Sunday, 8 June 2014

The Great Blogging Dread

(source)

One thing I've come to realise lately, is that blogging is a very strange and very different world.

I recently took a step back from being a blogger, and in the process, realised some even stranger, and dare I say... scarier things about the blogosphere.

Because after spending the past year and a half feeling rather content with my own little corner of the internet, this sensation had begun to creep up on me slowly and surely, and before I could even recognise what was happening, it had gripped onto me tight.

It had got me.


The Great Blogging Dread.

*

Now, spare me here for perhaps being a touch melodramatic, but returning from New York City it seemed as though my life completely and utterly fell apart at the seams.

After going through a tough break up and realising some unwelcome truths about social media, a total life reassessment of questioning my life down to a cellular level seemed to alter my view on being a blogger as well.

I'd always previously despaired at seeing bloggers, especially newer ones, totally beating themselves up about not posting in a while, not sticking to their blog schedule, or getting behind on their posts. I could never understand why they were putting so much negative pressure on themselves, when at the end of the day... blogging is just a hobby.

But coming back from NYC, it hit me hard.

Maybe it was the process of returning to reality from such a captivating city, or the inevitable slap-in-the-face post-holiday blues, but it seemed as though so many things were now irrevocably different from the way I had left them.

As this was such an important, life-changing trip for me, I had an unbelievable amount of coverage planned, spanning countless posts on both my blogs and across all my social media networks.

But as the days passed with all this material just sitting on the memory cards, the thought of the hours upon hours of work I was going to have to put into the formatting, processing, editing and posting... I started to feel this sickeningly creeping pressure building up.

For the first time in the year and a half since I started this whole venture... I didn't want to do it.

I found myself procrastinating from something I was supposed to love doing, and as the passing days turned into weeks, my guilt about just not 'getting it done' began to pile against me and manifest itself into some pretty debilitating ways.

I'd seen so many people online in Twitter blog chats and various posts talking about this kind of thing, but I had never fallen privy to feeling it myself. 

Yet... here I now was.



But I wasn't the only one.

In a mass wave of honesty, it seems the entire blogosphere had been gripped by The Blogging Dread and swathes of top bloggers were coming forward and describing how it was affecting them.

The first I saw was Zoella, explaining how success has changed her life and not always in a good way, that she felt she didn't deserve it, that she shouldn't have to be anxious about going out in public, or put up with fans camping outside her house when she was just a normal girl. Then Louise from SprinkleofGlitr describing her sheer levels of overwhelm with her life now, and not being able to cope with people screaming and crying for her.

This was followed by Lily Melrose's vlog trying to explain the problems, stresses and confusion of what happens when your life and work are the same thing. When your sole employment, your only job and earnings come from just... being alive and being a person... I don't see how that wouldn't totally mess with your head.

The final two which completed this picture were by Zoe from Zoe London and Victoria from InTheFrow.

Victoria's post was first and foremost an apology, a sorry for not being able to keep up with herself. An apology that shouldn't have to have been made. She also highlighted another huge negative in the industry, the harsh, bitchy competitiveness felt between bloggers.

Zoe's post also touched upon this, explaining how being among bloggers from a different side of the industry totally opened her eyes to how catty and elitist everything had become, and asking when unity in blogging seemed to go out of fashion.

And I guess... the most eye-opening part of reading these posts was that, I, as a tiny weeny, generally irrelevant and unknown blogger was already beginning to feel this pressure reaching critical levels... then how in gods name must these massively successful bloggers be feeling?

But The Blogging Dread stretches to far greater blog-stress points than that.


Okay, straight-up honesty time.

I'm a massively irrelevant and unknown blogger. 

However,

There are certain things which I don't understand, and frankly, uncomfortably confuse the shit out of me.

For example,

Last week was the first time I have ever been recognised and stopped on the street by a stranger asking me if I was Scarphelia. 

On one immediate hand, hell freakin' yeah, totally badass, let's celebrate, that's awesome!

On the other hand, incredibly, peculiarly strange

Someone who I had never met before and didn't recognise, had seen me, knew exactly who I was and all that goes on inside my head and approached me to tell me that. Of course, I was completely flattered and totally amazed, but at the same time, there was something about the slight nervousness in the tone of her voice which... made me a little uneasy.

Secondly, I'm gonna be straight up here and talk about something which seems to be a great hushed taboo in the blogging world; stats.

For a reason of which I honestly, genuinely have no idea why, even when I haven't posted in a while, I kinda somehow never seem to get under 5,000 hits a day.

It's important for me to stress the point here that I'm not ungrateful or saying this because I wanna be like 'aw yeah check me out bitches read it and weep' - if anything it's the opposite.

The apparent growth of Scarphelia appears to be astronomical - I'm getting over 100,000 hits a month and a third of my all-time views since I started this 1.5 years ago have been in the past MONTH alone.

But despite all that, my interactions/feedback have not been this low since I began. For the first time in probably a year, I published a post and it got zero comments. No tweets, no feedback, just zilch, as if it didn't exist. And it appears to becoming a running theme.

More hits than ever, less people caring than ever.

It makes me wanna scream 'What am I doing wrong here?!'

And after a while of not understanding this, I asked my closest most brutally honest friend what he thinks to which he simply responded with a shrug;

"You used to make art, Katie. Now you just blog."

(source)
So I guess long story short, I've kinda had a blog breakdown.

And when your blog is something you want to turn into your career, that you've sorta staked your entire life and future on... it's kinda hard to not let that make you feel like shit.

But at the end of the day, I guess the question you've always gotta remember to ask yourself is;

'Why are you doing this?'

And if there's anything that reading the top bloggers TBD posts has taught me is that I sure as hell don't want this to get fame or glorious recognition. That kinda sorta sounds like it super sucks.

I'm doing this for me.

To create, to inspire, to hopefully help another persons outlook even a little bit brighter.

And I do this because I love it.

And I would much rather have one person read a post and seriously resonate with it and care about it, then 5,000 people click and leave straight away, disinterested. There's more important things than numbers.

So I guess I have to stop with the paranoia, the constant comparing of myself to other bloggers. I've got to stop letting myself get so caught up in numbers and stats and figures, getting frustrated and stressed out if I don't get reassurance that someone thinks I did good. Because that's when it gets so destructive and you get to the critical breaking point of gushing honesty that these top bloggers seem to have got to.

I've just got to remember that if you love what you do, you have faith in what you do, and you're proud of what you create... Then you shouldn't need the praise and glory from anyone else to validate that.

And so it's back to writer from blogger for me, back to thought and art and inevitably probably back to obscurity and being forgotten again, but you know... I think I kinda prefer it that way. 

It sure of hell makes me a healthier, happier person.

                   

Have you felt the grips of The Great Blogging Dread or experienced something similar? I would love to discuss this in the comments or feel free to tweet me!