PLEASE KEEP BLOGGING

14Dec14

The post from Melody Moves to Bulgaria was the first thing I read this morning as I was lolling in bed like a walrus, my head still hazy and heavy with sleep.

“So, here is the truth about why I haven’t been writing on my blog,” she began. The experiences she shared seemed dreamlike, when viewed in my somnolent state.

“But at some point, as we moved into our 3rd year in Bulgaria, I didn’t feel like writing anymore. It’s not that the adventures stopped. Quite the contrary!” she wrote. It’s just that the novelty had worn off.

I’ve read many similar posts from other beloved bloggers in the past few months. “Motherhood is my state: no longer a novel experience, it is just blessed, pedestrian, everyday life,” wrote one particularly articulate friend. The bold adventure that had launched her into blogging was now just … daily life.

I can relate to this malaise.

I was corresponding with my friend Tom (aka, “The Blogfodder”) last weekend about this very topic. He’s not only a dear friend, but also a frequent muse and a superb editor.

“The tone shift [in your blog] is not blatant or jarring, but … guarded, perhaps,” he wrote. “Not at all impersonal, but no longer intimate; I don’t get the sense of daily/weekly/seasonal routines, walks and talks with friends like Pam or interchanges with fellow bloggers.”

His observations were so spot-on that I felt like I’d taken a two-by-four on the forehead. (Which I’ve actually done, in case you’re wondering.)

It began last year, I think, when I acquired a stalker super-enthusiastic reader. Not the dangerous type … more the type who means well, but has no sense whatsoever of personal boundaries. Whether consciously or not, I began writing much less about my private life — especially the existential fuzzy-navel-gazing that used to make up 30% of my posts.

At about the same time, I acquired a whole mess of new subscribers — almost 2,000! Yet, post after post, few seemed to be reading or commenting or even clicking the “like” button. Conversations with my friends moved to other platforms. Pretty soon the blogosphere felt like a dark, word-swallowing void. I started to worry that I’d lost my edge, or that I’d become boring.

So I did what every good writer is taught to do, and I set out to “know my audience.” I tried writing short posts and funny posts and long posts and photo posts. I even launched contests and challenges, in an attempt to engage my readers.

But the needle didn’t budge. I then realized it was impossible to please almost 2,000 people all over the planet whose only interaction had been to click “subscribe.”

Soon I started asking myself the same questions so many of my fellow bloggers seem to be facing:

Is blogging worth it? Is it worth the effort, the time, and the self-doubt?”

I thought about the wonderful people I’ve met through my blog who have become real-life friends. And I thought about the equally wonderful experiences I’ve had with these friends (like getting an insider’s look at Paris, and doing a joint post about the Catacombs, and touring a World War I site) that never would have happened, if not for my blog.

But then, in spite of these marvelous fringe benefits, I realized I was asking the wrong question. The real question is,

Why am I blogging?”

Am I blogging for some fellow in India I’ve never met, or to amuse my friends, or to promote my services? (“I write really good. Call me!”)

Nope.

I started blogging for one purpose only: to write for my own enjoyment. And by that measure HBlog has been a huge success.

Maybe it’s narcissistic, but I enjoy reading my old stuff. Sometimes I can even remember where I was sitting, or the sounds that surrounded me when I wrote a particular post. They’re like little time capsules that crystallize everything I was thinking and feeling at a particular moment.

So … to my friends all over the blogosphere who don’t have the time or the energy, or who feel that they’ve settled into a routine (and that somehow “routine” equals boring), or who feel lonely when no one seems to be reading or commenting … to those friends I say, PLEASE KEEP AT IT.

Even if you make all of your posts private, even if you don’t finish half of them, please write for yourself. Please write for yourself so that many years from now you can look back at the moments that today seem so ordinary, so you can realize in hindsight how extraordinary those little moments really were.

And yes, I promise to take my own advice.



39 Responses to “PLEASE KEEP BLOGGING”

  1. Is it snowing on your blog? 🙂

    • 2 hmunro

      Yup, it’s snowing on my blog. It’s making up for the snow we’re not getting in Minnesota. 🙂 (Mind you, I’m not complaining!)

  2. And please keep blogging. Your parents and Iove your writing, your subjects, and your humor.

    • 4 hmunro

      You’re so sweet! This comment alone makes up for 1,000 strangers in India. 😀 Thank you.

  3. And I…..

  4. I was just thinking about the same thing – about how much I have learned from reading other bloggers’ posts. And how useful blogging has been for developing my own range of writing styles, even when the needle doesn’t move too much on a particular post. Very well said!

