Writing my own story

  • Five Ways to Become A Better Decorator!
    *Sponsored by The Decorating Company
  • Eight Things Not To Put On Your Resume!
    *Sponsored by The HR Company
  • Four Easy Steps to Be Organized!
    *Sponsored by The Organizing Company
  • Nineteen Cute New Summer Fashions!
    *Sponsored by The Fashion Company
  • Seven Ways This Special Product Will Change Your Life!
    *Sponsored by The Product Company

I have not written any of the above-mentioned totally fake blog posts (and fake sponsorships, obvs).  But the honest truth is that in my regular interaction with the Interwebs and Blogland in general, I probably wouldn’t click on any of those links either. It seems that for the most part the “popular” blogs and blog posts around today are, if not sponsored, specifically written for optimized traffic, optimized SEO, and are hopefully published with a little wish for Viral Status. I know a couple of people who read/used to read this blog accept sponsorships and are able to supplement their family income by writing posts about products or services that interact with their regular, normal lives. Most of you weave sponsored content with your own real life content.

And–and I really want to be clear here–THAT IS JUST FINE.

And yet.

I miss the stories.

I miss the relationships that came from those stories.

I miss the back-and-forth of comments and emails and [insert social media platform of choice here] that grew from laughing and crying and empathizing with those stories.

Let me be honest and blunt: I probably won’t have a real connection with how those five ways have made you a Better Decorator, and so I will skim and move on to another post; where I won’t have a connection/conversation with How To Improve my Resume, so I will move on; and I won’t have a real response to How To Be Organized; so I will move on to no connection with the curated List of Fashionable Summer Items (trendy, expensive, consumerist); and the life changing Products will be just another list of sponsored marketing that I suspect will not actually Change My Life. I will, however, probably feel more and more that The Internet is not a place for my stories because they aren’t polished and optimized and sponsored and written with the intent to generate traffic and clicks. Ain’t nobody need to feel like Blogland is no longer welcoming.

Again, let me reiterate that if you have published a post like one mocked listed above, THAT IS TOTALLY FINE! It’s just….it’s not entirely my cup of tea. Sometimes, sure. But it can get kind of tiring and depressing to feel like my feed reader is one big long commercial. I have DVR and Netflix for a reason: I hate commercials.

And, again, I miss the stories. I miss the thought-out essays and emotive paragraphs about Real Life. The interactions and un-polished lives of people I learned to adore through their non-Pinterested, non-SEO, not-even-photographed writing. I miss you! And, I also miss me, the part of me that used to flourish in that online space. I know I can do better at contributing my own stories, and this post is definitely an attempt at such. Let us all write our stories, for ourselves, for our friends (cyber and otherwise), and yes, even for those total weirdo strangers who dabble in Internetting. (Hi, Weirdo Stranger!) After all, once upon a time, not so long ago, we were all Weirdo Internet Strangers, looking for stories and friends and connections in our computers; and look where our stories have brought us.

Harriet sig

Also, in a piece of non-sponsored, genuine link-back: this post was inspired by Abbersnail.

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27 thoughts on “Writing my own story

  1. I read the sponsored posts because I know they make it possible for some of my favorite bloggers to blog so regularly and provide me with the stories that do seem so real. Though yes, sometimes I do long for the pre-Pinterest days.

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    1. This is actually a really good point. And I have been one to click through on links because I know this or that blogger is trying to get some extra cash for their family. I guess I just wish that hadn’t become the bulk of my reader. 😦

      xox

      On Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 3:04 PM, Feisty Harriet wrote:

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  2. Amen! I’ve lost interest in many blogs for this reason. I miss the old days. I don’t want to be told how to live or what to buy. It’s all too impersonal and uninteresting to me.

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    1. I think there is definitely something to scrolling through pretty pictures and ideas…but I don’t connect with them very well. I guess I need more guts. And I understand it’s difficult to put your guts online (um, my own paltry archives attest to my gutlessness of late), but for me that’s what I use to justify my time online.

      xox

      On Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 3:20 PM, Feisty Harriet wrote:

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  3. YES! To all of this. I miss the good old days of personal blogging…. sometimes I am seek out those totally “informative” posts, but I don’t think I’ve ever made a personal connection to any of those bloggers. I am looking for friendships and I don’t just want to be someone’s five-thousands reader. Blegh.

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    1. Absolutely on the needing and wanting a connection. I just…I have a hard time feeling okay spending hours and hours online scrolling through curated rooms and styled photos and commercial writing. I feel like my time would be better spent working on a relationship or hobby that is offline. But, I DO think connecting with people via technology is worth-while and important, and if my time online is spent doing that I feel it valuable.

      I just…I’ve never connected over a contest to win a necklace, or a super cool new vacuum/widget, or the latest handbag that someone got for free and costs as much as a plane ticket.

