words are cheap

In the end it really is all about walking the walk, right?

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I write because I find it therapeutic. And also because the process of writing out my thoughts often helps me find answers to lingering questions.

I share these stories with you in the hopes that they may provide a little bit of inspiration for similar challenges you may be facing.

They are just words, but they are the words that tell the story of my actions. Of the life I’m living. Of the walk I’m walking.

Some days, I worry about being judged too self-indulgent for sharing details about my journey.

I’m fully cognizant of the number of times I use the word, “I” in any given post. Try as I might to avoid the “me, me, me”-centricity of this blog, I always arrive back at square one, which is that this blog is about me and my journey. How can I tell my story without talking about my life?

I suppose I could take another approach, and just share some motivational memes, clever pictures, or funny sentiments. There are plenty to choose from on Pinterest, and I’m sure we’ve all seen many blogs that do exactly this. Funny thing is, those very same bloggers have 5 times the readership than I do.

So I vacillate between the type of content that I feel drawn to share — the feelings, worries, joys, struggles of my real journey — and the type of content that seems to draw more “success” in the form of visits and followers.

I won’t lie, I would love to have more readers. As I’ve shared in previous posts, I dream of assembling this year of sweat journey into an e-book in 2014. A larger audience here on my blog would most certainly serve me well in that endeavour.

So does it make sense to adopt the less-is-more, just share-a-Pin-and-Ta-Da!-publish-your-post, approach?…

Maybe, but… I am totally confounded as to how anyone would find that type of blog interesting, let alone compelling, given they generally contain zero original content or thought.

And yet, many of these blogs have thousands of readers. Makes me scratch my head.

I love that my small, but very engaged, readership gets so involved with my posts. You tell me what you think. You cheer me on. You tell me to keep going. You tell me to ease up. You share what you’re up to. You tell me about your experiences. And that freaking rocks.

I love that the blogs I read are people who walk the walk.

Some write about their real life experiences. Some write fictional tales that draw me in. Some share their beautiful photography, often accompanied by a meaningful story. And some use their creativity to draw sweet cartoons that perfectly capture life’s precious moments.

All of them feature original content. And all of them add value to my day.

So for now, I’ll keep it business as usual here at My Year of Sweat, but I’d love to hear your thoughts (particularly those of my fellow bloggers). Do you struggle with content and approach as you try to balance what feels right for you versus what you know drives more traffic?

As always… Get moving!

xoxo nancy

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39 thoughts on “words are cheap

  1. Totally, totally, totally agree. Stick with what you are doing. Anyone can cut and paste. And, yes, it puzzles me too that nonsense posts have huge followings. That makes it sound like I think I have literary value – ahem – but at least, like you, it’s original!

  2. Please keep writing what is true to you Nancy, your experiences and your words. I appreciate your honesty and humor in each post and while the quick Pinterest meme’s may get more “viewers” your fantastic writing gets more “readers”. I can’t wait for you to publish your first book and I know readers everywhere will pick it up. I’ll do my part to promote!

  3. Oops, second part to my comment… yes I do struggle with content that will attract more viewers vs. something I really like that will not be as popular. I remind myself it is my blog and my rules and hit publish anyway. 🙂 A little inside scoop – most of my less popular photos are ones I was really happy with but knew they weren’t bright and colorful enough to catch attention in the reader. Yeah, looking through my stats it is obvious they have the lowest number of viewers. Oh well…

    • So weird. I guess sometimes “dummying things down”, be it the complexity of a photo or the layers in a story, is what will ultimately appeal to the masses. Makes me sad though.

      Keep posting all your wonderful art, Lisa. I don’t think I’ve seen one photograph of yours that I haven’t loved. Have you ever considered selling your photos as postcards, posters or even assembling into a book?

      • Oh you are so sweet Nancy, thanks for all of your kind comments on my posts. Its thoughtful comments from great bloggers like you that keep me working hard to produce better work. I’ve thought it would be fun share some of the photos in a bigger way but haven’t even had the time to print a few for the house. 🙂 It’s on my list for the new year…

  4. Please keep doing what you are doing! I love your blog!
    All the memes and what not you find around the place do not inspire me, but reading about a real person with real, interesting stories who completely honestly tells me about their thoughts and feelings and experiences along a similar path to mine…that really is inspiring!
    I have no idea how readership works because I see people with very dull superficial blogs with so many readers and it makes no sense, but maybe it is the quality of the readers that matters 🙂
    X

    • Oh Sam, you and I are so on the same page on this one. Doesn’t it drive you to scratch your head (and/or bang said head against the wall) when you see how many followers those superficial blogs have??
      Thanks for the vote of confidence, and I can wholeheartedly say I feel the same way about your blog.
      p.s. How did your 5k go today??

  5. I love what you write about also so just keep on going. On my blog, I think that I cannot publish anything that I am not absolutely proud of…so I will keep doing what I do also. My readers seem to like my stuff too…and that is what it is all about.

