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Reflection on a Year of Blogging

Fireworks show, celebration

Let’s reflect on one year of blogging.

I started this blog on August 14 2021, (which is a shorter way of saying August of the last year) and I have completed a one full year of constant posting.

Naturally, it wasn’t easy, since no one around me was doing blogging, or any kind of writing or creative work. Most of the things I have done successfully or unsuccessfully, I have learned from other bloggers.

Of course, it is also good to reflect; therefore I am writing this article.

So, let’s start with…

Hard path of blogging:

Let me tell you. if you go out on the internet, and search for how to start a blog, you’ll get a feeling that it is easy to start a blog, and get readers, and money would follow in their wake.

Nothing could be further from the truth. First, blogging isn’t easy to start with. There are many things which can trip you up.

Case and point, I initially started this blog on Blogger, Google’s platform. It basically came with the Gmail account, so I thought why not? Not to mention, I wasn’t willing to pay for the platforms which were out of my range anyway (more on this later) and again, a free place to host my blog!

It took me a while to figure out the layout, because I’m blind, and I’m no genius, and it took me a while. but when I was done with everything, I had a pretty nice set up.

Now, usually, I’m not a fan of your normal click bate articles teaching you how to blog. But in this case, if they give you advice about how you should connect with other bloggers, their advice is correct. But Blogger does not offer you any chance of connecting with other writers. No, you’re blogging in isolation there, waiting for the search engine to pick your sight up, which is not guaranteed, even though it is a Google platform.

Coupled with Google’s nasty habits of killing their projects, I felt like I had made a mistake. Fortunately, I didn’t have to think about it much, and in September, I switched my platform to Word Press.

But challenges do not end there. As I’ve covered in my struggles with Facebook, my links were considered harmful, and I was accused of spreading some offensive content. I tried fighting Facebooks automated bullshit for a month, but that did not result in anything, and my account got disabled.

Though I’ve done decently on Twitter, I doubt anyone reads my articles from there anyway. At least I usually have a chilled part of Twitter, with no toxicity and abuse. Mostly consisting of other writers, bloggers, and occasional programmer.

Self-doubt:

I suppose this is just part two of the hard path of blogging.

I… suffer from self-doubt every now and then, and I do not consider any shame in admitting that. but when you write an article, and it doesn’t get a reaction, it is heartbreaking.

Make no mistake, you might think someone giving you criticism (a valid one, not just cursing you out in the comments) is going to be hard, since you labored hard on an article. But the thing is, the silence, it is much harsher. You feel like you’re writing out in the void, with no one receiving you. kind of like humans sending signals out in space, and no one replying. (How will we react if we ever get a reply back, I wonder?)

Thankfully, I’ve got some regular readers who leave comments, like Hetty Elliot, and Stuart Danker, both of whom I interviewed. But in the majority of cases, people don’t leave anything. I don’t know what it is, whether it is my bad writing, poor choice in selecting images, or just the format of my articles. But I feel that I am failing to reach people sometimes.

If you’ve been reading this blog for long enough, you’ll see that I also review a lot of media. Generally, when I try to review something, I often try to put a cover image related to it. This would have been so much easier if I could draw or take screenshots, but I can’t do either of these due to my blindness.

In this long video, Super Eyepatch Wolf covers how YouTubers feel when they look at their stats. This is the same for bloggers, if you look at your traffic. As a result, I do not look at my traffic stats anymore.

This leaves me with some bigger fish to fry, while not giving me any feelings of inadequacy.

A hard realization: blogging doesn’t have the reach it once did.

This might trigger you, but the reality is, blogging is not as popular as it used to be in the late 90s or early to mid-2000s. The rise of video platforms like YouTube ensured that, and changed the habit of readers from reading an article to watching a video.

Or did they? I kind of get the feeling that people weren’t willing to read back in the day either.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make here is that compared to video giants like YouTube, and the rise of short videos both on YouTube and TikTok, blogging is always going to be behind in terms of attention and visitors, especially personal blogs like this one.

