Guest post by Jenny McCoy
Sometimes it doesn’t matter where you’re going; you just kinda enjoy the ride.
This is true of my blogging experience.
After sharing my vision of church services optimized for screaming babies and their snoring grandparents, my drinking companion responded with glazed eyes and an outdoor voice, “You should write books or something. I’d read them.”
So I tiptoed onto the blogging scene ten months ago with a WordPress.com account, a readership of six faithful friends and like most of you, a head full of ideas.
My blog was an escape, the final axe to my quarter-life crisis.
“What am I here for? What am I meant to do? Can I defer my 10-year reunion and escape the “Most Likely to Succeed” superlative expectations?”
Blogging gave me an answer, a direction.
I am here to write.
At first, this was enough. I wrote for my table of six devoted friends and I subscribed to sites like this one to adapt my craft.
“Comment! Network!” – Demanded the experts.
But I didn’t.
Sure, I knew the benefits that awaited commenters.
Traffic. Link building. An inbox overflowing with follow-up comment notifications.
But commenting for those reasons alone seemed so futile. So boring. So fake.
And then an a-ha! post from Blogussion about building community invaded my RSS feed and things clicked.*
Within minutes, I made my first real comment and within hours the twitchy giant responded and commented on my most recent post. Josh was the first person outside of my inner circle of obligation to comment on my blog; and while his thoughts on the Cupid Shuffle were not life-changing, his quick, genuine response did force a beautiful paradigm shift in my head.
I liked it and I wanted more.
Suddenly it wasn’t just me and my laptop against the world. And I’m glad, because we weren’t holding up too well anyway.
Soon, I was mesmerized by a ProBlogger guest post and I continued to comment on this insanely smart woman’s site until she broke down and asked me to start a (dwindling) t-shirt company with her and to compose my second guest post.
And so it continued. Through comments, emails and Twitter @mentions I was able to:
- Land my third guest post and an interview as part of the “Up-and-Coming Bloggers” interview series
- Meet a fellow 20-something white person with subpar dancing skills and an awesome blog
- Connect with a humor author and journalist to get tips on manuscripts, grad degrees and videos with blowup dolls
- Get free assistance with an “Oh-my-God-I’m-Going-to-Shoot-Myself” issue with images on my homepage from a very generous developer who frequently helps people out on Twitter when he’s bored
All of this spawned from my prompted decision to become more than a writer and a reader –to become an integral part of the blogging community.
My advice: Find relationships that matter.
Many of us dream of hosting A-List blogs. We dream of earning a respectable income by writing about the topics we know and love.** And these dreams are often derived from a larger goal: to break away from the bureaucracy our college degrees earned us and to make an existence on our own terms.
With that said, why would you make any part of this experience inauthentic?
Connect with people you like. Offer your thoughts with no expectation in return. Meet people in your niche or use web transparency to connect with people who live drastically differently lives than you. Whatever your choice, create an online existence that means something.
Take the cryptic, final words of Christopher McCandless, “Happiness is only real when shared” and apply them to your blog.
Do you have your own blogging community? Share. I’d love to hear your thoughts and I may even want to catch a ride.
*This click shared an eerie resemblance to the click that allowed the clutch-to-gas ration to finally align in my brain after nine months of sputtering failure, but it was much less expensive.
** With Mimosas and incomes large enough to pay for the breeding of a miniature elephant that can be walked on a leash and eat party peanuts. Just me?
Jenny McCoy prefers writing to climbing ladders, but does a little of both. She once brought sexy back in a High School Musical bathing suit and her addiction to Venn diagrams is rivaled only by her love for Microsoft Paint masterpieces. Take a break from your work day and check out her (admittedly) wacky blog at WorkinOnARamp.com.