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Blogging, connecting, and Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls Lukes Mug Byrnewithme

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.

Building connections

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?

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15 Comments

  • Reply fattymccupcakes

    I love your writing. You’re good at what you do, niche or not. I agree that the connections are everything- if they are genuine! Oftentimes, people connect with only the aim at furthering themselves. Blogging is tough, because the “market” is saturated and we are all fighting to stay noticed while at the same time trying to make and keep connections with people who are, essentially, our direct competition. It’s tough.

    October 28, 2018 at 9:19 am
    • Reply byrnewithme

      Thank you so much. Definitely, that is the downside, and I think social media makes that worse especially on platforms like Instagram. I don’t think I’ve ever had a genuine engagement on Instagram. It’s definitely a lot of work but I’m trying to hold onto the reason I started in the first place as my motivation to keep going, which is to write!

      October 28, 2018 at 9:31 am
      • Reply fattymccupcakes

        That’s my true motivation too! We can do it!!

        October 28, 2018 at 9:47 am
  • Reply Catherine Bennett

    Lovely piece Hannah, looking forward to your trip home to Dublin, miss you. Cathy xxx

    October 28, 2018 at 2:48 pm
    • Reply byrnewithme

      Thank you Cathy, I’m looking forward to it too, the time is coming around quickly now!

      October 28, 2018 at 6:16 pm
  • Reply Snuffy

    Hi Hannah! I agree about the niche thing. I don’t think it matters what you write about as long as your readers feel connected to you. I, also, believe that people do spend less time in the comments section here and more on social media which I think is okay, too. It means other people are more likely to see those comments and engage beyond our blogs. I have to remind myself it isn’t entirely about the blog and what happens on it but the overall engagement. 🙂

    October 29, 2018 at 6:48 am
    • Reply byrnewithme

      Oh yeah, engagement anywhere is nice to get! I think each creator needs to find the platform or the form of communication that works best for them and their readers.

      October 29, 2018 at 10:03 am
  • Reply josypheen

    Niche schpiche! There are sooo many niche-less blogs that I really enjoy.

    Yours is one of the few blogs that I started to follow as soon as I found you. You just have an interesting way of seeing things. Plus, it’s always nice to find people that are going through similar things (exploring Vancouver and getting used to being so far from family and friends…)

    I wasn’t expecting all the interactions between bloggers when I first started writing…but now I seem to spend just as much time reading/chatting to bloggers as I do writing. 😀

    October 29, 2018 at 9:23 pm
    • Reply byrnewithme

      Thank you Josy, that really does mean a lot. I don’t think interacting with other bloggers was something I thought of when I started either, but I have to say I enjoy it all a lot more when I spend time reading and engaging with other blogs. I find I’m more likely to work on my own blog when I’m following along with other people!

      October 29, 2018 at 10:59 pm
  • Reply Debbie Harris

    Hello! I agree with you Hannah, your thoughts mirror my own and many others at the moment, it seems. Blogging is changing all the time and like others have said, my biggest surprise has been the interaction with other bloggers all over the world. I just love it! It is getting harder to get a bite of the action it seems and maybe you’re right with the whole smaller bites of social media, it’s too hard for people to commit to reading a few hundred words. I’ve decided I’m at the stage that I write what I want, when I want and if anyone else reads it then fine. I’ve had a few good years with stats and this year is better than any of the previous years for visitors and comments but that’s not a given that it will continue that way. I’m still considered small fry and I’m not out to make any money from it so it’s purely for fun. Keep at it!

    October 29, 2018 at 10:47 pm
    • Reply byrnewithme

      Hi Debbie! I agree that it’s much better to do it because you enjoy it rather than worrying about numbers. I also don’t make money out of my blog and I don’t have any plans to either, and I think that takes some of the pressure off. I just want to write and I try to hold on to that whenever I feel discouraged by the rest of it. But it is really nice to get to talk to other bloggers and share the experience. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      October 29, 2018 at 11:04 pm
      • Reply Debbie Harris

        My pleasure! I’ve just been reading the conversation over at Lorna’s facebook group and thought I’d drop you a message of support 🙂

        October 29, 2018 at 11:17 pm
  • Reply Tara Sparling

    Hiya – and thanks for connecting with me before, over on my own patch! I just wanted to give a little shoutout here for people who can’t always comment or engage in an obvious way due to a lack of time, shyness, or simply having nothing to say. I know on my own blog I sometimes hear from people I didn’t know but who had been reading for years, just never left a comment or a Like before. Some online engagement can be passive – but it’s just as important, especially as most non-bloggers just don’t see blogging as a 2-way street. We write. They read. It’s a fair deal, when you think about it!

    November 3, 2018 at 5:22 pm
    • Reply byrnewithme

      Hi Tara, thanks for sharing your thoughts! That’s a very fair point, and I wouldn’t want those readers to think I don’t appreciate them, because I definitely do, especially if they are non-bloggers who are still coming on to read what I write even when they’re not immersed in this world. But I do hope if an occasion comes that they do have something to say, they’re not afraid to say it! But yes, what I really want is for people to read, the engagement is just a bonus 🙂

      November 4, 2018 at 9:02 am
  • Reply johnrieber

    Great post. I have been blogging for more than 5 years, 2,035 posts. I post about movies cult and otherwise, music, travel, food, bacon and burgers, plus books, pop culture and Japan….I guess I really didn’t pick a “niche” but I agree with you- let’s share what interests us and support each other…just followed you and look forward to reading more

    November 15, 2018 at 2:42 pm
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