Blog The Way You Want To

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I often get questions about blogging. And in the five years I’ve been writing this blog, there have been a lot of changes in the blogging world. There are a lot more blogs out there than when I started. It’s more competitive. Social media has entered the picture. Ads on blogs, which used to be considered too slick, are now commonplace. Many bloggers dream of earning an income by blogging.

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparing your blog to other blogs, of thinking that your blog has to have certain elements to be considered a successful blog. If you’re researching, you can find all sorts of tips on that sort of thing. I suppose all of them are valuable in their way.

But they are not essential.

Look, I’ve done my share of research in this area. In the days when I was first blogging, advice from other bloggers was welcome. I’m the kind of person who likes to research things, so it was a natural thing for me to do. Some of that advice has been valuable for me. Some of it simply doesn’t interest me. Practical advice on spam control, plugins (for WordPress), how to use PicMonkey or any other photo editing tool, how to size photos….all of that is much appreciated.

But then I run into rules about SEO, keywords, branding, social media and Google+, finding a niche, stats, short posts with lots of photos and my eyes glaze over. Who said I have to do any of that?

SEO? WordPress comes with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) capability. I’ve never done anything with it.

Keywords? I’m not going to write a post with keywords in mind. I’m simply not. I’m going to write from my heart because that’s the way I do things here. Keywords are just too calculated for me.

Branding? Branding is more for those who run a business with their blogs – where a logo and a certain look is needed for the blog, products, etc. I suppose you can call my little lamb with the party hat my “brand” (if it is one) because it’s on my blog and my Etsy/blog business cards. But I didn’t choose that with a brand in mind. I chose it because I love it.

Social Media? Yes, I did add that widget to my sidebar. The one that has some links for Facebook and Pinterest and Twitter. Truthfully? I have tweeted about 5 times. If I see another hashtag (#) I might scream. I’m on Facebook, yes. But it doesn’t rule my life. I added a Facebook page for this blog because I thought it might be fun, not because I wanted to reach a certain number of “likes.” I don’t care about that. Pinterest is nice, but I go for long periods of time without ever visiting Pinterest.

In other words, I don’t tweet about this blog unless I have to for some opportunity on BlogHer. If you want to visit my Pinterest page, you are more than welcome. You won’t find all that much there. Most of my time on Facebook is spent reading about former students and colleagues and catching up with them. I do like the chats we have on the Mockingbird Hill Cottage page but if it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t do it.

Google+? No. That’s my short answer. Google has enough of the pot. I started to sign up with Google+ when Picnik was going away because I thought it was the only way to edit my photos and, frankly, because Google made it seem like that was the only option. I didn’t like it. I think Google knows enough about me already, thank you very much. Fortunately, other photo editors came along. So I opted out.

Ads? There are opportunities out there if you’re interested. But just because we see them more and more on blogs doesn’t mean you have to have them. The fact is that very few bloggers make any sort of sizeable income from ads. A very small segment of bloggers do, but they are the exceptions. Believe me. And I would place a bet that the vast majority of them are niche bloggers.

You have to have a niche? Again, why? If you want to write only about one thing, have at it. But you don’t have to do that. I’ve written before about this subject. I would have to slit my wrists if I could only write about one thing. That would be a guaranteed trip for me on the crazy train. It’s not me. So I’m not doing it.

Stats? I check them out occasionally. But I don’t let them influence me. Because then I would be letting figures on a chart shape the content of this blog. Not going to happen.

Keep the amount of text to short paragraphs and use lots of photos? I see this bit of advice all the time. By now, you know my response. Why? Why do I have to write a post in a certain way? Why do I have to keep my words to a minimum? Presumably to keep readers interested in this short-attention-span-world. Why do I have to take a post and divide it up into several shorter posts to make sure readers come back? That’s not my world. I have no intention of supporting or shaping my posts for those who have a short attention span.

I write the way I write. That style may not be to everyone’s taste. That’s fine. If writing and the love of words isn’t your thing, then I suspect you won’t come back. It is my thing. And this is my blog. Therefore, I will craft my posts in the way I feel is true to me.

