I thought I was done writing these types of posts, but I was wrong. This may be my last “in depth” article on blogging so I hope you all enjoy it.
Blogging has evolved a lot since it was created, however, notice the title says “blogger evolution.” That is because I can really only speak on my own personal evolution as a blogger over two years. Compared to many bloggers on WordPress and other platforms I am still just a noobie. The sad part is that in two years I have gained a larger audience than many people that have far eclipsed my time on this website. I think that if I retrace my steps it may help a few people learn how a “frame of mind” can either liberate you or entrap you depending on how you use your own internal thought process.
I created my blog on January 3rd, 2013 as a way to keep myself amused during my new graveyard shift in IT. It was meant to be an online journal. I remember the day I found the “reader” while clicking off in disgust from a Freshly Pressed article, possibly on Margaret Cho being the most “progressive Korean idol” we have in America. I noticed right off that the reader filled instantly with posts from people blogging on all kinds of things. That was the day I found “the connection” that so many other bloggers take for granted. They don’t realize how awesome the reader pool truly is on WordPress.
I hosted a blog on blogspot for about half a year that had a total of five subscribers. One of those was my mom, it was a highly popular website obviously. The lack of easy connections on blogspot is what made WordPress stand out because it was so EASY to find new bloggers to read and connect with. The WordPress Reader was literally continuously spitting out new posts and each blogger had a “follow button” that had never been pushed by me. The connection between the unattainable and the obtainable became clear at that point.
I have always enjoyed activities, sports, or contests where I can visually see results from my input. The problem with blogging for most people is that they pour their hearts and souls only into the writing and they ignore the other aspects of “blogging” that generate both recognition and response. Blogging is an interactive sport unless you are already famous or you are one of those rare individuals that writes gold every time they pick up the pen. Even if your posts blow everyone else out of the water there is still no guarantee that anyone will read them because your post is a drop of water in an ocean of other articles spilling into the Reader every minute. People hate the feeling of having to compete for attention, but that is basically what we bloggers do daily regardless of our content.
Within three weeks on WordPress I found a simple way to attract attention to my blog by showing interest in other blogs first. A virtual hand extended to another has become such an uncommon thing that people are now surprised if you actually visit their website. Now bloggers sit in their corners and expect their audience to flood to them “just because.” Tales and fables of “going viral” plague the internet and every blogger now seeks to be the next “Candy Crush maker” of the blog world. I grow tired of this enslavement to going “viral” and I find that having that type of mindset is counterproductive. It is in many ways like the spammers that now plague every website with a forum base, if those same spammers were to legitimately throw their energy into a real website I would think their work ethic would carry them far. The same can be said for those that only seek to go viral. If those bloggers instead worked at daily goals and accomplishing obtainable numbers, they would see a much better result than sitting around brainstorming the next viral hit article.
After three weeks I realized I wanted to be a powerblogger. I read a few articles on powerblogging, most of the info was outdated, and I realized that powerbloggers technically flared out around 2005 when blogging began to downslope. I also consider my powerblogging far different in technique, goal, and daily procedure than most of the other “powerbloggers” out there. That is probably why many of them want nothing to do with me or my website. That is ok, I am not angry and I have never played well with others. Besides, to be honest most of the larger websites and blogs on WordPress run by these groups are lame as shit. They have nothing at all to offer me.
There is a point at which even a powerblogger evolves into something else. That point for me was this past December when I almost shut down HarsH ReaLiTy. There are many reasons for blogger evolution, but the most basic is due to happiness. What makes you happy? Does the same hold for blogging? I realized a long time ago that I blog for numbers, audience size, interaction, success, and to reach my next milestone. I consider myself a grinder in that aspect because I do push myself to reach a daily goal. It is the only possible way a person like me can stay motivated while blogging for 7 – 10 hours on average a day. Add a real 40 hour a week job, two children, a marriage, and a home to take care of and you suddenly have a busy schedule. It all comes back to the question I have always asked. “How bad do you want it?”
I will admit that part of what adapted for me was my goal on WordPress. Originally I meant to create a “viral site” that I would then sell. That adapted into wishing to blog for a living and in turn that changed to wanting to write a book at some point. All those reasons only pushed me to want to blog more and to make my “platform” as successful as possible. Of course I read the articles by authors and “newly published authors” on how their publishers had encouraged them to blog to gain interest and a readership. I just didn’t see the point in writing a book and THEN trying to get people to like it. It sounded backwards to me and thus I set out to create a blog with one million views and 100,000 subscribers before I had even written anything worth reading.
