Why I blog, why I read (and don’t read) others’ blogs, and a giveaway.

 

'Patience' zentangle art by Marija Smits

‘Patience’, zentangle art by Marija Smits

 

I’ve been blogging for 4 years now and I think it’s safe to say that my blog has made very little impact (if any) on the blogging world. The voice of my ego (which happens to sound a lot like the voice of Ichabod Muffin) is incredulous and says: What! How can the world NOT realize how AMAZING your blog is?!! (Shush, Ego/Ichabod. You’re too loud.) And then the HSP (huge) part of me says: Phew! I’ve got away with another year of quiet, unchanging, anonymity. However, little impact or not, this is still a good chance for me to reflect on why I blog and why I read others’ blogs.

 

Reasons to Blog

So why do I blog? Well, first, there are the ‘selfish’ reasons, i.e. reasons to do with the ‘self’. The creative part of my ‘self’ simply takes great pleasure in producing a blog that is, in my eyes, appealing to look at and read. The egotistical part of my ‘self’ desires (and enjoys) the validation/praise that readers and commenters provide. Then there is the ‘altruistic’ reason (although I know too, that there is an argument that altruism is a selfish act too). Anyway… I read a fair few blogs and there have been times when, coming to the computer, I’ve been sad, downhearted, or somewhat soul-weary, and a ‘something’ that a blogger has written, or an image they’ve shared, has made me feel better, lighter, and somehow, understood. In my own way, I’d like to ‘give back’. So if any of my words or images I’ve shared here have made someone else felt understood, then that really does make me happy. (Okay, so maybe this is a ‘selfish’ reason after all!) And lastly, there is the bullishly practical/selfish reason of building a platform – my blog being a teensy area in the vastness of the internet where people interested in my art or writing can have a look around and get a sense of who I am and my creative output (hence the list of publications, gallery, About me etc.). Lastly, there has been the beautiful bonus of finding community with other like-minded individuals. And I’m ever so grateful to wonderful Maddy for creating such a warm writing community in the #WhatI’mWriting crew. 🙂

 

Reasons to Read Others’ Blogs

Okay, the ‘selfish’ bit first. There are some blogs/websites that I visit because they are so full of useful information about writing or art. Kirsten Lamb, Emma Darwin, Cathy Bryant’s Comps and Calls. I am ever so thankful that I can greedily take priceless info. from these wonderful people who choose to share their knowledge with the world. (Though I do aim to try to give back to them in some form i.e. buying their books/leaving comments/spreading the word about their sites etc.)

Then there are the blogs where I feel refreshed and comforted by the beautiful images and for getting a glimpse into a gentle person’s life. I feel a kinship with these bloggers, partly, I’m sure because the sensitive part of me recognises in them another sensitive soul. Jane. Maddy. Alice. Rachael. Sophie. Helen.

Then there are the blogs that I visit because I simply greatly admire these writers; they also offer up fascinating insights into various aspects of the writing world, creativity and humanity: Ana Salote, Rebecca Ann Smith, Angela Topping, Sarah James, Becky Cherriman, Adam Roberts, Matt Haig.

There are also writer friends that are going down the self-publishing route: Emily Organ, Suzie W and Nicola Young, and I enjoy visiting their blogs to see how they are doing (and knowing what is involved in publishing I am constantly inspired by their conviction to go down this route because rather like single-handedly running a business, self-publishing requires a lot of focus, energy and determination).

Then there is the altruistic reason: I enjoy reading the blogs of up-and-coming writers (you probably know who you are!) and seeing how they are doing. If I can give them a snippet of information or a publishing tip that could be useful to them, that makes me happy. (Okay, yes, probably another selfish reason!)

Lastly, there are the blogs that I simply like to visit because they’re beautifully arty, Amy Hood Arts, Georgie St. Clair, Emma Howitt or funny and quirky, like Muddled Manuscript and Turning Up in Devon.

