I think I’ve spoken before about the little voice in my head which pops up periodically to tell me with sudden and persuasive urgency to shut down my blog (!). I don’t like too bring it up too often because I’m aware of how spectacularly ungrateful it makes me appear to my readers, who are almost absurdly generous in the time they take to tell me how much they liked my latest post or to just say hello. I recognise that a lot of bloggers get hardly any feedback on what they do, so I’d never want to come across dismissive, as if all the comments and likes and hilarious twitter chats are never enough to satisfy me, or are insufficient encouragement to keep me excited about my little online space.
But the truth is I do have my wobbles. I have moments when I wonder whether all the energy I pour into my blog is wasted, and whether I should in fact just shut up shop and do something else with my evenings. It sounds drastic but what you must understand about me is that I am not a reasonable person. I feel a lot of things, and if a situation can be needlessly drasticafied I will go there. I will go there and lay out some chips and dips and wait for everyone to come join me at my Let’s All Panic party. But I suspect that a few of these thoughts may have also crossed the minds of my fellow small bloggers in less dramatic form at one time or another.
I discussed these feelings last night with my very blog-supportive BF though, and an outside perspective helped me to see that a lot of the factors that lead me to feeling like I should give up can be reasoned away pretty easily. So I wanted to share those with you in case you too are a smaller blogger having a wobble right now, so here we go:
Problem 1: I feel like a ridiculous narcissistic millennial for having constructed a site which is essentially just about me and my thoughts and what I bought last time I went to Boots
Answer: We have America to thank for obsessively ascribing every worldly ill to something to do with the millennials. It makes a good headline (ish - it's getting very old now) but in actual fact none of what us special breed of young people do is anything new or harmful or really that interesting. I'm old enough to just about remember a mild hysteria in the press surrounding a new-fangled technology called 'text messaging' and what this would mean for the already fried brains of our dopey, ignorant young people. Yes, this really happened. And no I am not 50 years old. My point though is that everyone has always thought the young'uns were all doing everything wrong. Always. As in the Ancient Greeks thought this and wrote loads of boring laws about it which I had to wade through at uni. And people have always been weirdly moralising about new technology before wholeheartedly taking it on board. If you look at the actual facts, people have been self-publishing for hundreds of years in the form of zines, ebooks, stone tablets? Idk. People have always wanted to have their voices heard, hone their writing skills, run their own little independent magazines, it's just that now everyone can do it and not just rich adults and children with lots of spare time and a photocopier. For some reason certain middle-aged journalists have decided to turn this joyous fact into a moral attack on the least privileged generation of the modern era but that's just what journalists do really, bless them.
Problem 2: I feel like I put loads of time into my blog which I could be spending doing something else
Answer: On nights when I’m not writing my posts, I sit around watching people I know nothing about having very tame drama on YouTube and cook extravagant one-pot dinners which never come out quite right (runny af coq au vin, anyone?). Looking at this fact in the cold light of day didn’t just stop the I-should-quit-blogging feelings in their tracks, but actually made me want to write more, given how unedifying the activities I fill the rest of my time with seem to be. Oh, and sometimes I browse online shopping sites for hours without actually buying anything, can’t forget that one.
So maybe instead of thinking about what you would hypothetically be doing if you weren’t blogging, consider what you are actually doing when you’re actually not blogging. Chances are if you gave up blogging right now, you’d just do more of whatever that is.
Problem 3: I don’t know why anyone would want to hear what I have to say anyway
Answer: Even if you write every single day for the rest of your life we will still be far far less than one percentage point closer to having as many words written from women’s perspectives as from men’s. Keep going. People need to hear what we think about stuff, even if it is ‘trivial’, if for no other reason than to redress a massive historical imbalance of opinion-sharing. Men have written about things which it is abundantly clear are completely pointless - ehem, football - for years without anyone making them feel like they should just be quiet and not bother people with their opinions. I think Lena Dunham summed it up perfectly in Not That Kind Of Girl when she said:
So when you feel that voice piping up, be aware that it might be something you’ve learned to feel, rather than something which is in any way objectively true, and please feel free to squash it like a bug. I want to hear what other women think. We all want to hear what other women think. As I discussed in more depth in this post, it’s important and it’s also fun. I don't care if it's 'only a post about lipstick'. I want to read it. Keep writing plz.