What I’ve Learned from Blogging

Someone asked me how long I’ve been blogging, and just like when asked what my natural hair color is, I kind of blanked out. But long story short, I would say three or four years.

Over that time I’ve come to learn certain things, like I rarely make a long story short and how to make a picture bigger than a thumbnail (this took two years, people.) And while I know it’s boring to write about blogging, I thought I would share a few things I’ve learned (the first one evidently being I can write about whatever I want to.)

WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM BLOGGING

Why I Write

I write because I have to. It gets me out of my head and makes me feel productive and creative and useful. When I feel I have nothing to say, I get pissy. When I get on a roll, I get almost annoyingly cheerful. I feel emotion, which is rare, and that’s how I know it’s important to me.

I Can Be Funny

I’ve learned it’s okay to be confident and I think I can be pretty funny. While that will never lead to fame and fortune, I like knowing I make someone laugh or think—even if it’s only my mom. Hi, Mom!

People Are Awesome

I can connect with a bazillion awesome people that I would never have met otherwise, and honestly, you people save my life. I never really thought I “needed” people, but I do. And to those who say “online friends” aren’t real, I will counter with the fact that if cyber bullying can and does exist, so can cyber connections.

So there.

You Can Click Away

Not everyone will like you and you won’t like everyone else. You don’t have to tell everyone all your opinions. People will disappoint you. Their blogs will change, they will sell out or maybe you’ll just grow apart. Don’t take it personally, and don’t begrudge them for choosing their path—even if that path is really annoying and lame.

Social Media Can Rock

On one hand, it’s awesome because you can connect with the bazillion awesome people I mentioned above. When I promote a post, it’s not for validation—it’s because I think you might like it and I want to share. And I love my blog’s Facebook page and comments because people interact and make me laugh or think. Muah! Big cyber air kiss!

Social Media Can Suck

But on the other hand, holy hell with the requests for retweets and sharing and a constant barrage of all the things! It’s come to the point where the writing is no longer enough. Now it’s about getting read, no matter what is written, and getting tweeted, pinned, Facebooked, etc. by the greatest number of people.

The end some posts read like a totem pole with eight different icons of where you can find the blogger who is so busy writing and building a brand that they don’t have time to read your blog but be sure to read theirs, share the post and vote for them in a contest!

No thanks. I don’t understand Instagram, Redditt, etc. and YouTube has a video of a turtle eating a raspberry that I’m pretty cool with.

See “click away” point up above.

It’s a Hobby

I get that there’s a constant blogging popularity contest going on, but when it comes to aggressively pimping myself out, I’ll pass.

It would be great to be able to make a living doing something I love, but not at the expense of authenticity or what minimal sanity I have left. I read blogs I enjoy. I don’t read blogs I don’t enjoy, even if they’re “OHMYGOD the most connected blogger ever.”

At the end of the day, there are millions of blogs out there and only so many eyes to read them, with even fewer dollars to support them. If you’re in it for the money, good luck with that.

I Can Only Be Me

I can be naive. I can be vulnerable. When I can’t write I stress out a bit, but only because I want to entertain you. Or more likely because I  had to wear a “real” bra for more than five hours, which is probably the reason. Let’s be honest.

But long story short, I have issues. So do you.

I’ve learned that that’s more than okay.

Like the blog? Buy the books!

What have you learned from writing or reading blogs?

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62 responses to “What I’ve Learned from Blogging

  1. You’re unique. For my time doing this blogging thing I’ve seen so many who share voices or create phony ones but yours is real and real funny.

    I like how matter of fact you write but there’s an uncurrent of heart and compassion whether you’re writing about animals or annoyances or whatever.

    I’m just glad you’re here and there. The Internets need your issues, Abby.

