I've come to feel like blogs are a team effort, or more like living organisms with many parts to it that keep them going. Authors write the posts, readers make the comments, the comments fuel the next post through ideas or simply the motivation to keep writing, and so on.
When I first started this blog, I just started writing about things. It became clear to me very early that I wanted feedback on what I wrote and this required readers.
In most cases, people don't just find your blog out of thin air. To obtain readers you need enough content to show up on search engines or some blind luck, e.g. Someone clicking on an interest in their blog profile and looking at other users that pop up and them finding your blog that way. There is another method to it but it requires more than just writing. That involves becoming a reader, posting comments on other blogs, and being visible. If people like what you have written, they'll likely click on your profile and see that you too have a blog. This can attract other readers as well as other authors. It requires putting yourself out there with your best foot forward.
Over time, people will start linking to your blog, readers will flow in, and the organism is born. I should note that this process isn't always easy and you have to be genuine for anyone to think you are genuine. "Hey, come check out my blog" will likely get your comment deleted. The other part... to be blunt: if your comments aren't interesting, why would they think your blog will be interesting? In rare occasions you may find an author to respond negatively to you. This has only happened to me a couple of times and most of them were along the lines of, "who the fuck is this sissy polluting my non-kinky FLR blog? Submitting to my wife isn't sexual at all!" Most authors appreciate the feedback, even if it's just a comment saying "good post."
In my case, it wasn't until I had made dozens of comments on dozens of blogs that I got my first comment on something I had written. By this time I had already composed 40+ entries over several weeks. They had found my blog from comments I left on their blog. It was the start and it slowly grew from there.
Once I started drawing the gates really opened up. There is only 1 downside of regular comments flowing in and that is that it changes how you go about things. Reading and replying to comments cuts into writing time and often can completely eclipse the search for new blogs to read. The major problem here is that unless you are doing what visitors want, their numbers will dwindle and without seeking out new blogs, your world stops expanding and you as a reader are no longer contributing to the growth of new organisms.
Part of why I stopped drawing is that I was feeling like I couldn't keep up with what I felt were expectations of me. The other reasons were depression, insecurity in my abilities, frustration in my skill level, and my ideas that that were dear to me were too hard to draw. I am a bit of a pleaser. I want to provide what people want but also want to do my take on things. A lot of what was being asked of me was conflicting. I can't get excited drawing someone else's fantasy unless it "does it" for me as well. If I'm not excited, it turns out like crap or I quit halfway through in frustration.
It seems my readers held on to hope for about 6 months after I went dark. That's when the comments began to cease. It was my own doing. Google helped with the rest.
Coming back now it's like starting anew. I've been scouring for blogs through profile interest searches, links from blogs, and blog comment profiles in an attempt to keep the organism alive. At the same time, I am excited to be a part of helping to grow the organisms created by others. Lately I have found a couple of newer blogs as well as some other blogs with very few followers (under 20). This is always exciting to me. To build a connection with other authors and be part of their process, it feels very rewarding. I know it is only a matter of time before their organisms begin to grow on their own, but these early days are special to me and I enjoy being the fuel for the time being.
As an author, I've come to believe I write three types of posts:
1. I don't care if anyone reads this or not.
2. I hope someone reads this.
3. I need someone to read this and respond in some way.
If/when I reach type #3, I know I need to take a break since it's a sign that my depression is in full swing and I'm grasping at straws to keep myself above water.
One author has stuck with me over the years. Occasionally this place might seem like a Lady Grey appreciation blog, but she was the 2nd person ever to comment on my blog and is still here to this day. I am so very grateful for that. I know she will be candid with me and give honest feedback, even if it's not the response I was hoping for. For a while, it really did feel like I was writing this blog for an audience of 1, but I am okay with that.
I don't think this would have been possible if I hadn't gone looking for blogs and become a reader who made active comments. I got very lucky to find her blog and a few others that were all in their infancy stages at around the same time as mine and we built our organisms up together. Woman in Control is the only one of those blogs left standing* and still a tremendous read. I do have to hold back from responding to some of the comments left by others there at certain times if they ever question Karl's ability to endure or his love of the life. I want to shout out "never doubt him, Karl's a fucking all-star sub!" but I refrain, knowing that there's no way I could convey the early posts adequately enough to give them the same amount of faith that I have.
*Forever Hers and I am Her Maine sub are a couple of others from back then that are no longer around. FH was the first to ever comment on my blog.
I don't really have a point to this post (it's a type #1), it's just a bit about how things came about and what I will have to do again. Now that I think about it, I've only had a handful of negative comments left here that were directed at me. I still remember them all and that means they left their marks... but I'd still rather have memories of them than of having no comments at all.