Love the writing, love the writing, love the writing…

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For your Saturday evening, some deep(ly neurotic) thoughts.

Back in January when I took on the challenge to write a post every day in 2011, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself in to.  I’ve managed to write every day, but it’s been hard.  Much harder than I thought, actually, and not in terms of thinking of topics or how to write about what I want to say–that part has been relatively easy.  The hardest part, really, has been the emotional toll it’s taken.

No matter what they say, I think every person who starts a blog hopes that they will build a readership, and that the more they write, the more their readership will grow.  I know this is certainly the case for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy writing; but I also really enjoy the community that develops around a blog, and the dialog that grows out of it.  I dream of fitting in with all the cool kid blogs, like Healthy Tipping Point, Meals and Miles, Daily Garnish, and Frayed Laces (just to name a small few).  And to be clear, I don’t blog so that I’ll develop a following like the ones those blogs have, I blog because I care about being able to speak about things that mean something to me.  But there’s a part of me that still feels very high school-ish when I open up a window to write up a post, as though I’m following on the tails of the in-crowd and hoping that one day they’ll turn around and notice me too.

And that’s part of what makes this post-a-day thing so hard on me: I get really wrapped up in what people think of what I’m writing, and worry constantly that any seeming interest in what I have to say is a fluke.  Having my Special K post re-published on Jezebel has ended up being the bane of my existence to a certain extent, since it’s very easy for me to look at everything I’ve written since in a way that makes me feel like that was a complete mistake, and something that wasn’t really meant to happen at all.  As a result, I’ve felt like I’ve been floundering since that post, and that feeling then sort of feeds into a cyclical process that guarantees that I’ll feel bad no matter what happens.

This is similar to the thinking that surrounds all my accomplishments, really, so it’s not all that surprising that it would happen with writing, too.  But it’s really draining, and makes me sort of dread blogging and worry more than I should about how many people are reading, and what it means about me and how worthy I am as a person if not many people are.  Clearly I put too much weight on what other people think of me, and since I have a hard time generating self-esteem on my own and tend to rely on the validation I get from others, this is dangerous.

I’m not really sure what the solution is.  Like I said, I like blogging so I don’t want to stop doing it altogether, but I have this fear that if I stop posting daily I will a) feel like I quit or failed something and b) lose readers.  The best thing to do would be to divorce my sense of self-worth from the feedback (or perception of feedback or perception of lack of feedback) I get from others, and blog about what I want when I want.  After all, it’s my blog.  But anything that comes with any kind of public exposure is automatically far more complex than that.

So I’ll probably continue to worry about things: whether I’ll get chosen for the Run for the Rabbit Campaign and how I’ll feel if I don’t; whether people just read this because it’s there or because they actually like it; whether my writing is good or bad; whether the people who read this post will read the post I put up tomorrow; whether I’ll get any Embrace:Me posts for the Monday after this one; whether anyone cares about Embrace:Me at all or whether it was just a stupid idea and a poor, watered-down version of things that other bloggers have already done, and done better; who is my audience? should I write more about running, or general health issues, or women’s issues, or should I be posting pictures of the food I eat taken from five different angles? etc.  I mean, the list could go on and on.

I don’t know, does anyone else worry about this?  Is it best to just give up at this point?  Is this just some weird blog-life crisis?  Or is this just another one of my silly overly irrational ways of seeing the world?

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  1. You wrote the story of my life. I have that problem with everything! I’m no expert on blogging but just blog about what you want, not what other people want or what you think they want. It is YOUR blog. You said it yourself!

  2. Are people going to stop reading because you don’t blog everyday? What about if you blog everyday but you write a bad blog? What matters more?! You don’t know what will make readers stop reading. It’s like Keri says, “It is YOUR blog,” so blog whatever you want and whenever you want. You are experiencing the problem of “expectation,” or what you feel is expected of you; and this is self-imposed. No one is going to judge you harshly or in any way at all if you skip a day or two.

  3. I really really hope you are able to find some inner peace and self-validation about writing, because we wouldn’t be reading if what you say wasn’t worth listening to! I found your blog through the Jezebel re-post, so I can honestly say that I’ve become a daily reader based on my enjoyment of your work after the Special K piece. I love your unvarnished self-reflection, the discussions about running gear, the yoga talk—all of it. I’ve even started using Yoga Download since you mentioned it in one post! I know what those inner critics sound like inside my own head, and they are so much harsher than any other person could be. I think you should keep blogging if it makes you happy, but don’t be ashamed to take a break for a day or two if necessary.

  4. Ce qui fait la qualité et la spécificité de ton blog, Emilie, c’est la couleur toute particulière que tu lui as donné. Tes textes sont très beaux et articulés, ton approche est intime. C’est TON style, ton point de vue, ton angle. Si tu essaies de faire ce que les autres font ou ce que tu penses que les gens attendent de toi, tu perdras l’essence de ton écriture et de ta pensée. Tu dois continuer à faire correspondre ton écriture avec toi-même. Les lecteurs et tout le monde autour de toi te lisent et t’aiment pour qui tu es, tout simplement. Je crois que c’est ce que tu as tant de mal à comprendre/accepter.