    • Awww. I’m touched in a non-touching creepy way, my friend. I’ve learned I can like a dude with three kids and actually enjoy reading about things I thought I didn’t care about, just because the writing is good. Plus, you know, we dig baseball 😉

  2. yep – these online friendships are indeed real, and yours is one I value SO much! time and time again your words have brightened, soothed, brought smiles.

    there are many aspects of blogging that are extraordinary, and community definitely tops that list.

  3. Solid list, but then again, they always are.
    I’ve learned that good blogs don’t always make for awesome people and vice versa. I’ve stumbled upon people that are genuinely awesome in person but their blog bores me to death. Anyhow, I guess don’t always a judge a person by their blog.

    However, I’m sure you’re pretty spectacular in person too. Damn you for being so perfect.

    • Right. You, more than anyone, know I’m full of crap. And I’ve never met a blog friend in real life. Maybe that’s a good thing in some cases, but there are a lot of cool people I would love to meet some day.

  4. Thank you for reminding me why I need to get back into blogging. You’ve inspired me!

    • I think we all overanalyze every word and Internet pause we put out there or feel (at least I fall into that trap.) In the end, it’s whatever you want it to be–a release or a stress, for example. I’m glad that you’re jumping back in 😉

  5. I’ve met some great people through blogging. I’m thinking some day we’ll all get together and have one massive party. No one will remember anything… 😉

  6. I agree! As a part-time blogger I struggle with blog envy but I personally like the stress-free blogging that I do. I blog when I feel like it (usually a couple times/week) about my life, food and book reviews. If I don’t have anything funny/interesting/relevant to say I don’t sweat it. Eventually I’ll gather some fodder for the blog just by living with my husband and the Small Humans who dwell with me.

    I have also found that blogging is something that I love but it’s also something that I need. For creativity, for sanity, for interaction …. In person people think that I’m pretty shy but on the blog I can let it all out and be more of the ‘me’ that I tend to hide from the general public.

    Thanks for a great post.

  7. Your honesty is refreshing, and I’m glad you’re just as mystified (and annoyed) by some social media facets, as well as rewarded and delighted by other facets, as I am.

  8. Let’s see… That’a “YES!!!” X 8. Those were 8 points you made, right? I suck at science.

  9. pretty much think you rock. and i love that you are funny. So yes, keep posting friend!
    p.s.
    I’ve learned all those lessons, although i need to work on being more funny.. i’m just corny.

  10. I fully support all of these lessons

  11. “It would be great to be able to make a living doing something I love, but not at the expense of authenticity or what minimal sanity I have left”

    Right , you are definitely one of my cyber friends and the above sentence is one of the reasons. However much you froth about your circumstances and the cat, you have both humour and integrity and ,as we both know, that combination is in rarer supply than it should be sadly.

    For an experiment yesterday. I went down a tab thing in my reader and just “Liked” a load of posts without opening them. I picked up 4 more followers in a day, but none of them apparently read, commented or Liked any of my posts. It made me smile, but it served no other purpose.

  12. You learned lots of things! I’m trying to think of what I learned. Hmmm. That no one appreciates imaginary talking animals as much as I do. 😛

  13. Loved reading this post. The thing that makes you stand out the most is your consistent voice. You don’t waver with the fads or jump aboard the “oatmeal” train, it’s refreshing. I have a difficult time not letting other bloggers influence me and change the way I think I should write. It’s not a good habit, but I’m working on it.

    • Well, I do eat oatmeal every day, but I realize we can use “oatmeal” as a metaphor for something much deeper than a delicious vegan breakfast option. 😉 I, for one, am glad you’re back to blogging!

  14. I’ve learned that bloggers can be a very insecure bunch. Related: am I one of the bloggers who sold out??? Am I lame now??? You can tell me, I can take it (no I can’t). Oh wait, never mind, if I’d sold out, I would probably have some money. 😉

    So, so grateful to have “met” you and that your voice is here on the webz. You keep on writing about whatever you want to, and we’ll keep on greedily gobbling up every word. 🙂

    • Unless this comment is sponsored by Tampax or something, I would venture to say you have yet to sell out. You still crack me up, kids and all 😉

  15. I love your posts, the honesty and truth. I get you in my reader, and I read them there. Sometimes I have the necessity to leave a comment. But mostly, I just smile and think “I like her.”

