Sometimes I blog about a specific idea or topic because I see it circulating around the blogosphere, and it's not like I'm the kid who sits outside an adult conversation and says "I wanna turn! I wanna turn!" (though I'm sure I did that as a child) but because I have a very not so minor obsession with Here's My Take On It.
Ego aside, I've noticed that lately, quite a few blogger buddies of mine are wrestling with the expectations put on them by their readers. (See here and here for two interesting examples.) And while this isn't earth-shattering, it's something we face everyday as bloggers.
What are our expectations for our own blog? What are the expectations that our readers have put upon us? Let me put it to you this way: How many of you, after being absent from blogging for a while, or maybe even just a few days, have apologized to your readership?
Why is that? (And I've done it too.) We don't owe our followers anything, we probably know less than half of them in real life, and let's face it, no one is the Most Awesome Blogger of Ever that if he or she were gone for two weeks, the world would explode. (Except maybe Alli. God I love her blog.)
But there's expectations, aren't there? There's an exchange of energy, information, trust... our followers start to expect a certain tone or format in our blog, or maybe they check in on a certain day because that's when a specifically themed post will go up. And when we become the followers to others' blogs, we do the same thing. We expect.
Who does our blog belong to? Our readership? Or us? Certainly there's a careful balance there. No one enjoys reading blogs that are so self-involved that it's hard to create dialogue with the blogger. But how much say do our followers have in what we put on our blogs, what we post on a day to day basis, simply because they feel they have a right to voice their opinion?
Notice I'm asking a lot of questions here, because I don't have the answers. But expectations, while intriguing, also kill. They kill energy, acceptance, growth, change, and most of all... creativity.
I'm starting to check in and ask myself what I expect from the blogs that I follow, what I expect from my readers, and how I want to dance this dance. Because I don't like letting people down, ever. But I'm also very protective of my own space and wouldn't really be willing to compromise on how I live my life just to fit other peoples' expectations. I did that once, and once is enough. It's stifling and cuts off breathing room.
I don't blog as much when things get active in my life, and I'm careful not to apologize for that, nor do I make excuses. (Okay, this post sort of had excuses.) I also try to avoid posting in any one mood for too long and and try not to do specific posts on specific days (not that there's anything wrong with that - I just don't do it for my own blog, please don't leave me sad comments) because I try to keep my readers on their toes. I want this blog to be as free as possible to change and grow and I want the space to have posts fall flat or succeed beyond my wildest bloggy dreams.
So how do we navigate this delicate relationship between being the readers and the writers? It's too complicated to just say "screw 'em", nor would I want to. But it's something to think on, because in the end, the expectations of others are just that - of others. I'm trying to be careful not to let others' expectations of me become my own; and I think most of us face that in some avenue of our lives, blog or otherwise.
In the end, we get to do what we want, and the haters will hate and the complainers will complain. If we could just surround ourselves with people and readers who allow us to always be us, and drop any expectations, and leave guilt behind... maybe we could allow the same thing for ourselves?