When I first started blogging I never knew how much pure joy I would receive from it. I also never realized how addictive it would be on so many levels. When I began to receive a few comments on my initial posts it was exciting to realize that someone actually read my blog and took the time to respond. As bloggers, we love comments because it’s validation that what we write has some kind of impact on others.
Needless to say I never imagined that blogging would be so time consuming and yet in the same breath, so rewarding. Through your own writing I feel as though I have “met” many of you. I have learned about your families, your children, your lives, as well as your hopes, dreams and aspirations because I read about it on your blogs. I know about your failures and fears because you share this as well. And when all is said and done this is the true essence of blogging, connecting with the very community that reads your blog.
Having said that, in the last few months my blog has grown immensely. I initially started out with a handful of readers and watched this blog grow more than I would have ever expected in such a short time. And for awhile, I was able to keep up with it all. I did a pretty damn good job visiting all of the blogs that paid a visit to mine, responded to a ton of comments daily, emailed bloggers, chatted at length on Facebook as well as on Twitter. But I have to be honest keeping up this pace amidst such blog growth has since become a challenge.
My bottom line is that my family comes first. My career (the one that puts food on the table) comes second. Without my job, I would not be able to stay at home with my kids. These two things will always come before this blog. I do most of my blogging in the early morning and in the evening when the kids are asleep. However, I found myself getting up earlier and earlier and staying up later and later and even began commenting on blogs during the day when my baby girl was napping just to “keep up.” Quite frankly, this began to stress me out.
I can’t worry anymore if I am unable to return a comment because the one thing I have learned throughout this blogging experience is that followers may come and go, but real readership – those who adore your blog and are at the core of your blog that return time and time again are not commenting on your blog just to seek a comment in return. They are connecting to your writing and they will continue to return time and time again because they love your blog. Period.
For a moment, think of a popular blogger who has a huge following. Do these bloggers return every single comment on every single post? No. Do they connect and support their readership and continue the dialogue in other ways? Absolutely, which is why these blogs continue to thrive. I’ve written about how the power of social media helps to truly establish these connections and I firmly believe in this approach.
So with the time I do carve out for blogging, I will continue to support my readership, but it may not necessarily always be a blog visit and I have learned to let this go. Support may be shown in various ways such as through a follow, blog subscription, the retweet of a tweet on Twitter, a Stumble of a post on Stumble Upon, communication through an email exchange or a chat on Facebook. I will continue to support and connect with my readers through these mediums and continue to use social media because the bottom line is I can’t do it all.
Which brings me to my final point about the recent launch of TMC. I am so proud to have created a platform to bring such a fantastic group of women together. Bloggers who are just starting out now have another place to call home and veteran bloggers just added another resource to their repertoire and it’s all about networking.
I have been asked, “How do you have the time to do this and how do you manage to do it all?” My answer is simple: TMC runs itself. This community is a space for bloggers. You are the ones visiting this space to get yourself out there to network. Think of it like this: I provided you the fabulous house to party in and filled it with amazing décor, cocktails, music, food, and peeps, but now it’s up to YOU whether or not you mingle, network and have fun. TMC has it all there and the more active you are in this community, the more you will get out of it. So aside from the initial set-up and commitment to feature fabulous TMC bloggers weekly, TMC basically runs on its own.
So if you ever find yourself seeking the balance of your own blogging mojo, here is my advice for what it’s worth: At any point you feel stressed out about any aspect of blogging, whether it’s the writing, commenting, promoting or networking, take a step back and reflect on your experience and make some changes that fit you and your life. If I continued at the speed I was traveling recently, I would have easily landed in bloggy burnout. I’ve come to terms with the whole comment thing and I’m ok with it. This experience has shown me that I am human, that there are only so many hours in the day and that I do actually live a life outside of this blog. I had to find a balance that worked for me and luckily, I did.
And in the end, those who really read and visit me will still love Theta Mom and continue to support me – whether I am able to comment on a post or not.
And I’m ok with that.