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This is my point. If you want to have lots of things on your sidebar, do it. If you want a clean, spare design – go for it. If you don’t care about all the social media stuff, ignore it. If you just like a lot of photos and very little text – okay. If you like to write and your blog is a vehicle for that, great. If you care about all the things I said I don’t care about, wonderful. If you don’t care about them, equally wonderful. If you want to link to parties, do that. If you don’t, that’s okay, too.

Your blog should reflect you. It shouldn’t look like anyone else’s blog. It shouldn’t sound like anyone else’s blog. Write about what you care about. Write your text in a way that is true to your voice. Share those things that matter to you. Don’t waste a minute of time worrying about how many followers you have or how many comments you have.

I say this because there are times during the past five years that I have worried about precisely those things. I understand. I’ve been there. But I’m here to tell you that, thankfully, after five years of this blogging adventure, I’ve found what works for me. It may not work for anyone else. I’m never going to be a niche blogger or a big blogger. I like things the way they are.

It’s not a competition. You may be interested in trying to grow your blog. That makes perfect sense to me. But grow your blog in a way that is true to you, not in a way that you think you must choose because that’s what others are doing. It reminds me of what my mom used to say, and I suspect a whole lot of other moms said as well: “Everyone’s doing it? If everyone jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you?” Even though it was irritating to hear that when I was young, she was right.

Every response I have to those “shoulds” I referred to earlier in this post is my own. Your response may be very different. There’s room for everyone in this blogging world.

In the end, my advice has always been and will always be: Blog from your heart. If you do that, your blog will be compelling and honest and true.

Happy Sunday.

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Comments

  1. Linden Townhouse says

    Wow. Amen and amen. There isn’t a single thing I would add to or subtract from this. In blogging, we have to be who we are. Fantastic summary!

  2. says

    Well said! When I first started blogging, I was impressed with the fact NO ONE could tell me what to do or not do. Quite a liberating feeling!

  3. says

    Claudia, can you hear the sound of more and more bloggers clapping together in applause for this post, you will be hearing it soon if not already. Bloggers standing up in their chairs clapping, yelling YES!, and cheering you on. Bloggers with smiles on their faces, and relief in their hearts..
    Thank you for saying what we all should know in our hearts…a perfectly written post.

    Jen

  4. says

    Yes. Your blog has to be true to who you are.
    I’ve been following a blog about blogging and it seems totally geared to selling something. I’m not selling something unless you consider that I want my words heard by somebody out there. If I want my words heard than I have to find ways to reach people. I approach this with varying levels of low enthusiasm. Promotion is the least funnest thing in the world.
    That said, I think you fall into the short paragraphs style already. There’s science out there that shows how people read on line and people skim after a little while.
    I also think you have a brand, Claudia’s Life. It’s recognizably you and not just because I see Mockingbird Cottage come up on my Google Reader. When you don’t follow your brand — usually those BlogHer promotions that you haven’t quite been able to put a personal spin on — it’s jolting to me. But I know you need the income, such as it is, so you’re forgiven :)

    • Claudia says

      Hi, Leanne – I try to go for two posts on those days – not always possible – so that there is something else to read for those who are not interested in the promotion featured.

      There are plenty of posts in which I have long paragraphs! Depends on the post, I guess.

      If I have a brand, it isn’t because I designed one, it’s because it’s my style. I think a blogger’s style is different from a calculated brand.

      And you’re right, Leanne – promotion is not fun! I am not comfortable with it at all.

  5. says

    So true, Claudia, and I agree with every single word. The reason I read your blog is because I relate to you and your style, just as you are. Don’t ever change! Happy weekend from Miami!

