Blogging In Isolation On WordPress Or In Community On Searchwarp

Blogging.  I hate the word, it’s so ungraceful, doesn’t fill me with inspiration and desire to write.  It’s kind of a macho-sounding word.   Every time I say it I kind of flinch.  Eugh.  When I first heard about it a couple of years ago the internet was an alien creature to me.  I can remember not knowing what the word cyberspace meant.  I had to go to internet cafes to connect, and the ones in the area I lived in were also ungraceful.  Dark, gloomy, seedy.

So I was kind of curious about this thing called blogging, although not curious enough to want to breach the fortress walls of my ignorance.  But you can’t live in such isolation from the rest of the world.  Correction, I can’t.  Couldn’t.   And there was something about getting up on a stage of sorts and having my say that was pretty appealing.  So I started on Blogspot and broke all the rules but what did I care.  Nobody was reading me anyway.  Then I moved to WordPress and after a while, people did start reading.

Which was pretty exciting and terrifying.  It’s one thing dreaming about being on the stage – because all you imagine is the applause of course.  The reality of putting yourself on stage brings up all sorts of other imaginings, mostly about rejection and not being good enough.  But I got past that and this year my stats suddenly took a leap up.  It was pretty exciting.

But the thing is, very few people leave comments, so I don’t have relationships with my readers, barring a few.  Blogging’s supposed to be about getting better connected.  But it isn’t, really.  It’s just about numbers and anonymous readers who maybe like you, maybe don’t.  It’s easy to get hooked on the numbers and lose track of the fact that you’re not actually getting anything real out of it.  So I’m at a crossroads.  I want to be on a stage of sorts, which is about numbers to a large degree.  But I also want the relationships.  I want to know my writing is reaching and touching people.  Or I want to know that they hate it.  I need a reaction.  Otherwise what’s the point?

I’m not getting that on WordPress.  But I am getting it on Searchwarp.  On WordPress, in just under two years I’ve written about 485 posts and have had 12,250 page views.  I don’t know how to find the stats on how many comments I’ve had, but it’s less than 10% I think.  On Searchwarp, in a year I’ve written 162 articles, and have had 125,899 page views and 1,250 comments.  Plus I know a lot of the writers there, so I’m not alone in my writing.

Competition on WordPress is so fierce now that rising up above the ocean of writers is hard.  The pressure to conform and compete within very rigid parameters is immense.  But I can’t see the point of it.  I write to be an individual, not to lose my individuality.  Competition on Searchwarp is also quite fierce, but there’s a different culture there.  It is about community, the whole site is built with that in mind.

I’ve never had any real recognition or reward from WordPress for being such a faithful and consistent blogger.  I get praise, thanks, recognition and reward from Searchwarp.  I started on there to direct traffic to my blog.  Maybe it’s time to reverse that.   If you want to visit my homepage there, click this link: http://jennifer.searchwarp.com or go to searchwarp.com to see other writers and have a look at the site.

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Key to Success: trying and failing and saying “I’ll Do It My Way”

Of all the people who have written about success, I’ve never come across one who said “I’ve failed more often than I’ve succeeded”.  Until yesterday.   I read an article by Bruce Horst, founder – with his wife Jean – of SearchWarp.  I and some others asked him to write the story of his success with SearchWarp.com and where he’s got to from where he started.  So he’s writing it in parts.  Part one is “Secrets of My Success: Failure is Not an Option.  (It is Mandatory!)”

I was so inspired by it, still am.  It’s honest, gutsy, and down to earth.  Full of real-life wisdom. I reminded me of what’s real in life.  And it took a load off my shoulders.  It woke me up to the reality that success means failing, quite a lot of times, doubting yourself, experiencing the darkest of times.

But never giving up.

Searchwarp, Bridget Jones, Marc D’Arcy, Google, Paris Hilton, Robert de Niro, Oprah and I

Very few people leave comments on my blog and/or use the rating thing.    They look nice, those red stars, especially the 5 stars.    Confession?    I’m the only one doing it at the moment.   Oh God, am becoming self-congratulatory like Paris Hilton.   Hope Google doesn’t punish me.   Sometimes they do.   Have to remember Google isn’t God.

I digress.   Traffic to my blog has gone from 12 to 750 a month.    Whoopee.   Altogether, 2,600 page views of 300 blogs, in 11 months.   But on Searchwarp, in 5 months I’ve had over 22,000 page views of 65 articles and probably 600 very bloody nice comments and generally good ratings.

