Note: This is not a pity party or doing that whole ‘have sympathy for me’ rubbish. I have some pride left. Not much, but a little bit. I lost most of it back in 1987 when I was my hometown’s Carnival Princess and had to wear a flowery pink monstrosity. This post is just saying it like it is, ‘cos that’s how I roll. Although new followers or more page views would be nice. Please. For the love of all that is good and holy. Please. *Slinks off feeling a little emotionally soiled for all the shameless begging*
Blogging and writing are initially solo, occasionally lonely, exploits. Working alone is a bonus, to a degree, for the stereotypical version of the introvert. The introvert hides in caves and snarls at the world, right?
Well, rightish, but also, wrong. We value our alone time but we do actually like to be with other people, if a select few, and for a set amount of time. Introverts like to converse every now and again; be it in person or through the interweb. Or pigeon carrier. Or GoT type ravens which are far more bad ass than ‘rats with wings’. I’m not fussy about the form of communication; just communicate. I can take it.
The newbie blogger
The newbie blogger begins all excited. You are potentially reaching the masses. You have so much to share. You could be the next Martin Luther King. You are also in need of psychiatric help if you think this is true.
You send your posts out there into cyberspace and brace yourself for the followers and the feedback. Then reality hits… You get one comment or ‘like’ if the wind is blowing in the right direction that day and you didn’t publish your post when Eastenders was on.
Your ‘genuine’ followers i.e. those who chose to follow you, amount to your most nearest and dearest and a few marvellous people who think you might be quite good at this. You love, cherish and respect these people dearly.* You blackmailed, sorry encouraged, them to follow your blog. Cheques are in the post people. Husband, it was in the marriage vows – you weren’t listening properly.
But, and here’s where the ungracious toddler tantrum begins, you can’t help but think it would be nice to have other followers. It would be great to know that people want to follow your blogs and share comments with you. After all, the writing advice out there dictates that you must build a following through social media from the onset.
I am wondering how many people currently dislike me because I linked them in through Facebook . You’re all either too polite, potentially interested, or don’t know how to get out of this one technologically. If it’s the latter, you’re stuck for life. Really. It’s the Facebook rules.
Getting it into perspective
Joking aside, I’ve come to realise that I don’t want anyone to follow my blog, my writing progress, or the published pieces (hopefully) that will come, unless they truly want to. I desire readers who are delighted and inspired by what I produce, not bored or feeling under duress to read it. This is where I am learning an important lesson and I am now down on the floor in Tesco, looking like a numpty, because my mum walked away after I threw an epic tantrum. Shame on me.
It’s not all about the number of page views, the amount of followers, the ‘likes’ or the comments. Of course it motivates me and it is encouraging to know that people are engaging with my work. But I am finally learning to step the hell away from the ‘stats’ section, or count the ‘likes’ on Facebook, because it does not reflect reality.
Thankful for cheerleaders
I may be a writer working alone, but I am not isolated. I have received encouraging comments, positive feedback and genuine good wishes; electronically and in person. They may be few at this stage but they are so incredibly cherished.
My cheerleading squad may not be extensive, but it has a core group of the most dedicated, awesome people on this planet. Too many cheerleaders just creates pom pom havoc anyway.
Thanks cheerleaders. You are the reason I continue blogging and writing. Thank you Dave, Belinda, Frank, Linda, Pam, Kate and Chantelle. You are rocking my world and keeping me bolstered. To those that are following my blog and my Facebook group, unbeknownst to me, I thank you too. You count.
I may not see the stats that add it up, but knowing there are unknown people out there rooting for me helps more than you can imagine. Please don’t leave me because I didn’t name you here. I am open to using your name in my next blog post. Incentive required: Dairy Milk and it’s all yours.
I have been surprised by those who have, and have not, engaged with my decision to write. It’s true that some of the people I thought would be giving the loudest cheers, have been silent. That’s okay. I know people are inclined to make their own choices and decisions when others follow their seemingly impossible dreams. On a positive note, it is often those I considered to be the most unlikeliest of people, who have been incredibly supportive. You are flipping amazing.
As for the actual writing process, maybe it’s not as lonely as I sometimes think. I am writing with people, with readers, always in mind. Therefore I engage with you every single day. I hope one day you will ‘speak’ back when you get to read more of my writing.
I also have a lot of new ‘friends’ in fiction world and I can make them do whatever I want. If they get on my nerves, I kill them off. Now, can you say that about your real, live mates? Nope. So there. I win. **
* Please don’t unfollow me ‘faithful few’, I’m on the edge already as it is. Unfollow and you’re dead to me. Except you’re not because I’m too nice and I like you. Bum. You’ve got me.
**Realises that this is not grown up behaviour and has possibly now lost more potential followers. Some days I am my own worst enemy.