Self-Made “A Daily Gamble”

Most of us, at least those reading this post, are self-made bloggers. Meaning that our work is backed by our own sweat, tears, blood, and motivation. We are not corporate bloggers, we have no advisors or backers, and daily we decide on our own what to put out on the internet. It is a gamble and just because you are “self-made” or “self-published” doesn’t mean you have any less to lose. Recently I read some forum comments attacking Christina Grimmie, a contestant on The Voice, because she is a self-made artist. Suddenly her hard work, her countless hours of self-motivated labor were considered “cheap” in the eyes of ignorant critics who think she has an unfair advantage. Why are these critics ignorant? They, like so many others, do not understand the work that people like Christina put into their profession.

When do you get to call yourself a professional? Is there a dollar mark, hours spent doing something, or some other standard that is set before a person can consider their “passion or hobby” their profession? Just because I work 40 hours a week at a day job, does that mean I can never obtain the title of “professional writer” myself? Is the benchmark of such an occupation these days only publication of some sort? There are other factors people don’t consider that I do. Factors that people like Christina Grimme and all the other talented artists and writers I see and read each day know. We gamble with what we can lose and we can lose our audience any minute. That is a sad truth that those of us that love social media realize. Everyone is a hair breath away from going viral AND being forgotten.

The people bashing Christina on The Voice are morons because they don’t understand the courage it took for her to even go on the show in the first place. Before entering as a contestant she had over 2 million subscribers. That is a very good following on any platform, I can only dream of such numbers. She put that ALL on the line when she decided to go on TV and even if that “following” helped her voting numbers it still could have gone very badly for her had the judges said she “could not sing.” When you leave the comfort of your platform and more importantly the safety of your own channels and websites, you open yourself to criticism you may or may not have heard before. Published authors that go on to create a blog generally already have a “readership” and the feedback they receive is usually expected. It is a much different scenario for a person that began their profession by first gathering an interested audience, rather than putting something of “note” out first.

What is the price of fame and what is it worth? I suppose for every peak of accomplishment for one, that peak simply presents another level for a different person. Some of us want it all and we see an unconquered land in social media. We put all our chips on the table because each day we are playing till we bust. That is the struggle and gamble of a self-made artist, writer, singer, actor, or anyone that represents themselves solely. Consider this before you assume someone has leverage in anything. Often they are putting much more on the line than you are aware.


Stop Saying You Have “Fake Followers”

Stop saying you have “fake followers” bloggers. Pressing the FOLLOW button isn’t committing to you or your blog. It is accepting your blog onto our readers. From there your articles and posts need to catch our attention just like the WordPress reader and guess whose job that is? YOUR JOB! My reader almost dies from a heart attack every time I open it, but once it is opened I visit a ton of blogs a day. I read the posts and guess which posts I read? The ones that catch my eye! Just like everyone else! If you have 100 followers or even 1,000 followers you are not gaining a commitment from those people to read every one of your posts. So if you gain only a few views perhaps you should study how you are WORKING to gain those looks at your stuff.

I am so tired of hearing people complain about how their follower number is so high and yet they get so little attention. You sound like babies. Do you realize how many accounts go dormant each year? Bloggers just “forget” they have an account or they simply create a new one. So what if a percentage of your subscriber number is nonexistent, there are tens of thousands of new readers joining WordPress each day. Go find them and stop wasting your time speculating about a stupid number. Sure have goals and milestones and be proud of your subscriber number, but the point where it becomes a negative thing is the point where you have gone too far. Worry about your commenters and the people that say they visit your blog. Work harder at making better titles and hell add some photos if you want. Participate in prompts, Blogging 101, or go out and just meet bloggers. Just don’t sit there in a corner writing post after post about no one cares. People care but you have to find those people. Extend a hand first, it is a virtual hand how hard is that? Go find your audience people and stop complaining about fake followers.


