Do you ever try and further yourself and come out of it feeling like giving up? Like when you go to the gym but after three classes, you forget to go back and put on half a stone devouring cup cakes to make yourself feel better and forget about the gym guilt?
It happened to me a bit after Doolin Writers’ Weekend. I went in all guns blazing and on the drive home I felt a bit deflated – like I’d just been to see masters at work and in my hand I held a child’s drawing, scribbles, colours outside the lines – twenty years behind Picasso or Van Gogh.
After letting my learnings settle I eventually became more inspired. I realised I needed to immerse myself even more, to read, to listen, to write more, to craft.
This weekend I attended the Irish Bloggers’ Association conference in Dublin. I had an idea by the line up that a lot of the speakers were a little outside what I normally write about – fashion led, wellness, more lifestyle than I’ve been blogging about recently with all my creative writing work.
And after a day of listening to the speakers, of talking about blogging for money, of instagram feeds that garner thousands, of watching speakers fifteen years younger than myself tell me what’s revelant… well I felt… not very.
“I’m thinking of deleting my blog,” I said to himself when I got home.
And I knew it was an idle threat. One of those – I’m never drinking again when you have a hangover threats.
But I did have a hangover. A blogging hangover. And this time, I don’t think after the learnings have settled that I will feel more inspired.
Blogging is a funny old business. It’s hugely personal – what you put down here is honest, a part of yourself, an opening up and sending yourself out in the world. It’s hugely cathartic, satisfying, rewarding when people like what you write and tell you.
But as your audience grows and you join the blogging communities, you realise what’s out there. Successful bloggers. Money making bloggers. And it’s only natural to want to be part of that – to grow your own blog to be successful in the way that you see it.
But what is a successful blogger? Is it a writer who walks and talks fashion, who is flawless and snaps their life away in a filtered divulge of constant interestingness? Is it a blogger who has thousands of followers, who wins awards, who has Facebook share in the billions?
Is it a woman who supports her family by the money she takes from brands who pay her to use her platform – one she has invested in and built over time, who has spent hours pawing and tweaking at, of sharing and link dropping, of taking pictures of intimate happenings to tell the whole world?
Is it a hard worker who churns out content, who hits the mark every week, who watches her stats rise, the more she posts, the more she shares?
Is it a brand leader, a self starter, who has legions of fans outside of her own 503 Facebook friends?
Or is it all of the above or none of the above or a mixture of both, or nothing, insignificant, a speck on the internet, a waste of band space, a hogger of hosting services that could be going to another well deserved domain?
I know it wasn’t the aim of the conference, and maybe I knew it about myself going in, but I walked away feeling like I care about none of these things.
What’s the point? I thought. Isn’t there more to life than stats and statuses?
It’s probably inevitable, that an activity that started out as fun for most, has become a business model and with that comes all the serious stuff. I bet footballers went through this when the world cup came about. Those who wanted to be really good, trained hard and went to try and win the gold little man. Those who didn’t fell off and continued to kick the ball around their back garden.
I haven’t decided what I want yet. To keep pursuing the successful blogger model, which involves a small business attitude and the stamina of a camel. Or to return to my roots and post what I want, when I want and without care for anyone else except I and the readers who regularly interact with me.
I know this is a lot of yearning for a Bank Holiday Monday.
And even as I write it, I roll my own eyes and yawn, who cares?
But this is what’s in my head right now and isn’t that what blogging is all about? Your thoughts on a web page, your opinion for others to read?
Good luck bloggers. See you on the other side.
I’m just not sure which side yet.