Monetizing blogs is hard when you’re starting out:

I have no shame in saying that I’m unemployed. Mostly because I’ve given tons of interviews, and ableism has gotten in my way, resulting in excuses and ghosting on the employer’s part. Also, because I have tried, and am still trying to find a job. So, I am not one of those supposed “Lazy people who don’t wish to work.”

But while I do search for employment, I thought of getting some small income from my blog. I was under no illusion of becoming a millionaire; some small money would be appreciated.

I thought of starting out with Amazon affiliate, but I heard they cut their rates. I review a lot of books, so “There goes my idea of monetizing.” I thought.

But rate cutting wasn’t the real problem for me. I already signed up, so I thought I might as well grab the bull by his horns, and go for a ride. But then I realized that there’s country shenanigans going on. I have to sign up for different stores of Amazon in different countries, each with their own different type of info, and I have to use universal link creators to actually redirect the users to write places. Which honestly sounded like sort of a gray area to me, since Amazon’s policy clearly states that the link should not be tampered with.

After a while, I decided to say “Fuck that,” and put the Amazon affiliate to a rest. This whole struggle caused me to miss my posting schedule in July.

Then, I moved on to By Me a Coffee. But it also had trouble. Mainly, Stripe’s confusing stance on international payments, and some accessibility problems which didn’t allow me to complete my page, and put a picture there.

Not to mention, no one is actually even giving it a try. But the page looks horrible, and I’m not offering anything extra. So, I get why no one has bought me a coffee yet.

But I’m still hopeful.

Setting up the payment platforms was a bitch, though. I had to bang my head against their registration process. seriously, we live in the 21st century. Why can’t they improve accessibility?

Your morale is hit hard when you see that other blogs get more traffic than you:

What are these “other blogs” I speak of? Of course, the ones who spread conspiracies and misinformation, and hate. They always get double the traffic of a nice and wholesome blog.

When you see that, it hurts, a lot.

Following blogging etiquette is hard:

This might come off as me complaining, but hear (read) me out.

Blogging etiquette is simple. If a blogger leaves a comment on your articles, you read and leave comments on their articles. If they follow your blog, you follow their blog. However, it is not as simple as it appears.

First, there’s no guarantee that if you followed this etiquette, the other party would follow it. Second, it is just not possible to force yourself to like their content, especially if you’re not into it. Take poetry for example. Many of my followers (close to fifty, make it happen already!) are poets, and they publish short poems and haikus. But I’m not into poems. I frankly, hate them. And as a result, I do not read them on Twitter, or on blogs. Because they deserve to be read and critiqued by a person who genuinely appreciates them, not a hater like me. I also am not a big fan of traveling, so I don’t like to read about it either.

Blogs about photography are out of the question. I already have a hard time finding cover images for my articles. I don’t want to deal with pictures more than necessary, since I can’t appreciate them. Captions are not a solution to this problem.

So, if you are balking at why exactly I’m not following this etiquette, this is why.

You must write daily:

This is a neutral topic, but writing daily is difficult as hell. But it is the only way for a lazy person like me to make any progress. Case in point, my fictional story, which I’m writing since 2020, is in development since 2020. but I have not made much progress on it for the longest time because I didn’t write daily, and wrote sporadically. But when I actually started to write regularly, I made so much progress on it, though the story is nowhere being done yet.

Do watch out for its announcement. I’ll put it here when I start publishing it online.

Web serials aside, you have to write regularly; otherwise as a blogger, your life will be difficult since you won’t be able to keep up with your regular posting schedule.

Now, to the happier topics!

It is not all doom and gloom. True, blogging is hard, but I think anything which is worth doing is hard. Therefore, blogging is worth doing, and I do not mind the difficulties and challenges it offers me. I, of course, get to meet so many wonderful people, and even interview them. They shared their experiences with me without any reservations, and I am glad that I could provide them with a place where they could talk about their craft. Incidentally, I do not focus exclusively on writers, but if you do have some interesting stories to tell, no matter your profession, reach out to me. I’d love to have a conversation with you.

As for the YouTube and videos? They are not for me, to be honest. I might do them in the future, because I cannot rule them out completely. But unless I can find a way to film those and edit those by myself (because I’m a control freak) I’m not doing YouTube.

