I’ve been reflecting on the art – or perhaps business – of blogging lately. I love blogging, mostly because it has taken the place of my journaling for the most part, so it’s my way of getting my thoughts “on paper.” (I suppose I must say “onscreen” now.) I also like the fact that it is a public thing that sometimes creates interactions between me and other humans out there.
I think for a while I thought that somehow my blog was going to help me be a real writer. Like one day some literary agent or editor would read my blog and think, Wow! This Karissa girl is a great writer. I am going to give her a book deal! Perhaps this occasionally happens in real life, but that’s not the usual way books get published. Nevertheless, for a while I was highly concerned about number of unique readers per day, and per month, and which posts were most popular and why, and how many times I could promote myself on Twitter and Facebook in a day. I worried about not having a clear platform, about my content and whether I needed to write more quirky mom posts or more serious spiritual posts or more political post about immigration and education.
My friend Michael Hyatt writes about the importance of having a platform if you’re a blogger. He also writes about blog post structures and what metrics to analyze if you want to grow your blog. I think he’s right on all three counts, but I can’t follow his advice. I write about what I write about, and I can’t (or maybe don’t want to) narrow myself to one platform or topic. My blog posts are almost always too long. I know. (And I appreciate those of you who have the patience to read to the end.) I have stopped worrying too much about the metrics. Yes, I would love to have more comments and conversations, but I’ve already hampered that with my long posts and amalgam of content.
I have two blogging idols, Marissa at RaeGun Ramblings and Nina Badzin. Marissa is actually a personal friend who makes and sells adorable baby/toddler clothes on Etsy and blogs about sewing, crafting, and books. Her blog is crazy successful, with weekly Link parties, sponsored posts, and oodles of comments. She even has a Media Kit for her blog! I am jealous. And so proud of her. (I personally love her bookish posts the best.) I can learn from her to-the-point posts and fun content. But I can’t be her. Because I am me, and my blog is a reflection of me.
Nina Badzin is a writer (yes, she’s had short stories and essays published in literary journals) but she has also become a bit of an internet sensation via her blog. In addition to getting a large amount of comments on her posts, her blogging has opened the door for her to be published in a variety of online outlets. Again, I am jealous. And so excited for her. But I appreciate Nina’s honesty when she talks about laying down her dream of being a fiction writer – for now, at least. That’s where I diverge. I still want to publish a book. Many books. (But at least one.)
For the past six months, I’ve worked diligently on my manuscripts. (If you’ve noticed less blog posts, that’s why.) For the past three months, I’ve gotten up early in the morning to write before getting ready for work. I’ve also been writing shorter pieces to submit to journals. I certainly still have a long way to go, but knowing that I only have about 10,000 words left to complete my first manuscript (the first draft) and that I’ve had five essays published this fall is pretty awesome. I am also about to start a writer’s group with 3-4 writer friends so that I can get some constructive feedback.
I don’t know that I ever will master the art – or business – of blogging. And that’s okay. I blog, I write, I live my life. I am so thankful for those of you who read what I write here and hope that in some way it lets you know that there’s someone else in the world who hurts and questions and laughs just like you do.