Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Telling the Truth Tuesday: Blog Focus

I'm thinking about this blog and what it needs to be and become. It's always been about sharing this journey we call life. When I began blogging in 2009, it was to promote my memoir, Following the Whispers. But I soon realized it was so much more than that. It's about sharing the lessons I've learned and continue to learn.

Now that I have a novel that will be published at some point (God willing), I've been thinking more about the blog and what to do with it. I know there have been many posts and discussions about blogging etiquette and how to get and keep followers. There are so many blog hops, all designed to find and meet new blogs. But I've never been comfortable trolling to find blogs and following someone just cause they followed me or vice versa.

I realize the internet is not like a newspaper, but I've always thought having a blog is kind of like being a columnist, the kind of columnist who writes about whatever strikes their fancy. Readers of the newspaper either enjoy the column and keep reading it, or they don't. The columnist doesn't do anything to find readers other than write what he wants to write.

Joining a blog hop, responding to comments, going to the commenter's blog and following back, whether or not I like what the blogger blogs about or not, just to be polite, well, it just doesn't feel authentic to me, and if nothing else, since I blog about my spiritual journey, I want to be authentic. I follow the blogs of several people who do not visit other blogs at all and still have many loyal followers who read and comment consistently on the blog.

So, I'm going to shift the paradigm of how I see my blog. I am going to continue to visit blogs of those whom I follow and whose blogs interest me and whom I've grown to care about. I will always respond to comments. I am so happy when someone takes the time to respond to a post. But I am not going to do anything to seek and find followers. I am going to be as real as I can be here with my posts and hope that those who enjoy this kind of thing will find me and stick around awhile.

One other thing. I think I'm going to lose the schedule of Monday Musings and Telling the Truth Tuesday. If I'm going to be as authentic as I can be, I need to post when I truly have something I think is worthwhile saying, not do it according to a schedule. I'm still pondering this one, so stay tuned....




Linda Hoye said...

Blogging has changed so much since those early days when you and I started out, hasn't it? I applaud you for taking a direction that is genuine for where you are today and will continue to be a regular even though I comment infrequently. :-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Being real is the best way to be. I don't seek new followers as much now. I blog about what I enjoy and what matters to me, and I like spreading the news about accomplishments, movies, music, and other fun stuff.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I am totally with you on this, Karen. And your authenticity is why I always read your posts. I even had the same thought yesterday, how a blog is like a newspaper column. We bloggers are the modern-day journalists woo hoo!

Karen Jones Gowen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Karen Walker said...

Hi Linda, nice to see you --- thanks for sticking with me - I read your blog, too, but don't comment much. Hmmm....
Alex, yes, you are incredibly authentic on your blog. And I love that about you.
Karen, thanks for the support - I'm hoping it will get more real as time goes on.

Suzanne Furness said...

I think our blogs should be an extension of ourselves and should reflect our personality. I love the interaction and that is one of the main reasons I blog. I enjoy stopping by your blog.

Sharon Lippincott said...

Kudos Karen for following the whispers even now. Seems like most of us who have been blogging for five years or more (I'm in my tenth year) are taking it less seriously. Seems like the writing community is taking social media less seriously, in favor of something we vaguely recall -- having a life.

Just one thought about newspaper columnists -- they generally have a theme. If George Will wrote about the joys of becoming a grandfather, for instance, without tying it into politics, people would gasp. If he began flitting from one bright thing to another, would they quit reading him? Over several weeks, they probably would, because the paper would probably drop him in favor of someone reliably political.

The fact is, I don't read as many columnists as bloggers, and I don't read as many blogs as I used to, so I'm hardly an authority. I do know bloggers who ramble. Susan Albert occasionally mentions writing in general, her works in progress and the continuing river of books that pour from her fingers. Her primary focus is herbs and wild flowers, gardening and life in the Hill Country.

Now you've reminded me that it's past time to pour one of my ephemeral blog post ideas into pixel form and post it. The problem with abandoning a schedule is that it's easy to slip toward abandoning a blog!

Karen Walker said...

Suzanne, I agree - it should be an extension - and so glad you enjoy stopping by.
Sharon, you are right. There is usually a focus. Mine will remain sharing my journey. And I hope abandoning my schedule doesn't mean I'll slip towards abandoning the blog. I really enjoy blogging. I just need some sense of freedom from my "shoulds."

Robin said...

I'm clapping my hands right now. You can't see it, but trust me. Clapping.

We all struggle with blogging. I have way too many blogs on my roll. I can't possibly read them all. Some of them blog about topics that bore me to no end. I'd delete many, but the Google Friend Connect widget is gone, and Blogger hasn't allowed me to delete blogs for over a year. I also can't add any that don't have the GFC widget. I wish I'd been a bit more discerning in the beginning.

The bloggers that follow you and comment will do so because they care about what you're writing. You're hitting them in a place that makes them stop and think. Maybe it applies to them. Maybe not. Maybe their sister, brother, mother.

As you say, if you truly want to be authentic, well that doesn't roll on a schedule. It could happen on Monday, but it might happen on Thursday. Here's to being true to you!!!!

Karen Walker said...

Oh, Robin, bless you and thank you for this support.

Arlee Bird said...

I tend to have a similar outlook to yours now. I don't mind the new followers but I don't as aggressively seek them out like I used to because it's difficult for me to keep up now.

Like you, I see myself as being similar to a columnist or a feature writer. I get pretty random at times and much of my focus has gone into my music posts because I enjoy them so much.

I'll continue to do the bloghops when they suit my fancy, but I'm not going to be hopping anymore just to pick up new followers.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Wrote By Rote

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Karen -- I'm in a bit of a blog transition period, too, so I understand the dilemma. I moved to a new site and am trying to establish a different pattern of post topics, keep a guest Thursday, and experiment with what draws readers and comments. But like you, I don't want to spend many hours a day blog hopping. It's hard to figure out how to keep up and still get the writing done.

Good luck with placing your novel. Have you attended any writers' conferences where you can pitch to an agent or editor?

Karen Walker said...

Sounds good, Lee.
Hi Pat, how's the recovery coming along? I haven't been to a conference in years. Maybe I should look into at least Taos or Colorado. Thanks