It’ll be twelve years in March this year, since I first started writing online. Back then, I was afraid to call myself a blogger, because I was still so new at it. Because I didn’t know all the technical stuff. Because we were far away from everything we knew, in a new and foreign place and I was just me, writing my personal rants and journal-style stuff, and no-one actually read it.
And yet, what I was doing was keeping a web log of my life. A blog. I wrote almost every day, and had loads to say about all sorts of things. And it turns out someone, somewhere, did start reading it. And after a little while, that someone became maybe three someones. Eventually, my three readers became five or six. And as I found my voice and kept on writing, a few more people started stopping by to read my posts. By the time we moved back to South Africa, I’d made contact with a few other South African bloggers and we started meeting up every so often, to share offline what we didn’t necessarily share online.
Brands started taking note of blogs as a potential marketing tool and, by some fluke, I somehow landed on a couple of media lists and started receiving invitations to cool events.
And then everything changed. Blogging as a thing and blogging in South Africa in particular grew up and got serious.
Suddenly, it wasn’t enough anymore just to have an opinion on something and to write about it. Now we were comparing ourselves to other bloggers, installing site counters (remember those?!) and keeping track of how many comments we received on each post. Within what seemed like moments, there was a massive evolution and various metric and analytics tools started showing up everywhere.
Intimidated by how much I didn’t know, I let myself get left behind and started blogging less and less frequently. Concerns around my family’s privacy started becoming an issue and I started blogging even less. Until, eventually, managing to throw together a single post per month became an achievement.
And still, life, family commitments, laziness, fear of failure – all these things – caused me to hold myself back from learning about and using all these new tools of the blogging trade.
Meanwhile, braver souls who had embraced these things started really going places with their blogs, while I stopped writing at all, sometimes for months at a time. Because I was either too busy, too blocked or just too damn tired. Of what, I can’t honestly say…
I started doing a blog makeover toward the end of last year and got as far as a header & logo after having booked and paid for an hour session with a consultant. And when I look at it now, I’m not even sure I like what I’ve done all that much.
Maybe it’s because proper blogging and all that that entails costs money these days. I definitely don’t feel I can justify spending money on my blog, when there’s so much I still haven’t taken the time to learn how to do for free…
Maybe I was just never that into it in the first place. I find that a little hard to swallow, but the statistics speak for themselves, don’t they?
Whatever the reasons, justifications, explanations or excuses, I think it’s safe to say I can’t really call myself a blogger anymore. Certainly not in the most current sense of the word.
I’m almost relieved to have reached this point, actually. No more feeling guilty for the things I haven’t learned how to do; no more pressure on myself to meet unrealistic goals; no more interrupted posts sitting in my drafts folder forever because the moment is gone. No more fooling myself that I have the time or inclination to ingratiate myself with brands or with anyone else, or writing out of a sense of obligation rather than desire.
Rather, I’m getting back to just being me, writing my personal thoughts, experiences and other life stuff, without guilt and without fear. I’m bringing back the old-school blog and there’s space on this bus for two or three someones…