Blogging and Being Yourself

Today is my baby blog’s first birthday! I can’t believe my baby is growing up :]

It was a slow-going endeavor when I first started blogging. I had but a handful of readers (mostly related to me) and in those early days, one of my first thoughts in writing was always, “how can I get more readers?” Even then, I didn’t write just to be read; I write because I love doing so. I love words and the click, click, click of the words as they’re typed into existence.

Still, even though I love writing just for the pleasure of the words themselves, I would be lying if I said I didn’t care about having readers. If I wanted to write only for myself, I would journal not blog. I blog to share what I love with other people but to do that, well dang it, you need readers! So plan and connive I did and slowly, ever so slowly, the readers came. But then, once I had bright eyes watching for my words, I panicked a little bit. I thought about all the different interests and backgrounds of all the different people reading and drove myself crazy trying to decide what I could possibly write that would interest so many lovely people. Let me tell you what I’ve learned in this first year:

  • Speak in Your Natural Voice: As quirky, sarcastic, or misunderstood as it may be sometimes, I try to speak in my natural voice and write just the same way I talk. Hold on–it’s a bumpy ride sometimes <8[
  • Write What You Know, Know What You Write: It’s not a new idea–it’s probably one of the oldest rules in the book–but writing from my own experience and perspective always works best. When I think something I want to share is too boring to post, I just remind myself of how much I love reading about other people’s normal lives and activities and hope my readers will be interested in my normal life too–which brings me to the next point…
  • Readers Come, Readers Go: I get excited every time I get a new reader…and about two minutes later I get bummed when I lose a reader. I’ve learned readers will come and go at their own leisure–and that’s okay. If I’m being myself and being honest, then not everyone is going to love everything I have to say and that may mean losing readers sometimes. I just remind myself there’s no point in having numbers if those numbers don’t represent individual readers who want to be here. If they’re not interested, let them go and focus on the ones who stay.
  • You Won’t Make Every Reader Happy Every Time: Some posts are going to be more popular than others and no, you can’t decide which ones people will love. Some people love every word that percolates in your brain; others want only to hear about coffee, music, or cats–deal with it and keep typing about whatever it is that comes floating by your cortex.
  • Be Open and Honest: The times when I’ve been most vulnerable and shared stuff that scared me are also the times I best connected with my readers. No one wants to read about someone else’s perfect life all the time. People identify and connect with honesty, humility, and struggle so tell the truth.
  • Find a Platform: People won’t know I’m writing or know where to find my blog if I don’t tell them. Self-promoting can feel a little vain but there’s just no other way to get your voice out there unless you speak up and tell people to come join the party. I started by sharing each new posts on my Facebook page and of course Twitter and other social media sites are great resources too. Network with other bloggers and don’t be afraid to share what you’re doing–I mean, that’s the point right?
  • Talk to Yourself: If the idea of having an audience starts getting in the way, I step back and pretend I’m writing just for myself–like I’m journaling.
  • Don’t Give Up: Blogging can get discouraging–when you pour your heart out on the page and it feels like no one is listening or you hit a road block and can’t think of two words to smack together. But like life, you won’t succeed by walking away discouraged so hang in there.
  • Relax and Have Fun: Blogging is fun, sooooo, you should be having fun! Relax and enjoy the writing you love!
  • Be Yourself: All of this amounts to one thing in my mind–being myself. I can’t make people like me, I can’t force them to read my blog, I can’t share what I don’t know. All I can do is be who I am and share what I know and love. And the beautiful thing about writing is, it has really helped me better know and discover who I am.

It’s been a great first year, kids :] How about you? How do you manage to be yourself even when others are watching and reading your words?

70 thoughts on “Blogging and Being Yourself

  1. Pingback: » How to Grow a Blog » Cities of the Mind

  2. Happy birthday to your blog. Thanks also for sharing what you have learned in writing it. Having a young blog, I had been thinking about some of these things recently so it was timely. I have enjoyed your posts and will look forward to reading more.

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  3. I just started blogging and sometimes feel down that no one is reading what I’m passionately putting out there. I also feel panicked when I realize I still haven’t found a topic that my blog is all about, I tend to talk about anything that catches my fancy. But from reading your post I can see that like anything else worthwhile, you gotta keep trying and practicing to get it right.
    Thank you for your encouragement and Happy One Year!! 🙂

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    • I felt the same way when I started (and still do sometimes!) but I enjoy blogs that talk about all sorts of things so I try to do the same on here. Thank you for reading and keep writing!

