I think it might be time for me to hang up my keyboard, pass on the WordPress, stop with the stats. I think it might be time for me to stop blogging.
I had a lot of friends in High School who wanted to be actors. Most of them auditioned for years and years, waiting tables all the while, until they finally reached the point where they accepted they weren’t going to make it, and made a career change. Makes sense to me. It’s discouraging to keep on being rejected. You might love acting, love performing, but if no one is watching, well, it just doesn’t give you that same thrill. And at some point, you have to face reality: not all dreams come true.
I’m starting to feel that way about blogging. I love writing. I’ve been writing my whole life. My first “book” was a mystery which I wrote and illustrated myself in third grade. I was editor of my High School Yearbook, had the featured essay in my college yearbook. I’ve been in anthologies, and magazines. I’ve ghost written books. I’ve written copy for movie trailers, and 100’s of tv commericals, and countless episodes of Intimate Portrait on Lifetime Television. And I’ve blogged. And blogged and blogged.
I don’t doubt that I’m a good writer. It’s been reinforced by teachers and editors and publishers, and by being picked ten times for syndication when I was part of the SVMoms Group. So logic would tell me that if I blogged, the readers would come, and that the more I blogged, the more readers I’d have. Not so. The more I blog, the more I pay attention to key words and linking and SEO – the more it stays the same.
Maybe I should look at blogging differently. Maybe I should see it as an outlet – who cares who sees it? Or maybe I should take a cold, hard, look at how I can use this blog to “enhance my brand.” But that’s a phrase I hate — at least when it’s applied to my writing. My writing isn’t my brand — it’s me.
I get the occasional boost. This post, for instance, got over 2000 hits in one day when it was selected for WordPress’s Freshly Pressed feature. But overall, it’s slow. Not too many people are reading, and it can get discouraging. Maybe it’s because I don’t do giveaways, or product reviews, or tell everyone every personal detail of every aspect of my life. I don’t send an email to everyone I know every time I post. (Yes, there are people who do that.) I don’t write about breaking news, or about subjects with big shock value. Whatever the reason — maybe I’m just not that good – the numbers tell their own story. Every day, I watch my stats stay stagnant, and inexplicably – my Twitter followers rise, while my klout score decreases.
When I started blogging over at NYC Moms Blog, I had big dreams: “Someone will discover me. Someone will read my posts and offer me a book deal/magazine writing gig/nobel peace prize (hey, I said it was a dream!)” That is not what happened. But something else did. I met a great group of women, and a few of us decided to band together to create The Blogging Angels, a weekly podcast about blogging, social media, brand/blogger relationships, and tech, targeted at women. In only five months we’ve come a long way, winning sponsorship from Microsoft Windows to go to CES, and averaging a 40% increase in downloads each month. I’m also days away from launching a new online venture with another friend met through the blogosphere. (I promise to tell you all about it as soon as it’s up and running.) The new website is a business, not a blog, and who knows where it will take us next?
So already, blogging has brought me to podcasting and a new business. Maybe that’s enough. Maybe my blogging has done what it was supposed to do: lead me to bigger things.
Yesterday, at a luncheon sponsored by Din Dins and Moms on the Move, Linda Swain said “You only fail when you stop trying. So never give up.” But the truth is, trying endlessly ends up feeling remarkably like failing. Only it never stops. If I stop blogging, it won’t be because blogging has failed me. It’s brought me a new community, and two new businesses. But my blog has failed. Two successes, one failure. Not a bad result, really.
So why do I feel so defeated?