Old School Blogging is Reader Centred Blogging

I did something few have done: deleted all my blog posts. Every one of them. It had to be done.

I never intended to monetize my blog but the more visitors that arrived on my posts, the more advertisers wanted a piece of my action. And that was fine by me. Get paid for having fun? You betcha.

However, when I started writing paid posts on my site the calcification of my blog began. The lines of connection with my readers crumbled. The lack of connection took the joy out of blog writing.

I abandoned the blog for a while. Over a year. Then I decided I wanted to start again but do something different this time, so I deleted everything off my blog, all the years of posts, all the social media links, and all the subscription services. I know: shock, gasp.

I wanted to write unhindered by the drive to bring in traffic, I wanted to write pure, crystalline blog posts with an awareness that anyone or no one could see the writing, comment if they liked or not. I wanted it to be just about the writing. A return to the beginning.

Over the next few months I felt my blog writing muscles flexing. I played and experimented again, and I enjoyed it. Fresh meltwater flowing down dry riverbeds. The new blog writing helped my novel writing as well.

But the blog was tumbleweed quiet. My experiment showed me what was still missing: connection with people around the world.

After about a year of this new blogging with no social media promotion I was curious if anyone besides my friends stopped by (I hadn’t even told my online network I’d started blogging again). I checked my Statcounter and saw I had about eight regulars who I didn’t know. Two showed an especially keen interest and one in particular stopped by so often she even checked in when she was on holiday. True devotion to my words. I’m picturing her sunbathing next to her husband and reading my latest blog post through her shades, sun cream smudging the screen, then gazing across the sea and thinking about what I had to say.

A lesson: even when I thought I was just writing for me, sending my voice into the void, I was still reaching others. We may not always be able to guess who our readers are, but they will be a self-selecting group of people who keep returning to our blogs because they either love our writing or because they’re dead curious about what we have to say next. Or both.

It’s what I always enjoyed about reading other people’s blogs. Old school bloggers show our personality in words, the way our own swirls of grey matter process data about the world, transcribed onto the screen.

The lit agent Jonny Geller (@JonnyGeller) recently tweeted that novelists shouldn’t write for a market but for the reader. ‘The reader is not a fan or a relative, but someone who trusts that you will take them to a new place, in an unexpected way.’

That’s what Old School blogging was always about. New perspectives on same stories. Old School blogging is a return to the reader centred blog.

Michelle Garrett.