The Blog Race – How I Plan on Winning

 

02112018 freeimages.com don-t-need-this-1529905Last week, I made a post with a little poll.  It got some views, some likes, and yet only one response (thank you to that person!).  I felt my heart lurch and wondered why I was doing poorly with getting responses despite seeing the number of views/likes/visitors on my page slowly creep upward over the past month.  I began to look at who had responded to me, what I was doing to get better, confirmed that my stats were headed in a positive direction –

Then I leaned back and thought to myself, “You let the stats get to you, even though you swore you wouldn’t.”

I started this blog in 2013 with a short story called Waiting for Company, and until the end of February this year I posted very intermittently.  To be completely honest, I started the blog so that I’d have a place where my mom could go find the things I write.  As dumb as it was, I wanted her to enjoy my hobby because she encouraged my imagination and introduced me to science fiction (marathoning Star Trek: The Original Series with her is one of my fondest memories).  I wanted her to be enchanted with the things I could think up, and I wanted to have that ‘mom is proud’ feeling in return.

In January of this year, I found out with little uncertainty that she never cared.

I don’t blame her.  She is a busy person who works multiple jobs to keep herself afloat.  She’s too proud to accept handouts and (I recently found out) tech savvier than your average Baby Boomer when it comes to secretly discovering how you got money to her bank account.  She was never going to read anything I wrote, no matter how much effort I put in, because she simply never had the time – and reading, it’s sad to say, can be considered a job if you don’t really want to do it.

It’s then that I began to take blogging more seriously.  I decided that if my mother wasn’t going to read my stuff, then by golly, someone else would.  I would find a random someone who would care, maybe someone I could pass braggartly notes back and forth with across the interwebs.  I would find someone who cared about my hobby and, simultaneously, help them feel good about theirs.

But dopamine gets in the way of that.  Instead of being true and genuine, instead of being a pretty good internet friend and fellow struggling writer, the dopamine hits become the primary goal.  The internet is set up to do it, and it works.  The more you post, the more you’re rewarded with likes and followers.  The more you like and follow, the more you get back.  It’s a barely sustainable, lonely nightmare, but one in which you can convince yourself that you’re happy.

After last week’s post, as well as a conversation I’ve had on a random comment somewhere on my blog (here’s to Tom, if he’s reading), I’ve realized that I lost sight of my original goal and the motives that I started with and that I wish to espouse.  One day I will definitely post Curse of the Dragon Prince and the other stories I had available to vote for, but to use them to increase blog traffic belittles my passion and turns my readers into numbers rather than friends.

For now, I’m going to work on short stories.  I may have fewer posts than if I were writing a long story, but the hope is that I will be able to focus on my writing and on other people – both in real life and (hopefully) in this rat race of social media.

 

15 thoughts on “The Blog Race – How I Plan on Winning

  1. Milly Schmidt says:

    My mum introduced me to science fiction too! It’s because of her that I’m a geek who loves Star Trek and Stargate. I think I watch those shows because they remind me of my childhood and make me feel safe. On that, my mum is my biggest writing champion and the only person in my family who actually reads my blog. I’m not sure how I’d feel if she didn’t take time out of her busy schedule to read my blog and stories. Actually… I do kinda know how it feels. No one else in my family really cares AT ALL, which is probably why I love making friends here – like you said, “I would find a random someone who would care”. Of course, the stats often get in the way of finding genuine connections, which is something I’m working on. I want to say I’m NOT commenting here because I want you to comment on my blog, but because I actually found your story interesting and was compelled to write a message 🙂 I have never and will never, copy and paste generic messages!!

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      The internet is such a strange place!

      I hope to be more genuine in the future. Thanks for the comment – I’ll be a reader of your blog in the morning! (Though hopefully a follower sooner). I think the follow system also clogs me up, because the more stuff you folliw, the less likely you are to read any of it and the more likely you just press “like” on everything that comes up.

  2. Tina says:

    I can totally relate to this very thoughtful post. I have found myself looking to see how many post likes I’m receiving on Instagram and I never thought I would do that. But I wanted to up my following and possibly gain some future readers. I only post on FB as a necessary evil because I am not a fan and have found it to be a depressing place in the last year. It can be hard not to be caught up into this trap. My goal with my blog is for it to be a place where I can be real – scars and all so to speak. I may never have many readers. So glad you took some time and are refocusing and staying true to your vision!

