Blogging & Writing,  Experience

What’s the point of all this?

I put a lot of work into this blog and it’s connected projects. Maybe too much for the return.

And when I find myself feeling disgruntled, frustrated, or stressed out by it, I have to take a step back.

I don’t get paid for this. The sole purpose of this blog is to connect with others. And when that connection seems strained or lacking, it loses its luster, and I lose motivation to keep it.

Right now, a lot of people are not writing. This is, in normal times, a rough time for writers of all types. We’ve come down off of our New Year’s high, and those writing intentions have become heavy.

Plus, people, in what used to be a wide community, have split into factions and stopped engaging with openness. Or stopped engaging at all. And maybe with good reason.

I have tried a number of things to engage readers and writers. I’ve had a few different memes, the most successful of which has been The Erotic Journal Challenge. But even that, at its best has been less engaging than I had ever planned or hoped. I’ve considered, more than once, sacking the whole project. I’m at that place again.

I guess my frustration is childish in some ways,  and certainly couched in jealousy. Other newer bloggers start memes and have dozens of link-ups in the first few months. I’ve been at it for years, and I’m now 5 days into a weekly meme and have NOT ONE link up. Other bloggers have thousands of followers, dozens of comments on each post. I have a couple of hundred followers and a scattered handful of comments. It’s hard not to take it personally.

And what happens when I piss and moan about this (on occasion) is that, invariably, a few of my readers will tell me I’m awesome and that my writing is appreciated, and that I should only do what makes me happy.

Gold star for me.

And so, I go inside myself and reconsider my “why.

This time, honestly, I can say that my “why” is to connect. If it was just to write, I could do that without a blog. The conversational nature of a blog is what provides that added element of human interaction. I suppose I could get that some other way (and I do have other outlets for connection, just not as a writer, and not as much for the content that I write about). This is the place I get to share that little slice of myself that I can’t really share elsewhere, with others who have the need to share a similar slice of themselves.

Maybe it’s me: Old Insecurities

I’ll never be Starbucks. I don’t have the know how and I never seem to find just the right combination of familiar and unique to set me apart and make people clamor for more. Nope…I’m a that quirky coffee shop on the corner that is always on the brink of bankruptcy, looking to please just enough loyal customers to keep myself afloat and validate staying open.

I’ve never been popular. I’ve been awkward and nerdy and just this side of normal. I’ve been pretty enough, sexy enough. And I’ve been successful, because I’m smart and tenacious. But, I’ve always had to work hard to “fit in.” My social anxiety doesn’t help. Plus, I’m an introvert. (My husband says my spirit animal is the porcupine, and I wouldn’t disagree.)

So in some ways, my blog has just been an extension of my reality, no matter how hard I’ve tried to edit out my social shortcomings. Imposter syndrome is just always sitting over there in the corner ready to tell me “I told you so.” And when my ideas to reach out or organize some sort of connection fail…it’s exactly those words that I hear.

Connection: quality over quantity…and putting in the effort

There is an implicit obligation when writing for memes…sort of a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” agreement, which is why I don’t write for them as often as I used to. People who comment only because they feel obligated to, since we wrote for the same prompt, make the whole thing feel tedious. Likewise, commenting on the posts of others because I feel like I have to makes me feel like a shitty blog community member.

I have no problem calling myself out for not interacting as much as I need to in order to get that same kind of interaction back. I know I have to give to get. That is how relationships work. But I want my interactions…and my community…to be organic and authentic.

So let’s walk through this little exercise again…

Establish Your Why

Ask yourself: Why am I writing/blogging? 

To connect. To interact. To establish a network of support for my/our content, stories, and lives.

As a creative outlet. As a challenge. To collect a timeline of events and garner thoughts and ideas from others in relation to my writing and the events of my life.

To keep myself honest, to push the envelope, and to develop the ability to be and remain vulnerable.

Determine your What

Ask yourself: What will I do to achieve my purpose/goal, and how will I go about it?

I will reach out and ask what my readers need, revising my meme and projects to better meet their interests. I will create top reading lists and blog rolls, revising my social media accounts to better focus and attend to the blogs and writers and readers I most want to support and those who best support me. I’ll do my part to fulfill for others the same needs I hope to have filled by them. This is how strong communities are built.

And so, I’m working on “fixing” my meme, rather than giving up, like the pouty little brat inside me sometimes wants to do. Because, I like interacting with people, and even though I’m doing it wrong, it doesn’t mean I can’t learn how to do it right.

Today, I’m hacking away at Twitter, making a supporters list, and reconsidering how to meme. Maybe the EJC will change. Maybe I’ll leave it behind and start something new. Maybe I’ll do both (fuck it…let’s get wild!); I haven’t decided yet, but today is all about my blog life (and laundry…and probably some sex…and a shower…maybe a nap, too).

I’ll figure this out. Just gimme a minute.