The “Follow” Debate

I get a lot of amusement browsing blogs and seeing what everyone finds so important. Every day there is something new that bloggers are ranting about in their separate corners of WordPress. One of the main debates that always draws attention are conversations on the “follow button” and how it should be used. We all have different ethics on what exactly it means to “follow” another blogger or to become a subscriber. What kind of dedication that entails is dependent on the individual blogger and how they view blogging. To me the “follow button” merely means I saw something interesting on your site, post, or blog and you have made it to my reader. From there it is like any magazine or newspaper, you are tasked with having to catch my attention each time you want me to read your writing or posts.

I have read that some bloggers view the follow button as a strong commitment. They see it as a promise that you not only find that person’s site interesting, but that you will continue to be a reader of that blog regardless what that blogger publishes. That is not the case at all, but people love to romanticize relationships and ferment bonds because humans like to create commitments according to their own personal standards. Bloggers that view the subscribe button in that way generally aren’t considering how the “follower” views things, they are only portraying how much value they place in that form of connection. If only authors could do that as well right? “You bought one of my books! You are now a fan for life and there is no turning back! Thank you for your lifelong support!” It would be nice if that were how publishing worked as well.

Just blog people and worry about the portion you control when it comes to social media and interaction. You can control how far you extend your hand and how hard you try to grow your network. A person cannot ever control how much another person meets them back, that is simply not a rational way of viewing blogging or life in general. That is why I find it is not only pointless to have these long debates on what exactly the follow button means, but it is also wasted energy that could be better used at pushing your own blog. The sad part is most of these arguments I have come across are between bloggers that claim they “have no interest in followers or numbers.” Then what are you so upset about? Are you truly that mad that some “random people” followed you and don’t comment, or are you instead angry at yourself that you can’t crack the code on how to get those people to leave a comment?

I understand the frustration because we all want dialogue. We want feedback and reviews on our work, that is why we put so much time into our posts. I do “get” why people grow frustrated and angry at what they perceive as “fake follows,” but that anger is misplaced because it is counterproductive. These feelings also create misconceptions on what other bloggers are doing. I have read the comments and accusations that anyone with over 1,000 “followers” is not a real blogger and instead is a marketer. While many bloggers do push products and are here to market, I would caution people to really look at what a blogger is “doing” before mislabeling them. Often people jump to conclusions about what I myself am doing on HarsH ReaLiTy either from ignorance or jealousy. That comes with the territory and I accept that, but again I encourage bloggers to put their energy to better use. Just blog people.


You Are Prolific

I really appreciate and get a chuckle when people call me prolific. Growing up I struggled with English and Vocabulary and even had to take speech therapy for “TH”, “SH,” and “CH.” I later learned to enjoy reading for myself. That has always been my secret pleasure and I would reread the same book hundreds of times over. It became one of those things I do.

When I was in 6th grade I cheated on a Vocabulary test by writing the words on my fingers. I was a horrible speller and spell check wasn’t allowed during English tests, I ended up getting caught and had to apologize. I think it was the pressure, but either way my ADHD hated tests and found studying to be boring. I was only motivated by external reasons to do well in school. My vocabulary has since been strengthened by my parents who LOVE scrabble and word games. Growing up it became common place look a word up in the big brown dictionary in the hallway during dinner. My father is a doctor and a priest and my mother is a writer and author so they are very well read. Comparatively I am not in their league as far as brains, but it is nice to be adopted into a smart and educated family.

I grew up reading Dragon Lance novels, Pilgrims Progress, Raymond E. Feist, and Robert Jordan. I had some other favorites, but those are the books I habitually reread. From just a few novels I grew an appreciation of literature. I went on to take two years of Latin in High school and etmology, which actually was a lot of fun because of the people in it. I learned how to guess the meaning of words from their makeup. This helped a lot in college with writing papers and I earned some good side money writing for Korean foreign exchange students.

Throughout my life I have kept a journal. There was the Spiderman journal from childhood, the China red journal from high school, the leather journal from Korea, and the black notebooks from the Air Force. I wrote whatever I felt like in those books and little did I realize I was simply preparing myself for this. For writing a blog on WordPress.


Thanks for the Donations!

I really appreciate the donations and the few people that have set up reoccurring donations. I try to find the emails to thank you all, but sometimes the emails don’t work so I hope you see this message. Thank you again and I am glad you like the website.

If you are interested in donating the link is below.