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      Oh man, FB is straight evil, you’re right. I haven’t connected my blog to FB or twitter or anything (I… do I twitter? I basically reserved my name and have ignored the damn thing since), but oh man. I feel like writing in the short form often just leaves you with conversations that begin and end with vitriol. A blog lets you have a longer conversation, so that in and of itself is attractive.

  3. Tom Darby says:

    Wow! I had no idea I had any effect in this way. (You honor me, H.R.R.) I run through the same trial every once in a while, after all I WANT to be famous for my talents, my thoughts, myself. But I have concluded that ‘trying so hard’ really waters-down my initial goal of simply being and enjoying. You are a good inspiration, a fantastic mentor (though you may not know it) and great writer. Don’t you ever forget it!

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      Lol, thanks ever so much. I feel like I learn a lot when I read your posts – I mean, your career in radio seems to have been filled with excitement! I love how your characters have a personality! I think we both got on the blogging path (blogging for reals instead of for moms, anyway) at about the same time, so I consider you a comrade (but maybe less communist sounding than comrade. Unless you want to be communist, I won’t judge.).

      • Tom Darby says:

        LOL. No, no commies for me. I’ll settle for being liked. And hey, at least your mom didn’t throw your writings away with your comic books. Found most of them and all of my comic at the dump — so I was fortunate. She didn’t have a clue — well, maybe for the comic.

      • Tom Darby says:

        Shortly before she passed (2002) she admitted that she knew, but was very angry at me for ‘abandoning’ her and my siblings. She cried and apologized over and over. I told her, and I really do believe this (because it happened to Jack London, too) that it was blessing in disguise as it forced me to recreate stories, making them better, taught me not to cling to every worldly item I have and to care for those things I held dear to my heart. Looking back this seems sugar-sweet, but I still hold all this to be true. The comic books, tho…

      • H.R.R. Gorman says:

        It’s good you can look at it that way. I find it hard to feel the pains of other people dying, since I still have all four grandparents and both parents (grandparents all in their nineties, though). It’s part of why your wordpress euologies… intrigue me.

        But I still think it good you got to have that conversation with her, and it’s truly too bad about the comics. Parents can sometimes be cruel, and what sucks more is that kids can’t possibly hope to solve the root issue and fix the problems.
        When that happens, yeah, sometimes it’s best yo just leave. Even if you had an estranged or less than perfect relationship with your mom, I hope that you’ve had time and opportunity to work though that relationship’ importance and meaning in your own life.

      • Tom Darby says:

        I have found a way and thank you. I think my parent’s did the best they knew how. I wasn’t an easy child. Cherish your parents, grandparents. Record their stories. It’s a great salve. Oh and my estrangement — I joined the Marine Corps. LOL

  4. authorwilliammangieri says:

    Nice and seemingly genuine / honest post.
    I myself started blogging in the hopes that it would generate traffic to my book pages (and it does, although, unpredictably, it has failed to generate sales – go figure.) Still, I continue to blog in the hopes that those sales will eventually happen, but it’s not the only reason anymore – it’ something else that’s a part of who I am.
    That which does not kill me makes me stronger (an that which I enjoy is worth doing.)
    Go with your passion…

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      While I would like, one day, to successfully sell a book, I see marketing as a job I really, really don’t want to do. Writing a book is a job in and of itself, and based off what I’ve seen, blogging is a good way to advertise on your own. The problem I see is that the writing corner of blogs is filled with *other writers.* While they’re likely to read your stuff, almost every one of them would rather you read their thing while they produce. It’s a supply-demand curve that’s broken as hell. If I publish a book, I’m going to do so through a traditional publisher or not at all. It’s sure as hell not worth my time to do my own marketing and publishing work, not if I want to focus on having fun with the artistic work.

      I admit I want people to read my garbage – otherwise I wouldn’t write it – but as a whole, I am trying my best to be conversational. I’m trying not to be afraid to leave comments, to participate in other blogs’ activities, and (to the extent I’m able) support the idea of indie authors. I tend to buy one book a month to review, so I’ll check your page and see if I want to do yours for June!

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