Thursday, April 5, 2012

Milestones and Authenticity

(Now that was a post title rather different from what I usually write, no? Yes.  Well, to be perfectly honest, this post is going to be rather different from what I usually write, but please just bear with me.  Thank you.  Thank you.)

I've been blogging for six months now.  Six months and two days, actually.  Yep, I missed my first half-blog-o-versary (but I'm not crying myself to sleep over the fact).  Sometimes it feels as if I'd been doing this forever, and sometimes I feel like an utter newbie, still tentatively testing the waters.

When I first started blogging, it was a spur-of-the-moment thing.  I'd been writing a private blog about life and other stuff for about two and a half years before I began this one, so it wasn't completely uncharted territory.  But I'd never yet ventured much into the forays of the Public Blogging World, so it was with some timidity that I set up this page and posted my first post.  And it was with even more timidity that I started de-lurking on some of the blogs I'd been stalking for a while and began doing that thing called "actually leaving comments".  And, wonder of wonders, many of these bloggers commented back.  And followed the link to my blog.  These were girls I'd never met before.  Girls who share my interests and hobbies and passions, girls who are--and I don't use this word lightly--kindred spirits.  I'm still flabbergasted every time I discover another person who "likes what I like".  "What, another Little Dorrit fan? I thought we were a rare breed!"

And now, today, I'm looking at the homepage of Yet Another Period Drama Blog, still not quite believing the number that I'm seeing on the Google Friend Connect gadget.  One hundred followers.  One hundred people who "like what I like".  One hundred fellow sojourners.

And now... it's time to be honest.  Because frankly, honestly, truthfully, deep down inside, my first reaction at seeing that my blog had reached the hundred-follower mark was, "Wow.  A hundred followers already? All these people wanting to read what I have to say-- I must be pretty awesome."

I cannot believe I just told you that, but there it is in black and white and I'm not retracting it because looking at it and wincing is good for toning down my ego.   Which could use a little toning down.  (See above.)

But I have to wonder-- what am I really striving to do on this blog? Am I writing about things I love so that I can share my passions with others who are interested?  Or am I trying to be popular, seeking for attention, rejoicing inwardly whenever the number of pageviews goes up?

Well, it's both.  :P  And yes, I'm being brutally honest here and all that, and if you don't like reading all this, if it's ruining the image you had of the Perfect and Sweet Miss Dashwood Who Never Does Anything Wrong, you don't have to read this post.  Wait, what?  You don't think I'm perfect and sweet and never do anything wrong? .... Oh.

I'm going to admit something else here, and that is that when I started this blog, I daydreamed of becoming one of those Super-Bloggers who had a gazillion trillion followers, garnered hundreds of comments on each post, was constantly sought-out and gushed over and was well-beloved by everybody.  And quite honestly---haven't we all dreamed of that from time to time?

I'm not a Super-Blogger, not by a long shot.  I don't have a gazillion trillion followers, my posts do not garner hundreds of comments, and I'm not constantly sought-out or gushed over.  (The well-beloved by everybody part... well, you can draw your own conclusions. Kidding.  KIDDING.)  And frankly, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I don't want to be a Super-Blogger.  I would rather have a (comparative) few followers who understand what I'm talking about, who participate in enthusiastic comment wars (Sir Percy or Mr. Darcy? I can't decide... but don't kill me...) who write blogs that I want to read and who, in short, are friends.   That sounds so much nicer than being a Blogger of Note with a gazillion trillion followers who post hundreds of comments.   (Would I even have time to read hundreds of comments, let alone reply to them? I think not.)

And yet, even though I say all that (and truly do mean it) there's still the other side of the coin (it's a multi-faceted coin.  Just imagine a Rubix cube that you can buy things with---only don't try using it to settle a dispute): the side that includes desperately wanting to fit in.  Yep, I'm guilty of that one almost daily.  I read other people's blogs and love them and want to be just like them-- and so I resort to (sometimes unconsciously, sometimes consciously--yes, I DID just tell you that) trying to copy them.   Anne Shirley says that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but Proverbs says that a man who flattereth his neighbor spreadeth a net for his feet. And since I don't want to trip any of you, I shouldn't be trying to imitate you.

