Today I tried something new and it didn’t pan out. I’m writing this exactly twelve hours after my last post, the post that failed. I followed all the blogging rules, used great SEO techniques, involved the community, shared the post gracefully and got great google search results. People were commenting and engaging with me, I was in my element sharing my passion but the numbers weren’t there. I’d spent hours searching for and collecting appropriate Instagram examples, researching Apps incase there was something better out there than what I was using and composing the post into bite sized parcels of information making it easier for the reader to take it all in. I did it all, I did everything but it didn’t work. If I rode my analytics stat chart like a roller coaster, today I would have gotten a nose bleed on the swift and dismal descent. It was heartbreaking to watch but I couldn’t seem to look away.
“Maybe it shouldn’t have gone live on a Monday, I should have saved the post for Thursday or maybe the timing was all wrong and I shouldn’t have posted it late in the morning and waited until my usual evening rush. Maybe the post was too long or my grammar was screwy. Maybe my own outfit photos didn’t really showcase the best I could do, maybe I should have waited and taken better ones. Maybe I shouldn’t have written until 02:00am. Maybe the information was too vague and the post wasn’t that helpful. Maybe I should have just done a video documenting how I go about doing outfit photos myself. Maybe I don’t really have anything to offer. Maybe I shouldn’t do anymore How To’s as they don’t come as naturally for me, maybe they can sense it.”
Maybe’s have been flying about my head all day, I couldn’t wrap my head around the posts lack of stat success. I incorporated everything I’ve learnt from other people about blogging and it showed no results. A post like this was meant to fly off the chart after being written. I questioned myself, I questioned my friends and sought out truths that were hard to swallow. “How To’s are popular“, I said “People go to the internet to find information and I’m providing something that no one else has on this topic, I’m providing answers and a place to ask questions, I had to do it.” and one reply (gentle and very well meaning in it’s delivery) slapped me right across the face: “You don’t have to do it though… so just do what you love.”.
I paused, blinking at the screen trying to process what they said. I love instagram, it’s a part of my daily life more so than twitter and facebook combined. I’m inspired by images of the everyday, the way each person views the world a different way and the insights those little square photos give us into peoples lives and emotions. How could I not love sharing what I’ve learnt, Instagram totally rocks my boat, it’s my thing.
After thinking about it and thinking about it some more I realised that maybe, just maybe I didn’t enjoy writing the post after all. That the reason it took hours to write was because I was forcing it so the words didn’t flow through my fingers as they usually do. I felt uncomfortable being the teacher. I was trying to be instructional but the way I write best is when I’m emotive, when I’m journaling my life, my passions and events, when I’m reaching out for a common understanding. That’s when I realised I’d fucked up. When a post about tantrums (essentially a block of my brains ramblings which took only a few minutes to write with only one pretty picture on top) is ten times more successful in traffic and reader engagement… you can’t help but stop, look around and ask yourself why you’re trying so hard in the first place.
Another friend said after reflecting on my story and on her own recent post, “If it helps one person out there, then I’m happy.” and again, the words slapped me right across the face. I used to feel that way, that reaching one common soul was enough to no longer feel alone in my thoughts but somewhere along the line that changed. As more people connected with what I had to say, the more I wanted to make them proud, to be the best, to work harder, to lead by example and share my experiences along the way. If people thought my blog was good I’d have to keep up the same pace of others who I admired or blogged alongside of, I’d have to make sure my blog content was always good, all the time.
“I have this many readers, they like certain posts at certain times on certain days, if I don’t publish outfit photos they get cranky on my facebook page, I have to do them more regularly, I have to sit in the hot sun weeding the garden for two days straight so I can publish photos with a nice background“… all of a sudden I was documenting fragments of my life for you, but only the peices that I thought you should see whilst making damn sure to hide the rest. Instead I should have been journaling, sharing my stories and pictures, freeing my mind and just simply connecting but it was difficult to do from the pedestal I felt I was being placed upon.
Have you ever walked into a room and almost everyone you meet, even if they are complete strangers to you, congratulate you on your achievements? Have you ever gotten random tweets, comments, emails and messages shouting out support for all that you do and that they can’t wait to see what you do next? You feel humbled, appreciative of their kind words, feedback and the time they have invested in you, believed in and encouraged you. Could you imagine letting them down, remembering each of their faces as they excitedly chatter to you at a conference, at an event or even at a random petrol station.
They tell you how they’ve been reading everyday since 2006 and can recall moments of your life clearer than you can. They shyly look to the ground as they tell you about the photo of Aidan they loved so much that they printed it out and stuck on their fridge to remind them that miracles can happen for them too. How through my own self acceptance journey they’ve found a pathway to theirs and found the freedom to chase their own dreams… could you imagine wanting to be anything less than perfect for them?
I applied a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself and although my intentions were good it wasn’t constructive. Steve says I have a knack for stress, I’m forever making things seem like a bigger deal than what they really are and he’s right. No one required me to be perfect but I was in a constant state of feeling like the next post always had to be bigger and better than the last.Sure, it gave me drive but often between juggling home life, traveling and nurturing relationships my blogging career left me feeling frazzled.
I felt like I couldn’t share that frustration because I didn’t want to let anyone down, to have people think less of me, to let people think that I couldn’t take on the next possible job because I could but ultimately my fear was to be “less”. My pedestal was high and I thought I liked it that way but thankfully after ‘failing’ and two swift slaps from beautiful, honest friends I have removed my head from potentially being permanently lodged up my own ass. The pedestal is now on the front curb waiting for council pick up. When I wake tomorrow I will still be me but when I open my blog, my eyes (and my heart) will be open to sharing more than just what I think you want to see so brace yourselves, I have no idea what lies ahead.
If you’re feeling the same don’t worry, I’ll be right over to slap you across the face… it does wonders I promise x