5 Lessons That I Learned from Blogging
#100DaysOfBlogging Day 16
It has been nearly a decade since I started blogging. What started out as just a way to clear my thoughts has become much more than that. The blogsphere has become a place where I do creative writing as well as learn from what I read at other blog spaces. Though I don’t really take notes on what I learn, some lessons are implicit, I feel. You absorb them without realizing.
1. Some acquaintances stay acquaintances. Others become best friends.
This is something I’ve found to be true. During the course of my blogging journey, I’ve read and become acquainted with many other bloggers. Some are from my city, some are from elsewhere in the country, and quite a few from across the globe. From the book Five People You Meet in Heaven, I took the lesson that people impact your life in ways you may not even notice. It’s not much different in the virtual world. Each blogger touches your life in one way or the other. One comes to know that some people are very talented just by reading few words from their work. Some put a piece of themselves into what they write (not literally, of course). So reading them, one can feel that there’s some truth to it. You can feel their joy or their despair, their hopes and their hopelessness, their strengths and their fears. It’s true. And it isn’t easy to reveal that part of their life through writing. There are very few who realize that, and step up to be there when you need them. And even fewer who will know you need them by your side even without you telling them. They can tear out the mask you put, look beyond that fake smile and understand you. Such people become best friends. And show that friendship isn’t always face-to-face, that distance does not matter if you connect through words.
2. Blogging helps to improve writing.
The only thing constant in life is change. One can change for the better, or the worse. When I began blogging, I wasn’t as passionate about writing. I was just looking to clear some thoughts. In fact, the first two years saw very few posts written. Once I began blogging in earnest, I didn’t look back. Initially, I didn’t care for grammar or tense, even punctuation. At times, the SMS lingo would creep into my work and I wouldn’t mind. It was acceptable. It was my blog, after all. Then I got a few readers, though most would just say, “Good post. I liked it.” A few of them, however, saw some potential in me. They suggested edits to my work. Leos are proud. At first, I didn’t take it seriously. But then I saw that their suggestions had merit. A blogger I met through a group blog helped me improve my poetry, showed me the freedom in poetic forms, in structure. Though I still write freestyle more, I wouldn’t have grown if it wasn’t for my experiments in poetic form. One of the bloggers pushed me to write fiction more. She told me I could become published if I put more effort into storytelling. I heeded that suggestion. Over the years, my stories have become better. Two stories in printed anthologies shows how much.
3. You have to read, to be read. But not all those you read, will come read you.
I think this is blogging basics. If you want readers, you’ve got to go read other blogs. It’s a way to let them know that you exist, there’s a blog where you write and that is worth reading. But just reading doesn’t suffice. What does help a blogger is getting comments. Many a time, friends have asked me, “Why are you so obsessed with comments?” To be frank, I’m not obsessed. It’s just that I love getting feedback on my work. Be it a word of praise, or a something constructive so I know where to improve, that matters a lot. But that’s something I cannot force. I’ve learned that I can read as many blogs as I want to, but not all those who you read will come back and read you. Bloggers can leave anytime, even after they begin to read you. It’s no use holding on. Few will claim to be busy, even when they aren’t. Few will stick by you even when they are busy. It’s all part of the journey. Take it in your stride, learn from it and move on.
4. Blogging does have its benefits, and not necessarily monetary.
Yes. I’m good at what I do, and I love doing it. But it’s not necessary that one has to take that talent and absolutely make money with it. There was a time when near and dear would scoff that I was writing on a blog and not getting anything out of it. For them, “anything” implied monetary benefits. Yes, there are people who do get those monetary benefits, and do blogging for that purpose. I hold nothing against them. I don’t do it to get that. But I’ve got peace of mind by blogging when I was down in the dumps. That cathartic touch was priceless. I’ve got friends who I know are true. Their presence has been vital at some time. I’ve got happiness by writing, and realizing that it was something I was meant to be doing. I’ve got the opportunity to be published in books and journals. That was a dream which became true. I’ve learned that money isn’t always everything, and that little things do matter.
5. One can grow and still remain the same.
There have been few bloggers who I’ve met, who have improved in leaps and bounds after blogging. It’s really nice to see that. They’ve reached heights that they’ve aspired to, and still continue to aspire to climb the ladder. There are a few from that few who’ve continued to look up and not remember those who have been by their side during the growth. Not just me, but in general. I don’t think that that’s the way the ball should bounce. One can grow and still be as one once was. I have grown, yes, but hopefully, I have not forgotten where I started out. And I want to continue doing the same.
These are few things I’ve learned from blogging. What have you?
(© Vinay Leo R. @ I Rhyme Without Reason, 8th October 2016)