I thought I’d switch it up this week and talk about something that’s become a little topic of conversation for me these days: my blog. This is also probably going to be written more according to how my thoughts are flowing so bear with me if it doesn’t make sense and a lot of sentences start with contractions. Also, it’s kind of long.
As I’ve written many times before, I started this blog initially to document my study abroad experience for my family and friends. I needed a place to both share pictures as well as describe where I visited and what I did. It then turned into a place where I suddenly realized I was creating, formatting, and distributing content. Yes, it looks pretty easy to just type up a couple of paragraphs and insert some pictures, and frankly, it is. It is also, however, a place to tap into creativity I didn’t know I had.
On average, it takes me about an hour to finalize edits on each of my posts, but I lay down the bones of each post throughout the week and update it as I see fit. This is equally a chance for me to save time doing final edits as well as a chance to make room for new ideas. In total, it takes about three hours for me to get a post together once I factor in the thinking process and the media uploads. Given the fact that my posts generally follow the same chronological formula, it’s not that difficult for me to format or write, but I find myself stuck as to how to make my blog more interesting and more unique.
To try to answer this question, a friend of mine asked me whether I’m writing my posts for myself or for an audience. Technically, I write for both as I consider this to be a lifestyle blog; some of my posts are simply moments of reflection while others (most) are a recap of my weekly activities. Since my weekly activity posts are written in a narrative style, I’ve been trying to find ways to make them less predictable for readers by including questions, tips/suggestions, and quotes. Because of this, my stats fluctuate and don’t develop patterns. Still, I like my posts and I like writing in this style. So I’ve been really re-thinking that question. Though I enjoy the creative control of having a personal blog, am I secretly motivated to be more creative for a better viewership?
I can’t deny that it is a motivational factor; I have even started to correlate my Instagram posts with my blog and I pre-write what I’m going to say for each of my social platforms before I share links to my posts to make them more ‘attractive.’ It’s probably the organized and disciplined part of me that takes a huge amount of satisfaction in the completeness of it all around 9:00 p.m. every Sunday night. But I also look forward to waking up the next morning to see how people responded to it. Most times, I’m pretty disappointed by the turn out which further emphasizes my obvious consciousness of viewership component. So, who is the target audience?
I don’t have a one-or-the-other answer to this question. While I surely don’t do things during the week for the purpose of potentially gaining hits on my blog, I am conscious about my content and how it affects my readers. Because what’s the point of it all if no one’s going to see it? Then, I may as well keep writing things down in my journals! I guess what I’m getting at is… I really don’t have a blog without a viewership. Without readers, I wouldn’t have the drive to get better at writing. Without readers, I wouldn’t be encouraged to get better at taking photos on my phone and camera (though I realize it is still a work in progress). Without readers, I know I would have ignored this talent that I have always had, but never saw as anything more than a hobby. Now, where do I go from here?
Will I end up writing in my future career? Will this blog ever “take off”? Who knows! One thing I do know is that I love doing this. It’s not about the social status, but the social connection. From hearing that my personal reflections have resonated with someone to just being told, “I loved that picture on your blog last night,” I like knowing that I have the potential to affect someone in some way. Two weeks ago, my uncle passed away and I went to his visitation and burial this weekend. I know that he thoroughly enjoyed reading my blog posts from the beginning to present as my aunt would send him new ones in the mail almost every week (he preferred to read on paper, much like myself). When I last saw him, he told me how much he liked my posts and how well I write–it was always so touching to me and I’m glad I will always have that connection with him. In short, it’s things like this that encourage me to keep going.
I genuinely want to thank everyone who has been a part of this exploration thus far. I’ll continue trying to provide fresh, creative content as my adventures continue. I know it’s all a bit dramatic for a post about a little blog, but hey, it is my blog after all. 🙂
“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
– Mary Oliver