(Updated: This post was selected to be featured on the Blogher website front page)
Dear real-life friend,
when I met you at a recent party and you told me that you needed to take a break from FB because it was interfering with your real life, it gave me occasion to pause and think. Of course, you don’t know that I have a blog, but your situation seemed dangerously like mine, but with a twist. Ever since I started blogging, I’ve stopped writing.
Bloggers have always been looked down upon by writers in the past as either moms who want to maintain an online journal about their toddler’s little exploits or someone who has too much time in their hands and just wants to pass the time figuratively scribbling with their keyboards! Bloggers were not considered ‘serious writers’! Well, that pompous notion was thankfully smashed by many bloggers who have subsequently published some wonderful books, and the many more who write noteworthy material.
Still, bloggers are not writers. It’s just the more intimate and immediate interaction that we share with our readers that make the experience different. For instance, when a couple of us in an awesome group on Facebook asked if anyone could provide us with a tutorial of how to navigate the confusing site that is BlogHer, Julie put together, in a matter of an hour, a very helpful post especially addressing this issue! You just cannot instigate such a immediate response as a writer!
It is this interaction that can get overwhelming though, at least for someone like me! Nowadays, it’s not just that you write great content, it’s also all about the marketing! And, the number of social media outlets has just exponentially increased, hasn’t it? Is it enough to be on Facebook and Twitter alone? Think about the scores of potential new readers if you join Pinterest and Reddit! All those lost opportunities of gaining page views if you didn’t promote your post on StumbleUpon or Digg or Delicious or ….you know what? I don’t know how many more are out there and neither do I want to!
I’ll admit that at first I snootily said that my content would speak for itself. I lied, of course, because I subsequently joined many of those social media sites! I couldn’t bear that my baby blog not be noticed, you see! I inwardly craved the comments, the encouragement and, yes, the recognition! I hated the idea of competing with other bloggers, but that seemed to be what I was doing. I would tell myself that there were enough readers for all of us, but of course, I wanted a large slice of that pie!
The outcome of it is, I joined many sites; I couldn’t keep up, so there they lie, gathering dust. In other sites, Facebook in particular, I ended up forging many wonderful relationships with other bloggers. I also ended up spending a lot; and I mean ‘a lot‘; of time chatting. I tried new types of writing similar to other bloggers, which is wonderful. Why, just last week, I attempted my first haiku!
But, all along there was this nagging voice in my head telling me that this was not what I had set out to do. I have a ton of posts all lodged in my mind, each wanting to be written, but now I find that I spend all my time checking my updates on email, Facebook, and Twitter. So, I empathize with you, dear real-life friend; this is not how it is supposed to be! You want to lead your real-life; I want to nurture my blog. It doesn’t mean that I will leave Facebook like you want to and I am not standing in judgement of you by any means! I just want to get back to writing. I want to take inspiration from all my bloggy friends, but in the end, I must trust that my content will speak for itself.
At least, it will speak for me from now on.
I hope you find your Zen, with or without Facebook!
Leaving you with this inspiring video, shared by one of my very supportive friend: