Does publishing a blog change our motivation?

The challenge to stay true to yourself

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Here’s a blog I wrote a couple of weeks ago, on the day I first set up this blog with WordPress.

Today I set up my blog on the web. Hopped on to WordPress, organised my blog page and decided what I would call it. I’ve got to say it wasn’t easy. I don’t see myself as a dummy when it comes to using technology, but I was frustrated for quite a while before I finally got the page set up sufficiently well to get the ball rolling. I found their lack of “how to’s” most frustrating, and I’m guessing it’s because so many people already use WordPress (and other technology like it) so it’s set up intuitively for those who already know how to use them. To us doing it for the first time, it didn’t feel very intuitive at all. Help screens and copious descriptions of what to do would have been very helpful (later on I did find more online help, but for me as a noob it was still pretty unhelpful).

Anyway, it’s done, and I posted the first blog that I wrote a few weeks ago. It’s funny how doing that simple thing changed how I felt about my blogs. Up till now, no-one has read them but me, and I’ve been pretty happy with them. Now that I’ve posted one, I have my doubts.

Is it interesting enough to read? Do I waffle a bit, or is it really all a bit dry? All of a sudden I’m concerned about how others will perceive my work, and I feel the PRESSURE.

This is crazy – I set this blog up originally for my own benefit. Sure, I had great pleasure in imagining others reading it and interacting with it, but I started it as a way to get my creative juices flowing. Now, I’m not really sure if I’m any more creative than I was when I started it, but I am surprised at how easily ideas have flowed once I put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard!). It has taken a bit of discipline to get my iPad out and get started each day (today was no different) but once I’ve typed a couple of sentences it becomes effortless.

Amazing – who would have thought? And I might find out one day (if I persist with posting my blogs) if any of you are remotely interested in what I have to say. But I am so pleased to have started and got this far. If no-one else benefits, I have. Already a number of ideas that have been half formed are now clearer. I’ve been thinking out aloud in writing my blogs, and it’s helped me clarify what I believe about quite a few things.

Oh, I know that doesn’t mean that I’m right. Indeed, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if I revisit some of my earlier topics at some stage in the future and arrive at different conclusions. I don’t have the last word – and I don’t need to. I just know more clearly what I believe at the moment. And that’s rather refreshing for me.

It makes me wonder what life would be like if I was able to talk this stuff out every day with someone – just like Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales (who I mentioned in an earlier blog). But I don’t have someone like that at the moment and if I did there is no guarantee they would be interested in the sorts of things I have mused about in these blogs. So, in the absence of such a person, I have to say this blog has been terrific for me.

What I have to be careful about now, is not to let the publishing of my blogs take this joy away. I am a competitive bugger, and measure myself all the time. Now I  can measure the success of my blog (how many followers, how many readers, how many comments, how many of those comments positive and how many negative) – but I must not. I must not turn it into something it was never intended to be. I’m sorry, but it’s not about you, dear reader. It’s about me! And I can only hope that you will benefit from what I write, but if you don’t, well, I am, so that’s okay.

So here’s to being selfish. Or rather, true to myself and my motivation. Wish me success, just like everyone in Peter Pan wished Tinkerbell to be okay (and she was). The proof of it will be if you see this blog or not (of course, you can’t wish me well until you see this, and by then I might just have conquered my fixation with achievement – but wish me well anyway!). Thank you in advance.

Postscript: Now, a couple of weeks later, I have to say I’m doing okay. Thanks for those who have liked my posts so far. And yes – I have struggled a bit to stay focussed on the purpose of this blog. I’ve had to pull myself back a few times from saying what I think you might like to hear. Because it’s not about me serving up something I think you might like – if it is, then that will become a chore. Its about me sharing what’s important to me, and hopefully you’ll find it interesting too. Here’s hoping I continue to resist the urge to please others.

Author: Terry Lewis

I'm a guy in his 50's who thought it might be fun to write about day to day issues - the stuff that life is made of. It's helped me think and develop some deeper perspectives. I enjoyed it so much I thought I might start posting it in a blog, and here we are! I intend to mix it up as much as I can. I am a thinking kind of guy so the majority of my posts will probably have some kernel of truth or (hopefully) wisdom nestled in there somewhere. But I also hope to have some light hearted posts as well. Too much thinking can make life pretty dull! Anyway, hope you like it.

5 thoughts on “Does publishing a blog change our motivation?”

  1. Thought provoking post. My blog is also ‘young’ but am enjoying the discipline and sense of purpose it gives. Sometimes I want to delete it all though! Crazy. I enjoy reading your blog. Followers will pick up but WordPress doesn’t make it easy to ‘see the map’ of who is out there. It seems to be more of a ‘stumble upon’ thing to me. Does it change my motivation? Yes 🌞

  2. I recognise so much of what you’ve written here (and I really like the way you write, too). Taking the step to publish is quite a significant one and I also struggle with the issues you raise, particularly staying true to myself and not trying to please an ‘audience’. I set up my blog in February. It’s sole purpose was to motivate me to take photographs regularly as, in the last couple of years, my day job has completely dominated at the expense of all other aspects of my life. Until a couple of weeks ago, I had one follower, and that was fine by me. I wasn’t particularly seeking out an audience, although I would share the odd link to my site with my friends on Facebook.

    Then everything changed when I published a photo essay on the 30th anniversary of Chernobyl on 26 April. The editor of WordPress stumbled across it while she was looking for “photo essay” tags. She emailed me to say she had chosen it for the Editor’s Pick on the Discover channel, which has 3.2 million followers! I have to say, my first reaction was total fear! I was suddenly filled with so much self-doubt. What if everyone thinks my photos are terrible? What if my writing isn’t up to scratch? What if I’m thrown to the savage wolves of social media and torn apart!

    The reality was, thankfully, so different. I did get a lot of attention but there were so many thoughtful, considered, moving comments as people shared their own experiences of that day – it really turned in to quite a conversation and I got so much out of that. I’ve also discovered so many fascinating blogs as a result of the people who stopped by.

    I now have more than 200 followers, which has been a dramatic – and unexpected – shift, and I’m really having to stop trying to ‘second guess’ myself. I have to remind myself that I put that particular photo essay together because it was something I primarily wanted to record for myself, so that my memories of that visit would not be lost over time. The fact it got attention was a thrilling bonus, but I have to fight the urge to chase a bigger ‘fix’! As you so wonderfully put it: it’s not about you, it’s about me! I will keep that phrase in mind as I try to stay true to myself and the original intent of my blog.

    Thanks for writing about this – it was a good read and has helped me think about my own situation. Looking forward to reading more from you!

  3. It’s easy to get caught up in the “race” for more followers, likes, etc. but building a readership is a process–one which can reward us in making actual connections with others who are worthwhile to get to know. We can blog for the love of the “game” or we can do it for creative expression and find out who it resonates with. That’s what I look forward to. Enjoy the journey 🙂

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