  6. says

    Oh Claudia, this is a subject I can discuss for days. Had some lengthy emails in the last couple of days with a fellow blogger about it, and she thought it was only her who is disgusted with the way things are going. I am only blogging two years in March. The changes I have seen in such a short period of time blow my mind. It went from a hobby or pastime to big business. And some blogger for longer period of time becoming blog snobs. Many of these ladies think they will be earning $50M a year plus from their blog (or maybe they do???) . Others think they will become the next Martha Stewart or Rachael Ray. I don’t like what I see, so I decided I am not a rule follower, I write from my heart, it is my truth, every thing I present in a post came from my hands, I have no “assistants”, and life is just not that exciting for me to blog everyday. I can write a post about nothing much as many I see do, not worth it. in my opinion. I downsized and now am spending again on things I don’t need, but I want. It is craziness. I am also shocked by the “prejudice” I encounter. From being a New Yorker, not having a husband, or children, it amazes me that some will be quoting proverbs yet have this mindset. Forget it if you don’t do dumpster dives or repaint every single piece of furniture in your house or reupholster everything with burlap. Oh, my……….I am starting to really question this now, but I so enjoy visiting the ones I follow, always hoping to discover new ones, and hoping the visits will be returned to my blog. xo

    • Claudia says

      Ah, I understand everything you’ve said, Barbara. But you can’t let any of that take away your joy in blogging. Blog for you. And spend time visiting those blogs you care about. Don’t worry about following the ‘rules’ – rules were made to be broken!

  7. says

    THANK YOU!! I’ve een feeling guilty because I don’t have ads, or social media thingy’s. I mainly blog to stay in touch with my friends. And I do feel that you all have become my friends.
    I do have a question though. What is it with those “hash tags” ###. I’ve been seeing them on facebook a lot lately. What are they for and where did they come from. (See, I’m showing my age!) Have a great Sunday.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

    • Claudia says

      Hash tags, as I understand them, are used in Twitter. If you tweet something, you can add a hash tag with some words to signify a topic or keyword. That way, the tweets can be organized in categories. Personally, they drive me crazy.

  8. says

    I’ve always been a bit of a rebel, Claudia, and never wanted to follow the crowd. That holds true in blogging. I do what I want to do and don’t worry about all of the “shoulds” and “musts” that you hear so often in blogland. Thanks for this lovely post and keep doing what you do.

  9. says

    I had a career and, increasingly, outside influences had more and more to say about how best to operate in the profession (no doubt, with the best of intentions). I don’t feel the pressures of how blogging must be done; it is mine to share with the people who choose to read it.

    I suspect that it may be a bit more challenging for those who need their blog to provide a source of income. My blog list includes those with and without ads. As you wrote, it’s each individual’s right to have the blog he or she wishes; I’ll read the ones that resonate with me. Mockingbird Hill Cottage falls into that category, Claudia.

    -Karen

    • Claudia says

      It is a little trickier to navigate all this with ads, Karen. You’re right about that. I get a little income from my ads, but thankfully, it hasn’t changed the way I post or the topics I write about

  10. says

    Your post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I totally agree with you on every point you’ve made and this has been my philosophy since I started blogging 4 years ago. For me, writing my blog the way I do is not only my style, it’s the only way I know how to. Do I want people to read my posts? Do I want comments? Do I want more followers? Yes, yes and yes. Otherwise I’d just continue to write in my journals as I’ve always done. Lately I’ve had doubts if anyone is really enjoying what I have to say. If long time followers are now just skimming. If it’s just become the same old, same old. Predictable. Stale. Having doubts and staying true to myself has become a double edged sword.

    Anyway…these have been my thoughts lately. I’m glad that your post forced me to look at them a little closely today. Enjoy your Sunday.

