August 30, 2017 by Cláudia
This blog started around 3 years ago, completely by accident. I was in a bad place and I had written a text about depression, growing up, my parents etc. (that I don’t really want to reread because I know I don’t identify with it so much anymore). I didn’t want to write a blog and I never planned on writing anything other than that one text. I don’t actually really remember why I decided to put that text online but I remember that I was searching for a free platform to publish just that one text and then never go there again.
I didn’t customize anything, I didn’t spend time setting up the site, I just blurted it out with little or no editing and hit publish. I didn’t check if it had any views, followers or likes. I did my part, wrote my text and now if people wanted to read it or not it was not up to me.
But I kept having different ideas that I didn’t just want to write for myself – I wanted to share them with whoever wanted to read. So I wrote a few more about topics that would cross my mind, some personal outbursts, some ideas on current topics. Eventually, it became clear that writing in this blog was something to keep going. I wanted and needed to write opinions and feelings. I started my blog because I needed to write.
Eventually, though, I started getting positive comments, and I saw that some people started following my blog and that someone was actually reading. I started paying some attention to which posts would get more views, what time to publish was better, I started editing my posts better, writing drafts beforehand, making plans and brainstorms. It was not necessarily a bad thing and I think it improved my quality as a writer.
But recently I felt like I was no longer writing just because I needed to write. Recently, I found out that I was writing because I wanted to be read. I was carefully thinking about tags and titles, I was scheduling posts at the most popular hours, I was checking frequently stats… It made my experience as a writer a lot less enjoyable as I was searching for views and likes as a form of validation. Unknowingly, I was treating my blog as a lot of people treat their social media – as a way to feel like I matter, as a way to feel fake intimacy.
Now, don’t get me wrong – none of my posts were thought out to gain traffic, everything I wrote was true to myself and my beliefs, at least at the time that I wrote it, but the interaction with my blog when I was not writing a post was a lot less enjoyable than before. There was disappointment if no one was reading, the feeling that I didn’t matter…
This post is perhaps pointless. But I did think it was an interesting change to document and acknowledge. A big characteristic of today’s world is the quest for online popularity and, even though I would never want to be known as a person, for a minute I was giving way too much importance on how many people were reading my words.
In a way, I do want people to read. I believe that ideas change the world and by spreading my message I can maybe make a little bit of change, start conversations, debate ideas, progress and shed some light into this world. In this sense, it does matter if I am being read or not because my ideas are not good for anything if no one other than myself has had any contact with them. But on the other hand, my initial approach had some merit: I should try to write as best as possible, I should try to make my texts accessible and interesting. But as soon as they are published, they are no longer in my control, they are no longer mine in some way. So there is no need to monitor, worry or doubt. I have written and the rest is not up to me.
Again, this is probably a pointless post. I have no big takeaway for the reader but as for me, I will have a much healthier relationship with this blog from now on and will start enjoying it again as I did before.