Do I even want anybody to read this?

Do I even want anybody to read this?

TL;DR – I finally realised I need to tune out the noise and write whatever, and however, I want to. 🧐

I was struck with the urge to start writing last year (gosh nearly a year!) but I have done a lot more reading about writing than I have actually writing. Before I ever really got started I fell into several – mostly unhelpful – rabbit holes. But now I have, at last, come stumbling out the other side and into the light!

It’s been slow to arrive (I’ve always had a slow processor) but I finally had my epiphany!

“I think you mean an epiphany” Hook [gif from]

The journey is as important as the destination (right?)

The delay on this painfully obvious realisation was I knew I had this urge to write again but I couldn’t make sense of what to do with that, or where to channel it. I am a prolific “Googler,” I never do anything without at least some cursory research so that was my natural starting point, and the internet is just brimming with confusing advice.

If you make the mistake of using Google to do a little research on how to get started writing online you will immediately find a lot of results about “content creation” and how to monetise your words. Maybe you watch a few SkillShare courses (only on a free trial, of course), and learn a little about the magic of Search Engine Optimisation! There is a plethora of courses, websites and plugins to help (all of them after your money). It’s all about the ✨KEYWORDS✨- magical lures to bring eyeballs, and eventually pennies, to your web pages.

There is much advice about where you should put your writing to begin with – so many options! Some will say traditional weblogs are dead, and nobody reads them. WordPress is a waste of time – if you put them on a website that nobody knows exists your efforts will whither and die. Instead, there is a thing called “social blogging” – put them on Quora, or Medium, or Substack.. you can even monetise the last two if you’re lucky and have built an audience.[1]

None of this is going to matter though if you don’t know your audience! You need to be an expert, you need to have something to sell. You need to be solving problems for your readers.

Or, if you are not an expert, not to worry, you can Learn In Public instead! Fake it until you make it! The less buzzwordy, and more generous, version of this for creatives is to show your work and share your process.

Don’t forget about Personal Knowledge Management (PKM for the cool kids – another piece of common sense the internet men have managed to rewrap and monetise for the digital age). If you’re going to need to keep notes on all your learning and these bright ideas, and have a workflow if you’re going to manage to do this around your full-time job!

There are so. many. note-taking apps. (Evernote is pricey, OneNote too restrictive, Notion is too complicated, but eventually you fall in love with Have you heard of Building A Second Brain?! Why does it seem like everyone has read bloody Atomic Habits? [2]

What about social media? You need to point the people to your words, and let them know where you are! You also need to read the work of other people in order to learn (find your milieu). Aren’t all the writers and readers on Twitter? But it is such a toxic swamp the very idea is anxiety-inducing. What about The Great Migration to Mastodon? The people there seem encouraging, is this what an online community actually should be? Finally, crawling toward some light!

A year on maybe some of the above has helped (for sure, more on that to come!), but I haven’t written much that has resonated with me (except when I got deeply obsessed with Bunny over the new year!).

But, I do now recognise Content when I see it. Content is boring. I don’t like writing it and I don’t like reading it. Trying to game the keywords in the AIOSEO plugin that came packaged with my WordPress install is annoying, and distracting and it isn’t creativity.

I know now I am not the only one who has felt this way. Some of the good people of Mastodon I have expressed the same sentiments [3].

You see, there are still personal bloggers out there! Normal people. Normal bloggers who blog from their own brains, and don’t produce Content. Writing because they have the urge to share. Fuck SEO, fuck keywords. Finally a breath of fresh air!

It’s 2023 and people still blog! Jesus Christ, but of course they do.

And, finally, I am reminded of what I set out to do in the first place!

Do I even want anybody to be reading this?! After all, I am Wallflower, and I like it that way.

That was where I started when I named this blog.

I wanted to start this for a creative outlet to help me make sense of myself, where I feel like I fit with this world (which feels increasingly insane on several levels), and hopefully find my creative voice.

I neither need nor want an audience. (The very idea terrifies me!). I just want to maybe connect to a few like-minded interesting individuals. I want to know if what’s inside my brain connects with what is inside your brain.

I will share what I want. It’s probably going to be a lot of books, talking about my period (I’m sorry, but the menstrual cycle is so cool) and whatever other stray thoughts I want to make sense of.

If that sounds interesting to you stick around, if not then that’s fine too.


[1] I am going to use Substack but as a Newsletter, it seems to easiest way of doing that while also be able to explore fellow bloggers, and chat with any readers I might pick up. This will be free, of course! [back ↑]

[2] I did read both Atomic Habits and Building A Second Brain at the start of the year, and I do have thoughts to share at some point – some of it was somewhat helpful, but as books both are just repackaging common sense advice in trendy buzzwords, and both can be totalled in half a page. Just read their blogs and watch the YouTube content to get the gist. [back ↑]

[3] Here are recent posts from fellow bloggers in my Mastodon sphere who appear to have spun around in a similar loop: ankteckningar, Elizabeth Tai twice, and Bookish Noelle. Some more links to writers missing personal blogs: Monique Judge at The Verge, Anne R. Allen, Megan Portorreal [back ↑].

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  • ankteckningar

    Such a well put togheter post. I have hope for bloggin, I think that true blogs are making a comeback. I’m one of those that hopes to make money from mine, but I want to do it in an organic way were my posts are good enough for guests to not be bothered by scrolling past an ad. I write first and foremost for myself. To test my knowledge, my interests and the writing craft itself.

    • Alice

      Thank you, I appreciate the comment! Your post a while back was one of the things that started my gears turning!

      Exactly it – nothing wrong with trying to monetise if it is organic to you. It’s just too easy to get pushed off track by all the formulaic, cynical advice out there.

      I also think there is hope for blogs to make a come back!

  • Atomicbutterfly

    “I want to know if what’s inside my brain connects with what is inside your brain.” YES to this.
    Also, it’s wildly validating to press publish on something that is just about you and what makes you happy or about your life.

    When I write for work, it’s anxiety-inducing: is this what they want? is it too detailed? Not detailed enough? When I write for me I feel happy. I enjoyed reading this a lot.

    I’m just sad your latest posts aren’t showing in wordpress Reader. But I have RSS readers so it’s all good!

    • Alice

      There is definitely a freedom in just publishing stuff for you! These days I am sure that I write this blog just for me, I feel like I’m my own audience. I start thinking I’m doing it for somebody else out of obligation it’ll lose the fun I think!

      I’ve added your blog to my RSS reader, I’m excited to dig into it – (emotional, health and behaviour I’m definitely interested in)! I love finding new bloggers who just want to share for themselves. I find it quite difficult to find people but we are out here!

      No idea why things aren’t showing WordPress Reader, it might have something to do with uninstalling Jetpack a while ago! When I have time I might try to figure it out.

  • A.S. Akkalon

    This post really resonated with me. There’s so much horrible advice out there about the things you *must* do to make blogging worthwhile. What if we don’t want to do any of that? What if we just want to share our thoughts with a few kindred spirits, be silly, and talk about our cats?

    • Alice

      It’s very confusing when you’re first setting up a blog! It took a while but I’m now learning that there are some of us out there who just want to do exactly that… but it’s so hard to find on the vast sea of the internet. I keep thinking I need to make an old school blogroll page!

      Tell me about your cats!

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