    XO,
    Jane

    • Claudia says

      Dear Jane, from the amount of comments I see on your posts and the detail in them, I don’t think your followers are skimming your posts at all! I don’t think your posts have become predictable, either. My experience with comments on my blog is that they ebb and flow. Not everyone, including myself, can comment on every post. Even though I sometimes get disappointed if comments are low, I have learned not to take it personally – sometimes it’s simply the day or the time of year or the nature of the post. Keep on blogging the way you do. xoxo

  11. GinaE says

    Thank You so much for writing this post, Claudia! You addressed so much of what is stopping me from getting my first posts out there. I have read much of the “advice” out there and it all can make blogging sound very intimidating. The niche issue has been a real stumbling block for me. I know which area I primarily want my blog to focus on, but don’t feel I can ONLY write about one subject. The blogs I read most are not about only one subject. I get bored reading only about one thing and I know I’ll get bored only writing about one thing. The heavy on photos and little writing has been stopping me also. I know there will be times I’d rather write more and have less photos. I’ve worried that no one would want to read more and see less photos for those posts. Many thanks for reminding me not to compare to other blogs too! I couldn’t care less about tweeting, and haven’t even been interested much in facebook. Pinterest is good, but usually only if I’m looking for a specifice idea. I will keep this post handy for a pep-talk to help get my confidence up for finishing my blog. Thanks again for writing this post!!! I truly look up to you.

    • Claudia says

      Hi Gina – oh you’re so right. There is so much advice out there that it can keep you from simply starting to post! Don’t feel you have to have a niche. I know what your primary interest is, but my goodness, you have lots of other interests and passions. Don’t be afraid to share them with your readers. If you feel like writing a lot in one post – do it. Sometimes, you’ll only feel like a brief post with a photo. Depends on the day. Your blog is your blog. Fashion it in the way that feels true to you.xoxo

  12. says

    Yes, to the rebels! I have researched everything about blogging and I’m not in it to be the most popular, have thousands of likes and tons of followers. I certainly wouldn’t make a dime from blogging because after 2 years of blogging i have a total of 38 Facebook likes (just added that feature) and 48 followers (don’t even know if they still read my blog). I began blogging as a way to document my creative projects, share my love of gardening, experiment with photography and connect with a few like-minded people. I love reading blogs and have a few favorites. I tend to hang out at the blogs where there is a real sense of community and a welcoming atmosphere. I do visit some of the blogs where their homes are featured in magazines. I admit I drool over gorgeous homes that are photographed to perfection. Some of those bloggers began when I did and their blogs have skyrocketed them to blogging rock stars! I’m happy for their success! I sometimes join in link parties to meet new bloggers and hopefully, a few will pop by my place for a visit. With the attention span of a gnat (a bit ADHD) I’m the accidental blogger who is inconsistent. I’m at a new stage in life where I’m trying to figure out my direction and frankly too much time spent on the computer can wire me up to the point that I’m filled with anxiety. Balance is key. Yes, there are thousands of blogs. It’s mind boggling! I find so much inspiration on the web. We have a choice in how we wish to blog and I appreciate the freedom. Now that I’m retired my goal is to get to the library and get lost in some good books. Claudia, I went to CMU online (Central Michigan University) to finish my bachelor degree (only need 8 classes) I took some Journalism Social Media Classes and realized it’s not for me! So I’m headed back to EMU (Eastern Michigan University) to take some creative writing classes to engage my soul in the writing process. The internet is a good thing but balance is key. Staying true to who we are is number one. I’ve worried and fretted and compared myself to others but I’m so done with that!

    • Claudia says

      Balance IS key, Sandy. We all have so many things to juggle and we have to make sure we make time for things other than blogging.

      EMU is my undergraduate alma mater, Sandy! I’d take Creative Writing over Journalism Social Media every day!

      • says

        Me too! It literally made me sick and created a lot of anxiety for me. I am not a fan of Twitter or hash tags. Glad I found out after 2 short classes. I love your blog and have been a loyal reader for almost 2 years. What you write about resonates with me. I love that you stay true to you. Maybe I’ll start out my reading list with To Kill a Mockingbird. I haven’t read that book in years!

  13. says

    Well said! I just cleaned out about 30 blogs from my reader that the bloggers have just dried up and quit in the last year. Perhaps they were blogging for the wrong reasons. Cheers!

  14. says

    So true, Claudia! I love that you blog from your heart. It keeps me coming back again and again. Your posts are so genuine and real, always a breath of fresh air. Keep it up!

