A couple of weeks ago I blogged about my book giveaway drawing… you know, the drawing nobody entered?
Well, I wrote about it partly to tell you where the book ended up, and partly in the interests of full disclosure–I don’t want to give a false impression that I’m some wildly popular, successful blogger or anything. But later I re-read the post and thought it may have sounded a bit… whiny.
I hate whining.
I should write a post, I thought, to emphasize that I’m okay with my small start and am definitely not whining. But I got busy and didn’t write it… yet…
Then I went to the Faith and Culture Writers retreat and conference in Portland, as I described last week. Excellent speakers taught on a wide variety of topics relevant to us creatives. Looking back over my notes, I found one common thread that appeared, one way or other, in every single talk. Here’s the gist of it:
To really connect with your readers you must know your identity and write authentically from your passion. Do not chase market trends or compare yourself to anyone else.
No kidding, this idea popped up in every session, from “Embrace Your Inner Weird” to “Learning from Great Literature” to “Ten Things I Hate About Your Blog.” After hearing it twelve or fifteen times, phrased in a variety of ways, it made quite an impact on me. (I may have mentioned that during the conference I suffered from information overload. Otherwise it might have had that impact sooner.)
I don’t obsess about the number of subscribers my blog has. Besides the “comparison” thing, blog statistics are pretty much meaningless anyway. Many people click “subscribe” if they see one post they kind of like, or if they want to sell me something–and they never come back. One time someone followed my blog, leaving this comment on one of my especially heartfelt, carefully crafted posts:
Did she even read any of the post?
That lack of depth or engagement sends a message: “Jan, you are just a commodity this person wants to use.”
A four-digit number of followers would feel good, but only if those individuals benefit from what I have to say. I want to build a bridge between myself and my readers and, hopefully, between us and Christ. So why pump up my statistics with two thousand people who have spent no more than fifteen seconds–ever–with my blog? As near as I can figure, it’s better to connect with two dozen real live people who actually, you know, enjoy some of my posts.
Like Marlece, f’rinstance–mom of four boys in Washington state. She documents the joy and wackiness in her blog “Son Up ‘Til Son Down.” We connected online, and got to meet when I was in the area for the conference. After encouraging each other for a couple of years, I can’t tell you how satisfying it was to see her and deliver a real, live, warm, 3-D hug right there in Starbucks! She writes authentically and from her passion. As we talked I found I already knew her. She is just as wise and wonderful in person as I’d thought.
That’s how I want to write, too. So, if you’ve read this far, know that I truly love sharing my hectic, goofy and often-discombobulated life with you. You are the one I write for, and again I say…
…thanks for reading.
PS: This week I am linking up with my Soli Deo Gloria sisters.