This is getting ramble-y, but you know what? Rambling is what Tigger Amy does best.  That's what I do.  I ramble.  And, yes, I envy those of you who post coherent and clearly concise writing that does not ramble but instead chooses a topic and sticks to it.  I need to work on doing that, but I also need to write what I'm comfortable with.  Without trying to please everybody, without trying to make myself be liked.  Without trying to be somebody I'm not.  Without trying to gain popularity, without seeking attention.  "Favor is deceitful," after all!  So why am I so often striving after vain things?

Blogging, for me, is turning out to be a journey.  I'm learning so much every day.  I'm sharpening my writing skills (well, a little bit), organizing my own ideas about things (opinions always sound so much better when they're written out) and making new friends (which is, indubitably, the very swellissimus-est part of it all).   I'm resolving to try to focus on that in the next six months (and in the--hopefully--many more to come) instead of thinking about How To Make Bloggers Like Me and Like My Blog.  (Ouch.)  I'm going to write what I love, share what makes me feel happy inside.  The truth of the matter is that I still will feel a little squealy inside when the pageviews go up.  I will still get excited when a new follower joins.  Although that last one is because I wouldn't be writing this if no one were following.  True? True.  So thank you, each and every one of the one hundred, because I wouldn't be writing this without you.  Here's to you! (*Amy stops herself from randomly breaking into a Les Miserables song*--it's amazing how one little phrase can set me off...)


Rose M. said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely.

I love your honesty. I'm very new to the blogger world and more than "a little squealy inside" every time I get a new follower.

I completely and whole-heartedly agree with your comments on having a gazillion followers. I wouldn't want it either. Just a small corner for smiles, shared interests, and the like.

Very inspiring post!
~Rose M.

Abby said...

I completely understand where you're coming from, and I'm sure I'm not the only other blogger who has felt the same way at some point :')

Like you, even though deep-down I think it would be nice to be one of the insanely popular blogs with 3 millions followers, I realised that I'd actually much rather have a smaller number who I know like to read what I write and feel I know personally.

It's a perfectly acceptable human trait to enjoy feeling liked; I think the danger lies when you begin to depend on it and change yourself to suit other people.

Just my thoughts on the matter! Thank you for such a frank, honest post that I could really relate to :)


Ashley said...

Lovely,, M'dear!

Oh, and my answer to Sir Percy!

Melody said...

Heehee... you know of course that when I read this post... I think of a certain character whose initials are E.M. in a novel which we refer to as OAN.

Hahaha, when you told me you had 100 followers, I guess my reaction should have been "So what??" XD

Am I a friend who helps you tone down your ego? Prooooobably not.
Heh, heh, heh. But then, you might not like me as well if I did that. ;-)

Desperately wanting to fit in?? Hmm. Maybe in this case you're more like Chrys and I'm more like Cordy. :)

I for one think that you seem to have a style all your own, so if you are copying people I guess I don't know who they are. ;-) And I also admire it, although you already knew that and so I probably shouldn't be telling you again. >:D But I like your ramblishness too, because it is sounds like you're actually... talking.

Anyway. I need to go do school. But, the stuff you said... didn't exactly surprise me. I guess I do know you pretty well. ;) However, I didn't know that you would have the courage (or boldness?) to actually come right out and say it. :D Which I do admire. Because since you can admit things to yourself and want to change them... well, that's a good trait. :) I don't think I can actually do that... heh. I don't even want to know what my faults are. :P (There, some candidness in return. heehee)

Lauren said...

I know what you mean! The hardest thing for me with blogging has been learning to just be myself. I've felt all kinds of blogging peer pressure, even to look more conservative than I am! But, I hope I'm getting better at letting my true personality shine through my blog. Congratulations on your 100 followers! You do certainly deserve it, and I'm sure you are truly loved by all:-)

Alexandra said...

