When blogging “goes south”

Yellow sand pile and blue, blue sky

I have been feeling tentative lately.  Not-so-secure.  Not-so-confident. 

Not so sure whether to turn left or right.

Or whether to turn at all.

Larch (or Tamarack) tree

It’s interesting:  as soon as my mood goes south…my blog hits dip in half!  This has never happened before in almost 16 months of blogging.  Alas. 

Should I get depressed?  Give up blogging?  Try to change the fickle mood into something more positive and upbeat?

Yellow leaf in tree

Sometimes it’s hard to blog everyday.  Or I think it’s hard.  I think (please peek into the Mind and listen to what it says):  “There is nothing to say.  Nothing to say at all.  Nothing worth writing.  Nothing worth recording.  Who wants to hear anyway?)

However, Fie on that voice!!  I write because…because…I believe the ordinary can be extra-ordinary.   I believe that every day has something special in it; something golden if we simply peer at the right angle. And I believe it whether 5,800 people stop by to read in one day…or if fifty wander by.  Or, darn it!, if one person visits.  Got that, Mind?

Bird (parakeet?) in local coffee shop

And, truly, who do we write for anyway?  Aren’t we writing for ourselves ultimately?  Because it gives us a sense of joy or purpose or connection?  Why do we even care who is reading?

Can we write only because the Inner Muse wants to say something?

The possibility of sky

Do any of the rest of you have trouble writing when your readership goes down?  Or are you OK with it?  (Or maybe some of you have never had your readership dive…) 

On the other hand–see, I can’t help but look at things as “half full” rather than “half empty”–it does feel more cozy with a smaller readership.  Like we’re a group of friends in a large living room, sharing stories.

And it makes me appreciate all of you even more!  Thank you for reading…

P.S.  If some of you have never heard of the saying “goes south”, it means this:

Phrase that originated during the American Civil War. During the early stages of the war Army officers (that had graduated from West Point) had to decide if they were to stay in the Union Army (north) or if they were going to join the Confederate Army (south). If they chose to join with the Confederate side they were referred to as “going south”. It was used as a phrase of derision by the Federals that the defecting officer had made a poor choice or performed a poor action.

Any southerners reading this, please forgive.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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51 Responses to When blogging “goes south”

  1. Snoopykg1 says:

    Kathy
    This was a great story and certainly a number of thoughts to ponder>

    I can say that I have an opinion about both North and South, as I have lived in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Tennesee, and Georgia…..I certainly do not want to be labeled a defecter! i will also add that I firmly believe there are some still in the South that are stilll fighting the war.

    It seems that the blogging, in my case is that it is almost my journal. I have found that it is much easier to commit to this online, than get writers cramp from handwriting. (After all there is spell check too!) There are so many creative, mindful, caring, spiritual, adventursome things that I have encountered just in the last few months, not to mention a few of them challenging me to be a better me, asking if I really know who I am, or just challenging my thinking another way. I can see this in how I interact with others and try to be present, give my word, try not to make assumptions, and something else but I forgot it! i will cover it later…

    Thanks for sharing and challenging me to consider that I always give my best…(Thats it, the forth agreement. (Or some one might correct me)….

    Kim

    • Kathy says:

      Kim…I understand the journal-writing joys and challenges. It’s good to be able to write this down and share with others. To always give our best is a worthy goal. Yes, indeed… Thank you.

  2. divacarla says:

    Kathy, do subscribers who read in email and don’t click through to the blog count in your stats? If not, they are missing at least one regular reader.
    By the way, have you got into an everyday rut? When did you commit to LSS as a daily blog? This reader says, take a few days off. Don’t come back till your busting with the desire to write, even it is about nothing. ;o)

  3. divacarla says:

    correction of my pet peeve: you’re

    • Kathy says:

      Diva Carla…I have no idea at all if email readers count as a stat, or if they have to click to give a hit. Good question!