 

Blogs I Don’t Like

This probably breaches all kinds of blogging etiquette but still… I thought it would be honest to also talk about the blogs that I don’t visit. So, what don’t I like? Well, having to read a fair few manuscripts for the day job I don’t tend to visit blogs where writers share a lot of their prose or poetry. Because, you know, my editor’s hat suddenly pings on, and I go into editing mode (not really fair to the blogger or all the other day job manuscripts or freelance editing work that I need to be spending time on!).

Then there are the blogs where after a second or two of clicking on their URL I get bombarded with ‘sign up to my newsletter’ or ‘buy this’ or ‘buy that’. Often, their blog posts are more advertorial than article. Or perhaps more personal than it is necessary to be. (Being able to grab people’s attention and some of their time in this world of information-overload is a monetizable skill, and sometimes oversharing gets this attention. Look at some ‘celebrities’, for example, Kim Kardashian. I’m not exactly sure what she’s famous for. But she can sure as hell get a lot of people taking time out of their busy lives to focus on her. And that skill, it seems, can be turned into dollars.)

Now, I understand that people need to make money and that blogging can be a great way to do this, but as an HSP if I feel pressured or overwhelmed by the marketing (or simply not in tune with the blogger) then I do the thing that I do when cold callers come a-knocking or phoning. I harrumph. Then I get cross with myself and think: Hey! They’re just trying to make a living like the rest of us. So I try to empathise, but obviously, I’m also thinking that my time is precious… And then I get myself into a right old HSP muddle, and that’s when I have to step away. And so no, I won’t be signing up, or buying this or that. And it is then that I return to all the other wonderful blogs that I mentioned above that don’t overwhelm me.

 

The (kind of) Ironic Giveaway

So on that note (and yes, I realize there’s a certain amount of irony to offering this after I’ve just expressed all the above) but still… I’m doing a giveaway to celebrate my 4th blogiversary.

Zentangle 'Patience' + copies of The Forgotten and the Fantastical

Zentangle ‘Patience’ + copies of The Forgotten and the Fantastical

 

So here’s the deal. Simply comment on this blog post and I’ll put your name in a hat for the giveaway draw. The first name I pull out of the hat will get the above original Zentangle artwork I created over the past few weeks and a copy of The Forgotten and the Fantastical (in which I have two stories). Two runners-up will each get a copy of The Forgotten and the Fantastical. If you would like to spread the word, i.e. share this post, ‘like’ my Facebook page (those 99 likes are crying out to become 100, right?!), or follow me on Twitter or…

EGO (in voice of Ichabod Muffin): SIGN UP TO GET EMAIL NOTIFICATIONS OF BLOGPOSTS

The HSP part of me: Oh do shut up. You’re making my arse twitch.*

…then feel free to do so. Or not. I am absolutely okay with that. The last thing I want is for someone to sign up to my blog and then regret doing so days or weeks or months down the line.

So that’s basically it.

If you can’t think of anything to comment on, simply let me know what blogs you enjoy reading (or you could, like me, breach blogging etiquette and tell me what you don’t like reading). Or you could let me know which one of my posts has connected with you in some way. Or you could offer me Viagra or an excellent way to optimise my SEO. Or hey, maybe you could dream up an offer of a Viagra-enhanced way to optimise my SEO. Yeah, that would be cool…

Okay, enough! The giveaway will run until midnight GMT on 30th October 2016 and I’ll announce the winners shortly afterwards. (This offer is open to anyone living in any country, but if someone outside the UK does win, the books would be emailed over as PDFs. I mean, have you seen the price of international postage?!)

* Paying homage to one of my favourite lines from a favourite film, French Kiss.

 

Lastly, thanks to Maddy. (Apologies for all the virtual smooching, I’m definitely signing off now!)

 

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15 comments on “Why I blog, why I read (and don’t read) others’ blogs, and a giveaway.

  1. Marija Smits says:

    Thank you so much to everyone who left a kind comment. 🙂 Yesterday my children pulled the following names out of the ‘giveaway hat’: First place winner – Helen, runners-up, Carie and Rebecca Ann Smith. I’ll be in contact shortly about sending out your prizes.