    • 7 hmunro

      I am always so honored when you stop by, Fiona, because I’m a big admirer of your thoughts and writings.

      But as much as I agree that it’s disheartening to not see that needle move too much — especially when you write from your heart — I’m coming to see that it’s still worth doing, even if it seems no one is paying attention. As I’ve told my inner critic more than once, you never know how much good you’re doing. And in the meantime, at least you’re creating something for yourself.

      So … thank you for stopping by, and for your kind words. Today you made a girl in Minnesota smile from ear to ear. 🙂

  5. Interesting timing of this post because I’ve been thinking about my own lack of blogging lately, and how I left hundreds and hundreds of readers in the dust without warning. I would agree that for me it was a result of the novelty of Paris wearing off, or maybe the novelty of blogging. Sometimes the pressure of making something amazing stops you from doing it at all. Sort of the story of my life. Here’s to breaking free of all that BS…

    • 9 hmunro

      How funny that you should comment, because I was thinking of you — a lot — as I wrote this post.

      You were one of the bloggers who kept me going in those early days, both because I was so inspired by your writing, and because you were so danged *genuine.* (I still remember the excitement I felt when I wrote to Mr. French Frye and HE WROTE BACK. Squeealll!)

      That’s the thing about writing or music or art, or even living in Paris, though: If we do it long enough, it can’t help but feel routine. That’s just how our minds work. But if we can still find wonder in the small moments, perhaps we can recapture that sense of discovery that made our first moments playing on the street or creating art or exploring Paris so magical.

      As you so beautifully say: Sometimes the pressure of making/doing something amazing stops you from doing it at all. Well, as of today I’m freeing myself from all that BS. Just being alive — and being able to converse with a friend halfway across the world — is flippin’ amazing enough for me.

      PS: I haven’t forgotten our adventure on the rue Chanoinesse. Are you up for a joint blog post?

  6. Had it not been for your blog I would never have met you and we would have never become ‘real-life’ friends – a friendship I cherish. And, I would never have met your ‘big man’ either, which would have been my loss. You not only write superbly but, as I know from the recordings we’ve made together, you think and speak fluently and in ‘paragraphs’ which is a gift aspired to by many but achieved by very few. It is a privilege for me to have been able to include some of those spoken ‘paragraphs’ in my blog so that others can appreciate and enjoy them. It so happens that my blog audience enjoy your spoken pieces (they are all still listened to) – but, even if they hadn’t, they would still have been worth producing because I enjoy them. And, as you know, the recordings we’ve made now reside in the sound archives of the British Library in London where they will live forever for future generations to listen to and enjoy. And none of this would have happened had it not been for my discovery of HBlog! So, thank you!

    As for your copywriting services … well, you know what I think about my writing skills so, yes please, any help is welcome!

    And to ‘A French Frye in Paris’ … I miss your blog enormously!

    • 11 hmunro

      Aw, Des … I am tearing up as I read your kind words. Thank you! Though I would say that the privilege is all mine — well, mine and my “big man’s,” actually. You are my model not only for how to live life, but to *embrace* it, because you’ve found something about which you’re truly passionate, and — in the words of Joseph Campbell — you’re following your bliss. Even if it sounds a bit silly to put it in writing, you really have been an inspiration (as my readers will soon find out). And already I’m looking forward to our next big adventure …

      A big hug to you from Minnesota.

    • 12 hmunro

      PS: To French Frye in Paris: Hear, hear!

    • 13 hmunro

      PPS: You are a superb writer in your own right, so I will take my “copywriting services” elsewhere.

  7. It’s precisely because I started writing for myself that I stopped blogging, H – or at least, limited my blogging to those rare occasions when I feel that I have something to say that I want to share. I have thought long and hard about why I write, often finding more questions than answers. But I did have a bit of an epiphany last week, when I realised that: I write because I have no one else to talk to about the things I really want to talk about.

    • 17 hmunro

      How sad that you feel you have no one to talk to about the things that really matter to you, Keith. That sounds terribly lonely. I do hope that writing provides some solace — but more than that, I hope you will be able to find some kindred spirit with whom you can discuss the things you really want to talk about.

  8. This post really struck a cord with me. I hope that one day my children will read my blog and that it will make them laugh and smile. I tend to sometimes read an old post too and it reminds me of that time, as with you, when it happened, how I was feeling. That must make me narcissistic too. I was suppose to have done 4 posts this month already and not one is published. As French Frye said, sometimes the pressure of making something amazing stops us. Better get back to writing then. Thank you for encouraging words, always. 🙂 And please don’t stop blogging.