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  • Marie Rebelle

    I know you will find the answers you are looking for, and just for the record, your writing IS appreciated. I think the only piece of advice I have for you is to do all of this for yourself, and not for someone else. I just hope you keep on writing.
    ~ Marie xox

    • Brigit Delaney

      Oh…I will keep writing. I think the thing I’m trying to do is identify my community and figure out the best way to interact with that community. Like I said, if I was just writing for me, I would keep a journal and not blog. The blog element induces me to twist and morph a bit to fit the needs and wants of my readers. To ensure continued interaction, I have to give the readership something to interact with…that they want to interact with. So, I’m changing some things to make that happen…better.

  • Missy

    I like reading your posts although I know I don’t get to everything. That is more because my life is so busy and gets in the way of doing all that I want to online. It isn’t because I don’t want to read and comment on all the posts of the people I follow, more that I can’t.

    I have seen new memes come and grow and they do seem to be much more popular than any of mine too. I guess that mine is specific and yours is more so too. I don’t mind it because the links I do get are people who I am able to connect with and share interests with. Likeminded people I guess. Perhaps that is no comfort to you but i think it makes sense to compare like with like. And if you want to get loads of entries you need to host something that makes it easy for people to link up with something they were possibly going to post anyway rather than something they wrote specifically.

    The other thing I thought about is community. I think for lots of us our community is hidden, or at least many of our readers are. I know that people visit my blog and many return again and follow me over a period of time but they don’t comment for whatever reason. I am sure you are the same and lots of people read and follow your journey without leaving a comment. I guess it depends what you want. I see the value in what you do and what you write. You are open and honest and share your story. I would rather read that than a string of ‘popular posts’ written to pull a wider range of comments/views.

    I am likely on my own with this. As you know I am definitely not in the ‘popular’ crowd.

    I hope that you find what works for you. Missy x

  • Mrs Fever

    I don’t know if this helps any, or if you even want this kind of commentary/feedback, but a couple things come to mind:

    1. As a blogger, I pay attention to who hits the ‘Like’ button and who comments. The top folks under each ‘action’ are people I consider ‘active’ members of my community. I try to visit those people once in a while on their own blogs, and I tend to reach out to those people directly (via email) if/when I’m looking for input/feedback about potential projects or developing content. If you’re trying to figure out who is *actually* a member of YOUR blog’s community, and/or take those people’s thoughts/ideas into consideration, that might be a place to start.

    2. I don’t really “meme” well. Themes/prompts that run longer at one go are more likely to garner a response from me (weekly is just too much, too fast), but it kinda has to be something I’m already thinking about writing. To write just for the prompt is an exercise that helped me when I was going through a period where I was struggling to get my thoughts out, but when I’m not in that ‘stuck’ space, I’m not all that into them. There’s nothing im/personal about my choice not/to participate in prompts; I’m just kind of on my own wavelength with all that. I’m sure there are other people who are the same way.

    3. I’ve had people reach out to me directly to ask me to participate in something — that makes me take more notice. If there are people you’d really like to join in with you, you might consider sending them a direct invitation. Knowing that one’s participation is desired (as opposed to, “here’s a thing you can do if you want”), and why, is a motivator.


    …for what it’s worth. 🙂

    Good luck with the laundry/shower/sex thing. 🙂
    Mrs Fever recently posted…Saturday Night Fever: Sexy(ish) Sweater PosesMy Profile

  • R

    This isn’t an answer to your question, but I’ve read everything you’ve written for five years now, and every time I see there’s something new to read, even if it’s likely to be painful or sad, I smile, because I love reading what you have to say and I know there’ll be something funny or interesting or just true to read.

    So, absent anything else you’re looking for, thanks. Thanks a lot.

    • Brigit Delaney

      Aw…thanks so much, R! I forget sometimes that I have a lot of readers that may not comment or get involved in things…but they are there, and they are reading. It makes what I do matter that much more to me. I really appreciate your comment!

  • Floss

    I honestly think everyone who has started or continued to run memes over the past year needs a massive round of applause. I’ve had one or two ideas, one as recently as last week and honestly, I just don’t have the energy to navigate to the blogging community right now. I write a lot less than I did and part of that is just a lack of motivation to be as involved as I perhaps once was because a lot of the time I just think ‘what’s the point?’ So now I just write when something inspires me and I don’t visit as many blogs as I’d like to, or comment as much as I should, but I try to hit that like button whenever I do visit folks to let them know I’ve been and seen. I know you’ve decided to continue with a couple of your memes for now and I really do hope you get some meaningful engagement through them, I will definitely doing my best to join in when I can 🙂

    • Brigit Delaney

      I’ve pretty much stopped trying to navigate the blogging community. Things have fallen where they will and I’m happy with where I am. The people I engage with do so honestly and deeply, and I very much appreciate that kind of interaction. Quality over quantity, I suppose.

  • Lisa Stone

    It seems to me that writers forget that they are writing for readers and get very hung up on other writers (bloggers). But after all, initially you write so that you can read it. So for the readers. You are smart and stubborn. So you can figure it out and draw the right conclusions and steps. You can write? Write. Can not. Don’t moan or write. Tough, but honest.

    • Brigit Delaney

      It is true that we are writing for readers, and figuring out who those readers are and what they like or want is an important part of what we have to do…if we want to keep them or grow an audience.

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