Did you hear? Did you hear? Didja? Didja? Didja?
Remember those blogging awards I begged you to nominate me for? And then cajoled you to vote for me? And cajoled? And cajoled?
The Studio 30 + Boomerang Awards?
I won! ME! I WON!
Best Photo Blog, to be specific.
Which, I have to tell you, makes me grin from my lips to my panties. I don't know why I needed an award to validate me, but I did. I know you understand. It doesn't just mean I have readers who care enough to vote for me or that I have enough people who think enough of this crazy space of mine to actually beat out the competition (SUCK IT! YEAH! I'm so gracious.), but that I'm finally proving myself as a real photographer too.
Because here's the thing about being an artist of some kind: it's often hard to remember you're part of that world when you don't get paid for it. If you're a writer, photographer, whatever, and you don't get paid to do it? You forget that you're still an artist with or without a monetary validation.
Which is such an American perspective. But I'm working on losing that.
Anyway, thank you so much for voting for me! You guys are truly the bestest of the bestest. And my most sincereliest congratulations to the other winners and finalists! Some of my good friends and fave blogs were recognized and they truly deserved it.
It kinda works out that I has this post scheduled for today too. Just when I am honored for my blog, I whine about blogging. Can't please me, eh?
Here's the thing about blogging: it's hard work.
I never intended to be "A Blogger." I don't say that with any derision, but when I started blogging, I had a more-than-full-time job and I really just wanted to write. I didn't keep it private, but I didn't anticipate the bloggy world I'm in today. I just didn't.
There was no way to foresee it. I worked in social media prior to blogging, sure. And I read a handful of blogs. When I set up my blog, I did it as I would for any company I would promote. I set up search functions and designed my first masthead. But I had no clue how I would generate any significant traffic or that I even wanted to generate much traffic.
I knew my friends were reading, but being butts about commenting. My first smart move was my Facebook fan page which I forced my friends to use if they wanted to keep reading and which told me which of my pals had been lurking. I'm evil like that.
Plus I'd been on twitter for some time. I'd forced myself on to keep in the social media loop, but sans anything of value to promote, hadn't gotten much out of it other than gossiping with work friends without our coworkers on FB finding out. See: evil.
Then I discovered the other bloggers. Yes, there were others. Many others, I found out. And they were kind and welcoming and shared their advice and their readership. They weren't competitive; in fact, they were eager to share and help. They commented on my blog. They promoted me on the Twitter. They liked my FB page. And they asked me to guest post.
And I did the same in return.
I found that bloggers are really gangbusters at networking. Really and truly. Bloggers should be teaching college students how to network, because they really do it best.
It all seemed so idyllic in the beginning.
I should really rephrase that, because it makes it sound like things have gone up in smoke and that's not the case. But I have suffered a serious case of blogging burn out.
What I didn't anticipate is that the blogging itself is not the hardest part. Creating content? Not the hardest part. Though it is consuming. Balancing irl work, looking for more work, generating content, managing my Etsy shop, etc, all while trying to have a life and relax is time consuming!
But not the hardest part. The hardest part is keeping up with The Blogs.
The more you network, the more blogs there are to read. And comment on. You want to read each one too and leave a comment. And you want that comment to have substance because you read that one BlogHer article about how bloggers hate the comments which just compliment them. It wouldn't be a chore if there weren't so many, except there's no way to cut. Because you genuinely enjoy and appreciate and want to support each and every one.
But there are just not enough minutes in the day! It's literally (not figuratively) impossible to do it all.
And that doesn't even count time on twitter, trying to be witty, keeping your followers laughing, and networking with bloggers. You don't remember the last #wineparty you had time or energy to visit even though it's a great joy when you do.
So where's the balance?
First thing: I disconnected from Twitter a bit. I still use it to promote my blog and Etsy, etc, and I still wander on in the morning and before I go to bed. And I'll still text funny tweets I think of in the moment, but I don't log onto The Twitters as much. Because while I do not think there's anything wrong with staying on all day if you can, it was eating up my energy.
As a result, many of the Favstar whores have stopped following me because I'm not validating their neediness all the time, but truthfully? I don't miss them much and I lost most of them when my Twitter went private anyway. And I doubt these people read my blog anyway. They just want to star fuck. If you don't know what any of the last paragraph meant, just skip it. I don't have the energy to explain. You're not missing much anyway.
After that, I cleaned out my twitter. I've found that keeping my following list under 400 is manageable. Keep in mind, not all 400 are on at the same time. Between time zones and busy schedules, that's a number I can work around and not lose the content from my good friends whom I enjoy. I'm getting close to 400 again, so Mama may need to make another cut. WATCH OUT!
Next? I gave myself a break from commenting. I don't comment on every post I read and I'M SO SORRY! Really though, I doubt every one of my blogging friends comment on every one of my posts. In fact, I know they don't. So I need to give my perfectionist ass a break.
I also don't worry about my comment being witty or substantive every single time. If I have to think too hard, I'm doing it wrong. It's just a comment and if you don't appreciate my comment, you're a goddamn snob anyways. If I feel moved to comment and that comment is just a "Great Post!" That's what you're getting. Hope that's okay. And don't be jealous of the comments I leave that are witty. My wit has a mind of its own and isn't always reliable, but sometimes it surprises even me.
Then? I cleaned out my reader. If I hardly find myself wandering over to a certain blog or reading any posts, time to stop sparing feelings. Snip snip it's gone. That cluttered reader was too overwhelming.
But then, I stopped reading each post of every blog I have in my reader. This one was the hardest. It truly was. Not only do I want to support each blog that I choose to put in my reader, but I do it because I actually like the blog! I want to read it. But I just don't have the time. So if I miss a few, I don't beat myself up and just read the newer posts. Or if a post seems like it wasn't directed at my type, etc, I'll just skip it. No one wants to be read out of obligation anyway right? Right.
Lastly, I'm not really taking on any new blogs. I know that sounds incredibly snobby. And the occasional new blog which wows me does slip through. But just like a company that is saturated with employees, I'm saturated with blogs to read. Any more and I just won't be able to spend any QT with the blogs I'm already loyal to.
However, I can still support your blog in other ways! Ask me to guest post for you or ask to post on Sexy Saturdays. Or I'm sure we can come up with other ways to pimp you out, like on my FB page or Twitter. I just love pimping.
What do you do to keep your blogging sanity? Do you always comment? How many blogs do you read?
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