100 days later – why I’m no natural born blogger


29th June 2017, I remember it well. I followed millions of others who decide to download their thoughts onto the internet for others to read. Yup, I started a blog!

I had no idea whether I would be any good, so I gave myself 100 days to be judged (in true American President style) before deciding whether to keep it up or banish it to all the realms of all other hobbies I’ve tried and failed.

And 100 days later here we are.

How have I done?

Well, you’re reading this so you should tell me……… tumbleweed…….. ok so here are some stats instead. Who doesn’t like stats?

  • Views: 648
  • Visitors: 205
  • Comments: 30
  • Posts: 16 (not including this one)

I’m fairly sure these aren’t record-breaking and I haven’t been as prolific in the posting department as I thought I would be. So these are my thoughts on the last 100 days and why blogging might not be for me after all.

1. It amplifies my self-doubt

Everyone who said blogging is hard wasn’t lying. To be truly successful it seems that you need to be a great writer, have reasonable IT skills and be prepared to put in some serious hours into promotion and networking (or have money to pay someone else to do it).

The writing is easy, when I can find the time between negotiating a full-time job, raising three kids, eating, sleeping, commuting and basically trying to function without Mrs Three Time Daddy wanting to slap me. Oh and all on an average of 4 hours sleep. No, the writing is easy.

What is hard is dealing with that resounding sensation of dread that floods over me in the moments after sharing a post. And the disappointment that follows when the masses don’t flock to my site and shower me with praise. And when the lucrative offers don’t arrive at my door and I realise that it is one page in millions of millions of pages and nobody cares what I think about anything. Yes, dealing with that is hard. Yet even if I do get a view on a post my heart actually sinks a little bit. I’m thinking ‘but they didn’t leave a comment saying how amazing it is, they must think it’s crap.’ Dealing with that is hard too.

2. I’m not a beautiful and unique snowflake

‘You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake,’ goes the Chuck Palahniuk quote from ‘Fight Club’ and this is never more correct than in the blogging world.

Everyone has one. You have one. I’m sure even my neighbour’s cat has one. And the guy I always see in Tescos with the hi-vis jacket. To be honest, I have no idea how it’s taken me until 2017 to join the bandwagon but now it’s crowded in here and I’m standing at the back.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed – how can I find a niche or a way to stand out? Quite simply I can’t. I’m a thirty-something white male with no tear-jerking or troubled backstory. I haven’t left Europe. I haven’t any particular areas of expertise. I haven’t any astounding talents. It turns out everyone else has three kids – ‘Three Time Daddy’ could literally apply to thousands of you. What do I have to say that is in any way unique?

The internet is also screaming ‘every single post idea you will ever have has already been done, and done better than you could ever do it’ at me. Let’s face it, if it hasn’t been done by now it is probably a shit idea (like this?)

3. A lot of blogs are boring

On the ‘Is It Just Me?’ scale this is probably off the chart by a long way.

When I first started I read a lot of ‘successful’ blogs to see how it was supposed to be done and how they should look. I was very disappointed with how bland they were. They looked absolutely beautiful and are probably case studies in SEO-optimisation but they felt creatively safe and lazy. A bit like Coldplay. Do we need to read things like:

  • ‘Should a parent really eat toast in the morning?’
  • ‘5 ways to fasten buttons’
  • ‘Read my review of a Toshiba paper shredder’

Is this 2017 blogging? I expected to learn something from these blogging giants, gain some insight or at least find it funny but… nothing. Do other people read it and go ‘mmmm I’ve always wanted to know 7 ways to peeling sellotape’? What sprung to mind was an interview with Win Butler that I had read years ago where he said ‘just because there’s a medium for something, people will fill it up with crap’. Blogging is no exception (if I have annoyed anyone, read this and you will see it is neither my fault nor intention).

On the other hand, I have read ‘smaller’ blogs and have found them brilliant and engaging. There are some very supportive people writing great things out there, yet sadly they may not get as much attention as they deserve. I admit my blog is no success story – look at the state of it! I’m still in the Vanarama National League in comparison (that’s low down), but hey, I’ve been doing it for 100 days and I’ve spent zero pounds on it.

4. It’s a glorified dog show

You write a blog. You post a blog. You share a blog. Why? Because you want people to read what you have to say. Whether you like it or not you have to start waving at people and showing off to get noticed.

The obvious way to do this is on Twitter – the social media sandwich board. The painful thing about Twitter is that you need opinions and be prepared to be vocal about them. As already described above, I may have opinions but they are largely the same as other more vocal people, who like showing off and like being noticed and do it a lot better than I ever would.

