Sunday, October 3, 2010

dear readers

My lovely readers, far and wide,

I am writing this post in the form of a letter because want to chat with you candidly, heart-to-heart. You see, I have been experiencing some self-doubts. Rest assured that I am not writing this because I need or want you to lavish me with praise to inflate my bruised ego. I would just like to be completely honest with you, openly disclosing the thought processes that colour my writing. I don't want to harbour any misconceptions about what I am offering to you.

The doubts I have been experiencing stemmed from my love of browsing other people's blogs. Within the last few months, I have come across a number of wonderful ones, like Rachel Hills' Musings of an Inappropriate Woman, Thea Easterby's Write Change Grow and Corrine's Frock and Roll. These blogs, as well as the many others I regularly peruse, provide an avalanche of tips for an inexperienced writer/blogger like me, amongst other things. Those tips include regular posting, quality content, layout guidelines, self-promotion, catering to your audience, effective headlines and search engine optimisation. There are also multitudes writing tips provided by various sites catering to aspiring writers. Don't use adverbs, prune away adjectives, show don't tell, etcetera. At first, I found myself carefully noting each of these tips, planning how I would implement each of them, in order to ensure that I was being a good blogger. Until it all just came crashing down on my shoulders and I thought, what on earth am I doing?

Don't get me wrong, I still think all those blogs are great. The girls who write them are absolutely lovely, and their beautifully worded, considered content is designed to inspire. The tips they provide, out of the kindness of their hearts, are very helpful, for somebody who wishes to launch and nurture a successful blog. The thing is, my self-imposed immersion into the "pro-blogger" world made me lose sight of what I really wanted to achieve here. I have come to realise that, as strange as it may sound, a successful blog isn't my goal. I want it to be good, yes. But my definition of a good blog is its propensity to touch the people who read it. I do not hold any pretenses that my blog is representative or has the potential to be widely received. I do think, however, that I have kindred spirits out there and, already, more than I could have ever imagined have somehow congregated here. Which is just lovely.

So with those thoughts clouding my mind, I had to take myself back to when I first started this blog. It was almost a year ago. I had no lofty ambitions, to be honest. I just wanted to share my inspirations with my friends and whomever happened to pass by. At that stage I didn't do much of my own writing (at least, not in the public sphere) or dream of having a career as a writer. I have the burgeoning of my blog to thank for that newly realised aspiration, for providing a platform upon which I could quietly nurture my voice and build my confidence. Even so, I have no misplaced hopes that this humble webpage could ever grant me a fully-fledged writing career on a silver platter or, more hilariously, launch me into stardom.

I mean, let's all be honest. Everybody blogs these days. Everybody who reads blogs, anyway. And I truly think that is a wonderful thing. I love that blogs have provided people with a means of voicing their opinions and creating a subversive universe in which everybody is welcome. It is just that, for me, blogging provides a sanctuary and the last thing I want is fame. Who wants fame? It sounds awful, to me. (Not that I think this blog is worthy of fame; just to make the point that it is not an aspiration of mine.) So when people link to my blog, I am immensely flattered, but also scared. With a larger audience comes a greater risk for those anonymous comments to surface, ridiculing my hard work, my heart bleeding onto a webpage. We've all seen them. Some of you may have experienced it yourself. It's not that I am allowing the existence of these bullies to inhibit me. I would just rather avoid them.

Which brings me to why I am writing this post. It's an apology, to my loyal readers. There are not many of you, and for that reason I feel a close affinity with all of you, even those of you I haven't heard from yet. I have a deeply rooted desire to encourage you to read my blog and for my words to inspire you, in some small way. At the same time, I know that I cannot let myself get bogged down in these blogging "rules". I don't want to post everyday because I have to do. I don't want to force ideas upon you out of fear that your interest will wane, and your readership will slip from my grasp. With that comes desperation and staleness; which I am sure will turn you off, just as surely.