      So, what I’m saying is I’m glad you and I are friends. 🙂

      xox

      On Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 3:25 PM, Feisty Harriet wrote:

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  4. Sooooo… I feel like I might be one of these bloggers 😉 — of course, I don’t have sponsors yet. BUT! I’m not going to defend myself — or maybe I am. I don’t know.

    Anyway, I mean, I hear ya. I know how I used to blog and how I blog now. I SEO my posts and make a pretty Pinterest graphic (or try to). Heck, I even have a “Pinterest strategy.” But here’s the thing, for me anyway, I had to blog differently in order to keep blogging. I hit a wall with whatever it was I was talking about before, and I just stopped. I missed blogging, and while I know that I tend to not get super personal anymore, I wanted to find my voice again, and I feel like I’ve done that. I have something to say, you know? I felt like I didn’t for a long time. And this is stuff I really do want to talk about.

    I have been thinking about incorporating a bit more about my life into the blog lately — especially more updates on my “new” “career” and maybe some updates about the child. We’ll see. Also, if I’m still in your reader, you might be tempted to take me out tomorrow — it’s definitely one of “those” posts ;).

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    1. I will never delete you from my reader. I think I only do that to people who post 3+ times a day and just…no.

      I actually appreciate your posts, I feel like you have a good mix of “I’m in this for some kind of growth” and sharing experiences in that lens. I feel like you have stayed true to your real life (what do I know, I only know you online!) and are using your writing to explore life with a toddler and how to deal.

      xox

      On Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 7:42 PM, Feisty Harriet wrote:

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  5. This part: “I will, however, probably feel more and more that The Internet is not a place for my stories because they aren’t polished and optimized and sponsored and written with the intent to generate traffic and clicks.” Totally resonated with me. I rarely write or post pictures anymore because I feel like stories are no longer wanted and my blah pictures that are different widths in the same post are not impressive enough. I think I have to think more about why I blog and why I read blogs (which I’m doing less of because the people who write genuine things are doing less of it on account of wanting to keep their sponsors pleased) rather than how my blog compares to other blogs. It has definitely been a part of my near-absence from the blogosphere.

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    1. I still appreciate your posts, even though in many ways our lives are so different, I like that you continue to write and put pics of your kiddos or your yard projects, or whatever. I often wonder when archeologists unearth our archives what they will think. How this super shiny layer of online stuff compares to the real artifacts in our world.

      xox

      On Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 9:06 PM, Feisty Harriet wrote:

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  6. I look at the successful bloggers and I get a little bit discouraged about my own little corner of the Internet. Not sponsored. Not making any money. Not visited by very many people. It does get discouraging, and sure: I DO wish I had more blog readers. But, I always had hoped that readers would come to my blog because of the stories—because of the writing, more specifically. Not many do, but I am still writing on my blog for the real reason I started writing on my blog, which is to have a space to share my ideas and develop my writing voice.

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    1. Yes. This. I like seeing my little stat number increase, but more than that I love interacting with people. Fewer visitors, even fewer comments, it makes The Internet a very lonely place.

      xox

      On Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 7:22 AM, Feisty Harriet wrote:

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  7. I’ve had a post about this very thing kicking around in my brain for awhile. I agree – blogs have changed so much…and I genuinely miss the TRUE community that they used to. When I started my blog almost 10 (!) years ago I wanted a place to work on my writing and style…I was tempted to jump on the make money/exposure band wagon but truthfully I am very glad I didn’t…because I still love my blog and I still use it as I had intended…there has been no branding, no selling out. In the end, I want to WANT to read my own posts, you know? I think that’s why you and I have managed to stick with one another in the blog-o-sphere too. And amen to that!

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  8. I miss the stories too! I miss telling stories, for that matter. Blogging circa 2005 was the best. Other people’s posts used to inspire me, so it was easier to come up with my own material. Without that regular exchange, blogging starts to feel like homework. You are one of the few bloggers I’ve followed for years that still does personal posts. Most others have either died out or turned into book review blogs, and I feel my own edging into book review territory, as well, and it always seems like so much effort to fix that.

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    1. I have my share of reviews, for sure. And I’m not going to stop that, but I also miss writing for writing’s sake…and I also miss all the other people who used to do that too.

      xox

      On Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 10:04 AM, Feisty Harriet wrote:

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  9. Pingback: April Link Love |
  10. I’m so with you! And with Stacy’s comment above…other people’s posts and thoughts used to inspire me to write my take on a topic or a tangent related to that topic. Even though I have no interest in using my blog to make money, I’ve found that the only posts I put up these days are recaps of things I’ve done over the weekend and occasional book reviews. I miss writing posts every single week about ideas and thoughts and opinions. I need to take more time to sit and work on putting my thoughts together in a coherent manner.

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  11. I’m with you. I do some sponsored posts (Yay, money!) but only if they jive with my real life. I still tell stories, and want to tell more stories, but holy crap is my life beyond nuts right now.

    I plan to brain dump tonight. Wait for it. 🙂

    xoxo

    Like

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