  6. Hi Nancy…I think it is very valuable for all bloggers to ask the questions you are asking. It keeps us on purpose for sure. Before I started my SMART Living blog I wrote for 3 years on my blog about local green and environmental issues. It was VERY popular and numbers wise I was doing well–but I got bored and tired of writing about so many technical issues that I just STOPPED. That’s when I decided to start SMART Living and write about things I really care about on a deeply personal basis. I also made my topic Sustainable/Meaningful/Aware/Responsible/Thankful big enough so I could ALWAYS find something interesting to write about–and then I started. I was one of those who only had my husband and a couple of friends reading it in the beginning…but I stuck with it. I think it took me over a year and a half to get any kind of readership. And sure I’ve been tempted to write about things that I think seem to be more “popular”. I’ve also been tempted to write in a fashion that is toned down some from my personal style–and of course every successful blogger out there says you have to keep your posts short –and obviously mine are LONG! But that’s me. I write what I most like to read and and write about what I consider worthy of consideration. And we just have to believe that there are enough other people out there like us who will appreciate what we uniquely have to offer. I heard yesterday that there are 50,000 blogs started EVERY SINGLE DAY. I don’t want to be like all the rest–and getting back to you–I read what your blog because you aren’t like all the rest. Stay true to yourself. Keep writing. Don’t give up! ~Kathy

    • 50,000 a day??? Wow. That certainly puts things into perspective.

      I see examples of blogs with rich and compelling content with bigger readership (like yours, Carrie’s, Andra’s, etc) – and those give me hope that this isn’t just some sort of formulaic numbers game to be mastered. But then I fixate on those superficial blogs filled with drivel (and /or repurposed Pinterest content) and I get frustrated that they have these huge numbers of followers.

      I know I need to keep doing what I’m doing, because it’s who I am. To do anything different would completely lack authenticity of voice, not to mention would be completely unfulfilling for me.

      Thanks for your insights Kathy. As always, you give me food for thought.

      p.s. I am going to break “tradition” and actually dress up for Halloween this year. 😉

  7. Blogging is personal, and as such, the word “I” is bound to show up a lot. And if a reader is interested in the topic, then they’re interested in reading about the topic from that particular blogger’s point-of-view, because that’s what adds the personal touch to it. Much better than a cold, academic read.

    For me, the best blog posts are those where I learn something (no matter how small), those that allow me to discover how like-minded people do things so that I can find alternative methods, or those where I can simply relate, no matter the topic. Something that makes me say, “Yes, I so get that!” Your blog has all those bases covered. 🙂

    • I love how you have the uncanny ability to make an answer so clear, Carrie. Thank you!

      p.s. How is your studying going? Hope you get to do something super fun after that crazy tough test !

      • The test went well (at least I think it did; guess I’ll find out in two months…) Thanks for asking. 🙂

        I went to a movie with my husband last night. Given we no longer need babysitters and can do something spontaneous, that in itself was super fun! (The movie was ‘Prisoners.’ So, so good.)

  8. Hi Nancy, It’s me again. I kept thinking about your blog today. You put into words what has been buzzing around in my tiny mind. I can relate to it so much that I feel the need to reblog it tomorrow. OK with you?

  9. Nancy, you do what you do because it speaks to you! The people you attract are interested in your journey, for whatever reason it speaks to them on some level. In my mind, this is the reason for blogging……not attracting big numbers. Speaking your mind for yourself, and allowing others to share in the journey – it’s a beautiful experience for all of us . Don’t change a thing!

  10. The way I look at it, if Ernest Hemmingway was on WordPress, he wouldn’t have that many followers either. simply because he wouldn’t care about that statistic. But the followers he does have would treasure his posts like nothing else.

  11. i love your posts and what I admire about your posts vs mine is that you have a true theme that you COULD transform into an e-book. Whereas mine is all over the place, haha! I think building a readership is a slow and steady process and you want your readers to be as authentic as your writing, not just some generic and boring copy of a quote.

    • Kerry, thank you! And re: your blog being “all over the place”, that is precisely what I find so interesting about it. It’s not 100% “mommy” centric. (Sorry if I’ve offended any mommies out there..). We are all more than just moms. It’s great that your posts explore all of who you are; a wife, a daughter, a sister, a writer, and yes… a mom.

  12. Reblogged this on Which Way Now 101 and commented:
    Nancy’s post kept resonating with me so I thought I would share it with my followers. The blogs I follow – travel, RV life, expat life, humor, photography, poetry, fiction writing or just life – are all original material, a product of the author’s mind, heart and soul, not the product of an internet search. Have a look at her post. See what you think. Let us know!

  13. I love that “Which Way Now 101” reblogged this. Several months ago I was getting frustrated and checking stats every day. I’d visit those blogs with all the followers and just didn’t get it. I almost quit blogging and then had to remind myself why I started my blog in the first place (that’s another story). Today, I rarely check stats. My husband asked me the other day how many followers I’m up to and I honestly didn’t know. I think the key is staying true to yourself…..enjoy the process and that will resonate with your readers. Happy trails, Ingrid

    • Thanks Ingrid, it’s so great to hear that others have fine through similar thoughts and frustrations. Helps me see that a) I’m not crazy, and b) things will get better. 🙂
      I’m so appreciative that you took the time to visit and especially to share your thoughts via your comment. Means a great deal to me!

  14. I blog because it is a shame not to share our experiences in our travel. Some are interesting, some captivating, sometimes boring, some readers shrugs it off or some liked it. But hey, sharing stories is a personal thing and I am telling it the way it is. So the I and the We will always be the prominent subject.
    Keep doing what you are doing as long as you like. Just be true to yourself.
    -MonaLiza

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