Something intriguing that I’ve discovered since joining Twitter is something called ‘Linkys’. Once I got over questioning the grammatical accuracy, I tentatively decided to join in. At first I thought I’d never understand them but I’ve taken part in 3 now and I’ve found the key to success is FOLLOWING THE RULES.

As a man I am constantly told I am terrible at following instructions but the ones I’ve taken part in have been straightforward: bloggers share content with other bloggers, comment on other blogs and expect others to do the same to you. Essentially it is like Crufts – you roam around sniffing butts with the implied consent that someone is going to return the gesture.

It is great for getting noticed and I’ve read some genuinely interesting stuff I would never have otherwise read. However, the whole self-promotion thing is very counter-intuitive for me. I typically like getting on with things rather than putting a spotlight on it, but unfortunately this is a fundamental requirement of being a successful blogger,

5. Awards? Huh. Yeah. What are they good for? Absolutely nothing

There seems to be an award for everything.

Even awards that aren’t actually awards seem to be called awards. Some people ask for nominations, others insist they aren’t bothered. Seriously, if you don’t want recognition for hard work you’re lying. I want an award. I won’t get an award, and I won’t go around trying to get one. If you like what I write (not including you, Mum) just tell me and let’s not bother with the whole rigmarole of nominations and awards ceremonies. Besides, updating my site with an award badge sounds like too much hard work and who really cares if I came 4th in the ‘Best Dad with three kids and a dog who lives in Greater Manchester and drive a silver car 2010’ award?

So what next?

100 days have come and gone, and like the British summer I expected it to be a lot more successful. Although I’m far from being an expert, I have learned a lot during that time and will keep this blog going on my own terms. Whether anyone reads it is another matter.


7 Comments on “100 days later – why I’m no natural born blogger”

  1. Loved this. And couldn’t leave without putting a comment down could I! Didn’t realise you started off the same time of me. I reckon you’re doing great!

  2. This is a great post! Honestly, I can completely understand all of your points.
    I think we started our blogs at more or less the same time didn’t we? I’ve only done 21 posts I think, and thought I’d have done a lot more. What I have written I think is great, but my stats don’t reflect that. I write what I like to write, on a whim. I don’t have a plan. Maybe I should. But I doubt I’d stick to it.
    I thought I’d be more bothered by the fact that my blog doesn’t get many views, but I’m not overly bothered. I guess I hope in time the readers will come. I think some big bloggers say it took a year or more for their blog to get anywhere.
    I’d love to be an award winning blogger, and I do have grand dreams of being a blogger that gets featured on major websites etc. Who knows, maybe one day. But I don’t ‘work’ towards that. If it comes it’ll come naturally. But again, I doubt it will!
    And I completely get you about reading the big blogs and thinking to myself – these are no better than mine. What makes this blog stand out anymore than mine should? Usually, in my mind, nothing. And yet they have the stats and awards to back themselves up. Go figure!
    Yes, ultimately it all comes down to banging out the posts non stop and promote promote promote!
    You really do need a lot of time to do it, and a lot of drive. Writing posts in itself is a lot of hard work. So much effort goes into it. And then all the social media promotion, AND interaction, is almost like a full time job in itself.
    It’s so easy to get drawn into the constant interaction and conversation on social media, and then I find it overwhelming and disappear for a while (as you’ve seen me do! Ha!). I spend too much time talking about crap, and not enough time promoting my own stuff and interacting with other bloggers and readers in a way that will have a positive impact on my blog. And that’s what I need to do more of, if I want more eyes on my blog.
    Either way, I currently enjoy doing it all at my own pace, and so I’ll continue to do it this way.
    I think us small bloggers understand each other, and we understand and appreciate reciprocated support. Something that I feel is sadly lacking when I support some of the big bloggers.
    Anyway, I’m droning on…. I think you’re doing great and I genuinely enjoy your posts.

    • Thanks for reading and I’m glad someone else agrees! I think I’ve quickly realised what blogging is and isn’t, and I’m happy going at my own pace now too. It’s definitely hard work so I appreciate your support!

  3. Good on you for keeping it going mate. I had the same thoughts as you and I still do get them sometimes. I then give myself a slap and realise I’m doing it for me because I wanted to do it in the first place, no one else wanted me to do one. Now I stress less about how often I write, I just post when I want and don’t let blogging get in the way of my life

  4. Thank you for this blog post. I am currently trying to decide if I am going to take the plunge and start blogging. The things you talked about here are exactly what I I am concerned about. 🙂 especially the part about self-promotion. But it looks like maybe giving it a hundred days is a good place to start. Good luck to you on your blogging!

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