  15. Linda Petersen says

    Hi Claudia~~~This post is exactly the reason I love to follow your blog! You are real & true to yourself & like a real girlfriend :0). Thank you!
    XO, Linda

  16. says

    These are all very good points and sound advice, Claudia. My blog is certainly not as “professional” as a lot of the beautiful ones I see there, but I blog for myself, my family and friends. And any kind soul who happens to stumble on and say something nice is always fun for me. Best thing I’ve gotten from blogging? “Meeting” so many wonderful people and learning so many different things. If it’s not fun, I’m not going to do it. It’s also my “positive place”, where I can leave some of the bad stuff behind and focus on the good. Ann

  17. says

    Have you been watching me? I have been doing all the research, reading tips, trying to catch up. I quit blogging early 2012 but I missed it so much I had to come back. But I did not want to fall into the same ole’ “Keeping up with the Bloggers” attitude. I was a new blogger and I tried to follow the crowd. I was told I needed a separate blog for each topic. I was told to blog on certain days to get more traffic. I was told so many things to improve my blog I lost sight of why I was blogging.
    So now I am back and I shut down two active blogs and I moved the old posts to one blog. I am concentrating on one blog and that is all. It still needs quite a bit of housekeeping, but I do it as i please. I have even blocked quite a few followers. I would rather have a handful of true followers than a long list of folks that have nothing nice to say. The only thing I need to change now is the look of my blog. I do want something a bit less cluttered. I will never have ads on my blog because I do not want or need another source of income to keep track of. I will say what I want to say without fear of losing readers.
    Thank you again for writing this post. I really needed to hear this.

    • Claudia says

      You sound like you’ve discovered exactly how you want and need to blog, Marianne. That’s great.

  18. says

    Claudia this is such a great post! I would like to say AMEN to everything you said. I blog because I love it. Not to make money and not to be famous (ok this makes me laugh). I have made friends and connections over the years and I would miss it all if I stopped blogging. I am just me and don’t have a niche or brand and don’t care one bit! I don’t ‘tweet’ or even do Facebook for my blog. Over the years my life has changed and so has my blog. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I did start some ads in hope of making a few dollars to help towards postage of my giveaways, if it does great and if not…that’s OK also. I do the giveaways because I want too! So thanks for always being you and never being afraid to say what you think.

    hugs, Linda

  19. says

    Oh my goodness Claudia I love you for posting this!!.. LOL… After the discussion on my blog the other day with everyone your post reflects EXACTLY how I feel about my blog..I could NEVER write about just one thing because I myself am about so many things. Cooking, DYI, home decorating, thrifting, life itself etc. I like to write about all aspects of my life and thats what I intend to do. I’ve decided to stop worrying about numbers etc and be , just me.. Thank you again for this AWESOME POST and your email! :)
    Hugs,
    Robyn

  20. says

    Thanks, Claudia, I guess it is all about ownership of your blog. Its yours, you can do as your please. If people love what you do and say, well and good. If they don’t they have the opportunity to move on to something else.

    I enjoy what I do on my blog, I feel it reflects my life. It was originally written as a way to keep in touch with family and friends whilst travelling overseas. It remains a good tool for this purpose and this is the time when I receive most interest.

    In the meantime I am happy to be using it as a tool to share about my life and if people find that interesting, wonderful, if not no worries.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Peggy

  21. says

    Hi Claudia!
    There was a blog post topic that spread across blogs last year and I wish I could remember where it began?! It was about unreal and unrealistic blogging — homes that are showcases, children that are perfect, husbands that are Prince Charmings etc., every hour of the day. It was about a wish to blog with authenticity and remove the mask that weighs so heavily.
    I thought it was wonderful.
    I never had any dreams or illusions … I’m a home crafter just having fun, creating an online journal for myself. And pleased as punch when someone notices me and says hello.
    I’m not one of those kind of people that people are drawn to in life, so I was thrilled when I had one follower. I’m kind of freaked out that I have 126 followers now hahahhahaha. (Although I have [what is considered] a small following, I feel the weight of pleasing people and giving them what they want and oh god! don’t say anything to offend.) Being an introvert, blogging is a very weird conundrum and sometimes one that I want to leave behind.
    I feel terrible and guilty that I can’t answer all my comments anymore like I used to, I just don’t have the time or energy.
    Anyway, all of that is a roundabout way of saying I agree with you and thank you for this thoughtful post!
    Happy Sunday to you three!

