I’ve been thinking about why it is that I do this lately. Why I’m sitting here writing this blog post to you, whoever you are. There are so many websites out there, just like mine, millions of us just typing into the ether. Sometimes this fact is encouraging, and sometimes it’s disheartening. I move between the two constantly, and when I start to think about it too hard, that’s usually when I stop writing altogether.
Understanding what you want out of blogging is probably an important thing to know when you start. I think I just wanted to write. It felt good to get words down and put them out there, and for people to tell you they read them and they liked them, even if those people were just my parents. It also felt good to think of ideas, plan them out and see them through to completion. Blogging is satisfying, especially when you stay true to what you want to write.
Thinking about it now, I still do it because I want to write, but I realise there’s something more that I want to get out of it, something that I’m still trying to work on. I want to build connections. I want readers, people who care about what I’m writing – and I’m not talking about numbers here, I’m talking about people. I also want to connect with other bloggers, other creators, people who are out there and taking the leap to put their work in front of others. It’s an amazing thing, and I want to share that experience with them.
When I first started out, people told me I had to have a niche. I needed a really specific topic that I can create really specific posts on, and I need to link in with other people in that niche. I tried for such a long time to figure out what my niche was going to be, but I never got there in the end. I don’t have a niche. In a sense, my blog is me. I have a lot of thoughts and interests and I can’t boil myself down to just one thing. That makes it harder to find and connect with other people, but I can at least hope that those connections I do make are meaningful, because if someone likes my blog, then hopefully that means that they like me.
Time for a tangent
I’ve recently started rewatching Gilmore Girls for what is the fourth or fifth time. It’s a show I return to over and over again and never get tired of. It brings me a sense of joy like no other form of entertainment has. It’s like comfort food, or being curled up in bed on a cold Sunday morning. It’s healing and makes me feel better whenever I watch it. There’s a point to this, I swear.
I realised that the thing that makes Gilmore Girls special are the relationships in the show, the connections that Lorelai and Rory have with the people around them. Gilmore Girls takes characters that would normally be in the background of people’s lives and puts them centre stage. It shows how important it is to be part of a community and to feel connected in some way with people who aren’t actually a core part of our everyday lives. In doing so, it emphasises something – the connections we have with those around us are what gives life meaning and what makes us happy. When we are disconnected, we are less satisfied, maybe even unhappy.
I’ve felt a bit disconnected lately (although not unhappy), and watching Gilmore Girls has forced me to think about what it is that’s missing for me. What’s missing is a sense of community, or feeling a part of something. I work remotely, and although I’m still part of a team, it can be hard to feel that when I’m 7,156km away. I’m living in a new city, where I’m slowly beginning to find friends, but where working from home makes it hard to not feel isolated sometimes. I’ve returned to blogging with an energy that I didn’t have before because I’m looking for that connection. I want to connect with the person on the other side of the screen, with the person in the comments, with the person who was here but left no trace except another page view in my analytics. If that’s you, you can say hello.
What is blogging, anyway?
We move through the world so quickly, and the internet is so expansive, with so many websites screaming for attention, that we’re quick to dismiss something that doesn’t immediately catch us. We get what we need and then we get out. I want more than that, and I’m sure other people do too.
The landscape of blogging has changed dramatically over the years, to the point where the word no longer means what it meant when the concept first emerged. There’s no longer a social hub of activity happening in the comments section of a blog post (well, on some blogs there is, but it’s not what it used to be), or people typing the exact address into their browser to read the new post from their favourite writers. Instead we follow creators on social media, looking for information in bite-sized pieces, preferring images over words, and increasingly unlikely to actually click a link to read a blog post. This is the way it works now, and we all have to adapt, but it’s not the way I like to do things. Some people feel this makes it easier to connect, but for me I find it harder.
Okay, what’s your point?
I suppose my point is that I’m open to connect. I want to find more writers, bloggers, and creators who want the same thing. I want to know who’s reading this and what they think. I want to feel a part of something, even if that’s just a small community of people reading this blog. I’m not sure if any of this will happen for me, but at least I’m here saying I’m open to it. So let’s connect.
Why not start by saying hello?
The original version of this post was lost and this is the restored version, which means the discussion from the comments was lost too! I’m sorry to lose so many people’s thoughts on this topic, but feel free to start a new conversation below.