It’s January 2014 which means Wanderlust is turning 1 years old! One way to go about starting a blog is to put a lot of thought and time into the kind of ‘product’ you see it being so when it finally goes live its ‘ready’. A layout you’re happy with, prewritten content and a good idea of the direction you’re going in. But since that’s not really my style (because I have little to no patience) Wanderlust was an idea, an embryo and a final live product all within a week.
The fact that my URL and blog name differ from one another is a perfect example of how I’ve changed and adjusted my website as I went along. The content I wanted to write about, where I saw it going and all the other important visions one has for things like blogs have never been very clear. My tag line and ‘about me’ page have changed a number of times – how could you get more confused than that?
A year in and I’m at the point where they say most bloggers call it quits. While my first hope (delusions of grandeur) was that my blog would eventually start paying for my travels, I have now come to my senses. It’s an interesting thing- trying to figure out how to measure the success of a blog. A measurement I quite like involves looking at readership loyalty over numbers of readers. Are there even just a few people who really enjoy reading what you write and do so consistently? If the answer is yes then congratulations- you write a successful blog.
I’m glad I came across that piece of writing because if I hadn’t I’d be under the impression that I was failing at this weird endeavour we call blogging. I identify with it simply because I don’t have it in me turn Wanderlust into a money maker. Some people do and some people have. There are travel bloggers who started out with a little blog intended for their friends and family and the next thing they knew ‘voila’, it’s funding their adventures around the globe. To them I say well done, but I also say please don’t tell us we can do the same. It’s not quite as easy as that.
While there are various factors that influence the exponential growth in blog readership, the main one I can do nothing about is the fact that I started late. The time to start a blog was a couple years ago when the web was less saturated with wannabe bloggers. There are many older and well established blogs out there that are great, and then there are those that are just terrible and still have a massive following. The latter blogs always leave me with a confused feeling. Half of me is aggravated that they managed to wangle so many followers and the other half is fuelled by the ‘if they can do it so can I’ feeling.
So what is my revelation today?…. I enjoy writing my blog and people enjoy reading it. It is a hobby and, ultimately, a platform to practise, grow and maintain a portfolio. Keeping a blog is, after all, what a modern day writer is expected to do.
So what do I resolve to do in 2014? Well there are many things. But one of them being that I will write more narratives, stories of experiences that I’ve lived. Since I’ve come to terms with the fact that my dream job of ‘professional blogger’ is a lot harder to obtain than I thought, I will follow the rules of blogging up to a certain point. And then do whatever the hell I want.
All the lists that give tips on how to attract readers say the same thing- ‘its all in the title’. Headings that spell out to the (lazy) reader exactly what to expect in the article are the ones that do the best. ‘7 ways to (blank), how to (blank) and not (blank), The best (blank) for securing your dream (blank)…… you catch my drift, this is the modern day online article, we’ve all seen them and read them.
My dream job is being paid to write. But until that happens I will do my best to write more about what I want, less about what I think I should and just start caring a whole lot less about how it’s being received. The worst thing could happen is I stress myself out enough to stop writing altogether. “Write every day, even if it’s shit”- I read something along those lines somewhere once. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I resolve to explore myself as a writer in 2014. I might even start calling myself one.
P.S. bloggers who blog for a living work really hard, probably harder than those who have regular office jobs. Money comes from various projects, publishers and places and often not on time. Turning your blog into a money maker takes a massive effort and this, more than anything, is the reason why mine has remained ’boutique’. 😉