Creating a blog can be immensely fun. You have ideas you want to share with everybody, but you don’t have to display your identity on the Internet. You can hone your writing skills without a professor giving you a failing grade for poor sentence structure. You can design and format your blog mostly how you want, and if you don’t like the way it looks, change it. If you see an error in something you wrote, you can always go back and fix it.
Perhaps that’s part of what is so appealing about blogging. Unlike life, blogs can be edited. They can be changed and formed and built and manipulated. They can be an outlet for your most controversial opinions, fiercest naggings, and funniest stories. And the best part is, nobody has to know it’s you.
But what do you do when you’re writing post after post after post and you’re just not attracting any readers? You really, really enjoy writing posts and putting your stuff out there, and you tell yourself it’s about the content, not about the nonexistent audience. But, deep down inside, you know that your blog is an abandoned treasure chest of content that, in your view, is impossible for anyone to stumble across. After a while you realize that you’re the only one reading your posts, and aside from the occasional like or follower, the only one who really cares about your blog is you.
And yeah, that kind of sucks.
Take it from someone who knows. I started Knife Ink Reviews as a means of getting my really badly put together opinions into some sort of public form. Critics aren’t really a respected group of people to begin with, and amateur critics like me are not so much hated as they are ignored. Because, let’s face it: it’s 2014. The Internet critics of the world are already well established and awesome, and with people like Doug Walker on the Internet what’s the use of a measly, amateur little blog like mine? I know the drill. You hit the stats button. You get depressed. You think about erasing every post you’ve ever written and shutting the whole darn thing down for good. Because really, what’s the point? If no one’s reading your writing, whom are you writing for?
I mean, if you want the greatest example ever: probably my most popular post is my rant about a candy flavor. I have a blog mostly dedicated to book, music, and movie reviews, and people read my writing when I talk about my loathing for blue raspberry.
The truth is, you can never really be sure what people are going to like, or even what people are going to see. Whenever I publish a post, I have no idea where else it’s going to show up, or if it’s going to show up anywhere else at all. I don’t know anything about advertising or marketing, and I’m too much of a chicken to use social media. I’m too afraid to let my friends know that I have a blog, because I’m scared they won’t like it. I’m an introvert. I’m shy. I don’t like interacting with people that much. Which is why I love my blog.
Sometimes, interacting with the rest of the world is challenging. There are people who are naturally gifted at socializing and talking to others, but many people just aren’t. If you have thoughts you want to share, but don’t know how to articulate them properly, getting ideas across to other people can be really hard for you. I get it – I’m probably the most awkward person ever born. However, just because you don’t know how to get your point across doesn’t mean you don’t have a point. But when you have a blog – when you have something you can use to write down all those messy thoughts and put them into something good and clean and, well, you, it can be incredibly relieving. I daresay beautiful.
So, my advice to those discouraged from lack of viewership? Keep on writing. Get all those thoughts out of your head and onto the Internet, and don’t stop posting on your blog. Because the truth is, you made this. It’s yours. It’s something you can be proud of. And, who knows? Someday, someone may come along and stumble across a post you wrote, and they’ll laugh at the funny parts and cry at the sad parts, wince at the uncomfortable parts and scratch their heads at the confusing parts, scoff at the mistakes, marvel at the syntax, disagree vehemently, agree wholeheartedly, have something click within them, have something come apart for them, react with nonchalance, respond with stunning enthusiasm.
But they never will if you don’t.