When I started on my writing journey, blogs were this fantastic up and coming "thing". If you wanted to be IN this whole writing thing... OF COURSE you had to blog. ALL agents and editors look at that. For fiction authors, it was the ONLY way to get a platform/following if you will.
So... I cracked my knuckles and started a blog.
And rejoiced at my 5 hits a day. I mean... come on. Those were FIVE PEOPLE who were reading what I wrote!
Eventually it grew to about 20 a day, give or take, and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.
I blogged about writing and about parenthood and The Bachelor and kissing and romance and a variety of stuff.
I started avidly following other blogs and commenting, spending WAY too much of my day doing so (time that really should have been spent writing...), to try and drum up a few more followers on my blog.
And... it worked. A little. I think I had about 30-40 hits a day by that time.
Then this very sad thing happened. We found out that the sweet little baby I was carrying... baby #5 for us (including sweet Abigail who went to be with Jesus super early) had a heart defect. Only half of her heart was formed.
So she took over my blog. Blogging came much less about numbers and much more about sharing my heart as we went through the journey. Writing my raw feelings and having to express in writing what was going on was therapeutic for me. I NEEDED it.
Then sweet Annabelle was born. And my blog became a way to let people know how she was doing and how to pray for us.
Needless to say, my numbers increased, but at that point, I didn't care nearly so much. I wanted my baby to live. That was all I cared about. And on many days, that looked very questionable.
his blog devoted to his and Sarah's sweet son, Bowen.
I had over 3000 hits that day.
The number didn't hit me so much in blog terms... (okay, maybe a little...) but the knowledge that 3000 people read Annabelle's story and were actively praying for her that day... during a time that was very touch-and-go.... was humbling and amazing.
Over the next year or so, my numbers stayed humbling high--high for ME that is. Like 15k visits a month, give or take.
Eventually, after 308 days in the hospital, 4 open heart surgery's later including a heart transplant at 8 months of age, Annabelle came home for the first time. And after some bad turns, she finally started to improve.
And with her improvement, my numbers dropped to a much more "normal" range. Yet they remain much higher than previously.
Lately, I'm trying to find a semblance of normal in this new life I've been given. I dropped from 3 to 4 times a week blogging to 2... or 1 on really crazy weeks. And I'm trying to focus my time more on my family than my blog. Balance is key. Yet I'm still invested in making it work. I still LOVE to blog and love to share my heart with people.
Blogging Lessons I've learned
1.) Blogging with the sole purpose of building a platform for a writer is not a great idea. It doesn't work. Your MOTIVATION is not where it should be. It's like writing a book just to make money. Chances are you'll be disappointed on both counts.
2.) A SUCCESSFUL blog has a purpose. A need to fill. And that NEED is what your motivation needs to stem from. Some people, like us Alleycats, blog to encourage other writers. Our heart is connect with writers and be able to foster an environment where we can learn from each other. Others have a niche they love... crafts or coupons or DIY projects or birds or a time period in history or politics or poetry.... There is a long list of potential purposes.
3.) BE UNIQUE. There are a TON of writer's blogs out there. 5 years ago when I started... there was a decent number, but it has EXPLODED since then. Everyone heard the "edict" like I did... and started a writers blog. Because that's our specialty, right? Writing? If you are going to start a blog for writers, you have to find a niche... a need that no one else is meeting (or that you can meet better.) If you don't... it's a waste of time. If you are going to do a craft blog... there are a TON of others out there. How is yours different? How can yours be unique?
4.) IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU! Oh, this one is hard for me. Because I am SO SO SO guilty of this on my blog. My goal on my own blog though, is to help women learn to find "joy" in the journey of life by sharing my own experiences, my own struggles. I try to be as honest as I'm allowed to be online, and show the VALUE in finding JOY. But... I know I tend to be "my family" centered too much. The "masses" don't always want to hear about YOU... unless you are a celebrity, of course:-) Write something for THEM.
5.) YOU DON'T HAVE TO! Honestly? I feel like the fad of blogging... as a whole... is wearing off a bit. Maybe this is just me who feels this way. I have no numbers to back me up. I still believe in blogging though. I love mine, and I LOVE The Writer's Alley of course, but I find more people connecting on Facebook and Twitter and limiting their blog reading time than before. Did you know The Writer's Alley has a Facebook page??? Yup, we did that JUST for you all! We all stalk it at various times throughout the day, so if you ever want to connect more real time with us, or just want to chat, COME SEE US!!
The deal is... if you don't have a blogging purpose... if you don't have a unique angle... if you have no desire to put the time, effort, and (if you wanna make it look super good) money into it... your time might be BETTER spent building your platform elsewhere.
But if you just want to blog for YOU... to have a fun outlet to get your thoughts out... with no care about who reads it or if anyone reads it... then go for it. Just make sure you manage your expectations and know your goal.
6.) If you know a famous person with a ton of followers who will link to your blog... buy them chocolate or something. (just... mostly... kidding!)
Discussion: Do you have a blog? If so, what's your purpose? Or are you thinking about blogging at some point and just haven't found your sweet spot? Any blogging questions?? Let's chat blogging!
*************************************************Krista is a follower of Jesus, a wife, a mother, and author of Sandwich, With a Side of Romance. She blogs about finding JOY in the journey of LIFE at http://www.kristaphillips.com. She is represented by the fab agent, Rachelle Gardner.