Confessions of a Newbie!

There seems to have been lots of serious thinking over the past few days about blogging & what it means & involves. Paula’s post here  questions whether blogging is a selfish activity. She also considered her own authenticity here

Although this is not exactly navel gazing, it got me trying to clarify my thoughts about my blog & its purpose. I’m not really sure how it started. I’m an avid twitterer & have separate groups for writers, vicars, mums, school governors. Many of the people I follow have blogs & it seemed to be a good idea somehow. I didn’t have a plan as in having a particular subject that I was passionate about. I’m not in business so don’t have anything to sell. I just thought it would be something new for me to try on my new journey since retiring.

I’ve been doing it for about 6 weeks now & I’m really enjoying myself. I love that people stop by & leave comments. I love to see re-tweets promoting my posts. I love being part of the regular happenings like Writing Workshop or the Gallery. Just like Nickie at Typecast tweeted, I’ve felt withdrawl symptoms when I haven’t contributed.

However, it has its down side!

Like Jay at the beginning of her post  I began to feel pressured into posting regularly. Where did this pressure come from? Was it my anxious nature throwing a pebble into the blogger sphere  pool to unsettle me? I have learnt that when my anxiety strikes I have to try & unpick my feelings which I’m not good at doing. With the help of my wonderful OH & a special virtual friend, I came to see that I was getting caught up in a world that my nature is not really suited to.

It was a world of competition, not for awards necessarily, but for hits on my site, for comments on my posts & for that graph to be soaring ever upwards.  No-one had forced me into this world. I just seemed to get pulled along with the enthusiasm & the kudos of having such recognition. That is the pressure. It’s the sort that every success brings I suppose whether you are an Oscar winner or a retired woman at home writing a blog!

 It was not meant to bring me worry. It was not meant to stress me out. I had enough of that as a Head teacher. However, like being a HT it can be great. The adrenalin rush is a real high & you don’t want to give it up – certainly not voluntarily.

 So…what to do?

Well, I’ve decided to make a written commitment to you Dear Reader  in the hope that you will help me. I will try not to be so obsessed & paranoid. I will try to accept that I am still new, learning & growing as a writer all the time. I will try to control my envy & covetousness of all those talented people who readily share their skills with me.

Above all, I will keep reminding myself that this is for me. This is my fun. If I have company then great, but I can do it on my own!

Have any of you had the same sort of experience? How did you manage it? What steps did you take to overcome it?

This post is a late addition to Writing Workshop #20 I choose prompt 2: Tell me about a time when you had a moment of realisation and knew that something HAD to change

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29 comments

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  • I look at the stats every day. Was obsessed with them in the early months, but simply glance at them to see what topic resonates.

    I know some of what I post is strictly for me and maybe a few veterans from the Vietnam War. That’s all right. I copied most onto sheets of paper (remember those things, usually 8 and a half by 11-inch sheets?) and will have them for posterity if nothing else.

    Found lots of inspiration from other blogs as well as comments at my site. Try to add a photo or artwork to break up things. Five hundred words is the limit I shoot for; I figure it’s got to be a great read to get someone to invest time into something longer.

    A catchy headline and a dynamite lead sentence packs another one-two punch to get attention. Learned that in Journalism 101 as well as working general assignment as a reporter on a small daily newspaper.

    Thanks for your introduction. Hope to return for more.

    michael j

  • It’s great to read other “newbies” comments on blogging. I started my blog in January and am totally addicted to it. I have to say at the moment I am not so stat focussed. I do love comments however because it makes me feel like I amcommunicating with my reader but I also understand not everyone has the time. I also love commenting on other people’s blogs and feel it is an extension of my “online” persona. But it can get all too much if you have a busy “real” life. I couldn’t stop it now though. It really has given my such a high! I was away for a week in Scotland over Easter and that did give me a bit of perspective back. I have been trying to balance the time I spend blogging with everything else. Keep it real I guess and people will naturally be inspired by you. You can tell the phonies from a mile away!!

    • you’re positively on ‘old hand’ Heather! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Like you I would be lost without it now but I need to keep it in my control!!

  • Jaydubblah

    I have just read all your posts from start to finish might have skipped through some of them a bit but am now going to comment on the things that have stuck
    We have a lot in common. I too am a professional who has taken early retirement and have been told by the cardiologist that when intelligent people stop working they keep making adrenaline which no longer has an escape root – with hilarious consequences.
    I have a keyboard, played recorder and sang at school. I did manage to get on with the keyboard but started to study for something else and got more and more anxious and upset about it until I had to stop – which caused me great pain, but that’s a story for another time. I hate it when people park unthinkingly. My husband is wheelchair bound and the NHS after a huge amount of tests, gave him a powered chair (not a buggy) which does not cope with kerbs. So he has been out and then unable to get back because someone parked on the pavement and he would have had to have gone for too far on the road to get to dropped kerbs. He has had to ask pedestrians to go and knock on doors – very embarrassing.
    I like to share my musical tastes too. I have posted a few things in the Alphabe-Thursday meme I do on my “Just Jotting Along” blog. I also join in a couple of photo memes on my other blog “Not Cute and Not Funny”
    If I went on Desert Island Discs I always used to say my luxury would be an alarm clock so I could choose not to set it.
    Yes, once I started blogging and twittering I started to feel under pressure to continue and I decided that no one would be likely to notice if I didn’t
    Love from Jaydubblah

  • Hi lovely! I was taking a break yesterday for the very reasons you raise here! I took Bonus Boy out to the woods for the day and then only glanced at the computer very briefly when I got in. I feel SO much better for it today! I have resolved to keep bashing on at it, to not beat myself up if I miss a writing workshop or a gallery, to keep reading and commenting on other people and to do all the things about blogging that I enjoy! I am going to look at my stats, of course I am, but I am going to try very hard not to whoop when they are high or weep when they are at rock bottom!
    I have ‘met’ such lovely people (you lady, for starters!) already and THAT is what is the fun of it!
    Keep on blogging! xxx

  • I think I have one of these wobbles at least once a week so I’m obviously not the best person to offer advice on how to overcome it! I’ve been blogging for about six months, and I love it, but I’m constantly worrying about what I post, when I post, how often I post.

