I’ve been blogging for over five years and find myself shaking my head when someone’s been blogging for a week and asks about monetisation etc. Although I have to try to tell myself that we’re all in this gig for different reasons.
I wrote a week or so ago about the blog vs website thing and it’s something I still struggle with – though I hate that I let it bother me so.
I’ve always been pretty honest in my blogs but when I decided to try freelancing I gave people my blog as a contact point and – for a few months have been more paranoid about what I write there. I’ll still write ranty posts but not posts that really involve me opening up. (I’ve done so this week cos I’ve been in a really bad place and needed to share it….)
Not sure if any of that makes sense!
I think you hit the nail on the head: the most important thing is an authentic voice and the realisation that just because you have a url and a pretty header doesn’t mean you’re gonna make it big in blogging. I just don’t understand where this expectation of blogging success comes from. Blogging takes talent and hard yakka. Shit, you have got to at least be able to write well. Then you have got to have the time and put the effort into promoting your blog. There is no magic formula.
The bloggy ocean is huge now and yeah there’s a lot of vanilla out there but no one has to read that stuff. I actually only read a handful of blogs and only sometimes, that’s why I don’t link up to link parties any more. I don’t want to read every blog and I don’t want people to read my blog out of some sort of obligation.
I couldn’t care less what other people are writing about and I think others should care less too. If I’m interested in the topic or have a particular friendship with the blogger then I’m going to read. Every other wannabe blogger out there with a laptop and a will to spend hours of their life pounding the keyboard can go ahead and do whatever they like (as long as they don’t plagiarise of course).
Good luck to ’em!
I totally agree Tegan – it can be really overwhelming at times. I have just stared to switch off to it all and do my own thing. I may be missing out that that all important piece of info but I’m ok with that right now. xx
I just switch it off. I don’t really think there’s anything wrong with a bit of vanilla in your life. It tastes good and the other flavours are still there too, but where would we be without vanilla… 🙂
Really love this post Tegan you have composed it brilliantly as always. I read the post you speak of and the follow up’s to it. I have mixed feelings I did kind of identify with some of the points made that some blogs can be superficial. I do think however no matter what questions are asked from to experienced bloggers noone should be made feel stupid or lazy. The questions come no doubt come from genuine interest otherwise why would anyone go to the trouble of putting their own blog out there. I also believe it really comes down to whatever you as an individual are into. All of the the brilliant blogs I follow absolutely show us their hearts these are the blog I seek out. However I do see blogs that go down another path and post stuff that I would not be into but that is not to say they should not be there. There is room for everyone on the internet. It is the world wide web after all!
I’ve actually started to get overwhelmed by all the information out there, and have pulled back quite a lot. I love writing, but don’t know if what I’m writing is something that needs to be read.
Thanks for making me confront this in myself, Tegan x
great post! I’ve been blogging since 2001! first started with Yahoo geocities! doesn’t even exist now! haha. I’ve also had a multitude of blogs about politics, development and health….and my current blog was started 4 years ago and had 3 name changes! haha…. it’s gown and changed as I have …. the ability to grow and change are very important to me as I’ve found my own voice has changes a lot. Especially now I’ve become a mum! xx
I think there has to be an understanding that we can’t all be the ‘next big thing.’ Very few personal bloggers are really. But we can all share and relate to someone, so do that. I know I’m a lot more comfortable now than when I started, because I just don’t stress as much about the ‘how to’s.”
I agree with Leanne – I write for me, and if people read it well then that’s great. Although I will admit that a lot of the time I’m shocked that people care what I have to say!