There is a certain smirking sense of pride when you realize that you've been mentioned by one of the bigger blogging sites out there. In this case, it would be Blog Herald. I know I'm a few days late in talking about this, but then I was wrestling with the idea that something like this can secure appropriate bragging rights.
Yes, Blog Herald is as well read as it is. After all, it is one (massive) blog dedicated to bloggers. Although in retrospect, I know plenty of other friends out there that get way more publicity on what they write. Yet for a blog that I still consider an underdog in its own right, having a mention like that by Lorelle of all people is something that does remind you that every underdogs have their day.
But back to what she wrote about. Success in its own right is defined by why we do the things that we do. I never thought of the number of my posts as a measure for success. I tried to measure it with everyday unique hits but as much as that may matter for a lot of people, including myself, I found it a poor reason to measure how much this blog has grown.
Popularity comes and goes. Spikes from incoming links are nice as your blog becomes widely covered, but for blogs like mine, blogs that have no niche, no specific audience to cater to, it's not those 15 minutes of fame that makes the grade. It's the consistency and the community that define, at least for me, the success of a personal blog.
To be constant too doesn't just mean you post for the sake of posting to have people come back and read. It's the consistency of writing because you want to, but because you're not influenced by anything except your own passion for expressing the things you need to express. It's the consistency of knowing that no matter how bad you are right now, every time you blog, every time you read a blog, you pick up something you never knew before, you learn something new. Your blog grows because you're growing along with it. You grow along with your readers and not just cling on to the few good things that made you well known.
Community like I said, doesn't mean your 15 minutes of fame. It means the people who come back to read what you wrote because you wrote it. Readers who comment on a regular basis because they find something they can relate to in your words. Commenters that eventually become your friends and not just another reader who has a blog. That's community.
It's not something that can be won over in a blink of an eye. More often than not, communities of this strength take a while to build. Sure, you might be lucky and have a year old blog become one of the most talked about blog on the blogosphere, but most of us aren't that kind of people. I'm not that kind of person. 3 years of blogging and I still think that I'm no different in terms of readership than I previously am. Which was why posts like that from Blog Herald have that "jump for joy" effect on me. I've yet to really develop that sense of community with my readers.
Which is why as a blog, I doubt that I am successful. Yes, I still write with the same fiery expression I wrote when I started and got better at it, but compared to how other blogs have grown in terms of their communities, I've still got a lot to work on right there. I'm proud of what I've done so far and where I am, but I've still got far to go. There is still some ways to go before I can be proud of something else entirely.
After all, if I've gotten this far, what's another few more years to work on it?