    • Claudia says

      I’m sure I wrote about much the same thing, Sallie. There is a skewed sense of reality sometimes on blogs. Everything is so perfect, so beautifully arranged, that it’s easy to think that your life just can’t pass muster. I understand the need that some bloggers have to only post the pretty and the beautiful and that’s fine. But as readers, we need to be aware that none of that is truly accurate.

      Don’t worry about pleasing others. If you’re pleasing yourself and you’re happy with your posts, I can guarantee your readers will be pleased, too. I’ve worried about offending readers and I try very hard not to, but when I feel very strongly about something, I have to find a way to write about it. Because that’s just as much a part of who I am as a blogger as my home, or crafts, or garden.

      I, too, feel guilty that I can’t visit as many blogs or comment as much as I used to. I do my best, but I’m afraid I’ll never be totally happy about it. All I can do is keep trying. xo

  22. says

    A breath of fresh air sweeps through the world of blogging here! This is the first time in a long time that I have read through each comment written, taking strength in this response to your wise post. My recent blogging break has convinced me of one thing–time is more important than blogging, to me. Good chunks of time to live, to read, to write, to cook. In the three and a half months I blogged before taking a break I think I dabbled in too many areas that weren’t me but just the part of me that was fascinated by what other blogs were doing. When I start back I will still not always stick to one niche because variety is the spice of life but I will blog only when I want to and about what I want to. And I will not spend hours every night trying to read too many blogs so that I can leave comments, so they might leave comments for me. I have a timer by my blogging chair now and I use it. Life is too short, especially at my age, to spend it in my blogging chair. There are too many books left to read, too many recipes to try, too many moments that I do not want to miss. Hurray! The fun of blogging for pure bliss!

    Thank you, Claudia!

    • Claudia says

      I think you, my friend, are equally wise. I love that you’ve redefined the way you are going to blog. And I think I will steal the idea for a timer by my blogging chair! Very wise, indeed.

  23. says

    Great post, Claudia! These days, I just blog on my own terms, and from the heart. No pressure, no obligations. That’s the way it has to be for me. I’m trying to focus on other parts of my life than blogging right now. I still love my blog, but I love just living life without obligation to blog about it. Sometimes I’ll share, sometimes I won’t. Some days I’ll have more to say, and more time to say it. Some days I won’t. I don’t care about stats, etc. at this point in my blogging journey. I’m just living life, and life is richer than ever. My blog still holds a special place in my heart though, and always will.
    I love that you blog from your heart and stay authentic. That’s what keeps me coming back!
    oxo,
    Jill

  24. says

    This post ‘spoke’ to me. I write about what I want to write about, still I wake up nights in a cold sweat afraid that my 8th grade English teacher is going to send me a list of corrections to make NOW or else I will live forever in Jr. High Hell. Also, I got all signed up for Google ads and had them for a few months on my blog until I saw one for a weight loss company – it was so negative I got rid of all traces of ‘real’ advertising. I get to say what goes on my blog. Yes, it’s all about me… my wants… needs… the silly way I see life. But then, I read your blog because it’s all about you. And I read….. Just wanted to say thanks. You do good work.

    • Claudia says

      It sounds like you are ensuring that your blog speaks with your voice, C. Joy. Good for you. And thank so much for taking the time to leave your thoughts.

  25. says

    Claudia, I am one of your silent readers. I enjoy your posts. I usually leave no comment. I have found I have a number of readers who do this at my blog. Once in awhile a silent reader adds a comment. I am not a comment counter, but I do enjoy reading them.