    Thank you for that start to my days. To feeling less alone b/c there is someone so much like me.

    • I don’t think a lot of bloggers realize people might read, like the post and not say anything. I know I do that all the time. Thank you for reminding me you’re here 🙂

  16. I’ve been blogging for over 10 years, and it still hasn’t changed much, except I no longer password protect it from my parents 🙂 I’ve met some great people who I still follow years later, and am definitely glad our paths crossed. Weee!

  17. I found myself nodding my head throughout this entire post. I think we feel the same way about blogging. That’s probably why I like reading you so much.

  18. I’m totally with you on the self pimping thing. It would be nice to make money off this hobby, but I also think I’d feel weird if thousands of people read my posts every day. I write some really weird shit, and overshare. That’s not really something I need to publicize, haha.

  19. Please, let me feel comfortable putting the blogging pompoms down…all the stats – all these “oh, the sometimes not so gentle pushes by WordPress…more writing!….more blog visits!…more publicize…more awards to respond to and remember to be polite and visit everyone…”
    It gets overwhelming. Potentially consuming.
    I love your writing style; clever, witty, astute – and funny.
    There are lots of great people writing – and lots of wonderful reads….(but I need to remember not get totally sucked in…must remember it’s supposed to be entertaining fun – not life)
    Great post. Thanks for days of giggles

  20. You (and your blog) are perfect just the way you are.

  21. I’ve learnt to keep my eyes on my own paper. To stop caring about what people think about my writing, and just write.

    You taught me that.

  22. I wrote professionally for the last time in 2004. After 25 years in television I was cynical, burned-out, and had long forgotten the joy and passion that led me to want to be a writer in the first place. Except to sign my name to a check, I didn’t write a single word for five years and never expected to again. In 2009, I discovered blogging and a whole new world of people who, like you, can’t not write. It turns out my passion, though beaten up pretty badly, was still alive and with a lot of nurturing and the permission to express itself however it liked, came roaring back along with the joy I’d been missing for so long. I don’t need a million readers, but I do need some, because if a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around, it really doesn’t make a sound. So happy to have connected with you, Abby.

  23. I was with you up until that “It’s a hobby” thing. After nearly 4 years, I’m still not ready to give up on my plans for world domination. And we’re really only 7,108,674,481 people away from our goal. I still have hope.

    • I know! Secretly I’m stashing away a penny for every comment I receive so that in a couple of years I can buy a $2 Powerball ticket and strike it rich. THEN I’ll be able to blog for a living. 😉

  24. For what it’s worth, I love your blog. Sometimes I save your posts for when I know I’ll need a good laugh later. Even if I had the opportunity to make blogging my full-time job, I could never do that – I need more excitement in my life than my own thoughts in my head!

  25. Yes, this does resonate. And, I do love your Facebook page. The feeling that you always have to be out and connecting does get old and kind of stressful. We all can only do so much. Unless you want to be a one woman marketing team, there’s not much point. Plus, even though there are a gazillion blogs out there, very few of them are worth reading. Yours is definitely one of the blogs to be read. It brings a smile to my face.

    • You know what you’re talking about, so coming from you, that means a lot (blogging bestie, that you are, as much as I hate the word “bestie. You used it first.)

  26. Such a good post, Abby! We have a lot of similarities in our views on blogging. This line in particular resonated with me: “And to those who say ‘online friends’ aren’t real, I will counter with the fact that if cyber bullying can and does exist, so can cyber connections.” It feels good to find other like-minded people in this world, even if they only exist on computer screens.

    • Exactly. And to segment things a bit more, it’s nice to know like-minded people exist when it comes to certain vegan issues as well. It can feel isolating to be in a place where not many people relate. Thank goodness for the Internet and cyber connections, such as yourself!

