If you are on this page, you are most likely already familiar with what a blog is, but if you still aren’t sure, let me clarify it for you. A blog is a website (or portion of one) that crazy people put together to overcome boredom or justify their opinions. Now, you’re probably wondering if that means that I am crazy and the obvious answer to that is yes. You see, there is a spectrum of craziness which determines how mentally stable the writer is, often paired with equally paired readers. While there is quite a significant amount of research which suggests that writing is a great outlet, a form of therapy and even a way to blow off some steam, it is only after joining this unique world that I started to experience a few unexpected side effects, first hand.
Hi everyone, my name is Michelle and I’m an addict. I’m not sure what I’m addicted to yet, maybe addiction in itself, if that is even a thing. Hold on – before you get upset and turn away, let me qualify that statement. I am by no means taking away from people with serious medical and emotional conditions, however, my psychiatrist and I have identified that I have a very addictive personality. I do not smoke or do any recreational drugs but when I find something that makes me feel good or something that I “need”, I will find myself obsessing over it. Blogging has been a great outlet and medium for personal growth, but I have noticed a few things creeping up that may potentially be present in many others’ behaviour. If you are a blogger and simply enjoy the community it brings, read this anyway and let’s exchange experiences.
1. You will become obsessed with the stats
Determination becomes obsession and then it becomes all that mattersJeremy Irvine
When I first started blogging, I had it in my mind that my daughter would one day grow up and read all about our adventures together and reminisce of the wonderful times. A huge motivating factor for actually choosing to record each stage in her life was losing my mother when I was only fourteen years old and not having any tangible things to remember her by, so my determination to leave a paper trail of our lives became a burning fire. Fast forward a few months (three?) my motivation is still my daughter, but I have gotten a little too acquainted with the “stats” page that WordPress has so beautifully crafted. I’ve seen this as a common theme on a few other blogs as well, so the message is clear; no matter how well you know that the blogging journey takes time and effort to grow into something successful, you will constantly check to see how many views, new follows, likes and comments came through overnight. Heck, if you are anything like me, you will keep refreshing the page every few minutes! Let me say that again if you are still in denial; it doesn’t matter how little you care about who is reading and what they think, you will get obsessed with the numbers.
2. Life will become a series of blog posts
This is a touchy one to write about because I am personally in denial. My husband said to me the other day that if someone had me at gunpoint I would most likely ask them to wait for a second while I blogged about it. The very same day my friend said something similar. Ok, it’s one of two things; either they spoke to each other and arranged the unnecessary intervention or it’s true. Let’s go with option! Jokes aside, I’ve seen several blogs that almost appear to be personal diaries and often wonder if the authors are just enjoying sharing their lives or are stuck in the same universe as I am. What I have realised in this very short period of time is that when you first start blogging, no one is really interested in your experiences or what you have to say unless it is somewhat relevant to their existing needs. It certainly does not matter that you had a cheese sandwich for breakfast or that you drank three glasses of wine last weekend. I am by no means discouraging the various personal blogs that I personally enjoy reading, my point is that it might be worth a little more to just live those moments instead of blogging about them.
3. You will live two separate lives
Contrary to popular belief, I know what I am doing.Tony Stark
Take this with a pinch of salt because I am neither a guru nor have I been around that long, though what I can tell you from my personal experience is that in the blogging world, you will be someone completely different from who you are in your private/professional life. I work in a white collar industry, constantly surrounded by ‘number whisperers’ and incredible critical thinkers. Why is this relevant? Well firstly, I would never bring up ‘7 weird things that happen when you become a mom‘, or go on about how I am ‘breaking the cycle of eating disorders‘ in the office setting for obvious reasons. Very few of you have met the professional ‘Michelle’, the majority of you know Shelly – the relaxed, quirky and silly young mom that loves to write. That persona (the real me) presents itself when I am lost in the blogging universe. I am a firm believer that it takes an incredible amount of creativity to continuously pour out one’s heart, but I also appreciate that not all writers are weed-smoking, music-singing hippies that spend the day staring at the invisible stars. For some, blogging is a career, and for others it is either a hobby or the start of a new career but unless you are a writer yourself, it is nearly impossible to understand the need (or patience) to produce literary art. With that in mind, can you truly be the same person in both settings?
4. Your screen time will go up… dramatically
I really wish I was that blogger who logged on, wrote a masterpiece in five minutes and then went about her day. Unfortunately, it does not work that way. Writing a post requires the brainstorming, writing, editing, proof reading, picture selection, posting promoting and follow up. Can all of that be done in an hour? Sure, if you really do not want to engage with your readers or respond to the wonderful comments. Realistically, it could take a couple of hours out of each day! The beauty of becoming a blogger, especially on WordPress, is that you are exposed to a community of like minded individuals who you can learn from, collaborate with and befriend. Something you will see nearly every blogger mention is that you need to engage with others if you wish to grow your blog and your perspective. I personally only post twice a week since my job takes out ten to eleven hours of my day and I need to make sure I get my CrossFit fix four times a week. On top of that, my husband and toddler need me to be present emotionally so they automatically get a few hours of quality time during which the only ‘electronic’ device I use is the living room TV for family movie time. That being said, I spend nearly two hours a day on WordPress reading other blogs, researching and speaking to other bloggers. Yes, yes, my day has about thirty hours.
5. You will be tested emotionally through backlash or lack of response
A hater’s job is to hate you, and they stay on their job 24/7. So, if you’re expecting them to clock out, and leave you alone think again.Sonya Parker
I’m throwing this one in here even though I personally have been lucky enough not to have any hate comments thrown my way. You’re putting your brilliant ideas and opinions out on the internet for everyone to see and because you’re so awesome so the whole world will receive it with open arms right? Wrong. I personally have held back from commenting on others’ posts when I totally disagree with their views, but I have seen a few less-than-friendly comments being thrown around. I’m sure a lot of bloggers just delete the hate mail so that no one else has to see it – I would – but that doesn’t take from the fact that it happens. If you are a softie like me and don’t do too well with nasty comments, this space really isn’t for you. If you need validation to make you feel good about yourself, this space really isn’t for you. If you need instant fame in the form of a huge following by the time the rooster crows, this space really isn’t for you. Well, I suppose it is all relative depending on the topics you choose to cover, but anything that challenges the reader will definitely stir the waters.
The list does go on, but we will end it here to avoid dampening any new writers’ aspirations. That being said, if you take anything away from this, do note that whether you are just starting out, have been blogging for a while or are in an open relationship with your writing, it can get messy.