    Next week, I will celebrate my 6th anniversary in the land of blog. I write about this and that. I do tables. In fact I was doing tables long before I ventured into the land of blog. I join parties that have to do with tables. There are a select few parties on my list. I like to keep it simple and enjoyable. If I have a project, I write about it. My blog is about our family, life, and home. If we take a little road trip or J has a health issue, it finds it’s way to the porch, My first born grandchild’s wedding is at the end of this month. I wrote a little something about that today. I am all over the place with subjects. I try to keep my posts upbeat and hope my real voice is the one my readers hear.

    I appreciate your post and agree with all you had to say about blogging. I just do what makes me happy at the Back Porch. It is keeping me happily bright and alert, as I enter my 70′s this year. I don’t know why I began blogging in the first place, but it helped me get through a year of grieving for a lost grandchild and it continues to get me through the ups and downs of aging. It has also given me a new hobby, photography. I might write a lot or little blurbs between photos. It is all about my mood and what sort of idea pops into my head. I’m not very organized with my blogging.
    Thank you for this post and all your posts.

    • Claudia says

      I enjoy reading comments, too, Pat. I also am a silent reader of your wonderful blog! I feel much the same way as you do, my blog is therapeutic for me. It has helped me through so much in the past 5 years. And I , too, have discovered a love of photography. That alone would make it all worth it, but there is so much more, isn’t there? Friendships, support, a connection with those who ‘get’ us….the list goes on and on. Thank you so much for commenting today, Pat.

  26. says

    Thank you!!! If those are the “rules”, apparently I’ve never followed them. I do just write about what I want, and it’s freeing. I don’t have the most followers by any means, but I don’t think my blogging is about popularity above all else. I am glad I’m a little niave when it comes to all the competition out there! This blog of mine was created as an outlet during a very bad time in my life personally, and I always want it to be a blessing and a reliever of stress… not just the opposite. Claudia, your blog is always refreshing and lovely- as is this post!
    Blessings,
    Leslie

    • Claudia says

      I’m so glad you never followed any rules, Leslie! If it is ‘blessing and a reliever of stress’ then it is the perfect vehicle for you and your voice.

  27. Linsey @ Farmhouse Porch says

    I’m right there with ya!

    I want my blog to be simple, slow and delicious like sweet tea on a lazy Sunday. I like my blog. It’s not fancy and I did it all by my (don’t know nothin’ bout technology) self. I don’t do ads (don’t have the urge to learn how). The minute my blog becomes a burden is the day I quit. I don’t ever ever look at my statistics…I could care less.

    I love meeting ladies (and the occasional gentleman) who love farmhouse style and the other little quirky things I like.

    That’s why I started and that’s what keeps me going.

    The big ol’ high powered blogs are fine and dandy, but there is a fair amount of bloggers who like to stop and have tea with me on my porch. No ads…no flashy-ness. Just me.

    ♥Linsey

    • Claudia says

      Stopping by and having tea on your porch sounds perfect to me, Linsey. And amen to what you said about the minute it becomes a burden is the day you quit. I feel the same way. Thanks so much for commenting.

  28. says

    Man am I with you on the hashtags!!!!! Talk about irritating! Good article. My blog is just a kind of journal of our adventures since starting out as full time RVers and things I want to remember. Aren’t they just a lot of fun? :)

  29. says

    OH, I love this post…personally, I’m tired of being told my blog should look a certain way (should we all have identical looking blogs?), or I should post X times a week and having to apologize when I don’t, etc. Seriously, I doubt anyone is sitting around on pins and needles waiting for my next post lol! We are all living real lives. I blog when I have something to share and hopefully someone is interested! I’m not in a competition or looking to be like someone else…I’m just me, and that’s enough! Thanks for this post, Claudia…XO

  30. says

    Oh, I could not agree more! You could turn yourself inside out trying to be like everyone else or listening to what everyone else thinks you should do! I write about what I want, post whatever photos I want, my designs reflect what I like, etc. If I’m happy with it, that’s what really matters to me.

