Gone Blogg’n Crazy!
I piously lit a candle someone had given me to join in with prayers in a wee church in Russia, placed it in front of my chosen saint, and found myself sending out the fervent wish that my blog stats take off. I immediately looked up to see Jesus looking down at me, blood running from his mouth and chest, gaunt and in agony, nailed to a cross. I was completely horrified at what I had become!
In Beijing, a group of us travellers (including the speaker) had sat in wide-mouthed silent shock when someone had actually said, “What’s the point of doing that? There’s no Facebook here to share it on anyway!” Huh!?!
Why do we blog? Why do we tweet? Why do we upload our virtual innards on Facebook day in and day out? What do we get from all this? A sense that we exist? A sense of celebrity? Reassurance that we are liked? It fascinates me! Please comment below!
My reasons for blogging
I’d love to say that I started my blog to keep my friends back home updated on my trip. That would be reasonable. But, I know it was not the only reason!
I also started my blog to explore what a “blog” actually is and how it all works with social media and the like. I figured I needed to get my head around all this, to make it in the world we live in, and it looked fun!
I also wanted to explore whether I was “good” at writing or just liked it. Plus, I had heard about all these people out there making money blogging and travelling and who wouldn’t want to join them?!
Some lessons learnt
I have learnt a few things and still have a lot to learn. But, here it is so far!
1. Blogging is hard work!
My dream of travelling the world somehow earning money online and living the life of Riley quickly hit a reality check when I was having to fit in blog posts between sightseeing, hotel and train bookings, sharing dorms, teaching myself Russian, and keeping up with my friends and family on social media and Skype.
Gone are the old days when you went travelling and had no contact with your life back home other than an occasional expensive phone call and a few letters sent via post restante! These days everyone has multiple devices and are virtually “at home” and “busy” a good chunk of the time! Time “away” has been lost! But that’s another post!
Anyone managing to travel and work is a Houdini in my opinion (not to mention those with kids, full time jobs…!). I have learnt that for me, it probably needs to be more a case of travelling, then living somewhere interesting for a bit to “work” (if I make that come off!), then travelling again…. certainly travelling slower anyway!
2. It helps if you have decent IT!
Part of my frustration in Russia was a really slow laptop and not having accepted Google Chrome into my life! Once someone got me onto that, and I did some google searches to iron out bugs (for example, why my smartphone photos would not open in my photo preview screen – I was having to make lists of the ID numbers of photos I wanted to upload and then go through and upload them by number!!), everything became a LOT easier! Doh!! (Of course, you also need to be in places with decent WIFI too!)
3. Checking your blog stats can be addictive!
I am ashamed to admit that as my blog grew a bit (and it barely exists compared to most!) I found my fingers uncontrollably directing my phone to my blog stats virtually on waking! Smart phones are addictive anyway and when you are using one as your watch, alarm clock, email, and everything else… it is only one small step between checking the time in the middle of the night and then finding you have been on WordPress, Facebook and who knows where else for an hour or three!
But, it’s also those stats that add a lot of the excitement to blogging. It’s awesome to feel like others are reading your stuff, and when you also get comments, and likes and make connections with other bloggers and people around the world – check this one out here with a fascinating lady I actually just met in person last week by sheer coincidence! – then it gets really really good!
4. It helps if your blog has passion and purpose!
If I’m not interested in my subject and enjoying what I write, why would anyone else? If I am positively bored with it, well…. Readers can tell!
For example, I love travelling and seeing new places but what I love the most about it is the people, politics, culture, language, psychology and philosophy. I love learning, the pursuit of happiness, seeing people live their dreams, having time to muse and to let the ideas flow! I’m going to try to feed these interests into my writing more to see what happens!
There are also zillions of blogs out in the world which is a fabulous thing! But, from what I can gather, the really successful ones have a purpose. They give something to their readers. It might solve problems they have, give them information they need or give them a moment’s escape in a busy day. It is about the reader not the writer!
Having a “successful” blog is not just about trying to turn it into a money making scheme. Knowing that what you enjoy and find interesting is also helping and bringing enjoyment to others is the biggest buzz of blogging.
I’d love to know what parts of my blog you have liked and want to see more of, or if you have questions you’d like answered or topics covered – please comment below!
Help me find my purpose, for you! Hopefully one that reflects my genuine care for the world and not just a selfish wish for higher stats!! Although with high stats, you can achieve great things… which I like to think is what I meant in that Church!
5. Shut up and Listen!
Finally, online life is not that different to offline life. You get a lot more out of it by giving than receiving, by asking about and being interested in others rather than being focused wholly on yourself and what you will get out of an exchange. The world really does turn on “Giver’s Gain”.
This works not just because you build trusted connections, collaborations and friendships with people all around the world, as well as learn a lot (see some of the links below to blogs about blogging for an example)!
It’s also because (and I’m being cheeky here!), from what I have read so far, the more links you have coming to your blog from other sites, the more Google puts you to the top of their search list! Even Google is working to reflect how real life works!
So, what has called me back to my blog after such a long break? Guilt at not completing my trip report? Curiosity about how I could blog better and how it might evolve? Is it the odd exciting idea that makes my heart beat faster and my fingers want to type, for the sheer fun of it!? Or, is it you kind reader telling me you like reading my posts and want more? Thank you!
Perhaps I just miss seeing the “Wordpress” notification pop up on my smart phone and feeling like a superhero?! So be it! Hopefully those stats and practice will help me become a better writer…
An Invitation to You
Come with me to Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Dubai and Oman, as well as gorgeous Old Blighty, and please be part of the journey and conversation. Help me make this blog your special escape treat, your encouragement to make your dreams come true, or just a nice place to hang out while exploring our world and lives! What would YOU like it be? 🙂
If you think you would like to start or improve a blog of your own, there is a lot of great information on this WordPress site and elsewhere online. You might like to start at How to start a blog – Blogging Basics 101 and Blogging for Beginners – Problogger.com. I have a lot of reading to do! Enjoy!
If you are already blogging, I’d love to know your purpose too! Why do you blog? 🙂