I’ve been thinking about blogging lately. Well, I always think about blogging, so to be more specific, the evolution of a blog has been on my mind. Blogging is such an individual, personal thing. To me, a compelling blog reflects that blogger’s personality, passions, humor and talents. What is it that draws us to a certain blog? What keeps us coming back? I think, to me, it is authenticity. If a blogger’s posts over a period of time give me a real sense of the person behind the blog and I find I like that person, I will usually keep coming back. The initial draw might be photography or a shared interest, but if I never get a sense of the ‘stuff” within that person, I’ll lose interest.
Of course, we all have to make a decision as to how much we share of ourselves. Every one of us has a line we draw that we won’t cross. Some things are too personal, too embarrassing, too private. As it should be. Some bloggers show photos of family, others choose not to. Some share their sorrows with us, others simply cannot. We have to be true to ourselves.
I’ve mentioned before that I consider my blog a sort of journal. My attempts to keep a diary or journal in the past were a failure. My husband writes in a journal fairly consistently. I admire that. When I discovered blogs, I was immediately fascinated. For me, the combination of words and photographs was the clincher. Wait, I’m figuring it out … I know what really did it for me….writing for myself wasn’t quite enough, but writing my thoughts, taking photographs, and then sharing them with others was. I was an actress for years. I like the response from an audience. It’s what makes the experience so powerful. It’s the conversation that happens, the back-and-forth that makes blogging so wonderfully satisfying. I can share my thoughts, knowing there are kindred spirits out there who will read them and understand and maybe, in turn, share a thought with me.
I installed the Feedjit widget recently. I’d seen it around on other blogs. Then my sister installed it and I thought I’d give it a try. I have other methods of checking stats but this particular widget shows me who is visiting my blog at any given time. It’s fascinating. And it tells me something I already knew – that many, many people visit, even read the blog regularly, and never leave a comment. And I’m fine with that. I have moments when I read a blog post and just don’t have time to leave a comment or don’t know what to say or am in a bad mood. I lurk on a few blogs. I do. Guilty.
But I do love the conversation, don’t you? I love getting comments and I love leaving comments. Because the ‘Yes, I get it’ or ‘Thank you’ or ‘I understand’ or ‘I’m so sorry’ or ‘Great job’ or even ‘I disagree’ means a great deal to me. It makes me smile or cry or laugh and reminds me that there is a world out there beyond mine. It gives me perspective.
As to the evolution of blogs – I’ve been blogging for over 3 years and I’ve watched as others have found their own personal style of blogging. I’m sure if we all shared our first post and whatever blog design we had at the time, along with a current post, the change would be startling. MHC has gone through several transformations. I like the current look and don’t anticipate changing it for a long while. But it took me a while to get here.
My blog really is a journal. A shared journal. Sometimes a quick thought or two, sometimes a funny story or a tour of a city I’m working in; always my passions, my joys, my loves, my sorrows. I used to write posts to fit with a weekly meme or a special party and I still do that sometimes. But I’ve finally accepted that this blog is my journal. I share what’s happening in my life both here at MHC and away from home. The freedom to write what I need and want to on any given day is important to me. For me, that is the only way to share the authentic me with you. There’s a comfort in knowing and accepting what works for me. That ‘knowing’ is ultimately freeing.
I went through a period where I thought about what to do to bring in more readers, what things I could add that might make this a ‘bigger’ blog, if you know what I mean. I pondered all those ideas. Shorter posts? Occasionally, but I love to write. I’m a talker. Anything else wouldn’t be me. A certain ‘look’ and lots of ads? Didn’t feel right for me. Eventually, I stuck with my gut. I have no real desire to compete on that level. It’s not my thing. In making that decision, I found my voice.
My goal? To write honestly. To write the way I speak – well, maybe a little better than that – so that when we meet in person someday, you will recognize me. I want you to say, “She’s exactly as I imagined her to be.” No surprises.
This blog has become an extension of me. It’s the right fit. I like that.
How has your blog evolved? Tell me about your blog journey. What is the right fit for you? What draws you to a blog and makes you want to go back for a return visit? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always.