Warning: This post does not have subheads, bullets, or lists. Just good old fashioned prose will fill your RSS feed today, so if you don’t have the time to read full paragraphs, I suggest you save this for later (or cheat the system and mark it as read, if you’d like). While I hope you stick around, I won’t be offended if you leave. We’re a fast-paced culture, and I don’t know about you, but I need a breather. Join me, if you can.
Last night, I had the fantastic opportunity to hang out at the Capital City Brewing Company with some of the brightest bloggers from Gen Y. As many of you know, I am part of the growing BrazenCareerist blogging community – a group blog written by Gen Y professionals – and the guys behind BC, Ryan Healy and Ryan Paugh, hosted a meet up for those in the D.C. area. Besides being a great time, the event also rekindled my passion for writing… which was the whole reason I started blogging back in November.
While sipping a beer and mingling with my new friends, Ryan H. made a joke about how all he seems to blog these days are “5 ways to do this” or “7 ways to do that.” I laughed, and nodded in agreement – my post from yesterday was exactly that.
“But, that’s all people seem to read,” Ryan said.
It’s true. According to my WordPress stats, my most popular posts are my “how to” guides. If a post doesn’t have subheads or lists, I can almost guarantee my readership will be below normal. I stood there thinking about that, when I realized something: I’m not getting paid to blog – I’m doing this for me to help hone my writing skills, to do something I love doing, and to interact with others who might have similar interests.
But the blogging community can be harsh. When I graduated from college and made the move to D.C. to start my first job, I stopped blogging with any sort of regularity. It was a very stressful time for me and blogging was one of the last things on my mind. I knew I was losing readers and fewer people were linking to me or stopping by for a chat in my comments sections. It came to a point where I dreaded looking at my site stats almost as much as my depleting bank account. Both result in unnecessary bouts of high blood pressure.
Slowly, I started blogging again but nothing changed. Visits to my site stayed static, even on days I posted I’d only see a slight jump. Defeated, I’d hang my head over my battered keyboard. Not even a year old, and my blog had already lost its momentum.
I would ask questions on twitter and no one would @reply me. I wrote what I thought were interested or helpful posts, and even asked questions at the end, with little to no response from my once engaging and insightful readers. I started feeling… invisible.
Talk about depressing.
I thought I had blown my chance and that my blog was fading from the tiny radar it was on a couple of months ago. Then, as I talked to the talented bloggers from BC last night, I realized how whiny and narcissistic I was being. I don’t mind if 500 readers turns into 200, and 200 turns into 10 – those are still 10 people I’m connecting to through my writing, something that would be much more difficult to accomplish without social media and blogging. Just look at all the great people I met last night, people I would never know if it hadn’t been for PR Interactive and BC.