So, what is success? Or to have more relevance, what constitutes a successful blog? Does it have to be well-organised? Updated regularly? Is it the subject? Or, does it all come down to its reception – how many eyes are willing to roam your blog and stay for a few minutes or so?
I’m pretty new to blogging, but eight months in, I’ve recognised a shift in my intentions and enthusiasm to write.
If I could introduce you to 14 year-old me, a writing sapling, you’d find her and her badly written prose closed up in her room, never to see the eyes of others (and to this day I hope that writing never does!) Through writing those first stories that rarely strayed from the plot of my own life, I realised the potential of daydreaming. Writing, as typical as it sounds, was a way for me to escape the hardships and confusion of adolescence, to escape the eyes of people who didn’t see me for who I was. Writing was and still is, the flowerbed of my confidence. Bad soil = bad self-perception. Good soil = good self-perception.
In the six years I’ve been writing and stumbling along to improvement, the most change I’ve seen is in my willingness to share my work with others. Anyone who knows me well, or in a work/academic setting knows that I’m a perfectionist. If you relate, I bet you want to pluck the girl on the right’s eyebrows’ in my header too (unless natural eyebrows are your thing, you do you!) No piece of writing can be perfectly pristine, yet I’ll sure as hell try to get it there anyway.
I rarely shared my early writing outside of close friends and family because of my amateur writing level and because the act of someone seeing my work felt like they were reading the genetic code of my DNA – invasive and unwelcome at first!
Now, my major in creative writing has changed my writing from a mental health coping mechanism into something of (questionable) value that can be shared and enjoyed with anyone and everyone. The first, and hardest way I learnt to become more open with my work was through seminar workshops, where each week my work would be projected on the smart-board like a huge and detailed naked portrait of myself. Now, after my second year of uni, I proudly strut my nude drafts to friends and strangers alike. I want to fling my writing in all directions like knickers to the wind!
My willingness to share my writing has had many positive repercussions – one of the best being the creation of this blog! When a full-time blogger gave a guest lecture at Bath Spa, I listened, but let it pass through both ears. I never thought blogging would be something that would suit me as I don’t have a regular-I’ll-write-at-this-time-and-place schedule (something I want to work on!) Yet, here I am, thirty or so posts later and filled to the brim with enthusiasm.
But, what is the root of my enthusiasm?
- I’m a writer, and I love my art!
- With each post, I’m improving my writing abilities!
- Every time I post something, different parts of the world are coloured in on my viewing stats!
Are you proud of 1 & 2, and guilty of 3? Me too. Whether it’s through a need to want to colour in every country like the perfectionist child I once was, or because I’m a slight narcissist, I’m unsure. Nevertheless, all three work well at motivating me.
My enthusiasm to write has risen more than I thought possible through WordPress. Before blogging, if I wrote a story I’d sometimes be lucky to have a friend or relative read it and give me feedback, but on this platform, sharing is easy and immediate. In my view, the role of a writer is to share language and evoke feeling, and this website is one way of achieving this.
WordPress has boosted my confidence as a writer, by blogging regularly about things I’m passionate for, I often feel pride for this little achievement, and I’m excited to see how this blog will develop for posts to come. Also, as I’m sure you know, there’s no clear-cut path for authors and freelancers. Writing content for this blog makes me feel like I’m actively working towards my career, instead of floundering about.
So here is my question, are these reasons selfish?
I’m very much an all-or-nothing personality, and when I’m interested in something, often I verge on obsession. E.S.A Writing is what I consider my online writing portfolio, so is it wrong to want to keep expanding on it constantly, to want to grow my follower count to share my stories with the world?
One of my fears is that I’ll prioritise views over quality. I’ve encountered this problem with my course too. For one of my second year modules, I had to write fiction that was aimed at a target audience, which is something I don’t actively do on a regular basis. Usually, I write for myself. It felt fake, for some reason. I felt more noble writing for me, like I wasn’t compromising myself or the integrity of my work that way.
Some of what I’m saying may seem silly, but this is a conflict I’ve been dealing with for a little while. Any opinions are appreciated! I’ve had lots of fun writing my first opinion piece, so expect more to come (but god knows when!)