Hmmm.   Well I’m not giving my blog up, because it’s mine sweet mine and I love a challenge.   That’s not totally true, I like it when it’s conquered and down on the ground v. dead and I stand with one foot on its belly, my sword raised triumphantly in the air.

Always wanted to be noticed, discovered and applauded but was so damn uncool.   Plus I hadn’t done anything that was discoverable.   You see the difficulty.   Now, with Searchwarp?   Heaven, I’m in heaven.   I might even be making it into the cool group.   My experience is a bit like Mark D’Arcy telling Bridget Jones he loved her just the way she was.

Notwithstanding which, this morning I woke up to the thought Gaaahhhh!   What if I never break through?   Time is marching, what if there isn’t enough time?    Panic.   Dooom.

Then I remembered.   Hang on, I’ve got a completed script and I got it to Robert de Niro.   Granted it could be in his toilet, but perhaps I could send him a reminder to take a dump more often.    Oh that’s disgusting.    Plus, I’ve got a visible blog which Oprah or any publisher or film producer could see any day.   And all sorts of other writing projects.   It’s fine, I’ve got that all covered.

It’s the flipping singing.  that’s.  not.  flowing.   She said with gritted teeth.

‘”Well, it’s probably not meant to be, so stop feeling sorry for yourself and just focus on your writing.”
“No, I don’t want to, I want both” she said petulantly, sulking, thoroughly bothered, a bit flushed – probably menopausally.
“Well, you’ll never get anywhere really with either one unless you focus.”
“Mind your own business.   I’m a woman, I can multi-task.”

Probably the problem is just gritted teeth.    Need to ungrit them.

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Keep on truckin’

I had to ask my mother for money yesterday.  I didn’t have anything else I could do – or that I could think of.  I had to accept that I hadn’t been able to learn fast enough with internet marketing to be able to generate the $800 I need for a month.  I’ve applied for a score of writing jobs through all the freelancer sites and didn’t get anything there either.

I knew I’d done the best I knew how.  But I felt pathetic.  I dreaded calling her.

She made me beg.   She did everything she could to get me to say “ok it doesn’t matter”.   A part of me separated out and watched with astonishment.   Then she said very reluctantly she could help me with $150 – which wouldn’t cover food.   That forced me to say I don’t have money for food or rent, I’m afraid and I have nobody else to turn to.

Boy, that was horrible.

She just didn’t care.    And I couldn’t say “it doesn’t matter”.   I knew she was trying to provoke me to walk away empty handed, but I couldn’t.  So I begged.

Even then she was reluctant.

It was revolting.

It’s so strange, how the true dynamic of my relationship with her has becomes clearer and clearer over the past 6 years as it has become reduced to its essential basics.

She’s ultra important and I’m nobody.

She agreed, because she didn’t want to take responsibility for saying no, but I knew the underhanded slap in the face was going to follow.   I watched myself do the only thing I could to hold myself intact while I spoke to her – or while I listened to her speaking about how impossibly difficult her life is.

I found that if I barely allowed the sound of her voice in I could hold the hurt off to some extent,  so I wrote over and over and over “she’s going to try and find a way to hurt you, don’t let her in” and focused my concentration on that for all I was worth.

It kind of worked.  I responded as kindly as I could to her, didn’t let myself be provoked.  I didn’t treat her the way she was treating me.

Didn’t completely work, though.   I dealt with fall-out today.   But not as much as before, and that’s what counts.  Progress.   just have to say to myself that as soon as I can I’m out of that relationship.  I’m working towards financial independence.  I’m looking forward to the day I can pay her back every cent she’s lent me.

And walking away.

And I want to say this:  for all that my old shame and humiliation and feeling useless and worthless and stupid rise up in my face whenever she does this, I know that I wouldn’t treat a stranger the way she treats me.

I’m glad I’m different.

And on a more positive note, over 2300 people have read my (5) SearchWarp Articles, and I’ve been on the front page quite consistently.   I get such great feedback from readers, it’s wonderful.  Encouraging, inspiring.   What I’ve written has even helped some people – that felt really good, to have some kind of use in the world!

Well, the journey continues.  I’m safe for another month (although my mother kept the food money to a very bare minimum!) and I know more now than I did last month.  Perhaps I’ll be able to generate that $800 before the end of the month.

And on an even better note, I’m starting to have nice dreams!  It’s quite incredible; dreams where there are people in my world who are generous – and who like me! – and where things go right.   But get this, sod’s law.  I can’t remember the content when I wake up!  Never mind, it’s great just to have had the experience of a good dream.

One day I’m going to look back on all of this.  Perhaps that day is not so far away.

As somebody said the other day “keep on truckin’ babe!”

That I will.