(or Why We Should Continue Writing Even If We Feel that No-one is Reading)
Why write if no-one is reading? That’s a question I have asked myself countless times, and if you are a blogger, I’m sure you have asked yourself that question too.
Bloggers write because they want to be read. In fact, with the possible exception of those who write personal diaries, most people who write want to be read. And one of the most dis-heartening feelings for writers is the sense that no-one cares about what you write. I have read many articles about growing your audience as a blogger, mostly from bloggers who have thousands of readers flocking to read their newest blog. They may have found the secret of success but many of them do admit to feeling deflated and dejected at many times along the road to success, they admit they were tempted to give up and that they knew of many fellow bloggers who did just that. Their secrets to a successful blogging career vary and are very much dependant on their worldview and their purpose for blogging. While their advice is interesting, it hasn’t helped me gain readers, so I have to ask myself, why do I continue blogging? What is my secret to perseverance in blogging? Why have I not thrown in the towel and admitted that I am writing in a vacuum? Well, here are my reasons, and I hope they will help you if you are in a similar position.
Enjoyment of writing
This is probably my most important reason for blogging. I have always enjoyed writing. As a child I kept a diary, as an adult I wrote a journal, and from these experiences I realise that the first person you really share your writing with is you. I might mention that at one time in my life I used to harbour the illusion that I was destined to become a great writer – I could see my latest bestseller on the shelves of bookshops everywhere! I even entered short story competitions and made attempts at poetry writing but I never achieved the success I dreamed of! While I no longer pursue that particular illusion, the love of writing has never left me and today, thanks to the blogging platform, I can exercise my writing muscles and reach out to a real audience, however small, and that does give me a real sense of achievement and satisfaction. And I am doing what I love doing.
In my case, I love writing about photography, so this is a great incentive to keep going
Desire to be useful
We each have different goals for our blog. For some blogging is a way to make a living, for others the purpose of blogging is to supplement their income, while for many, like myself, blog writing is purely for pleasure or our own self-improvement. Whether it’s about charting our journey through illness or depression back to health and wellbeing, dispensing advice and tips on all sorts of areas of life or sharing our favourite recipes, our aim is to pass on to others the experience we have gained, and if our goal is to give, we will want to be of use to others, we will want to write from the heart, we will want to be authentic in our writing.
When I consider my own experience in doing a Google search, I am usually looking for an answer to a question or seeking information on something that has sparked my curiosity. I can assume that this is similar for most people. If my aim in my writing is to speak honestly from my own experience, with a view to being useful, I may not provide most of the answers others are looking for, but some day an article that I write may just provide one answer that someone else needs. While this type of writing may not be rewarded in monetary terms it certainly has its rewards in terms of personal satisfaction. There is reward in knowing that we have reached out of ourselves to help others and this can give us a well-earned pride in our efforts. Even though I may not get much feedback from readers, I am always delighted to get an unexpected comment that lets me know that someone, somewhere, has been helped by something I write, and that motivates me to keep going.
Write what you love and love what you write
“The niche you choose must be something that you absolutely love and are passionate about. It must be something that you will commit to doing even if you never get paid for it or attract one single follower.” Tim Denning (successful blogger)
My favourite topics to write about are photography, writing (and reading), self-improvement, wellbeing, and all the spin-off topics that they spark. I could say food too, but I prefer eating it than writing about it, so am therefore more of a consumer of foodie blog content!!
I have begun to see how the topics I love are the only topics I can write about in an authentic manner so I have to stick to those, but they do branch out in all directions and I find that doing research into one topic often leads me to another, or reading the content of one writer can spark an idea for my own writing, so when I write about what I love and it points me in new directions, I am happy to follow that direction and see where it leads me.
To sum up
Success in blogging terms is hard to define and it can mean different things to different people depending on the purpose of the blog. Why I believe there are good reasons to persevere with blogging even when it doesn’t appear to be getting much traction is not about success as it is usually measured and more about what it gives us on a personal level. If I believe that one person is helped by something I write this gives me a sense of personal fulfilment which makes blogging worthwhile and motivates me to continue when it may otherwise appear to be a futile task.