Hi. It’s been a while.
But I’m here. I’ve always been here, but haven’t said anything. I didn’t feel the need; I didn’t have anything to say. Lately, though, I miss just blogging. Typing. Not for readers, not for followers, not for anyone. Just writing for me.
I was sifting through old posts on cheri.blog and rediscovered a 2018 post by Tom Critchlow on “small b blogging.” Some bits really spoke to me then, and they still do today.
But what is lost by following big B blogging? By chasing audience we lose the ability to be ourselves. By writing for everyone we write for no one. Too often I read things otherwise smart people have written for places like Fast Company and my eyes glaze over. Personal identity is necessarily watered down. Yes those places have large audiences but they’re shallow audiences. They don’t care about you at all. Your writing washes through their feeds like water.
Instead – I think most people would be better served by subscribing to small b blogging. What you want is something with YOUR personality. . . . Writing that can live and breathe in small networks. Scale be damned.
When I read Tom’s post two years ago, I’d stopped blogging here completely. I’d been focused on writing and editing, but instead for a massive audience for work. On a personal level, the writer in me was dormant. I wrote:
Still, Tom’s post reminded me of what I used to enjoy about blogging — there was a period of time, about five or so years ago, when I was really engaged and connected to my network, especially on Twitter, and got my work noticed and featured in the Atlantic, the New York Times, and other big outlets. While I’d always written online with an audience in mind, my favorite part about blogging was ultimately writing for myself, reading and learning and deepening my knowledge of things along the way, and documenting a wider web of ideas in my very own online space. I remember doing all of this because I truly enjoyed it — my site was an extension of me. Publishing on it made me feel more complete. And it still exists, but now mainly as a relic. I just don’t need it as I once did.
But anyway, I like what he says about “forgetting the big B blogging model” and not chasing an audience, or scale, or page views. It’s such a simple thing, but somewhere along the way, I completely forgot how to write for myself, how to face inward, how to be me.
I’m allowing myself to post here, and giving myself permission to think out loud again, but I’m not going to make it A Thing. Because if I make it A Thing, I’ll build it up too much, I’ll expect the words to come and the thoughts to flow, and then I’ll become paralyzed and disappear again, not resurfacing here for another several years.
20 thoughts on “Back to Blogging”
Glad I opened up Discover today. I first started blogging on WP about four years ago but kept it at arm’s length. I referred to it more as a website. But I found that I enjoyed it very much, and enjoyed your writing. I left WP for Squarespace and left Squarespace for Ghost. The moves have not been fun. Silver lining – I had to use WP as a bridge of sorts between Squarespace and Ghost, so I’ve reconnected with some bloggers I’d lost touch with.
Share more.. there are many people who write personal blogs. And they are best!
Good wishes to you 🙂
Welcome back! I’ve been through so many different motivations, but here I am 10 years later and the longest I’ve ever gone without posting is 3 weeks. I love that quote from Tom Critchlow. I wanted to be a big B blogger, but soon learned that being authentic was more important than following some model to attract an audience. Some blogs I see, I’m with him on my eyes glazing over. And I know exactly what you mean about making it A Thing. So many times over the years I’ve had to pull myself back from that. Writing is mostly hard for me but I have this unshakeable commitment to the blog.
I look forward to more of your thinking out loud.
Yay! Welcome back! I took a break too (for about a year) and I’m so happy to be reconnecting with this wonderful community of small b readers and writers that can’t be found or created anywhere else.
This is lovely.
Great post! I miss my blog too. 9 years it was. I felt too pressured to be profound or something. Have been thinking of resuming but turning off distribution at least for a while.
Hi Richard! I know what you mean about feeling that pressure, which was totally self-imposed (or me). Thanks for checking in — hope you’re holding up okay during this time.
Blogging is most fun when it’s just for myself (and, well, my mom). Love it when people stop by but it’s not why I do it. And I love reading the blogs that do their own thing instead of worrying about their audience.
Hey Nick — long time. Yeah, you’re right on all counts, especially the mom comment — mine was/is my biggest reader, and I remember how she used to email me whenever she spotted a typo in a recent post. Hope to get back into it — we’ll see.
Hi. Yes, it should be for me most of all. 8 years I had hoped to put a major dent in dengue fever killing innocent children. Was hopeful of getting a large active responding members – never happened. Yes! The information will always be on my blog, but as your post declares – what about me.
I will mull this over, and I do believe a change will come. Thanks for your post…
I appreciate your desire to return to blogging’s roots. Watching blogging evolve from a place to share and connect in a personal level to a corporate communication tool, I see exactly what you’re talking about. I feel the pressure to focus on growth and monetizing my content, and all that. Thanks for the reminder to simply enjoy the journey.
Yes, growing and monetizing your site… marketing messaging I know well, and have a hand in at work. I do miss simply inspiring and encouraging people on their journeys without having to upsell them. There is a time and place for that, sure, but it’s mostly taken the fun and serendipity away from the process — and perhaps one of the reasons I’d stopped blogging on a personal level.
Hi! Thanks, Andrew.
“Web log.” Star date, May 23, 2020.
Hi Bill! It’s been a while.
There are many people out there who are only interested in small personal blogs…