Back to Basics

For a long time, I've been perplexed about why I no longer enjoy blogging. I used to post every day, sometimes twice a day, but then something happened and I lost my mojo, for want of a better term. This resulted in sporadic posts which were sometimes uninspiring, often uninspired. For a writer, this is an unsettling place in which to find oneself.

When I decided last week to take this blog private for security reasons, something unforeseen and unexpected happened. I suddenly was looking forward to blogging again. In fact, I'm writing this entry a full 12 hours before I intend to post it because, frankly, I can't wait. Most bloggers—those who write regularly, that is—pass through certain phases, which I'll try to delineate:

1.  "Is anybody reading this?"
When you first get a blog, you have no followers, no subscribers, and the hit counts you see usually are made by yourself checking multiple times a day to see if anyone has left a comment. If not, they're bots and spiders, or spammers looking for a toe hold. You write entries that you're pretty certain no one is reading and your posts get no comments. It's easy to give up on blogging during this phase, except that you hope your friends are visiting, if only out of loyalty. When you discover they aren't, it can feel like a huge betrayal. You visit other blogs and leave comments in hope that the favor will be returned. You list your blog with online directories and plaster your sidebars with chicklets and buttons and, slowly, word gets out.

2.  "Don't forget to come unclog my drain this afternoon."
One morning you click onto your blog to find that someone has left a comment. Oh, happy day! You anticipate a vital discussion on the topic of your post. You imagine sharing links with famous bloggers, of skyrocketing to the top of the blogging food chain and of seeing your blog cited on the evening news. Sadly,  it's only your mother, who has figured out that this is a way to get a hold of you when you have your phone turned off.

3.  "I just found your blog, and I love it. I've blogrolled you."
Eventually, you receive the above comment and all of your efforts to get noticed seem to have paid off. Before you know it, your comments section begins to grow and you're inspired to exercise the best of your writing skills. So it goes for a while—perhaps years—and all is well. You make friends with other bloggers, you comment on each other's posts, and you're sailing right along. Your readership grows steadily and you're able to keep up with everyone, even if your subscribers number into the hundreds. You go to blog conventions, where people know who you are. They buy your tee-shirts. Then one day you receive the news that all (Blogspot) bloggers both desire and fear:

4.  "My blog has made the Blogs of Note list!"
Although this distinction should be the best thing that's ever happened to you and your blog, it actually turns out to be the kiss of death, for you are suddenly swarmed with readers you don't know, spammers who comment in Korean and Russian, and the obligatory trolls. You can't keep up as you place unrealistic expectations on yourself to always be inspired while censoring parts of your private life for security reasons. You no longer post photos of your kids, the front of your house, maybe even yourself. For some blogs this is the death knell that precedes its painful demise. You cannot respond to each commenter individually and your earlier tried and true readers feel pushed aside, some no longer enjoy your posts, which are now geared more toward maintaining your internet "reputation" than for the honest, human tone they've grown to love and appreciate.

5.  "Where did everybody go?"
As should be expected, most of those swarming newcomers who found you so "Brilliant!", "Insightful!", "Hilarious!", and "So right on!" leave and your numbers start to dwindle. You're old news. You were a flash in the proverbial pan. You are a dead parrot, squire. If your blog is a good one, many people stay and your readership returns to being a bit more manageable, but most of what remains are the spammers and the trolls. Even your mother has been chased away by the crowds, which may or may not be a good thing. It is at this phase that many bloggers close up shop, or start a new blog.
I have entertained thoughts of discontinuing this blog as I watched my numbers decrease and my comments go from double-difits to nil. Other writing commitments took over and blogging just didn't seem all that important, either to myself or my readers. Facebook and Twitter have created a problem for bloggers as well and I admit to posting my thoughts, feelings, photos, and daily experiences in Facebook rather than here. It's safer, more secure and I can control who sees what.

But something in me has missed blogging and my decision to go private has been a huge shot in the arm. As I said, I'm excited about blogging again, especially now that I know who I'm writing for and I am secure against my usual trolls and stalkers, specifically. I can say whatever I want, I can voice myself freely, and I can engage in conversation via the comments. I'm back to the basics, and it feels damned good.

Thanks for requesting my invitation to remain with this blog. I look forward to sharing my life with you once again.
UPDATE: As you can see, the private blog thing didn't last. I went public again and to hell with the trolls.


  1. Great to see your enthusiasm for blogging returning. It just goes to show that outside influences have affected you for some time. Great to be part of your return.

  2. Good for us you are back in the spirit of things. Looking forward to following along on your journey.

  3. Thanks so much for coming aboard. This is actually turning out to be a blessing in disguise!

  4. Thank goodness you got your blogging mojo back. I enjoy reading your blogs and you've been posting them for so long it would be a shame to see you leave. Also, I'm glad to be part of your inner circle and able to read them. Cheers!

  5. Change is inevitable and sometimes a really good thing. Looking forward to reading much more here in the coming months/years/etc...

  6. A penetrating examination of the life of a blogger. Looking forward to your rejuvenation.

  7. I would hate to have so many followers than I couldn't continue to interact with them as I do. I've made some wonderful friends along the way and have never paid attention to stats. I'm go glad you're got your blogging mojo back AND I'm enjoying your book.

  8. Thanks for the informative lesson on the path to bloggerdom! I've been getting my cooking blog going but I do wonder about how far to take it! I consider myself more of a teacher/performer/enthusiast than a writer however.
    I've been inspired by your blog over the years and I am happy that you're reenergized to blog.

  9. @Bonnie: Thanks! I need to blogroll yours. Did you have to start a new one, or is it the same URL?

    @BEE: SO happy to see you here! I thought I'd bored you long ago ;)

    @Badger: I already feel much freer about what I can post...ANYthing! I really felt restricted there for a while.

    @Jayne: !!! When the new edition comes out, I'll send you a copy. It has a lot more backstory, characterization, and entirely new scenes.

    @Falco: I need to blogroll you as well. Thanks for the reminder and the nice comment! BTW... I'm really looking forward to visiting with your mum in a couple of weeks!

  10. whew... thought I'd never make it!

  11. Glad you did. Can't imagine this place without you!

  12. (After sneaking in and taking a seat in the balcony, Ville says:
    Bravo O Bergundian one. A mojo is a terrible thing to waste

  13. It is in my little corner of the omniverse.

  14. Oh, Steph. What a wonderful dose of medicine for the stressed mind. I know every point you make, having lived them the past few years. You inspire me. - The Bat Man

  15. Oops, I need to blogroll you, too! Write on, Cous!

  16. I'm assuming the RSS feed will no longer work, so I'll have to trust Facebook to show me each of your 'new blog entry' posts from now on :| No worries, though, glad you've found your mojo again!


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