Am I even a blogger? Sometimes I’m not so sure.
I don’t have any advertisements, I don’t seek out brands to work with, I never receive PR emails, and I don’t do giveaways.
I’ve written about blogging a few times before, about how there is no ‘right’ way to blog and how I’ll never be a ‘pro-blogger’. I mostly write these things to make myself feel better about how I blog in comparison to a lot of other bloggers that I see on social media.
I’ve been blogging for over five years now. I started a few days before my 20th birthday. I had always wanted to do it, always enjoyed writing, but never had the courage to post my thoughts online. However, around the time of my birthday (which is in January) I always end up feeling very reflective about my life so far and what I want to do with the rest of my life, so just before I turned 20 I started a very personal and silly blog called LauGraEva (you may recognise that from my personal twitter account).
LauGraEva was full of random thoughts, stories from the many places that I worked, and curious opinions I had about the world – all kinds of things. There were even a lot of selfies on there(!) which I would never dream of doing now. I built up a decent following on that site – I think it was about 800 subscribers (which is so much more than I have for This Stuff Is Golden). It was a fun blog where I didn’t take any notice of SEO, alt text or even the quality of the images I used. I just wrote for fun and to express myself.
After about two and a bit years, I realised that I loved writing and wanted to take it a little more seriously. I realised that I would love to be a paid writer, and that LauGraEva wasn’t how I wished potential employers to see me. So, I tried to think of the blog that I would be proud of, something that had meaning, something that showed off my skills as a writer.
Months later, This Stuff Is Golden was born. I took a long time thinking about the categories it would have (I wanted a much tidier blog than what LauGraEva had been) and the actual name of the site. I then tried my best to not only write about things that I thought mattered, but also keep some of that personality that had won me those subscribers on LauGraEva.
This Stuff Is Golden is just over two years old now, and I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love it because I love you wonderful people who actually read it, who comment on it, and tell me that they actually like it (thank you!). I hate it because I take it too seriously. I am glued to my stats. I constantly compare my stats to those of other bloggers. I am jealous of bloggers more successful than I. I sometimes even bite my tongue when I see a hugely successful blogger publish blog posts with numerous spelling and grammar mistakes in them. How are they doing so much better than I am when I can form a better sentence than they can?
As you may know, I’m somewhat taking a step back from the blog to focus on all the changes currently happening in my life. I’m hoping that this will also re-awaken my old love of blogging and the reasons behind my writing.
I’ve always wanted to create a blog where people can find some sort of comfort, whether that’s in reading wonderful quotes from classic novels or finding some relief in an essay about mental illness. I want to focus more on that, rather than how many subscribers I have or what my social media engagement is like.
The funny thing is, I actually enjoy the marketing side of blogging. I enjoy thinking of ideas to bring in more followers, creating little plans in my bullet journal about how I’m going to reach a new stats goal. They don’t always work out, but that’s fine. I’m no expert really, and as I said, that’s not at the heart of why I blog. I don’t do it for the opportunities to work with brands or the paid advertisements; I do it to try to help others, and to help myself as it is my way of expressing my thoughts.
Recently my stats obsession has made me think of giving up, of potentially leaving the blogging world behind and just creating a newsletter, but to be honest, I think that killing This Stuff is Golden would leave me with a heavy heart.
I can only try to keep my focus on the writing rather than the numbers. That, to me, is what blogging is all about anyway. It’s creative expression. It’s a place to sort your thoughts and feelings into words. It’s somewhere you can be anonymous if you so wish. It’s a little bit of freedom.