Fear of failure and doubt are constant enemies of anyone and no more so than bloggers. There are so many instances and situations that fuel this fear and push bloggers to simply bow out. Trolls, negative comments, the wrong post going viral, family members getting offended, being worried about your job firing you, your spouse becoming angry over your time management, and possibly retribution from corporations are only a few of the things we bloggers face daily. It takes such a small match and such a little amount of fuel to put our dreams up in flames. The worst is when we set that match ourselves.
A final evolution for me as a blogger was when I began to “care” about other bloggers. Not in a love sense or even in the realm of friendship, but rather the same human concern a person might have for another in their occupation or field. I view all bloggers as equals and that is why I make a point to support those I can when I see someone faltering. A few words of encouragement can go a long way and what does it really cost? A few minutes of my time? I make that time and I form that connection because I feel like it. Many people have suspected ulterior motives for how I blog, they are free to speculate. I do what I do and I do what I want.
I understand doubt and how quickly inspiration and motivation die. I have had doubt directed towards me since day 1 of my blogging “adventure.” You may see a successful website, but most people I know don’t. They just see a hobby or something I do for fun. Some even see a waste of time. I say all this to encourage you and not to garner pity, I don’t need your sympathy. It is all to say that no one really has to believe in you, it is all about how you view yourself. Would it be nice to live in a fantasy world where everyone I encounter throws praise in my direction, Freshly Pressed staff floods to my posts to reblog them, and publishers knock at my door at all hours begging me to sign a contract… yes it would. But that isn’t reality and often you have to fight the fight yourself. There will be no words of encouragement and even if you should succeed or become a true success many won’t even give you credit then. Does that matter to you?
There are so many stages to blogging and not all of them follow the same order for some of us. If you have gotten past the “hump” of finding an audience and you have a good readership you may run into the common roadblock of becoming disgruntled. If you aren’t angry about having people reading your work, you might be angry instead that too many are reading your site. That you are essentially writing for free, because that is what bloggers do to gain interest. It is a common complaint though for many writers that hate the feeling of giving their words out for free and it especially becomes troublesome for them when they have to wake up at 7 am for their day job. It is during the mundane activities of the day that many bloggers will evolve into the “angry blogger.”
The “angry blogger” is mad at everyone else’s success. They have gained an audience, but instead of appreciating their readers they only see work. Work, work, and more work and it comes in the form of writing for free and responding to comments. They may or may not have a book yet published and this compounds their frustration because they feel that if they are that “popular” they should be making money off this whole lark. This is a sad part of the blogger evolution that I think many people don’t get to, but the ones that do understand it. Again, it comes back around to “what do you want” and what are you truly looking for from blogging.
I understand the “angry blogger” and have even been one before. You just feel stuck as if you can’t get past a certain hump. It is similar, but not exactly the same, as the blogger that has an article go “viral” and can’t repeat the feat. That is a frustrating feeling for anyone I am sure, but of course I am only speculating since I have never gone viral myself. The “angry blogger” either flares out due to emotion or they close up shop and turn their blog into a book. You’ve seen these bloggers before I am sure. Normally when you see this occur it is solely due to frustration at an inability to advance their dreams. The death of a blog normally follows closely behind the death of a dream.
It is hard to find the complete package. The complete package for a blogger can be learned though, but that learning process takes real effort that most humans are too lazy to pursue. So you generally have either the frustrated blogger or the angry blogger, my two groups of separation. The frustrated bloggers are normally amazing writers or they share amazing content. In most perfect worlds they would be a professional in their field and possibly successful. In a realistic world, however, they are simply one of many and that fact alone kills them. It is so hard to be noticed these days on social media and it is monumentally frustrating for many when they ARE great at something and still can’t gain that notoriety.
I believe that blogging presents many different outlets for many different types of bloggers. There is no singular goal to be accomplished on WordPress, instead blogging can be an outlet or a path to many different dreams. We all attack problems from different angles and that is why blogging is so fascinating. What works for one person may not work for another, but the bottom line is that there are relationships to be had for all bloggers willing to put aside their inhibitions for a moment. To truly walk the path and see where our evolution leads, that is the real life of a blogger. That is where the excitement begins and why I still search for my next goal. What will be your next evolution?