Blogging and Writer’s Insecurity

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May 19, 2013 by Kira Lyn Blue

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Edit: This post is now subtitled:

You’re Not Your F%$^ing Blog Stats!

I’ve noticed something. Blogging is a microcosm of the emotions I have about writing in general. This is probably a good thing, because having the blog is helping me deal with my insecurities in small bites, a few at a time rather than being inundated all at once if I just went out and attempted to publish my book without the blog.

Writer Insecurity #1: What if no one wants to read my stuff?

It’s only human to be frustrated when you have something to say and no one to listen. You ever have a really good idea and then try to take it to a friend, coworker or spouse and have them just respond as with a “Ok, sure,” and a shrug? It’s demoralizing when your great idea does not generate the same enthusiasm in other people.

Writing is the same thing on another level. One of my biggest fears is spending countless hours writing my book, busting my rump to make it as perfect as possible, paying for editors and cover designers, and then no one buying it. All that work to have no audience would be crushing.

Or so I thought until I started blogging.

I spend quite a bit of time writing my blog posts. I’d say that more than 50% of my posts take at least four hours for me to write, edit, and find images I like to include. It never fails that the more time I spend on a post, the less interest generates from the blogging community. Fewer likes, fewer hits, fewer comments. Don’t leave yet, I’m not whining, I have a point to make.

I know that part of the problem is that my posts are too long. Most blog hoppers, don’t have the patience to read long posts, myself included. It’s rare that I stumble across a post in my reader that’s more than 500 words that I’ll actually stop and read the whole thing. Over 1000? Probably going to skip right past it.

I know this about myself and the attention span of an online audience and does it stop me from writing long posts? No.

In some cases, I know the topics that I’ve put up as long posts I could break into a series of posts. Take my Top 10 Alpha Males, I could have made that into a ten day count-down to my favorite Alpha, turning a 2k post into ten 200 word posts.

But I didn’t. Primarily because I didn’t want my blog to be focused on Alpha Males for almost two full weeks. So, it all went into one long post.

Am I disappointed that a post that took me 12 hours to finish (almost half of which was researching quotes) has generated less than 10 likes? Yep. Am I surprised? Nope.

The point is that I knew I was taking a risk and I decided I didn’t care. I am a writer and I have to write what is important to me and I have to do it in the way that works for me.

That’s not to say that I don’t take my audience into consideration, but I have to be true to myself. What I write will find the audience it’s supposed to find.

The same is true when considering my novel. I know it is highly likely that I will never be an NYT best seller for any number of reasons. My book, once it’s finished, may never sell more than a few copies. I’m not trying to be defeatist, just realistic.

This is the risk of writing a novel. You may never find a wide audience.
And you know what? It doesn’t matter.

How many people set out writing blogs expecting to have 20k followers? Most of us write blogs because we have to. The writer inside us needs a forum and if people happen to like what we write, that’s just a bonus. Yes, we all want to be popular, but that’s not why we write.

I refuse to sit and write either blog posts or a novel constantly trying to decide whether or not anyone is going to like it. I’m not going to write about the hot topic of the day just because it’s the hot topic of the day, only if I really have something to say about it.  I refuse to care (too much) about whether anyone will agree with me or even care what I have to say about the topic.

I will write simply what comes from my mind and my heart. If that generates an audience, awesome. If not, at least I wrote. At least I tried. Even if I only have a small audience, I’m okay with that. I prefer quality over quantity.

I love seeing my blog stats, because I’ve noticed a trend. My average number of visitors per day is in the low twenties, but the average number of views per visitor is 4. I take that to mean that my visitors like my blog enough to stick around and read multiple posts. That inspires me. It thrills me to know that I’ve captured anyone’s attention to hang around for multiple clicks, especially with thousands of other blogs out there you could go to.

My blog readership is fairly small, but seemingly loyal and talkative. I get an adrenaline rush every time I see a new comment waiting in my inbox. I love what discourse we have on my blog. I think my Ninja Squirrel Chasers are the most awesome people in the world, and I don’t care if my opinion is biased.

In other words, thank you for stopping by to see what I have to say. I appreciate each and every one of you. You, my readers, keep me encouraged and remind me that being popular isn’t really what’s important to me, it’s being true to myself and knowing that the right audience will appreciate me and my writing whether it’s my blog or my novel.