So I am going to write when I feel like it. I am going to do my best to ensure that my posts are quality, but sometimes they may be inane, peppered with spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. They may be overly long and ranty. I will scatter as many adjectives and adverbs amongst my prose I please. I will shroud the title of my posts in mystery, making it as hard as possible for people to find my blog. My hope is that once you have found it, a needle in the elaborate, convoluted haystack that is the internet, you won't leave.

With that said, I would like to thank each and every one of you, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for appreciating my writing. Thank you for your lovely comments. Thank you for waiting patiently between posts. Thank you for recommending it to your friends. Thank you for coming back. Just THANK YOU, to the moon and back! And may I say (knock on wood) that I have never, ever had a nasty comment on my blog. I would like to think that is because my blog has attracted lovely, kind, thoughtful, like-minded readers, who have no understanding of why on earth people would want to make personal attacks upon guileless strangers online. My greatest hope is that it remains that way.

With love,

Laura xx


Corrine/Frock And Roll said...

Oh Laura, you have a lovely blog, and I certainly hope that anything I've ever written has convinced you that you need to follow a certain formula to be ''successful'' (I mean, what is success, anyway?! It's so subjective!) - I've always just tried to share whatever I'VE found useful or beneficial, which is certainly not to say that everyone else is going to find it applicable to them! Do what works best for you: I think, ultimately, our greatest work is always our most honest work, what comes most organically to us. Good luck, well done, and I look forward to reading whatever you write - whenever you choose to write it!


natalieW said...

Hi Laura

Im the first to comment :)!!!

Your blog is so lovely. You r so sweet. I just started blogging and I blog for myself first. It started as I want to keep wonderful articles, quotes, life advices,posts, memory, feelings that I can remember and look back. Then I want to share these things to whoever pass by.
Sometimes when you find something wonderful, you hv this feeling of sharing them with everybody :(
but I'm quite happy to be like a diary instead of a blog.
(so i can show it to my greatgreatgreatgrand children or something) its like my journey in life.
I'm definately not good at posting a link, different font colours and that sort of stuff!!! Im technology illiterate, always and I think will always be :)
But I love your blog so much. I like blogs which moves me and (have lots of quotes) like yours :)
I hope mine to be wonderful too but I hv this habit of posting too many pictures of food:)

natalieW said...

Oh noooooooooooooooooooooooo
I'm not the first anymore :(

Kimberley said...

This is such a beautiful post Laura! I fully understand where you are coming from and I think that is what makes this blog so beautiful. I don't think that you should ever feel doubts about your writing because you are so talented, and you don't need to adhere to any rules to produce something beautiful! Love lots xx

Jadegrrrl said...

Writing from the heart will always win me over and that's what you do :)

Laura Valerie said...

Hi Corrine! Yes exactly, I think your blog is just wonderful and positive, I will always read your tips and tricks even if I don't implement them! I think when you start a blog and you don't know what you're doing, you take in all of this information to try to make sure you're doing it "right", when really your biggest asset is that you are unique with a fresh point of view. Which you have clearly figured out and used to make your blog so lovely and distinctive!

Natalie, I love your third and fourth reasons for having a blog (in your About Me page): "this blog can become my life steps, my proof of being, collection of my treasured memories, my own life lessons, mistakes and experiences" and "this feels like writing my own personal unofficial biography... Hm, a personal self help manual guide is more likely". It is so true!

Thank you so much Kimberley and Jade! xx

Anonymous said...

gorgeous. x

Oh, Natalie.. said...

That was lovely! & this is probably my first comment, so just a hello x
I am very happy being a selfish blogger. My blog is more an open brain & diary than it is something I want to please others with.
Don't change a thing, I like your blogging just the way it is.

Ash said...

I love your blog, its so positive thats what keeps me coming back!

I got so scared I thought you were shutting the blog down or something!! Phew!

