For months I began my day reading tweets and blogs from very popular bloggers and self-proclaimed writers, all of whom seemed to think it was their duty to tell me everything I was doing wrong with my blog, my writing, my attitude and even my life.
The headlines for these blogs usually contained numbers, and even though they rarely ended with exclamation marks they still seemed to shout at me: Five ways to attract more blog followers (!). Seven reasons why your books aren’t selling (!). Six mistakes you’re making on social media (!).
Most of these blogs are written by bloggers who profess to make six-figures or close to six-figures or at least $500 per post or at least $100 per post but more after tallying affiliate monies.
I soon realized that I didn’t really like these posts. Oh, there was nothing wrong with them but they weren’t inviting or homey or particularly friendly. I didn’t feel nourished after reading them, the way I often feel nourished when I read a favorite blog post, poem, short story or creative nonfiction.
Many of these bloggers write of how one needs to not write from emotion but with one’s head on the bigger picture: building an audience. Which, of course, simply means making money.
I’m all for making money, and I’m all for people who are serious about making money through blogging. It’s just that sooner or later these blogs all came down to one thing: Wanting me to pay them money to teach me how to make money from blogging.
A few weeks ago I stopped following these blog. I deleted them from my Favorites file, every single one. And you know what? I don’t miss them. I don’t miss them because I don’t enjoy reading about making money or attracting new followers or how to write an eBook with the sole purpose of making money.
During my free time, I want to read about writing and struggles, life problems and joys and the everyday human condition. I suppose that makes me a bad blogger, pushed into a category akin to chicklit in the literary world. For I want to (gasp!) write and read about emotions. I want to (gasp!) write and read about my experiences. I want to (gasp!) reach others through common thoughts and struggles and goals.
I realized, too, that the blogs I follow, the ones I love, the ones I rarely miss, are about sharing pieces of one’s life with others, be it through running, writing, reading or parenthood.
I follow about thirty blogs; many I have followed for years. As sappy as it may sound, I love these people in an odd sort of way, even though I haven’t met most of them. I value them. They enrich my life.
One blog I follow is written by a strict Catholic woman raising 11 children on her own. She’s an anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, anti-liberal agenda woman. I’m a tattooed, nose-pierced, pro-liberal, pro-gay rights, pro-choice woman. Yet I feel a great warmth and kinship with her, even though we live in different worlds, with different views.
This is why I follow blogs, not to learn how to make money or increase my readership but for that magical moment when I read a post and something inside of me opens up and I see, really see, the world through someone else’s eyes.
A few of my favorite blogs:
Kate over at Eat the Damn Cake
Emily over at Sweat Once a Day
Kevin, What the Hell
Ali, Ali on the Run
Karen, la chanson de ma vie
Ela, Ulterior Harmony
Lesley, Bucket List Publications
Jill, Run With Jill
Two new blogs I’ve been stalking for a bit:
Marc, Run, Hemingway, Run
Jackie, Jackie Mallon
Two popular blogs I still follow, because they have heart:
Nathan, Nathan Bransford
Jonathan Gunson, Bestseller Labs
Two popular blogs I still follow because I like the women who write them
Carol Tice, Make a Living Writing
Hope, C. Hope Clark