It’s blogging awards time again. This isn’t a blog post asking you to nominate me because why would you? You need to have a voice, a strong voice that people enjoy to read. You need to know your audience and write about what you know.
This is a question I’ve seen many bloggers ask especially as part of blogging tips posts. Apparently we should know our audience and blog for them. I look at google analytics and realise so many people haven’t completed all their stats. As a result of this I get a lot of answers that aren’t helpful. I also know I don’t have hundreds, let along thousands of readers who come back every time I write a post.
So who are my readers? I can see who leaves comments then look at their blogs, if they have one but I can’t identify my typical reader type.
I wonder what I should blog about but if I don’t know my typical reader how can I guess the type of person I’m writing for.
Do I just write what I know about?
I’m a single mum, do I write about that? There are other single mothers who write about single parenting so well. I don’t think I do it particularly well. There have been too many people knocking me, criticism about what I do. I’m not one of those bloggers who can turn my failings in to a joke. I just feel like the joke parent. I don’t do anything spectacular I just do my best which a lot of the times is not enough.
I don’t do wonderful activities with my children, I don’t to fun crafts, fun outdoor adventures. Even though I am a blogger I don’t take them to endless blogger opportunities or events. We’ve never really managed to catch the eye of PRs. This really isn’t a problem but we do normal things and normal doesn’t seem right on a blog post. People aren’t interested in reading about normal especially when it comes from a single parent who has kids of 12 & 13 and aren’t cute anymore. Readers want fun, excitement, to read about activities you can only dream about. They don’t want to see me struggling in a wheelchair. There’s nothing glamorous about that.
Another thing I know about is chronic illnesses. Oh I really know about those. Today is my birthday, I’ve been lying in hospital for the past 24 hours hooked up to a morphine drip which is doing nothing but making my head spin. It’s doing nothing for the pain. I’d rather be home in my bed, away from a lit noisy hospital ward where I won’t feel guilty screaming out in pain. Where at least I can lie in a comfortable bed. The pain might improve if I’m in my own surroundings, a place I feel safe. I don’t feel safe here. I feel a burden. I feel I am wasting people’s time. I feel I have to explain my chronic illnesses, the incurable illnesses to complete strangers and their relations. All I want to do is shut the noise out and sleep. I don’t want to hear the whispers, what is wrong with her, why are her curtains closed. I want to be left on my own to get better. Just shut the world and complete strangers out. Having nurses who understood what my illnesses were would help so much.
I’ll forget the comment that a complete stranger has just made saying I can’t be ill as I’ve just had a slice of cake. That slice of cake that I ate, that 1 mouthful of cake was my birthday cake. I’m feeling ill but not that heartless to refuse a bite of a cake my 12 year old daughter has slaved over cooking for me. I’m not about to break her heart because somebody would soon judge me for that if she started to cry. It really is a no win.
Would people really want to read any post that is just depressing? Blog post after blog post writing how ill I am? I don’t want to be reminded of that and therefore struggle how others would want to read it.
I could join the fashion bloggers but I don’t do clothes well. If do plus size but I can’t even do plus size good as I’m such a strange shape carrying all my excess weight I the same place. Fashion blogging wouldn’t work.
Then there’s beauty blogging. I’m in my 40s. My age is starting to show on my skin. I’ll health and side effects of medication are starting to take an effect on my skin. I’m not a great advertisement for beauty posts. I’m also pretty rubbish at doing makeup. I mean I don’t look like a clown or like I’ve used a trowel to apply it but it’s never great. I could do a how not to apply your make up post which might be successful lol.
What other topics does that leave me to write about that my non identifiable readers might like?
Health and fitness. Well health consists of chronic illnesses and fitness is non existent. Don’t think I could even manage a wheelchair race to the end of the drive right now!
Then there is gardening. I used to love gardening. A nice well cared for lawn and boarders with lots of pretties. A picture of my overgrown garden doesn’t exactly cut it in the inspiration stakes. I enjoyed having an allotment, growing my own fruit and veg. But my good old health won’t allow that.
I still keep my chickens and would love some more, ones that lay unusual coloured eggs but it’s getting a covered run and coop sorted that is holding me back. Physically I can’t do it on my own and getting help is hard.
House improvements/DIY. Having just moved house I’ve plenty to do. The thing is being ill my income had reduced. I’m still working but my spare cash at the end of the month has gone down and is being spent on practical things. Safety hand rails in the shower don’t inspire. In fact I think they’d be a big page turner to leave my blog. Who want to think about home adaptions like that in their 40s? I love home decoration but I’m physically unable to do it myself right now and funds don’t allow me to pay anyone meaning jobs I could have done in a weekend are going to take months to save up for. Blog posts wouldn’t be very inspiring. Here’s the starts, 2 years later, this is what our work in progress looks like.
So as a disabled single mum geek who doesn’t know her audience who should I write for and what should I write? To be a success I’m told this is what I should do.
Not everyone wants to win blog awards and not all of us will. I’ve seen some posts and discussions about people saying it’s not for me, it’s just a popularity contest. These people are then jumped on. But that’s what completions/awards are; the popular people win. If you aren’t popular you won’t be nominated as people won’t know about you.
I’ve read I need to turn my blog and all my social media in to a ‘brand’. But I’m a human being, I’m not a brand. Why do I have to pretend I’m something else to be a success? Even the slightest tweak to me means I’m not being true to myself. I don’t know about you but I’d rather not be liked if I have to change to be liked.
A geek like me who has always been an outsider can struggle at times like this. I don’t need or want to win an award to validate what I do but at the same time I don’t want anyone telling me it’s not s popularity contest. It’s is. All awards are.
I don’t need to be told what I should be doing with my little space on the web. I never started my blog to please others. I never started my blog to fit in with the crowd, I’ve never fitted in with the crowds my whole and I’m fine with that. I don’t care that I’m different, that I watch from the side lines.
What does upset me is people who think I should be happy doing this, who think I should join the crowds then I might, just might win an award. But, I might just be far more happier being me. Knowing I’m doing my best for my children. Bringing them up to realise you can’t always get the best of everything, people are different, it’s good to be kind and emphasise with those who are ill. It’s good to not get everything you want handed on a plate because life isn’t a picnic. But deep down it’s good to learn you don’t get awards for being you. Love and happiness are the true rewards for being you. Turning yourself in to a brand and not letting the true you shine is not something to be praised.
The last few years I’ve seen people go to such extremes to get nominated and then pleased for votes. Many people have been so disappointed when they don’t win. Put these awards in to perspective. It really isn’t that important. Your health, your loved ones those are the things that are important. Don’t push them away while you try to drum up votes. These awards will soon be forgotten.