    Like

  2. Carie says:

    I blog first and foremost as a record of family life; I’m really bad at remembering to do the baby books! That people read it is the icing on the cake 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Really interesting post. I often wonder why folk blog – especially if like me you don’t make huge waves in the blogosphere!
    I also look forward to checking out some of the blogs you mention. Might find some kindred souls…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the kind mention. I too blog to give something back and to pass on expertise or do a themed feature. The Poetry Shed and And Other Poems are two blogs I really enjoy, and they have both featured my work. There’s also Proletarian Poetry, which is brilliant – you get a poem and a commentary on it. I’ve also featured on that. Good bloggers do great work for poetry.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Helen says:

    What a lovely explanation of what drives you to blogs, and thank you for some more ideas of ones to follow. I love the blogs where I feel I can know the writer (like yours, though of course I do actually know you too) but I also am a sucker for visually beautiful ones, with lovely colours and fibres and so on.
    Kind of you to mention my sadly neglected space too…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. suz says:

    Congratulations on 4 years blogging. What a commitment 🙂
    Thanks for the mention (thankfully I’m in the list of blogs you like) *scurries away to turn off all Newsletter pop-ups*
    I think your blog is a great place where “people interested in my art or writing can have a look around and get a sense of who I am and my creative output”. That’s what makes you and your blog special. Your impact on the world is probably greater than you think.
    #PicknMix

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Gosh I identify with so much of this! I’m coming up for three years in the blogosphere and I feel like in many ways I’m still finding my way around. But I definitely seek out truth and gentleness in the blogs I read, and get easily irritated by anything that I feel is manipulating me. I’m really quite honoured to be included in the list of blogs you like, and always enjoy reading yours 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy Blog Anniversary . Heres to the next four years, and muchly happy reading x

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A very thoughtful post, Marija and it really got me thinking about the reasons I blog and what kind of blogs I like to read. It is definitely a space to escape into and I think that is what I like in other people’s blogs, a feeling of escape and somewhere that makes me feel happy and welcomed.

    I am honoured to be on your list of blogs you like to visit, thank you so much!

    As I already have this wonderful book, please don’t include me in your kind giveaway.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. maddy@writingbubble says:

    Happy Blogiversary! I know you say you haven’t made much of a splash in blog land and although in a way you’re right, in another way I think the lovely thing about blogging is even when you’re just sending out gentle ripples you never know where they might go or what they might stir up or alter. I think you have a wonderful blogging voice and message, and you’ve probably have had far more impact than you realise. I’m going to check out some of the blogs you recommend (though I recognise a fair few of course!) Thanks for all the virtual smooches! xxx P.s I love the zentangle!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Rachael says:

    Have you tried my viagra infused seo services? They’ll get your blog stats up… 😉

    Sorry, I had to! Great post as always. Love the arguments between your ego and HSP soul. And thanks for the mention my love. Four years is good going! I started blogging in 2009 and have had a few homes and taken a few breaks but can’t see myself stopping any time soon. 🙂 Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great post, and thanks for the mention! Your post made me think about why I blog (and why I often don’t) as well as why I read what I read. I’ll check out some of your recommendations too.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Happy Blogiversary! Due to my vision issues, I read very few blogs. I visit a few – Erika Dreifus’ website and Writing Career – to help put Comps and Calls together, yours and those of a few other writers (Angela Topping’s is very good), and that’s it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Well hello – I found your blog via a RT on twitter — how refreshing! As a parent blogger I read a lot of mummy blogs and daddy blogs, but I too hate the pop ups and the adverts. I’ve been blogging for more years than …well let’s just say a long time. Lovely to ‘meet’ you. Never stop blogging …the world needs thoughts to be shared

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Happy Blogiversary Marija! I love your list of blogs you read (some new finds in there for me that I look forward to investigating – not that I have time for more reading!). And thank you for including me. I have to agree 100% with you about reasons for blogging, and reasons for not reading some blogs. You are making a bigger dent in the world, and not just blogging, than you give yourself credit for though! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

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