Before I became an anxiety blogger, I always kind of figured that my future life as a blogger would look something like this:
It would be glorious.
I would create the world’s most magnificent blog.
The ideas would flow faster than I could type. It would be effortless: I’d spend half an hour a night to put my genius into written form, then hit “Publish” and let it sell itself to the world.
People would flock to my site. I could hear the sounds of the keys furiously clicking on keyboards across the world as people typed in my web address. My followers would adore me. They would adore my advice…my stories…..my humor……..my fabulous taste in rainbow themed blog design. I would go to my analytics page and revel in watching my page views climb higher and higher.
And of course all other anxiety blogs would be quickly forgotten after the world got a taste of mine.
Yes….it would be glorious indeed.
But since actually becoming an anxiety blogger, I have come to the conclusion that my life is actually a little more like this:
This picture is pretty accurate. Imagine a brown-haired 4-year-old boy staring up at the skeleton saying “I just pooped my pants mom.”, and I’d say its just about perfect.
Future blogger beware: Blogging is not meant for the weak.
Followers? What are those? I don’t think I have any. Certainly not any “official” followers, anyway. It would probably help if I actually had a “Follow Me” button somewhere on my blog but I don’t because I can’t seem to find the right widget for that. Does it even exist? Other blogs seem to have one so it must be out there somewhere. (Maybe its just me but I think the new plug-in options could be organized a little better. Just sayin’. )
What do other bloggers know that I don’t know? Pretty much everything, it’s looking like. I can’t even search for help on most of the things that I need help on, because I don’t know the name of the thing that I need the help with.
And the editing.….the endless editing. The ideas may flow, but I hadn’t really planned for the fact that they don’t flow perfectly paragraphed and punctuated with images that won’t get me sued for copyright infringement someday. I can spend hours trying to find one photo of a woman who looks frustrated or troubled, but not psychotic or terrified, that I can legally use. You wouldn’t think it would be that hard..but I am here to tell you that it is exhausting. Anxiety doesn’t really have a “face”. Our massive fear is usually bubbling underneath a very “normal” looking exterior. It’s hard to find an image that conveys that and doesn’t feed into the stereotypes of us as wide-eyed terrified people with our fists covering our mouths, like you see so often. I don’t always succeed.
For every graphic or photo I use, I sift through a sea of images…..clicking on them…tracing sources…only to find time and time again that I am not allowed to use them. My family has quickly become accustomed to me yelling out a relieved “YES!” at all hours of the day and night because they know I have finally found the holy grail in “Blogger World”: a usable image that is accompanied by those beautiful words “Creative Commons Attribution 2.0”.
And let me tell you, coming up with blog post titles is no easy task. If I am writing a post, the words flow like lava. Two and three thousand word posts form quickly and effortlessly. But when it comes to trying to come up with 5 words to make a clever title, I just can’t seem to pull it off. I want something catchy…..something interesting….something that will make people want to click on my articles and that search engines will love. But what do I come up with? “Here is My Anxiety Disorder Story.” Yep. That’s the best I could come up with for my 500 word post about the worst 3 years of my life. I’m already getting nervous about what I am going to name this post. At this point, unless I come up with something snappier in a hurry, its kind of looking like its going to be “Blogging – It’s Not Easy.” If you are reading this, and that does happen to be the title of this post….just know I tried my best. And if I came up with something else…yay me. I don’t know how I did it.
Watching my analytics isn’t quite the thrill ride I thought it would be either. The only excitement I get is when I click and see that somebody just visited my site a few minute ago and clicked on two pages! Awesome! Then I realize…..“Oh wait………that was me.”, because I can’t figure how to keep my own visits from being tracked. (But I’ve decided that I’m not going to worry about that right now because if not for my own visits, my graph would probably just be one straight line and at this point I’d rather just keep the illusion of visitors alive).
And as far as effortless.…the only thing that is effortless is falling asleep. I am up till 5 a.m some nights…writing and editing and tweeting and promoting and looking for that one photo of an anxious woman. It is a struggle to stay awake sometimes. I often wake up at about 9 am, to find that I had fallen asleep with my TV blaring and my computer wide open on my stomach, and I have to bring it out of sleep mode to find out what time I fell asleep because I am so out of it that I just can’t remember.
Oh and all those other anxiety blogs that were going to quickly fade away when I “gifted” mine to the world? Well apparently, there are about 20,000 of those and none of them are too concerned about me. But it’s with good reason. There are a lot of pretty damn good anxiety blogs out there. It seems I am not as “special” as I had thought in the world of understanding anxiety. There are a lot of people who get it in their own way, and a lot of people who want to share what they believe with the world. And I think that is great because the ultimate goal is to help EVERYBODY “get it”, but it definitely makes it harder to get your voice heard. There has to be something about your blog that stands out..that makes it different…..and its a challenge.
So why do I still blog, you might ask, even though its turning out to be nothing like I imagined?
Because I love it.
Despite all the hard work, and the frustration and the endless hours and the doubts….I love it. And I know I love it because my blog hasn’t “taken off”……it hasn’t been an “instant success”…..and yet I still look forward to blogging, every single day. I love trying to come up with a new way to look at something, creating a page to display that idea on, and putting it out there for people to read. It’s hard but there are so many things out there that can make blogging just that tiny bit easier. It really does help.
It’s funny because I have read many times that people with anxiety are very creative. I never looked at myself as a creative person before, other than when I am creating nightmare scenarios in my imagination. I can’t draw or paint or write poetry or music. But I am starting to see that there are many types of creativity, and maybe it just takes some of us a little longer to find the best outlet for our own.
After spending the last 8 years of my life being a full-time mom and spending every waking minute focused on my kids, I am finally doing something for me. Not that I don’t adore my kids because they are my everything. But everybody needs a little something outside of their everything. And blogging is my something. This is why I am constantly trying to bring in new followers to allow me to continue my business.
After going through all I went through with anxiety, it makes me happy to help other people. It’s my way of turning that horrible period of my life into something positive for other people. I feel like its part of the path I was meant to take in this life….like everything that has happened has led me to this. And even if I never become a big “success” as a blogger, I will not quit. I will share my unique voice and find my place out there. I KNOW without a doubt that I WILL help people in this world. I know that I WILL make a difference in the world of anxiety. And that is why I keep blogging.
But still…..future blogger beware.
Post Publish Edit 8-2-16: It’s been almost a year since writing this post and things have improved dramatically! To all you new bloggers out there, just hang in there and keep writing and keep growing. Don’t give up, because those little steps every day can lead to great things!
Post Publish Edit 4-01-20: 4 and a half years after this post, I now have had half a million hits on this blog. I guess you could say I figured things out.
Looking for anxiety support? Like The Worry Games on Facebook.
Photo Credit: Woman with Laptop, Mike Licht at https://www.flickr.com/photos/notionscapital/2789226280/in/album-72157603408678631/CC 2.0, em
Photo Credit: Skeleton with Laptop, Mike Lichthttps://www.flickr.com/photos/notionscapital/7224617748/in/album-72157603408678631/ CC 2.0, em