    • Actually I’d prefer to say, please keep blogging! Sounds much better. 🙂

      • 20 hmunro

        Ah! You’ve hit on one of the cardinal secrets of copywriting, Rochelle: Focus on the positive! Which is also how you live your life, by the way. 😀 xx

    • 21 hmunro

      I can’t imagine you *ever* being narcissistic, Rochelle! So maybe it’s OK that we enjoy occasionally revisiting our old posts. 🙂 And I’m very glad this post struck a chord with you. I will be deliriously happy if something I wrote inspires you to publish a few more of your wonderful posts, which I so thoroughly enjoy …

  9. The first few years on my blog, back when I posted only when I felt like it, were more personal, and often more risky. As I started to pick up an audience, and that audience overwhelmingly came for the cameras and the photography, I slowly came to cater to them. That has been rewarding in its own right, but now I only slip in the occasional personal post. Some of that is because I am not sure my photography audience cares about my thoughts about being a divorced dad, or personal struggles I’m working through.

    But I still occasionally write those posts. That’s when my second audience comes out, people I see in the comments and likes only when I write those things. Honestly, I’m astonished they hang around for the dozen times a year or so when I get personal. I’m grateful that they do.

    • 23 hmunro

      *Of course* your second audience comes around when you write about your history and your life, Jim — your observations and insights are often quite profound. (Plus, you’re a wonderful storyteller.)

      You’ve hit on another aspect I thought about, but didn’t delve into: tailoring your content to your audience. I’ve also wondered at times whether i should focus more narrowly on just photography or travel. But — for me — it seemed too constricting. In the end I decided I’d rather treat my blog as an online diary of sorts, full of all the glorious randomness that makes up my daily life, even if it means fewer followers. It’s such a personal call, though, isn’t it? And I suppose that’s one of the things that makes blogging such a wonderful adventure.

      Anyway, thank you — as always — for your kind and thought-provoking comments, Jim. It’s such a pleasure to interact with you in this little WordPress community of ours. Cheers!

  10. I love to read your posts, because your beautiful personality shines through, even if it’s not that ‘intimate’…, haha, well, it doesn’t have to be every time.. 😉 It’s very interesting to read what your bussy with and what you’re thinking; you are able to put things in words in a way that is so inviting. I remember when I had just started blogging you were so nice to me when I wrote one of my first comments 🙂 over here. I still don’t know what to think about blogging… So I love to read about your longer experience… I would draw anyway, but, one day, I thought it would be nice to share my stuff. However, I also have mixed feelings about the whole issue (who doesn’t?) and I still don’t have clear why exactly. Maybe I miss to see the few people I have contact with and have a real life laugh. 😀 So, if you are once in the South of Spain I would really love to meet you! Abrazos y besos.

    • 25 hmunro

      If I am ever in the south of Spain, I will be DELIGHTED to meet you, dear Rosa! Thank you for your very sweet words. You are always so positive and supportive, so it’s wonderful to know that I’ve repaid a tiny bit of your kindness through my comments on your beautiful work. Speaking of which: I think it’s universal to have some doubts about blogging and “putting yourself out there,” but I’m (selfishly) very glad you continue to do it. Not only do I love your drawings and paintings, but I so much enjoy your delightful sense of humor and these little exchanges we have. So … keep on blogging! Y muchísimas gracias por ser siempre tan linda. Eres un encanto. ¡Enorme abrazo!

  11. Well said, H. I hope that you’ll keep at writing and to do so for your own enjoyment. I started my blog to update family and friends back home in Singapore. Then it became a place where I could record my thoughts and experiences; I write whatever I feel like and am not constrained (unlike when I have to write/edit press releases at work). Writing also helps me better articulate what I am thinking as well as encourage me to read more about certain topics. An unexpected surprise about blogging is making meaningful connections with strangers and learning from one another 🙂 Bon courage!