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41 thoughts on “Blogging and Writer’s Insecurity

  1. LindaGHill says:

    I think the problem with blogging is that everyone is here to be read but only a certain percentage will read and, as you say, only if it’s short. You have the distinction, the decision is up to you. Write for yourself or write for your audience. The audience isn’t going to change here. Maybe the answer is somewhere like RedRoom.
    Best of luck 🙂

  2. I hear you Kira, and I think that every writer struggles with the desire to reach a large and loyal audience, combined with the need to simply write what is in her heart. I admire you for finding the time and tenacity to keep your blog updated like you do, and though I don’t always have a few extra minutes to stop by and give you a like or leave you a comment, I’m always reading and love your insight. Keep going, you’re doing great.

  3. You have my frustrations down to the letter dear, but like you I’m starting to come to terms with them. A loyal audience is an incredible bonus and sadly few of us get one, but as long as I have a forum I’m happy enough!

    My best liked piece of fiction was called Creation, and it took me around ten minutes to write. I see it as a sparkling fluke compared to the rest of my work. The longer something takes, the less recognition it seems to get. It’ll never stop me putting time and effort into my posts though, all of them (well received or not) are helping me to improve.

    A thought provoking post indeed, thank you for writing it. 😀

    • Yes, that’s it exactly. The point is to write. In writing we learn about ourselves and we hone our skills, our voice, and our thought processes. To me that’s far more important than tons of views and likes.

  4. I avoided blogging for a long time for this very reason. I thought, how pretentious of me to think other people will actually care what I think. But then I decided it doesn’t have to be about soliciting reactions from total strangers, it can just be about connecting. So I’m adjusting my intentions a bit–focusing on being more candid in my posts and more open and hopefully that will resonate with people. But if it doesn’t, at least it will have allowed me to conquer that fear of actually being vulnerable in front of people and then it will have all been worth it.

    • It’s not pretentious to have ideas and want to share them. We all have a need to connect. I think the people who matter, the people who need to hear it most will appreciate what you have to say.

      Here’s to conquering our fears!

  5. “I’d say that more than 50% of my posts take at least four hours for me to write, edit, and find images I like to include.” This is exactly what I do. Sometimes the thought creeps in, “Why do I even bother?” but I just remind myself that I love writing no matter if I get paid or my work gets read.

    My latest two posts, “Survey: Are Blog Awards Useless?” and “He Said, She Said: Stephen King’s Advice on Dialogue Tags” took the entire weekend and some. Total number of “Likes” (including fake spammy ones) and comments are probably insignificant by a lot of standards. But I don’t mind because I love the results.

    I love the meme! Anyways, I don’t think I have anything else to add, my thoughts are exactly the same as what you’ve written.

    Let’s keep writing!

    • That’s the spirit! Those are two great posts, btw. You can count me as part of your loyal audience 🙂

      • Thanks a lot Kira. I believe you just made my day, what with the thoughtful comments you left. It’s been a few days since I followed your blog, but I haven’t said “You can count me as part of your loyal audience (as well)” yet, so there it is. 🙂

  6. I really appreciate this post, Kira. As someone who does very much enjoy your blog, but also as someone who has a lot of other stuff to do, some of which is my own creative work, I think it can be a challenging juggling act to find time to be both supportive of others and fulfilling for oneself. I try very hard not to think about who or how many might read something I wrote, instead focusing on only putting out there the things that I can’t keep from sharing, even if no one reads them.

    I tend to think of my blogging spaces almost like Twitter. I don’t presume that anyone’s going to read my posts, but if they do, I hope they find them interesting or useful, and it is entirely possible that at some point in the future, this will be a good archive for some reader who happens upon it. The Internet has a long memory. Are these posts something you want in the KLB online museum? If so, then have fun and do your thing, the hits or likes on the days just after may not be the best measure of the posts’ value to others. I know that I’m definitely the sort to marathon blogs and I’m not the only one. I bet when your book is out and picking up momentum, all these posts you thought no one noticed will become vibrant again with the wonder of fans.

    Personally, I think you’re doing great! 🙂

    • There’s a KLB museum??? It better have squirrels as docents.

      It’s nice to see how many people understand this dilemma. The length of a post or the popularity of it really doesn’t matter in the long run, it’s about doing what matters to you. It’s high time we start valuing ourselves as writers for who we are and not our stats.

  7. Nice post! I’d write more, but I’m feeling a little insecure about my comments. J/K! 🙂 We should strive to be more like ninja squirrels; that could give us some needed self-confidence.

    • Wow, you just gave my ninja squirrel concept a whole new meaning. Think about it, squirrels are these tiny furry little prey animals. It’s laughable to picture a squirrel as having any amount of power, let alone being a bad-ass ninja. I love the audacity of the ninja squirrel, an underdog who defies anyone to tell him he can’t be a BAMF and adorable. We should all be more like ninja squirrels 🙂

  8. A. E. Miller says:

    I’ll keep it short: Love this post! 😉

  9. createdbyrcw says:

    Great post…will reblog to my site as this is a topic on which I too have touched.