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  4. I started a blog when friends bugged me to write about my time working overseas as a way to keep in touch. I enjoyed it and kept it up. One day things exploded and I went from a few hits a week to hundreds overnight. I had stage fright… what to say, write and what if these new found readers didn’t like my rants? My friend told me to keep writing as always since they must have started reading for a reason… don’t worry about what they thought. So I get excited about each new LIKE, FOLLOW and COMMENT, but I don’t let it define me or my words. My blog fulflls it purpose for friends and family and I really enjoy it -keeps me sane and is my new hobby, so any extra readers along the way is just the icing on the cake 🙂

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  5. Happy blog birthday!! 🙂

    This is a wonderful bday post! The points are exactly what I needed to hear today! I got weighed down worrying about what my very few readers would like or think about it! I haven’t blogged in a while because I got scared! This was a lovely reminder! Thanks!!

    Congrats on the bday! I always love to read your posts!! I can’t wait to see what happens next!! 🙂

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  6. Happy Birthday “Outside Air”. And congratulations blog-mom! My blog is still crawling,he’s only 9 months old. A few months ago I had a bout of infantile-blogitis and was ready to chuck my keyboard. I gave it some thought and realized some of the same things you have written here. You have enumerated these ideas very well. They are a great encouragement to all of us trying to “turn a phrase”. Kari, you have a great gift for writing – thanks for regifting it to us.

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  7. great advice Kari! This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been feeling discouraged lately about the number of readers for my blog and doubting myself, but this puts it in perspective. Happy Birthday…and keep on inspiring!

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  8. Happy 1st Birthday “Outside Air”! Thanks for the great advice Kari. I’ve only been blogging for about three months and these tips have certainly reinforced my desire to get “my” words on a page, not simply what I think readers will enjoy. It’s so easy to get caught up in the stats when what’s important connecting with yourself first and then hopefully the readers will follow. Great post. Thanks again 🙂

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  9. Happy Birthday to your baby blog!!! This is an excellent blog today Kari, full of good tips. You have a very natural talent for writing and I am so very glad to see you using that talent. You bring a range of emotions to those of us who follow your blog…I’ve been in tears with laughter and in tears with sorrow at times. I’ve learned so much about you and the things that matter to you…thanks for sharing! Hope you have a wonderful birthday celebration today.

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  10. Hi Kari, Happy 1 year anniversary to your blog 🙂
    This is the first time I read your blog, actually this is the first blog that I read, and I really liked it because, after finish reading, I realised that I’m not the only one who feels a little bit weird as a new blogger, I feel the exact way you did one year ago when you were a new blogger yourself so thank you for posting this blog for us and for making us more comfortable and motivated to write what we like and love 🙂

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  11. You are inspiring Kari. I am a fairly new blogger, started last year, didn’t keep it up but have been doing much better with it since this past February. There are times when I get a mental block and don’t know what to write about but I keep on and as you said, “write about what you know” really does work best. People are interested in other people and their lives. Have a great day and “Happy 1st Birthday to your blog” 🙂

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  12. Dear Kari,
    Congratulations on your baby blog’s first birthday and I wish you have many more birthdays!
    After reading your blog “blogging and being yourself”, I realized so many things. To be frank, in the initial days, I was not writing anything new. I was just posting whatever I already wrote and published. But I always enjoy writing. Now, 5 months into blogging, slowly I have started enjoying myself as a blogger.
    When I was writing for magazines, sometimes my work would be accepted, sometimes they were rejected. Rejections made me feel sad. But this blogging is purely enjoyable.
    Nice of you to have shared your beautiful thoughts about blogging.
    Happy blogging!

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  13. Kari, thanks for your lovely turn of phrase. I find your writing very inspirational. You said you would be lying if you said you didn’t care about having readers. Well, I envy you. My blogsite is just over a month old now, so maybe I can’t expect too much at this stage. At least I’m getting a few visitors but almost zero comments.

    I look forward to reading the next one. Keep it up!

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  14. Another great post! Today … while reading this, I felt as if it was written for me. I’ve followed this blog for a while now — I have it in my RSS reader — but haven’t said all that much here.
    Before this post came up on the screen, I was sitting here, thinking about the whole blogging concept, and something Steve Jobs said …about being persistent. So … I think I’ll be just that!

    Congratulations to your one year blog anniversary … you have a very good thing going here 😀

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  15. Well, Kari, I’ve been reading your blog since you started! Keep it up! I always am excited when I see you have a new post:) I enjoy the way you write and your content. There have been many times the what I read here provoked me to think about things I either hadn’t before, or given me a new, fresh perspective. Some days I feel like life can be so mundane and wonder what my purpose is and you always remind me that it’s how we live the “mundane” things that matters:) Happy Birthday to your baby:) Can’t wait to see what you write this next year…..

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    • Hey Hannah,
      Thanks for putting up with me and my ramblings for the last year :] I think you were my first official follower so thank you for the support and encouragement all along the way! I hope you get to enjoy another cup of coffee HOT today :]

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  16. Kari, this is wonderful in so many ways. Thank you for all of these incredible points. They are helpful, encouraging, and I needed to hear each one so eloquently laid out. Thanks for being a source of encouragement for me today. This is so meaty I need to print it out and place it in front of my keypad for a season. Happy Birthday To You, one fine blog…

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