      Maybe I have got in the everyday rut. But this is what so often happens: I have a glut of photographs that I want to share. Like today. I have a list of 10 photographs to share…and don’t want them to build up and be forgotten. Because otherwise I’ll quit taking photos…

      So I think, “Ok, I’ll just post these 5 or 6 photos and not say anything.” Well, Ms. Carla, you can imagine how far that goes! I simply do not have the ability to post photos without gabbing. LOL! And that’s the story of why there are blogs most days… 🙂

  4. Barb says:

    Hi Kathy,
    If I wanted to write and have nobody read, I’d do a private journal! I like the connection. However, I often can’t read blogs on a daily basis and certainly don’t write a post daily. My readers seem to drift in over several days, and I’m always gratified when they do! Also, my stat counter registers a lot more readers than those who leave a comment – I do like to hear from people when they visit, so I do the same for others.

    • Kathy says:

      Barb…funny!…yep, that’s what I did for years. A private journal. Like you, I have a lot more readers than commenters. And I always like to comment when visiting other blogs, too. Seems like the least we can do–let someone know we’re reading. And I don’t read other blogs everyday either. It usually takes me about a week to cycle through my blogroll and connect with everyone. I do have quite a few visitors here on the blog–it’s just been kind of weird lately that the hits did a nosedive.

  5. Colleen Lloyd says:

    Kathy, believe me, we are so honored that you are willing to share this! I think we all go throught these times and when we have the courage to share them with others…our vulnerability and our doubt…it is such a gift. Our words (and our lives) have such power and such grace and impact the world in ways far beyond anything we can imagine!
    You have this gift. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Hugs.

    • Kathy says:

      Colleen, thank you. It’s nerve-wracking, sometimes, to allow ourselves to be vulnerable in public! But I figure that if I’m going through vulnerable times…other people are, as well. And we’re all in this stew together. 🙂 Truly, again, your words are so comforting and such a gift in themselves.

  6. holessence says:

    Kathy – “The possibility of sky” is my favorite photograph today.

    In answer to your question … I write for me. But I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a delightful added bonus when others are interested.

    NOW HEAR THIS:
    If my readership ever reaches half of your “dip”, I’ll be tickled pink!

    Laurie Buchanan
    http://holessence.wordpress.com/

    • Kathy says:

      OK, Laurie, as usual, you have me giggling. (You DO have that ability.) You know, I remember starting the Opening the Door blog and thinking 20 or 50 hits was the BOMB! Tee hee. It’s all a matter of persepctive, isn’t it?

  7. Kathy,

    Thank you for sharing this particular thought of yours…. cause I thought I was the only one experiencing this. See, this is why your write. In fact, I look at it more like “sharing”–sharing yourself with others. Contributions and differences are made through sharing oneself, believe or not. Thank you again for allowing others to see how the world occurring for you!!

    • Kathy says:

      Hsiao-Ling, it makes it worthwhile to write a post like this to hear that you are feeling and experiencing the same thing. That IS why we write, isn’t it?

  8. Emma says:

    If people didn’t care about being heard and/or interacting, they would write on paper. Blogging is inherently about sharing with others. So, it makes a lot of sense.

    I read each post, even when I don’t comment. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      You read every post, Emma? You are a miracle! I find this whole blogging/interaction thing confusing at times. Magical at other times.

  9. You are right in step with the discussion on the LL about success. Do you need an audience? Is that part of our process? Necessary? Are my sketchbooks more valuable when someone looks at them? I think it is worth considering. I did not know you can count how many hits your site gets. I am kind of glad to stay in the dark about that frankly. I love your writing Kath. Your reflections, even when they are still and quiet, are still heartfelt and I appreciate your presence. With love, S

    • Kathy says:

      Suzi, do we really need an audience? Such a good question. I wrote/journaled for 30 years without an audience. Sometimes it got boring because it felt so self-contained. At other times I wrote because I had to. You are kind of lucky that you don’t have the stats counter. For people who like to count (I have even been fascinated with odometer readings in the past) it can be challenging. My husband writes a column for the newspaper and has no clue who is reading or not.

  10. Gerry says:

    I, um, would like to know more about that sand pile. It has tickled my curiosity, indeed it has.

    Why not just write what and when you please? Think about what makes you happy. Blogging is not a religious obligation . . .

    If the spinning counter is exhilarating, analyze how it works and consciously make it spin faster. If your heart melts when you meet someone who says “I love your blog” ask yourself why that is, and what kind of post makes you feel that you have given that person good value. If you craft a post that makes you see something about the world or about yourself that you have not seen before, and if that satisfies a deep need, why not do more of that?

    All of us ultimately must do work that feeds us both literally and metaphorically. There is nothing wrong with that. It just is. What feeds you?