  27. Great points, all of which are the reason that I view my blog as a journal of sorts for myself. If I have readers, I’m thrilled and if not, I’m still happy just documenting my own life for my own purposes.

  28. I SO love your blog. And I agree with many points in this post. I’m not interested in blogging for money if I have to promote products all the time instead of just writing what I want; I only follow blogs that I enjoy reading –regardless of whether they have 3000 followers or 3!
    Keep those posts coming, Abby! You’re always a fun read.

  29. Very well put. I love your blog and your page, and I would “like” and “share” your stuff (and I do) and I respect you even more that it’s not EVERY OTHER WORD you type, like some pages. How about we focus on good, FUNNY content just a little more? And the numbers just a little less?

    • Thank you so much! I agree and share the things I really enjoy, regardless of whether the blogger reads my blog or has 1 or 1,000 fans.

  30. So found this post via a friends page share….I think that makes sense lol…just go with it okay.

    Anyways I love this, I swear it’s like you were sitting in my head just now. =) I’ve been asked why I blog and my answer is why do you breath? It’s not a want it’s a need, I need the release, the outlet, the connection and I honestly don’t care how many people follow, subscribe, like, tweet and etc. I have my few loyalist and they make my world rock.

    Can’t wait to get to know your blog a bit better though, you sound like a hoot!

    • Thank you for commenting, as now I can check out your blog as well 😉 For me, I write for a living, but it’s not any kind of writing that does anything for my spirit, so to speak. Writing for enjoyment and this blog makes me happy, which I need to remember from time to time!

  31. I just wrote last week what I learned after year 1, which included some similarities to your list. It’s sort of nice to hear those things echoed by others who’ve been doing it longer. I love your point about it being OK to not be liked by everyone, and OK to not like everyone. That one took me a while to figure out. I like your blog because it doesn’t seem like a carbon copy of anyone else.

    • Thank you so much for the compliment! I’m still working on all of these things, of course, but realizing I can only like and be liked so much. It’s quality over quantity, right? 🙂

  32. This is why I love your blog..it’s honest and it’s mainly for your own enjoyment and creative pleasure. That and making real connections with people online and knowing that you make a difference by making people think and laugh (at the same time!). I feel like it’s so obvious when a blogger’s goal is money and just like anything else in life, it loses so much value in my eyes. Having said that, I hope you do make some money so that you can spend your days blissfully bra-free.

    • Thank you so much for such a thoughtful comment. Seriously. And even though I’ll never make money off it, I can still live blissfully bra free, right? Right?!?

  33. Like you, I have to write and get it out of my head. It’s a form of therapy and artistic expression rolled into one.

  34. I can read you all day and am a big, big fan. But you knew that already.

  35. I loved this, Abby! Great tips. I have learned so much from blogging in the last two years too, and I love reading your blog.

  36. So as I sit and read this post, I can’t help but notice the bazillion accolades running down your sidebar. Funniest blogger, best of blogging, books….I’m pretty sure you’ve made it.
    I on the other hand am still working on it, but I’m super proud of what I’ve accomplished. Much like you, this is a side gig for me, although it’s the one I prefer so I’m doing what I can and I recognize that has significant value, and it makes me happy so I guess I’m making it too…just without all the awards, and I’m good with that. Don’t get me wrong, I like some too, but I’m content without them.
    I also read your blog day in and day out, not because you stick to some special blogging formula but because your content is good and you are funny as hell. Yep, you deserve those awards.

    • Thanks for the props, but awards are also completely subjective. I admit they were a nice ego boost, don’t get me wrong, but for me it’s more about feeling decent on a daily basis and going forward. Like you, this is a hobby for me that has no monetary reward, and I have to remember that a lot of “big” bloggers do what they do for a living. It’s their job, and most do it well. I take pride in being able to balance a job, life and blogging–with blogging as my outlet. I think you feel the same way, and that really can’t be measured. 😉

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