    As someone else pointed out, a lot of people are here to be read, and I am making every effort to make sure I don’t fall strictly into that category, so thanks for putting yourself out there.

    Randy

  10. createdbyrcw says:

    Reblogged this on createdbyrcw and commented:
    An interesting take on the insecurity that comes with opening your soul and worrying that no one will care.

    • Thanks for spreading the good word! Ummm… weird, now I feel like I’m proselytizing for the Great Ninja Squirrel. The point was I’m glad you appreciated the article!

  11. I was blogging for 9 months before I ever drew a real audience… and even now, it’s just a handful of people. Whether people like my posts or not, I’m always going to be true to myself…

    • Good! I know it’s frustrating to see people that have thousands of followers within a couple of months of starting blogging while so many really awesome blogs have lower numbers. Of course there are things we can do to promote ourselves and make our blogs more marketable, but the point should be the writing. At least in my opinion.

  12. forgingshadows says:

    One of the things I was recently discussing with another blogger/author was the number of blog followers who would buy a fiction book by the author/blogger in question. According to her research, having a lot of followers for a nonfiction blog didn’t mean anything when it came to selling a fantasy fiction book. Of course, she was looking at the negative side of the spectrum. But let’s be positive here – it also means that there’s nothing to indicate that your novel will have a small readership. We’re working in two different spectra here.

    I will say that while I haven’t read every blog post of yours, the ones I have read have always been interesting.

  13. Erica Dakin says:

    You know, that’s a pretty awesome analysis of the blogging sphere, thanks. Oh, and you’ll have at least one sale, because I’ll buy your book once it’s out. I like your blog, and I like what I’ve seen so far of your book.

    • Thank you for the encouragement. I’m going to need it when I get back to my revisions and editing. Which will be… oh, ummm, it’s supposed to be today…. Wow, where did those 2 weeks go?

  14. […] The second insightful comment was written by Daniela, keeper of The Lantern Post, in response to my congratulations for her blog’s one-year anniversary. In her celebratory post, she expressed the same sentiment that Kira Lyn Blue elaborated in her thought-provoking post, “Blogging and Writer’s Insecurity: You’re Not Your F%$^ing Blog Stats!”: […]

  15. Christopher says:

    Yeah, you just have to keep writing and whatever happens, whoever shows up. Then you’ll know that they’re with you because you wrote for you, and they bought in.

    • Yeah, it’s kind of like real friends. Better to have people who accept and appreciate you for who you really are then people buying into a lie.

      • Christopher says:

        Definitely better that way. Even if it’s only a few people, at least you know SOMEBODY really gets what you’re saying. From the comments around here, it’s more than a few.
        Also, you’re funny as hell. So that helps.

  16. […] Blogging and Writer’s Insecurity (kiralynblue.com) […]

  17. Reblogged this on Julian Froment's Blog and commented:
    Interesting post. Who are we writing for?

  18. TamrahJo says:

    I’m like you – longer posts and lower followers, but I, too, was pleased to see when the average visitor visited multiple posts – – Followers can be gained through time and persistence, but keeping folks engaged, well, that’s great for starting out with! 🙂

  19. L. Marie says:

    Well, I’m glad to find your blog. And I’m going to read that Alpha male post!!!

  20. Robynn Gabel says:

    Engaging writing style. Kept my interest all the way through. I’m impressed. You also are doing the right thing in building a reader base before publishing. I went the opposite route because I missed the marketing aspect before I wrote the book. You are on the right track. I especially admire your attitude on future book sales. I think you have what it takes to make a real author. You just want to write. Good job!

    • Thank you for the encouragement! I’ve seen conflicting reports on just how effective bogs are at creating an audience for novels, but now the blogging has become so much more than just a marketing tool. In only a few months, I’ve learned so much from other bloggers and the experience of having my writing, even just blog posts, “published.” It’s so much fun and I’m really enjoying the community experience.

  21. I like your attitude, and I agree. It’s a balance between writing for an audience and just writing because that’s what you like to do. Long blog posts are hard to read, tho not so bad on your blog because of the design (long with small writing is VERY hard). I think it’s a discipline worth having to make stuff short and pithy – but then again, you gotta say what you gotta say. I often write about philosophical subjects which don’t interest a lot of people, but they interest me, and that’s the main thing.

    • I try to break up longer posts with headers and related images so it’s not just a wall of text. My thinking is that shows the main points of what I’m trying to get across so anyone skimming can get the gist and see if they want to read the details. I know that helps rope me in as a reader.

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