    • Kathy says:

      Gerry, the sand pile is sitting on a side road near our house. I suspect someone is going to use it for–something. Ha ha, haven’t a clue!

      I like your line of questioning. I think “what feeds us” sometimes changes. I’m in a place of feeling the energies change a little…and trying to figure it out.

  11. Kathy, I am with Laurie… in that if my stats looked like your dip I’d be “tickled pink.” I still think 50 hits is great and anymore than that is a bonus. I like the conversation almost more than the readership. For example my hits were high for my blog today but the comments were low. I got to thinking maybe my regular “sprout question” was to hard.

    Your post today helped remind me that there is no point in second guessing ourselves… keep going and post what we love and what inspires us. If we are feeling like everything is “going south” then I will follow your example and call it as it is.

    Warm hugs for your honesty. And my favourite photo is “yellow leaf in tree” Terrill

    • Kathy says:

      Terrill, the conversations ARE so much often a better feeling of connection than the hits. I truly wish I didn’t care about hits. That has been a desire for 15 out of these 16 blogging months on WordPress. Someday I hope to simply be completely content with whatever Life offers. How’s that for a desire? (PS I think my hits started going south because Life is nudging me to look deeper or wider at something…)

  12. What a wonderful post, Kathy, a very personal one too, I am sure we are many who can relate to your words and thoughts. I liked it when you said that the ordinary can be extra-ordinary, writing a blog is maybe a way to give a better look at things, life around us and sharing it with others ? Be more aware ? To share our present moment or day in a way that others will enjoy and get inspired with, or comforted or just feeling like exchanging more. I like exchanging, writing letters – the old way, you know, snail mail – Blogging is new to me, I am happy if I receive a response but don’t make it a priority. Visiting you Kathy is always a relaxing moment, one to be inspired with, a reading with a thinking, if I may say so. Forgive my English please and thank you for all you write. Larch trees are my favourite ! In a few more weeks they will bloom, tiny little pink buds, so pretty ! I like your “possibility of sky” 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Isabelle, I so admire folks like you–for whom English isn’t your first language–and yet you express yourself so wonderfully. Your attitude is inspirational. You are happy if you receive a response, but don’t make it a priority. That is lovely. Blogging has become such an integral part of my day…sometimes it feels like the priority. Maybe it’s ime for the focus to shift. Not to stop blogging; simply to change focus? Thank you so much for your thoughts.

  13. winderjssc says:

    Hi, Kathy
    Can I share with you something I have observed from an analysis of my own blog stats? I don’t know if this would apply to your own blog but, surprisingly, numbers always seem to decrease in the school holidays. The reason for this could either be that the most frequent readers are Mums who have less time to spare when the children are at home and need looking after – or (as I’m guessing in my case) the blog is most frequently read/used by teachers and students in term time. It’s just a thought.
    Thinking of you and continuing to enjoy both your writing and increasingly professional photographs – even though I do not write a regular comment.
    Jessica

    • Kathy says:

      Jessica, you are probably right. There are ebbs and flows in every year, in both the external world and our internal life. I know holidays are lower reader times in the blogging world. Thank you for saying that the photos are becoming increasingly professional! Wow! I look back at some of the photos from last year and wonder…”Why did people say they like these? I should have framed it a little bit more like so…” Ha ha, maybe we’re never completely satisfied!

  14. les da' prez says:

    The ebb and flow of blogging. Stay vigilant.. Be Blessed…

  15. Cindy Lou says:

    I say ‘write for you’ whether we read it or not….and if it’s a down day, so what? That also is part of life and it’s various cycles. I’m blessed to be part of this circle of friends here – love the image of all of us sitting around your living room chatting! Your words – or some part of them – always touch a chord in my heart and soul.

    My favorite photo today? All of them were wondermous, but I really like the “Possibilities of Sky.” Happy trails to you, sweetie….enjoy, relax, revive your soul!

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, when I was a “baby blogger” on Gaia, a woman named Aley said, “Whenever someone comments on my blog, I want them to feel like we’re in a living room having a conversation.” And that’s what I’ve tried to create! (Even if no one ever comes back to read these responses, it feels like such a good feeling to be addressing comments.)