  31. Isabella says

    I agree with all that you have written! Is it just I, or does the blogging world seem to have its share of “In” girls just as we saw in high school? They never stop promoting each other at every turn! If there is some kind of bloggers get-together, a blogger will be sure to have her photo taken with another “rock star” blogger, and thus will double her own exposure. (You won’t usually see them in a photo with the general riff-raff!) One blogger, who has many followers, had a name that picture contest and the winner was, you guessed it, another high traffic blogger. Perhaps I am being too harsh, but all of this just does not sit well with me. It does not seem authentic! Also, how do you feel about high traffic bloggers using their blogs to raise money for such things as adoption? Is this ethical? Sometimes I do miss those old, simple days of blogging before everyone wanted to be famous!

    • Claudia says

      Oh, you’re so right, Isabella. There’s a lot of high school in blogging. The very same things I didn’t like about that time and I thought were long in the past, are showing up in blogland. Cliques, in crowds…none of it is my cup of tea so I steer clear of it.

      As to raising money for adoption, I’m not sure how I feel. Money issues can be a slippery slope.

  32. says

    I just started blogging end of may

    For awhile there I had some ads running and then took then off ( only the advertisers were making out for the most part, lol…)

    FB : that’s always been for family and friends. I actually started a FB site for Homespun and then thought ” why would I divide my energy this way” so I did nothing with it in the end

    My blog is my blog. I work full time, I have family stuff going on, I decided to just do the blog nothing else. No FB, no twitter, i don’t do pinterest etc / enough is enough lol :)

  33. says

    Thank you so much for this post. It has truly inspired me to move past looking over my shoulder and wondering who is reading. I love my blog readers, but I must write from the heart. If I can’t be true to myself, then who can I be true, too. Thank you for this gentle reminder. :)

  34. says

    Now coming up to my 6th anniv. of blogging (2 blogs – first one ‘knocked off’ by Google). Wow have things changed since 2007 – so much so that I may just quit soon! I think about this a lot and even though I don’t participate in any other social media, I’m now concerned that all the precious time I put into my blog is really not doing much for me any longer. Well I lie, a bit. It does make ME happy being able to remain in the creative world where I feel taking/editing/sharing photos/planning and creating a post is all creative…..and there are a few readers out there kind enough to comment. I would miss my blog friends so much if I quit………..but I’ll never understand why my family, and several very close friends, whom I thought would enjoy sharing my travels etc. NEVER read my posts (other than DH)…..and that hurts!
    Blogging included so few of us 6 years ago, now just about everyone blogs. Many are spectacular, interesting, visually gorgeous……….others are homey and truly sweet……….many are nothing more than reams of photos copied from other sites on the Web (I just don’t get that). As you say though, a blog is a personal space and it is yours to do what you want with.

    Will I keep going or throw in the towel and just go paint furniture and hunt for vintage pretties again? I already know your answer – “do both”, Ha! Ha!
    Hugs – and thanks.
    Mary

  35. Nola, Chili's Mom says

    I LOVE TEXT!!! Words are wonderful, I love them. I tire quickly of blogs that are all photos. Do the bloggers lack writing skill? Or imagination? You could write a post 1000 words long without any photos; I’d read every word and probably not even miss the photos!
    Thank you for blogging your way!

  36. says

    This is a wonderful blog, Claudia. And I agree that staying true to yourself is essential. It’s easy to yield to the pressures in ‘blogland’. I enjoy the “randomness” of your blog (and I hope you know I mean that in the BEST possible way!) and the fact that you don’t limit yourself to one topic. My blog subtitle says it all: “Quirky & inconsequential musings from my side of the garden gate”. There are too many things that interest me to limit myself to a “single subject” blog. And my life has too many lovely interruptions to feel pressured to write each day. So I guess “random” is the best description of what my blog is meant to be… haphazard responses to unexpected topics that flit in and out of my view. Thank you for posting this! I hope people feel empowered when they read it.

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