    Et crois-moi: tu ne perdras pas un lecteur dans l’univers si tu n’écris pas tous les jours. Je ne sais pas comment tu y parviens (évidemment, tu as beaucoup d’expérience), mais mes posts me prennent tant de temps à écrire que je ne peux m’imaginer en écrire un par jour. Et le post-a-day challenge, sérieusement, ce ne sera pas un échec. Il faut plutôt le voir comme une manière de te motiver, pas comme une pression destructrice.

    J’adore ton blog!

  5. I think what you’re feeling must be quite common, I only started blogging a couple of months ago and I already have them sometimes.
    There are loads of blogs out there by bloggers from all around the world, so if people are reading your blog and taking the time to comment, it’s because it’s entertaining, informative and well written.

  6. I debate with myself whether I want to become really “big” in the blogging game or if I’m content to just plug along… and I think I’m okay with what I’m doing. It’s hard sometimes to not compare yourself to others and think that you’ve got to do certain things, but ultimately… it’s YOUR blog. Do what makes you comfortable. (Or if getting out of your comfort zone is your goal, then do that… regardless, do what you want with it.)

    I’ll keep reading you… and even if I don’t comment every time (like I haven’t for the past couple days because of work travel) I’m always here, supporting you and cheering you on!

    This post sounded kind of sad, and I just want you to know that I think you’re awesome.

  7. I really enjoy your blog, I don’t have a lot of friends who run much less run and do yoga, so it is great for me to read about your path. That being said, I never comment because I always feel that my experience isn’t very special. So, I wanted to tell you that your posts are great. I will definitely be continuing to read!
    You have already inspired me to be better about planning my runs and finding races that inspire me.

  8. emilie, i am so sorry you are feeling so lowly. i truly wish you could feel your self-worth. because you are worth so much. and so are your words. they’re inspiring, thoughtful, and honest. your words are the words i cannot find on other blogs so i keep coming back to read. just because i happen to not comment on every post doesn’t mean i’m not reading.

    it makes me sad to think you don’t value what you write and that you don’t value the embrace:me project, which is beautiful and uplifting. self-validation is a difficult thing to master, but i know you can get there eventually, no matter how long it takes.

    i’ve often wondered who the hell i am writing to and why and the answer always comes down to this: i write because it helps me think. i write because i want to connect to people, even if it only happens to be one person. i’ve never had a million friends, just a close knit group of 5-10 people who i love and care about deeply. i’ve never had an issue with this because i’ve always thought it better to have a few close friends instead of a million acquaintances.

    basically, what i think i am trying to say is this: don’t worry about what other people think. don’t judge yourself and your writing based on how many comments you get or how many new subscriptions pop up. write about what you want to write about, regardless of whether it’s a “popular” topic in the blog-world. i appreciate your opinions and love reading what you write because it is different. sometimes, it gets really old reading about people’s daily exercise habits. i want to know the person underneath, and, so far, you’ve done an excellent job at that. just know you’re special, emilie, and that you don’t need anyone to confirm that for you but yourself. much love ❤

  9. whether you post every single day or not, i’m sure people will continue to read your blog! you are a really good writer and i like the topics you cover. i think you should write about what you want when you want. you’re great and your blog reflects that!

  10. Finding the voice for your blog is so hard. I don’t think I have posted here very often, but I have been reading for a while and you have a very distinct voice and I think you have your own story to tell. Just keep writing and you’ll find an audience, even if it takes longer than you’d hope.

  11. Emilie, Sounds like you have some great feedback here! I think the key is to remember that everything is relative to the individual. While I know that my blog is more well known than some others, I still find myself laughing when compared to other “big bloggers.” There are many blogs more popular and with a bigger readership than mine. So remember that no matter how big or how small, there’s always going to be that temptation for comparison. I try not to worry about my blog stats, number of comments, etc. I know that if I write from my heart, people will respond. It sounds like your readers feel the same way!

  12. your following has took off recently i feel like. 🙂 i know what you mean – you want to create a niche of blog friends, but not necessarily blowing up with 39274 followers. it’s nice to feel like you belong and have people who ‘get’ you, at least most of the time. and i am alwaysss wondering about my posts – are they dumb, will people think i am boring now and leave, etc. i’m sure some are boring, but sometimes i just want to write something for myself (hey it is my blog!) and sometimes i feel like i *have* to write and then i don’t really have much worth saying.

    anyway, what i love about my ‘best blog buddies’ is their personable writing style. it’s easy to read and i feel like we have a lot in common – personality traits, thoughts, whatever.

  13. just a quick message to say; no, don’t give up! and your special k challenge post is how i heard of this blog (which has a great name, btw i love it 😀 )and i’ll admit i don’t read every new post you publish but i love coming back to it occasionally and i don’t think i’ve read a bad or boring post from you, even though i don’t run or have neccessarily have any body-image issues i still find the things you talk through relevant and interesting. Also if you think about it if you save or print all of these posts and look back on them you’ve made yourself an online diary which could really help one day in the future.
    keep writing :),
    rachelle x

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