In Which I Send Much Cyber Hugs Your Way.

I loved this post to itty-bitty-bits. Because I totally agree (Well, except on Darcy vs. Percy. You know my sentiments all too well there :-P No question...).

When I started blogging uhhh...three years ago (YIPES) on my very first blog, I had all these great ideas like you said, on being The Great Blogger (never mind the fact that I like to pretend That Blog does not exist any more...).

I've come to realize that I like my wee group so much more. I was telling my mom the other night that I feel like my blog circle is just a bunch of friends getting together and talking about random things...such a blessing for this gal whose friends are all long distance ones, and misses that "let's get together and chat" aspect of having friends in the area. :-)

And I will admit that when I get Good Comments, I get a warm fuzzy feeling that I must have done something right. :-P

But yes. Being yourself is the best thing. I will refrain from the usual "there's only one you"' comments and just say that's a good thing. :-D

And happy 100 followers!!!!

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean! I don't know if I could say that I struggle with the same thing you do because, right now, my blog is so teeeeeeny tiny compared to yours! You get SO many comments every post and I'm grateful to get... one. LOL!!! When I first started and didn't know if anyone read my blog, the only reason I kept posting things was because I'm a writer and that's how I express myself. If people didn't read it, that was... sort of okay with me, but I wished that they'd at least comment! So when people tell me that they read my blog or someone randomly comments or randomly follows me (thanks, Alexandra!!!), it's really surprising! And yet I still want more. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or not. (Probably not... lol!)

BUT! Please don't stop blogging to try to cure yourself of it. I love reading what you post! : )


PS: On the Sir Percy vs. Mr. Darcy thing, I'd say Sir Percy. : )

Diana said...

Such a charming post, Amy! I admire your honesty. I think every blogger wants to feel that people, even a very few, are listening to what we're saying.

I'm glad to be your follower, and I look forward to many more of your delightful ramblings. :)

Vellvin said...

Mr. Darcy or Sir Percy? Pretty impossible choice but maybe at the moment Sir Percy!

You are not the only person who has felt like that who has day dreamed about being one of those 'popular bloggers' I admit I have too. And yes, I am excited when someone follows my blog as well. You aren't the only one. ;)

P.s. do you mind if I borrow any of your side bar pictures? I really like them.

Diana said...

P.S. The Darcy v. Sir Percy dilemma is a tricky one. I always change my mind depending on my mood.

But I suppose it speaks volumes that I named my dog Percy. It suits him to a T! He was, obviously, named after Sir Percy Blakeney (Baronet). Somehow we started calling him Perceval P. Pup, too! He has many nicknames. (And sometimes he writes posts for my blog.)

Miss Dashwood said...

Awww, thank you to all of you for your sweet comments! You guys--er, ladies--are why I love blogging! It really feels like a warm, close circle of friends. I'm happy right now. :D

Vellvin, I don't mind at all if you use my pictures as long as you link back to me! Thanks for asking. :D

Dave said...

You imagine how hard this might be for a girl, imagine how hard it is for a guy, Little Dorrit and Pride and Prejudice never quite pop up in general conversation on the shop floor and they don't quite see the attraction in such material. Many, sadly, do not appreciate the wit and charm of these wonderful stories.

Don't worry about what others do, be yourself and true to yourself. Write the thoughts that move you, and set them down here that we may rejoin and rejoice with you in them.

I came to love all of this material through ditching TV 10 years ago and I've never looked back. Lark Rise, Mothers and Daughters, Cranford, North and South, Everything Austen and Dickens, Upstairs Downstairs, Sharpe, Horatio Hornblower, and the list goes on and I buy them as I can afford them. I have greatly enjoyed Downton Abbey and look forward to the third season. I bought a VPN just so we could get the latest episodes as they are released in Britain.

I enjoy your work and look forward to your writing, so do what you do.