Besides, blogging is wonderful. At least you don’t have to put up with the bullshit automation of YouTube, and no copyright trolls bother you here. And though I do not get much comments aside from the Elliot and Stuart mentioned above, I’m also glad that my comment section is not filled with bots spouting the same phrases over and over again, and sometimes putting out malicious links to scam people.

I found encouraging people:

It was Page Turner at first, and then when she got busy with her projects (Hope for her success!) it was Elliot. Then, Stuart.

Stuart and I actually interacted when I commented on his post about journaling when I was new to Word Press. At that time, I dismissed it as nothing more than a basic comment. I was sure he would forget me, and I would forget him as well. But that didn’t happen. We commented on each others posts, and during this back and forth, Stuart shared his knowledge with me. Simple things like using an image, even though I’m blind, and making my questions bold and including block quotes in my interviews.

It might sound simple and obvious, but these things are not obvious to you when you start out.

A few miscellaneous things, and tips:

To conclude this article, I like to say that I consider paying for traffic a bad idea in general. Mostly because it won’t get you genuine readers. And if you’re not making money from your blog, and you do plan to run it as a business, putting money without getting any chance of any profit seems like a bad idea to me. You’ll run your blog either at a loss, or just breakeven.
But what do I know, I’m just a mad man. Aside from that, I also think that this tip is worth giving: write articles in advance. This will allow you to take rests in the future, and prevent burnout that way. I suppose this might run contrary to writing daily advice, but it is not like I am telling you not to take a day or a week off every once in a while.

But these posts written in advance can help you out in a pinch, because trust me. Life will get in your way as a blogger.

Follow me on Twitter, I doubt anyone clicks my Twitter link. If you like my writing, then you can buy me a coffee to support me. I also doubt anyone clicks that.

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Published by Tanish Shrivastava

I'm a guy who likes programming, chess, and writing.

12 thoughts on “Reflection on a Year of Blogging

  1. Hey Tanish, congrats on your first anniversary! Most people don’t make it this far at all. Don’t be discouraged by not having as many comments as you like. Enjoy the peace and quiet while you can, because when the opinionated people show up, you’ll long for the days when you could say anything and not worry about what a certain someone is going to say. You just have to persevere and keep getting back in the saddle. Heck, I’m still trying too!

    Like

    1. And I would also like to add, for me it was like a dream come true to click that Publish button. Try and remember how that magic feels in moments when you feel like giving up. And I think you’ve drawn great lessons from your experiences.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fabulous job Tanish. You are doing great. Stick with it. Keep learning. You have all the tools – and the drive – to become highly successful with this blogging bit. You are learning, adjusting and positioning yourself to gain even more readers. Great job. Keep on inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ryan, though gaining readers is nice, I would like to give them something in return, either increasing their knowledge, or helping them in making a choice what they wish to watch / read next.

      Like

  3. Always love posts like this. And first off, happy blogiversary! We’re gonna have a lot to unpack here.

    I admire your honesty and baring everything out so plainly, with your insecurities and all. Regarding the audience part, all my blog posts had single-digit comment counts for six years before anything started happening. Of course, we all have different paths, so that timeline is just an estimate. But don’t feel discouraged and just keep following your interests.

    And regarding your write daily point, I think you hit the nail on the head there that it’s the only reason I get anything done. I think the reason I write daily is because I AM lazy. If I were more productive, I could get by with writing twice a week and still get 20,000 words or something. That’s a great perspective and I never thought about it that way before, to be honest. Similarly, maybe the minimalists are actually the most messy people, and that’s why they choose to eschew material possessions. Great food for thought.

    Am honoured that you’d mention me, and it’s fun being here with Hetty and Ryan too. Your base will grow as you continue to work, and one day you’ll have a bunch of us here.

    Anyway, I personally enjoy these personal thought posts, so if you have more of them, do keep em coming!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Stuart for the comment. I’ve got some blogging related posts, where I talk about how I look at blogging. I even use chess a lot for that!

      But I do think that a post as deep as this one won’t come until next year, where I have spent another year blogging.

      Like

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