Lonely Blogging

Far Beyond Driven – The Lonely, Secluded, and Ambitious Blogger

Every now and then I’ll jump on to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., and feel like I’m being left out. It’s not that I don’t have friends on social networks, or that nobody follows the blog on any of them either, but that I just don’t have the time to invest in them.

To make social networking really work for you as a creator, entrepreneur, blogger, etc., you have to constantly feed the beast of social media. If you aren’t posting often, and posting interesting content, then you fall to the bottom of the pile and nobody sees what you post when you do. Social media is a tough game.

Worst than that though, for me, is just feeling like you’re being left out of conversations and discussions with peers. I don’t have a lot of time to comb through Facebook groups to chat with gamers there. I don’t have the time to get in on 100+ reply discussions on Twitter with my fellow #warmongers.

Most of the time I’m lucky to have a few moments to hit like on Facebook, or retweet something on Twitter.

I’m a Blogger

See, I’m a miniature hobby blogger. That’s obvious as you’re here reading this article, but I don’t think most people understand what that entails for many of us.

Maybe I shouldn’t speak for everyone and instead speak for myself, though I feel like many can relate to what I’m saying and will say.

I have a full-time job. I’m also happily married and have been since 2003.

Between work, my wife, friends, miniature hobby stuff, and wargaming, I do this thing called blogging. Not only do I blog, I take it very seriously, and I also have more than one blog I write for, as well as other sites in general that I take care of.

Yeah, I’m a nerd.

Hard Work

For the longest time I have had this dream of making a living doing this; of sitting here, writing articles you all enjoy, creating tutorials, and making money. It’s a pipe dream, but a dream nonetheless.

I’m also utterly relentless in my pursuits. I don’t just write an article, hit publish, and go about my day. I research ways to succeed at this blogging thing. I read countless articles and watch hours and hours of videos.

I then invest what I’ve learned into the blog and into my articles. I have spent weeks on my blog doing nothing but improving elements of it, applying lessons I’ve learned, and setting it up for success.

I am a machine.

Instead of socializing on Facebook or Twitter, instead of painting models, instead of lots of things, I sit here trying to figure out a way to succeed. I work at figuring out what that big break idea is going to be.

I don’t have a lot of free time, but when I have it you can almost guarantee it’s being spent on this very site even if you don’t see the results of my efforts.

Some people are naturally charismatic and they can put in minimal effort and get a maximum return. That’s not me. I pour myself into something and barely move the needle.

This is the stuff that suits me though. I’m a programmer by trade, I work at home in solitude, and spending time alone is one of my favorite things to do.

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to participate in social networking stuff. Every now and then I set aside the time for it and have a blast. I wish I could do it more, but such is the life of a relentlessly driven nerd aiming for success.

Thumbs Up

So, while you may not see me emerge from this blog very often (not nearly as often as I’d like), I welcome you to come visit me here and say hi now and then.

See, this is my home. This is where I put my energy and effort online. Getting a comment on an article I wrote makes my day – seriously. Likewise, spending weeks working on an article, publishing it, and getting no response is heartbreaking.

That’s why you’ll often see me commenting on other blogs all over the interwebz. I know what it’s like to do your best at something and nobody seems to care. This is also why I have a blogroll still – because everybody deserves to have a chance at being seen.

Conclusion

I have no epic conclusion for this ramble, and really had no goal when I set out writing it. This is just something that’s been on my brain for a while and I felt like chatting about it – doing some actual blogging.

Most days I’m good and I have a blast doing this blogging thing. However, there are also those days where I feel like I’ve done everything I can and continue to get nowhere.

Blogging can be hard work, and often it’s unrewarding, but damn it if I don’t love doing it regardless.

Any other bloggers out there relate?

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Jake (cadianshock)

Yes I relate to all this. Right now I have to dash… I’ll reply more later!

Thor

Being that we share a similar background, I can’t say I’m too surprised you can relate.

Jake (cadianshock)

Sorry about that, life called…

We could well be a dying breed amongst the weight of other social media platforms. But as you say, there is permanence to blogging. The content written, checked, re-checked and re-re-checked for blogs is worth a thousand 40K memes.

Articles will stay around for a long time, be found for a long time and be relevant for a long time. The same cannot be said for any other platform’s content. Having said that, that doesn’t mean it is any easier to gain traffic and pull that traffic away from other platforms.

I am the same @ttownhobby:disqus – wife, 2 kids, full time job; yet the blog is always there. Like a Chaos God at the back of your mind.

Thor

Much like you no doubt, I see the traffic coming in. Google is (rightfully so), my biggest referrer by a very large margin. I’ve done the work required and my articles get read, no doubt about it.