      **Hey, my possibility of sky is very real today! Heading upwards in a few hours, and off to California.

  16. jeffstroud says:

    Kathy,

    Great blog! You and I have had this discussion before, because I was asking, when on Gaia, I had 50 or so viewers and maybe one comment. I remember your support and encouragement. And Believe you ask me the same questions, “do you write/blog for yourself or for the people reading and the comments?” or something like that.

    I have been in my own slow time in blogging, I only started blogging on WordPress a few weeks ago, and already I have writers block, questioning where I have anything to say or share or is it really worth the time? I find that blogging is fulfilling in many ways. The meeting of new people, getting to know the people/friends on a different level. Through Terrill’s blog I have began a course in Creativity, with Laurie’s blog I am in the midst of learning or re-minding to keep is simple, that life is joyful. With your blogs I have been offered an everyday look at your world, a world or area I know little about. You have take us on personal vacations, and have shared your personal thoughts of your journeys of an everyday life, which you experience “extra ordinary” !

    I read you blogs everyday, I may not always comment but I do read them and enjoy your photographs and sense of humor and sense of surprise!
    I most enjoy your photograph “Yellow leaf in a tree” this shot is clear, and crisp you can feel the air, sense the freshness. Well done!

    Thank you for being you! Thank you for sharing your concerns and or fears!

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Kathy says:

      Hello, Jeff, yes, this is an on-going conversation with some of us, isn’t it? Why do we blog? And does an audience matter?

      Isn’t it lovely to be able to learn and enjoy something totally different from the blogs we visit? And every person could have several blogs that say entirely different things in different ways! (Ha ha, Jeff, maybe you should start more than ONE blog…how’s that for the Reluctant Blogger?)

      PS I think concerns/fears are as important as sharing happiness/joy.

  17. CWD says:

    I think the bird is a cockatiel. Just wanted you to know I’m still reading.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh my goodness, CWD, you will now get your favorite brother-in-law status reinstated! Barry and I have often wondered if you are still reading since you’ve been so silent. It was worth writing this blog just to know! (Just kidding, all you other readers–he’s my ONLY brother in law.) 🙂

  18. Georgia Mom says:

    I would miss your blogs! Lets me know what you are doing and how you are feeling. It is a perk to me when Kiah sends pictures of she and her brother being together in NYC. With the pollen ailing me and really turned off with all the political trash, I get depressed about where our nation is going and think of our kids/grandkids coping in years to come. Then I say to myself snap out of it. From his ‘goodbye’ article sounds like Blah,Blah,Blah has been encouraged by you to start a blog. Tell Barry to let me know when the pastport arrives, then I will feel ‘Mission Accomplished’ by MLD.

    • Kathy says:

      Georgia Mom, thank you. It was good talking with you on the phone yesterday afternoon…and you know how happy I was tha the kids could spend time together in NYC too!

  19. DiamondLil says:

    Kathy, so much fodder for discussion. I don’t think any other people put so much pressure on themselves to be happy and cheerful all the time as Americans. The French love their misery, their dark moods! By sharing your blues with us, you get it off your chest and we are reminded of all the layers there are to being human. The complexity of this gig called life . . . . And the question of writing whether we’ve anything profound to say or not begs the larger question of the purpose of art as well as the source of inspiration. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Greeks were right about the existence of those Muses. Finally, how fantastic to know the origin of “going south.” Best piece of trivia I’ve acquired in a long, long time! Thanks for blogging even though you felt like you had nothing to say.

    • Kathy says:

      What an interesting observation about Americans trying to be happy and cheerful all the time! I wonder why we have this need/desire… When life, itself, seems to be such a mix of happiness/not-happiness/joy/misery. And changing inspirations. I know I get confused sometimes trying to listen to what the heart wants…and not what has been status quo. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all flow gracefully between moments of changing heart?

  20. Dawn says:

    Thank you for just listening to whatever voice you hear each day… and then sharing that.

    I love the sand and sky. 🙂

    Be well lovely lady.

  21. Dawn K says:

    Ah yes…the question of why we write. I think we write because we can’t NOT write, because sometimes there are just things that have to get out, and they flow out of the fingers without much help from us. And other days not so much. But hey, remember that you promised yourself that you wouldn’t put pressure on, that you didn’t have to write every day? Well…just remember that.

    And I agree, if I had half of your comments on a “bad” day I’d be thrilled.

