2014 has been a big year for me, and for this blog. It has grown from eighteen posts to a hundred, and even been moved to a self-hosted site, where you are now.
At one point, I was writing up to 4 posts a week, and trying to maintain regular features viz. a monthly WWE PPV review, Monday Muse, Friday Showcase, Cascader Wednesdays. None of those are still in cycle – I’ve diffused them all. Why is that?
Here’s why. I originally started the blog in 2011 because I thought it was a cool thing to do – a personal space where I could intermittently broadcast some thoughts and ideas to whoever was listening. Along the way somewhere, I lost that in a sea of statistics. Anyone who has a WordPress blog knows that WordPress maintains some very detailed statistics of page views, clicks, links etc. I’m a sucker for numbers. Somewhere down the road, I got sucked into those numbers, and my primary motive became getting those numbers to increase.
I got happy every milestone I touched, and every little achievement was a milestone. 1000 views, 2000 views, and then 3000 views on the blog – I had 4 digit statistics! And then I moved the site, and my stats reset. Strangely enough, it wasn’t much of a letdown. Somehow I managed to make myself happy about it – new beginnings, new challenges et al.
Then started a newer, more difficult challenge – to get regular comments and commenters. I did not succeed. Here are some unfair and unjust excuses –
- I’m not a girl. Girls get criminally more attention on social media.
- I don’t write about mundane everyday events. I don’t display a diary for everyone to see.
- Most comments are self-promotion anyway. Nobody really cares about abstract thinking.
And those are just those – excuses. I didn’t manage to get comments. So I looked into tips to get more comments, and on that advice, started writing more regularly, started regular features, started writing more about myself, started doing daily prompts often, and as quickly as possible so that my post is near the top of the list, and tried to start reading more blogs and perhaps leave some feedback there, to encourage a return exercise.
The result of that is that I lost the original premise – to write because it is fun; to write because I am bursting with excitement about an idea that seems great and I cannot hold it in and I need to push it out as the child of my brain and mold it into a beautiful, comprehensive, eloquent, and self-sufficient entity. It wasn’t fun anymore.
In late October I started attending therapy for vicious mood swings and intense loneliness, and I also sought help for anger management, burnout and purpose. I am terrified by stagnancy – a product of always being told that life is a rat-race and you’ll get left behind if you don’t push yourself. As such, I am never fully satisfied with the results of my pet projects or work or whatever, and I’m always looking to others for feedback and validation.
Therapy was helpful at a basic level, but it was a conversation and internal dialogue that triggered the path of recovery. Here is the internal dialogue (simplified) that brought about an epiphany – “Why do I feel lonely? Because I look for validation in others and I don’t get it. Why don’t I get it? Not to be explored. Backtrack. Why do I look for validation from others? Because expectations from others are easier than expectations from myself. Why are my expectations so high? Because I don’t like the way I am. I don’t respect myself.”
People who know me would be surprised to hear me say that I lacked self-respect, but that was the trigger. I surprised myself too. Since that realization, I’ve found it way easier to forgive myself for mistakes and to take things in a little more relaxed manner. Just knowing that that was the problem helped me deal with it. “Knowing is half the battle won.” I’ve been mostly okay since then.
One of the offshoots of that revelation was getting to escape the vortex of statistics on WordPress. I was finally able to give up the hectic post schedule in favour of more fun writing. Case in point, I haven’t posted anything since Post Number 100, which was more than a month ago.
From now on, I will go back to the style of my friend Nem’s blog Life in Night Vision, with no schedule whatsoever. But unlike my old self or Nem, I hope to post more often than 18 posts in 2 years. As such, I have fulfilled my 2014 [New Year’s] resolution of giving life to the blog, and I no longer seek to pander to hundreds of people or get thousands of views. So far, I feel content with myself and with writing out my ideas for public display.
Let’s see where it goes and how long it lasts. Thank you for reading.