I agree with what everyone has said x

livefashionately said...

i know that you don't want what, in the wider term of the word, would be a 'successful' blog, although, i am sorry to say, i think, in your own definition of the word, you have created a successful blog. You have exposed many, friends and strangers alike, to things that touch us, inspire us, making our worlds prettier and more meaningful. I think wide recognition of that for you would be lovely, but I understand that most wonderful opinons are not always the most popular ones, and therein lies the beauty of your expanding corner of the web.

I actually think you have already succeeded, but I'm glad you will continual being noble, because everything you find it in yourself to write about, means so much more to me in trying to live a full, compassionate, and appreciative life than pretty much anything else you find online. Although SoulPancake is very interesting!

Thankyouuu for being you.

Rachael said...

As someone smack in the middle of experiencing their own "blog outfall", I guess I am living through part of what you fear. The things that I have learnt are thus:
1) You can never please everyone, and you will tie yourself in knots trying to.
2) Words, by their nature, can and will be misinterpreted. I think this is both their beauty and their curse.
3) You cannot control anything you post, let alone how people will react. No apologies necessary.
4) Blogging is a stream of consciousness. The rules don't apply.
5) Whatever the outcome, the people who know and love you will continue to know and love you. Perhaps even a little bit more.
6) Every post you write beats with your heart.

Maybe I didn't learn that final one from my experience. :)

I feel like the worst has happened to me and it ain't that bad. I feel like the worst will never happen to you so it's not even a concern. Write with that open heart and we'll continue to read, and love, and be grateful.

Bianca said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. I, too, sometimes need to refresh my memory as to why I started blogging; it can be so easy to get caught up in popularity contest of it all. It's nice to know that others feel the same way!


Laura Valerie said...

Thank you so much everybody, your kind words are so heart-warming.

Rachael, I am so sorry to hear that you have had been subjected to that "blog outfall" (thank you for that jargon, I have never heard of it before!) It seems as though you have come out the other side stronger and wiser than ever, so that is wonderful. Your points all ring true. xx

Joni said...

Well, I don't have a blog, and I like to read yours.
Just thought you should know :)

Rachel Hills said...

Given that my blog, like yours, is something I mostly do for fun (and because I like to write for people I can see and hear), I'd take my advice on the subject with the requisite grain of salt. My freelancing advice, on the other hand, you should take totally seriously. ;)

Keep up the great work. xxx

Laura Valerie said...

Thank you Joni! I may have overstated that part ;) I just meant to say that being a blogger doesn't make somebody more special than their readers... I find that some bloggers have an "us" and "them" mentality whereas I prefer just the "us". :)

Hi Rachel, thank you so much for your comment! I love your blog and find your blogging tips so true and helpful, I just need to be careful of getting bogged down in all the advice provided online. And yes, your freelance tips are gold and I would never second-guess them ;) Thank you again xx

joanne said...


As I started to read this post I thought that you were going to say you were discontinuing your blog - please don't!!
I don't often comment but I visit your blog almost every day and I think I've read every post since discovering it about 3 months ago. I bet you have lots of followers like me who visit but don't make comments.

I love reading your posts because you come across as being thoughtful and intelligent. You NEVER come across as being narcissistic and and self involved, as many bloggers do I find.

Plus your blog looks beautiful - your images are lovely I often print them and stick then aound my computer at work.

Thank you for your blog! I will try and comment more often so that you know you are appreciated!!
xox Jo

Laura Valerie said...

Hi Joanne! Thank you so, so much for your beautiful comment. I do feel incredibly appreciated, my self-doubts only stem from second-guessing myself - not any lack of support from you or others who read the blog! I really do love comments but please don't feel any pressure to write them. I am perfectly happy for you to just read my posts and copy my pictures - that is lovely! xx

Anonymous said...

I love your blog Laura, just the way it is :) I agree with what everyone else has commented, so just wanted to drop by and nod in agreement! xx

Laura Valerie said...

Thank you Bel x

Destined For Now said...

I love your blog and I think it stems from a feeling that you really love what you write. So keep on so long as it's for you.