    I love the yellow leaf best, though I do also love the pile of sand…

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, Dawn, great observation. We write becaus we can’t NOT write. The words themselves are in control! They are insistent, jumping up and down, coming in sideways…crazy little words!

      And, yes, I am observing very closely that there may be some pressure happening about writing every day. Looking at that under a microscope.

      And it’s the strangest thing–I don’t usually get discouraged about comments–am usually happy if I have two or twenty. It’s that strange hit obsession! Weird. Oh well, guess we can’t all be “perfect”. ha ha. Not by a long shot.

  22. Jessica says:

    I sometimes find it is a struggle to write everyday. I have found for me not to push it. If I stare at the screen for a few minutes and nothing comes then I assume its just not to be. When the mood strikes me though, I write regardless of who is listening. For me, writing and photography is an outlet for myself.

    I do hope you are feeling better soon. Sending lots of smiles and sunshine your way.

    Jessica

    • Kathy says:

      Jessica, that is good advice. My problem is (LOL!) that nothing might come to the mind but something always comes to the fingers. 🙂 Perhaps I should start consulting the mind again. I am actually feeling loads better now that I’m sitting in LA INternational Airport for a 4 hour layover. Trying to decide if the Mind (or Fingers) want to write a blog right now. Because there are photos. Here we go again! Love your wishes for sunshine, Ms. Jessica.

  23. June says:

    I immensely enjoy the way you write, and share the blogging ebbs and flows, so much has been said here, about holiday times changing number of visits, and quality conversation (like this one under your post) versus just a hit, which in itself says nothing, think of all the spam hits.

    Like many commenting above, I think there is so much to consider, write for oneself and one’s own inner journey, writing to communicate, share, exchange, evoke a response. It’s like the singer in a room playing their guitar for only themselves and one moving to play for an audience and engage that audience.

    I also think it so depends on how many blogs one visits, and taking the time to read them, know the blogger, and write a decent response to someones heartfelt words. Anyway that’s my view, thanks as always for the thought provoke.

    • Kathy says:

      June, loved hearing what you thought about this, as well! There are SO many reasons to write a blog, aren’t there? As for visiting blogs, that is true, as well. (I think I’m not going to get back to visit blogs until after this vacation…too much happening out here in California!)

  24. I look at it this way…if I am above ground, it is a good day. If my blog gets one visit, it is also a good day.

    I don’t blog everyday but am active with it everyday. It is both fun and a challenge. If it was not, I would not do it.

  25. flandrumhill says:

    Perhaps because I write a nature blog about my neck of the woods, I usually find myself writing for the people I imagine might live here in the years to come. I wonder how much of the natural setting will change over the years. New developments destroy much but so does nature with storms (hurricanes especially). I try to give some insights into the creatures and plants I come across in my daily wanderings.

    There’s always much to write about (living near both woods and the ocean means there’s always something going on) but often the days are too full already to find the time to write.

    • Kathy says:

      Amy, it still amazes me the different reasons people write. I can see people utilizing your blog in the ways you’ve described in later years. In some ways, I think my outdoor blog might be similar. But not this blog. In this blog people would have to weave in and out of the personal stories to interact with nature. (Which, apparently, some folks do!) I hope you find time to keep writing…at least some times…

  26. I have so much to say,but rarely does it leave my mind onto my blog the way I would like it to.
    I blog bc it let’s me practice this ,what feels like a block of sorts,a block at transferring what I feel into words.
    I get very few hits,somedays only one,that’s the way it is. The writing sometimes feels like it’s improving,that subtle and ever elusive connection between the thoughts and words,and for the few times I realized that I did it there are hundreds of times I know I missed,and it remains between me and my fingers,all two of them.

    Blogging is like a communion betweeen me and myself,requiring inspiration and discipline although I think dedication is a big part too.
    You possess them all,and I feel gratitude when I read your blogs,to feel a moment when someone connects with themselves and then goes on to share.
    The pictures add another dimnesion as well,a lovely lovely dimension.

    • Kathy says:

      Bridget, I told my friend Melinda (here in the mountains) about what you wrote here today about the elusive connection between thoughts and words, between experience and words. We talked about this for a long time this morning. Thank you for being part of our conversation! And thank you for your wise words here. You connected!

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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