    Recently I had a bit of a blogging block, couldn’t think of anything I thought was worth writing about or that people would want to read, so I had a break and just posted pics all week. It was a relief to be able to catch my breath, and I felt refreshed and ready to dive back in the next week.

    • That’s a fantastic idea to post pictures! That way people won’t forget you but it gives you a break! Great idea! Many thanks & thank you for stopping by to comment!

  • I’m not sure if I count myself as a new blogger or not.

    My first post was just over 2 years ago but I only made three posts in a few weeks and one post the following year, but now feel the benefit of posting more.

    I love being a volunteer in a radio setting (hospital and community radio). I once had a part time job in my local radio station. It soon became a chore and I didn’t want to go any more. My blog is a bit like that. If I feel that I need to write something I get writers block but if I have something to say the words seem to flow.

    Each to their own I suppose.

    • You’re so right! It flows when it is there ready to go but if it is suddenly ‘timetabled’ then problems arise. Thank you for your support!

  • Ooh, thanks for this post, Julia. As a brand new blogger (a month old) I’m right there with you. I don’t have too huge a pressure to post because there’s three of us – I blog with my sisters, but I probably pressure them more than they’d like me to ! (They haven’t called me bossy yet, but….hold on, yes they have!). I love that you’re retweeting people’s posts though. That is kind, rather than obsessed.

  • Hi Julia, what a lovely blog! I adore the path through the trees. I started my blog in October 2009, and I’ve certainly been through the feelings you talk about in your post. Although my career has hinged on writing, writing authentically in my own voice on my blog has been a real learning curve. There’s nowhere to hide. It’s me. Not the representative of a company but me, warts and all. My humble advice gleaned from my experience (I still think of myself as a newbie) is to write what you know, in a voice that sounds and feels like you. Reveal as much or as little as you want to. Try to not get pulled into the rankings race, or the number of comments on each post. This is your blank page. Yours. Enjoy it! I for one would love to hear from your experience and your take on life. Many hugs Vx

    • Thank you SO much for stopping by & taking the time to leave a comment. You’re one of the bloggers I admire. Your writing is so expressive & you paint great pictures. Thank you for your encouragement!

  • I’m an even newer blogger than you, just a week, and I can already see how you can become obsessed with it!

    Like you, I am going to try not to become obsessed and paranoid, and I know I will never be as good a writer as some of the bloggers I follow.

  • Lovely Julia, I’m not a newbie anymore but I have found myself worrying about exactly the same things on occasions. I think it is human nature. I’ve even thought about giving up before and I remember YOU being incredibly supportive at the time. So here’s what I say. Just blog when you want to, write whatever you want to and don’t worry about what other people are doing. People blog for different reasons. Some people blog for professional reasons, others to connect with people or as a way of finding a voice. I blog for fun but for a while I got caught up in stats and comments and felt I needed to post regularly. In the end I got very stressed and began to hate it all. Since I’ve relaxed I’ve found I’ve actually got more to write. I’ve taken that pressure off. I’ll always read what you have to say. I think you are wonderful and I really mean that. Hugs lovely friend. Don’t ever stop blogging because then I’ll lose you xx

  • itsasmallworldafterallfamily

    I’ve been blogging for over a year now, but I still feel like this sometimes. Some people in this community are hyper competitive (which I’m not) and it’s easy to get caught up in their race. At the end of the day you need to be clear what YOUR motivations are. And if you feel it all getting a bit out of your control, then revisit those and take it back to what you originally wanted from it. For me, it’s basically a family album and a forum for practising my writing skills. I love getting comments, I love getting loads of page views, I love people telling me they like my blog, who wouldn’t? But when I feel like I’m trying too hard, focussing just on comment or stats, then I take a deep breath and remind myself that it’s not brain surgery. I’m not saving anyone’s life. It’s just a blog. And it’s supposed to be fun.

  • I’ve been blogging for around the same amount of time as you, and have had similar thoughts going through my head. I have tried to remember that, while the followers and the comments are nice, and play a part in the blogging experience (otherwise I could just write a diary offline), they are not the fundamental reason that I write my blog. I also try and stick to the mantra of “quality not quantity”, so only blog if I really have something I want to get off my chest.Often, this is easier said than done, but I suppose it is up to my readers to decide whether I achieve that or not!

    • I really agree with the quality not quantity advice. My posts flow well when I’m writing about something I am passionate about.
      Thank you so much for dropping by!

  • Paula

    Yay! This is great Julia. I think you sum up a lot of the feelings that people go through when they first start blogging – it can be a real roller coaster. LOL at me, who is also only a relative newbie but completely addicted. For me there were milestones; getting my first comment was a big one, finding my blogging ‘voice’ was another. Funnily enough I think you’ve done exactly that with this post ( I hope that doesn’t sound patronising). FWIW I think your conclusions are bang on, there’s no point blogging if you are constantly comparing yourself against others and beating yourself up about what you see. We’re all still learning and evolving and it’s a personal and very individual journey for us all. I hope you enjoy yours. Pxx

    • JFB

      Not patronising at all! I wondered what ‘my voice’ would look like so it’s good to read that it is here!
      As ever, thank you for your support!x

  • Just try to focus on the things that are really important to you.

    Hugs!

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