I suppose by a dying breed I’m more referring to the perceived value we have to others. We aren’t a source of news any longer. Often we aren’t where people go find pictures of the models we’ve painted, or even read battle reports, get list advice, etc. So much of that is found on social media now, so why leave it to search for it?

Blogs were once thriving communities. I remember the old days with House of Paincakes (not sure you know it?), where an article would go up and there would be 100 comments on there within the day. It was insane and it was awesome. I guess I just miss that – that blogs were once hosts of conversations.

Rory (Stepping Between Games)

This sums up a lot of my feelings on blogging, but it is something I don’t think I could stop at this stage. I have a goal in mind for traffic and comments, it may be impossible for me to ever meet but I keep pushing for it.

You can guarantee when I find a blogpost with no comments on it I will say something, as I know the effort that goes into making such posts.

Thor

I often feel that we’re a dying breed, bloggers. I get the appeal of social media, but it has no permanence. I’d rather create something lasting than something hot for a minute and gone.

That’s the thing, most of my comments these days are from fellow bloggers, those who understand. There was a day when most of my comments were strangers, or people who didn’t blog themselves. Again, we’re a dying breed I fear.

Rory (Stepping Between Games)

Part of the reason I blog is to create a record for myself, I doubt they will change but I can see the lure of social media for folks. It doesn’t need as much time or investment put into it.

Thor

Absolutely. Social media is perfect for “Here’s a pretty picture!” I’m rarely that guy though. I try, and I go through spells where I’m routinely doing it, but it’s not me. I’d rather write something with depth and value than post superficial garbage on social media.

Dave G

Pretty sure you know we already relate. The article definitely resonates with me.

I agree that Blogging is a dying breed. I feel like social media has caused knowledge to take a step back in many regards. And y’know, I just thought of an interesting analogy.

In the past, knowledge was held by individuals and shared by word of mouth. As things progressed, those individuals instead put their knowledge into writing. This progressed into website form.

I feel like social media is causing us to devolve our intellectual practices. There’s much to be said for person to person interaction and sharing thoughtful conversations, but that’s not what social media is. Social media is someone standing on a soap box, addressing a crowd with a question, who then shout various and repeated answers back.

Now, with infinite libraries worth of information at their finger tips, people seem to prefer to step up on the nearest soap box and ask their question.

Maybe I’m being cynical?

Thor

Oh, I agree about your analogy of social media. It has its merits and uses, but being the primary source of general information is certainly not one of them.

Thor

I’m pretty jaded about social media. It’s not that I don’t understand how it works, why it works, or that it works. It’s that I don’t care for any of it for reasons you’ve said.

I can’t help but feel like that old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn here, but I think it’s more about the intellectual (like you said) and less about my lack of interest or understanding.

T Town Hobby
T Town Hobby

As a person who only recently started blogging (thank you for adding my little blog to your blog roll) and is slowly trying to improve and figure things out, I really appreciate this post. I celebrated when I got my first follower after three months of weekly posts. I imagine that first comment will put a big, stupid grin on my face. I feel like I put in a lot and that little bit of interaction does make a difference.

I have a wife, a kid, and a full-time job that is pretty demanding; but I think about my blog all week long. I go back and update posts to make them better in case someone stumbles upon it for the first time. I am still trying to figure out my blog’s layout, how to get widgets to work properly, and I try to squeeze in articles to make my site look somewhat descent.

I don’t know if we are a dying breed, but maybe we have moved into a niche within a niche, by which I mean blogging about miniatures (even if board gaming is seeing an upswing, I think miniatures are still a bit in the shadow). I kind of like feeling like I am part of something that a few folks are doing and maybe the community just needs to focus and support each other through comments. I think people are often afraid to be the only one (the only reader who felt like commenting). To that point, I almost did not comment on this until I saw the posts below and said, “You know what? I’m going to toss in my two cents too.”

So, thank you for posting this and to those who commented. You at least inspired one person to be more interactive in this corner of the internet.

Thor

There is nothing quite like that feeling when blogging is new – seriously. You’ve got so many ideas that it’s hard to keep up with them. Everything is new and shiny, and it’s just an amazing time.

You’ve got the right idea if you’re going back and continually improving earlier material. Keep at it and the traffic and responses will come.

Have I not commented on your blog yet? I remember adding you, but I must have gotten sidetracked that I didn’t go through your blog more thoroughly and comment on an article or two.

Anyway, social media has really overtaken the blogosphere. When I got into blogging, you had to rely on other blogs for news, rumors, strategy & tactics, etc. It was a very self-sustaining environment and it was awesome.

Now, between Facebook Groups, Twitter, and other avenues, it’s hard to pull someone away from there to view what you’ve done on your own blog. People are reluctant to leave those safe spaces. Everyone has become so accustomed to a self-contained environment where you’ve got everything you need. Reading blogs takes time and effort (comparatively), so it’s often neglected.