    • 27 hmunro

      I’m so glad you started your blog — and I hope you’ll keep it up, too! Like you, I’ve been (very pleasantly) surprised by the meaningful connections I’ve made, and especially by how much I’ve learned from my virtual friends around the world. Thank you — as always — for stopping by. And bon courage to you too! 🙂

  12. Although I too blog for myself, (my fast fading memory means reading my old posts sometimes seems like reading someone else’s), I do look forward to, and very much enjoy, the interaction with my blogging buddies. 🙂
    Sometimes the likes and comments are few and far between, but as you say, I still keep on keeping on blogging. 😀

    • 29 hmunro

      Ha, ha! I echo your sentiments exactly, Sallyann: Sometimes I scarcely recognize my old posts! But that only serves to reinforce the value of blogging. (Well, that, and also interacting with kind people like yourself.) Thank you for stopping by, and keep on keeping on blogging! 😀

  13. Interesting post! I started my blog to inform my friends and family about my surgery. There was tons of personal information on it…location, date, names, etc. THEN…I froze (after recovering, obvi). I went back and changed everything to preserve everyone’s identity. 🙂 And, now I write to process. I’m not a “writer” by any sense of the imagination. I write to help me. My posts make no sense, aren’t edited. But, they are for me. 🙂

    • 31 hmunro

      Ah, Heather … but your posts DO make sense! 😉 I think sometimes when we’re writing only to process things and truly *only* for ourselves, we’re at our most genuine — and others respond to that. So please keep writing and building a community of (virtual) friends who are rooting for you and sending healing vibes your way.

  14. 32 butterfly effect :@

    Thanks for this piece! It hit me hard and it made my resolve! I was “away” from blogging for a year now. In fact i had no single published post in 2014. So, I have wrote yesterday in a piece of paper “BLOG… Do it!” It was after I posted yesterday in my FB (which i seldom do) a photo of my dad and me in an airport ready to embark to our dad-and-daughter travel together. Then a friend commented “bucket 101-list- checked”…. Then i replied No, we have already done that in 2012 and i have a blog post to prove it. i digged my blog and yes there it is… The story of our travel and what i learned back then about my dad. And just like you said…”How extraordinary those little moments were” … And i was in tears… You see my father is 85 now…

    Will surely blog now this particular adventure of us. Not for my readers sake (which are so few), nor for anything else… But for me… My little time capsule…

    Thanks again!

    • 33 hmunro

      I have no words to thank you for your kind comment, butterfly effect. I’m truly deeply honored that my simple (but heartfelt) post would inspire you to revisit those small, extraordinary moments with your father. And — as your newest subscriber — I will look forward to following your adventures! Cheers, thank you, and may 2015 bring you every happiness.

  15. 34 onegirlsreality

    I really needed this. I’m new to this and I was just wondering if there is a need for me to even have a blog. I’ve been intimidated by really good write ups of some bloggers including you. But thanks, this is really useful. Keep doing your thing girl.

    • 35 hmunro

      You are so sweet! Thank you for the encouragement — this girl will take your advice and keep doing her thing. 🙂 I know what you mean about how easy it is to feel intimidated, though. The bad news is, that never goes away completely. (I’ve been a professional writer for 30 years and *still* feel intimidated by others’ work and accomplishments sometimes.) But the great news is that IT DOESN’T MATTER. Like you said in your own most recent blog post, comparing yourself to others is a trap. So don’t do it … and don’t give up! You’re off to an awesome start and if you stick with it you’ll soon have a body of work you’ll be proud of. Keep doing your thing too, girl!

  16. Such a great blog! The subject of balancing personal experiences and privacy do seem to be on a lot of people’s minds these days, and I too have been concerned about accidental stalkers. I like to be open and honest and have no fear about who knows because I’ve realised I can have endless depths as well as heights, that nobody could “have” just because they’ve caught a glimpse.
    I had been thinking along the lines of your post having only recently started blogging and trying to understand how to get my content out there.
    Trouble is that as much as I am happy just writing for myself, part of me wants to make a good difference in the world. I want my blog to be noticeably useful, and to inspire peace no matter how much of a task that may be.
    Sometimes I think I should have just stuck to my cryptic poetry! haha.

    • 37 hmunro

      I’m no expert, but it seems to me you are *already* accomplishing all the goals and dreams you articulate so beautifully in your last two paragraphs. It always starts small, by making a difference for just one person (like Kyra!). I have no doubt that if you keep at it you’ll make a good difference in the world indeed, and indeed be “noticeably useful.” My very best to you! And peace to you, too.

  17. Your friend said, “Not at all impersonal, but no longer intimate.” Wow. Something to keep in mind! Using your authentic voice when writing is important; but it’s that vulnerability that connects us with others. It takes practice being vulnerable. The risk is high but so is the reward! Reminds me of a very early post I wrote about not saying to oneself, “Why should I write?” but, “Why I *should* write.” Thanks for another fabulous post! 😀


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