I have been participating in the blogosphere (why does that word make me cringe?) for several months now. Let me just say, I have learned a lot.
There are a lot of fantastic writers out there. People who will never be published in a book, but who have awesome stories to tell and tell them well. I swear real life is so much more interesting than fiction.
But there are also, um, how do I put this? There are also a few . . . who struggle . . . to connect with . . . reality. Maybe that works. This post isn't about these people.
I'm not talking about mental illness or those who blog about it. I love these blogs. These are truth at its most raw. Open and vulnerable. Striving to find the surface while life tries to pull them under. I connect with these blogs.
And, if you're reading, I'm sure I'm not talking about your blog. I'm sure it's wonderful. And I'm sure that you will know and understand that all of these things I'm about to gripe about don't bug me when you do it on your blog. You rock!
Blogging is so much more than I knew when I started. It's a bunch of social networks, among other things. Not like in high school. Not full of cliques. It's all about support. So many of these blogs are written by women. And all of us women know that women just don't get the praise they need and deserve, so the networks strive to provide some. And they are wonderful. I've picked up some new readers this way that have added to my experience.
But there are also things that kind of bug me. Okay, they irritate me. I understand why people do them, and I will keep reading the blogs that have them, but I will not have them on my blog. Deal with it.
Ads: I understand the need or desire to make money from blogging. And more power to you if you choose to go this route -- I hope you make lots of money. But my blog is about writing. It's mostly for my own enjoyment. I like my writing. I like reading my writing. And I'm big on sharing so you can read it, too. But sometimes those ads on other blogs get so distracting that I'm tempted not to go there anymore. They flash. They scroll. They show close ups of body parts that I both try to identify and try not to look at. I've finally had to change the size of my window at some blogs so that only the post shows. My peripheral vision is just too good. That thing that flashes or scolls gives me a headache.
Memes: I'm not positive about the definition of this one. I think it's like a writing game that one person starts and all of their followers participate in and then they all link up to each others' posts. Is that right? Sometimes it's a bunch of questions. Sometimes it's 100 words on such and such a topic. Reading one person answer a bunch of questions might be fun. I get bored part way through the second one. There's no way I'm going on to the third one. I understand others like this. They must or it wouldn't be so prevelent. You guys have fun.
Awards: Okay, I tried this one once. It didn't fit. It wasn't me. Different bloggers make up different awards and design a button and rules for it. Then they give it out to other people. These people follow the rules and pass it on to other people. It's part of the giving praise thing. I understand that it's fun to get an award, but this one just feels too much like chain mail for me.
Writing Prompts: Some blogs provide pictures, questions, quotes to use as writing prompts. Something to get you started. I understand the need for this. I have been at that point where I just don't have anything to write about. For me, I've learned that at that point it's best not to push it. If I write during that time it just comes out forced. I know some people have the desire to write regularly as an exercise to keep their writing muscles strong. I don't feel this need. I have enough things in my life that I have to force myself to do, writing is fun for me. When it becomes work it is no longer satisfying.
Daily Themes: Hmm. How do I illustrate this without offending anyone? I probably can't. Forget about it Friday. Weather Wednesday. Toy of the moment Tuesday. (I made those up, by the way.) It's all about the alliteration in the title. And something to write about. A few of these I love, like Musical Monday at Kazzy's Ponderings. But mostly they just seem cheesy to me. Like I can't come up with stuff to write about on my own. Plus, I don't want to commit to writing every Thursday.
Family Stories/Pictures: In fact, pictures of any kind. At first this was just because I knew that having to find and link pictures would be tedious and make it so that I didn't write as much. I don't want my blog to be a journal or a family update or a mommy blog or a travelogue or a food blog or a craft blog or anything of the kind. I like these blogs. I follow several of them regularly. I enjoy the pictures and the stories that remind me why I'm glad my kids are finally growing up. But that's not what I want to do. I want to write. I want to think. I want to share my conclusions or lack thereof.
Giveaways: Why would I create more work for myself? I'm not going to buy followers. If you read my stuff, that makes me happy. If you don't, I'm okay with that. You do what works for you. Giveaways will never be found here. And I don't participate in them on anyone else's blogs either. If you missed my post on shopping, go back and read it. I have more than enough stuff. I hate stuff. Anything more than necessary to live is too much for me. Why would I enter a contest to try to win more?
Begging for Comments: I understand the need for validation. It is a natural human need. It feeds our souls when someone tells us good things about ourselves. But if I have to beg for comments it's like begging for a compliment from my husband. It just doesn't mean as much and isn't entirely believable. That's just me. If you long for comment-love so much that you want to ask for it, go ahead. I've never been good at asking for things and I'm not going to start begging now. I love comments, mostly because then I know who's reading. But if you aren't so inclined I will love you still the same.
Girliness/Gushing: I wrote one post about how much I love people. That's as gushy as I get. If you ever read one of my posts and hear giggling, squealing, and perky girliness then go back and read it again. You read it WRONG.
What you will find on my blog. Strange ramblings with way too many metaphors and similes. Things that make you glad you don't actually know me in person. Thoughts that seem like they came from someone who doesn't get out much (which, I guess sometimes, I really don't). Variety that leads you to believe that not all of my mental illnesses have been diagnosed yet. And a profile picture that is a gargoyle.
These things are me. My blog is me. I have spent way too much of my life trying to be what others want. I'm not going to let that happen here.
Lots of people love all of these things. And that is part of the beauty of the blogging world; there's something for everyone. I was not talking about your blog, trust me.
If I offended you, go back and read the warning at the top of my blog. I kind of knew I would.
Author's Note: As my friend, Kazzy, so kindly reminded me -- it drives me crazy when music automatically starts as I'm trying to read a blog. I usually had my sound up to listen to something else and it startles me no matter how great the music is. Not a pleasant experience. Scaring me is not a good way to get me to follow you.