Overall, I just feel that most people don’t realize how much work many of us put into writing an article, and so they don’t realize how much it means to the author to say something. It’s not meant to be a guilt trip to anyone, just some honesty.

Swordmaster
Swordmaster

Hello!

Thanks for the article, it is indeed a very interesting topic. I would like to share a bit of my experience and I hope I can add something positive to the discussion!

I started interacting with people who shared similar interest through forums. They seemed to be quite active, people talked about a lot of things. However, you didn’t quite control what happened to your posts in time. They had to fade away eventually.

Then I discovered blogging and I thought I would start one simply to have an archive or depository where I can organize my posts in the way I see the best. However, I quickly noticed that people do not comment as often and as much as they did on the forums. Even when I posted links to the blog on the very same forums I used to post on.

And then it occurred to me that if I want more active interaction (and I am sure all of us want that) then I need to comment on other people’s blogs first. It is exactly the same mechanism as on the forum. You build the relationships with other users by commenting on their posts before they start returning the favor.

I am still guilty of not doing that often enough. Perhaps this is the main thing to improve for many bloggers. It is easy to focus on your own post that you do not leave enough time to appreciate the posts of others.

As to the other types of social media, I do not necessarily consider them as reasons for less activity on the blogs. They are simply different, parallel ways of communication. I use them to inform people about my blog entries. They may not comment on my posts much but I can see that there are more visitors thanks to that.

The only constant in the universe is change :) What I am trying to do myself is to adapt and see how I can use new tools to reach to new people. I have not yet fully succeeded in establishing these new relationships with fellow bloggers so that we can have regular discussions on posts and topics on our respective blogs. But I think it is not too bad and I am positive that if I can be more active and supportive to others then we can still have quality, regular discussions.

Thanks!

Thor

You’re absolutely right, and I’ve done articles in the past about just that – commenting on other blogs. It’s one of the oldest and most useful ways to establish yourself. The people here, commenting above, are all fellow bloggers and I comment on their blogs :)

Social media will often drive traffic, no argument there, but the problem is is very arely drives engagement. See, I blog to create a discussion, to see what people think, and if people aren’t commenting then I’m not accomplishing my goal. I don’t care about getting 10,000 people to see a blog post if nobody cares enough to chat about it.

See, this blog post has done its job and created a discussion; it’s awesome. This is why I blog :)

Falconer

O man this feels Emo Thor. You better show up tomorrow ! Also this largely sums up why I get into and drop off so often with this stuff. I always end up feeling like my time would be best spent in the hobby or elsewhere. That’s total personal preference but creating content and creating content to share are two very different things with different reward systems. I hobby more than ever but I share what I’ve done less than I ever have. But right now that is the most enjoyable balance for me personally.

Anyway best show up tomorrow.

Dave Weston

If you’ve seen some of my recent posts you’ll know that I too have had cause to reassess the prupose of my blog. I think everyone who has commented is in agreement, we are not as important as we once were but equally we all know it’s a personal record first and foremost. The ambition competes with that desire to craft and record what we do as we do it. Who doesn’t want a hugely successful blog that somehow supports an income that means we could hobby full time?

But sadly the medium for ambition is more likely YouTube and theoretically a vlog of the same content we produce as bloggers would be a little different – most YouTubers focus on the gaming or the hobby aspect, I can’t think of many that would cover quite the breadth of most hobby bloggers. I’m sure the amount of time to produce those things would be comparable to our written word but sadly I know I have a voice for blogging, unless my aim was to render viewers unconcious.

As for those other platforms, I don’t get twitter so much but I have dlvr.it automatically repost my blog when I publish. It does it so I don’t have to but occassionally it has benefits. It also posts to my Facebook group too but I keep Instagram separate for only my very best finished model pics. No point cutting my nose off, and like you it’s nice to venture forth sometimes.

And then there’s reddit…

Pete (The Warlock)
Pete (The Warlock)

Heh, count me as someone with similar habits. How’ve you been, Thor?

Blogging feels more permanent as opposed to social media- FB/insta posts are lost under the deluge in a day or two but a blog post can be found quite quickly in comparison. Added into the frequency of posting of a blog vs social media, you gain a sense of weight behind the post. I stopped blogging early this year as I succumbed to a hobby funk and I wasn’t really ‘posting’ as opposed to taking a pic of recent hobbying-with-token-words and calling it a post. ^^;

I feel inclined to give blogging a third go-around, with actual (self-imposed) *guidelines* for posting. I don’t have the time and energy to attempt being active on all social media platforms, too much effort for not enough reward. Plus their privacy terms are…weird. In any case, there may be cause to conjure up a new site name…

I’ll do my best to drop by more often!

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