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Monday, June 27, 2011

Being Authentic To Who YOU Are!!

Being authentic!!! Wow that is a hard one to pin down sometimes. I like to think at the age that I am I know how to be my authentic self as a person. I am talking about being authentic in a particular area of your life.  I am talking about being authentic on our blogs.

You know, what we write about, and how we write about it. When I posed the question, “Would you continue writing your blog if you never got any comments?” I got so many comments and opinions. One comment that came towards the end really struck a cord with me. My reader wrote this:

You posed a very interesting question about blogging and one that I often ask myself. I would continue blogging without comments as I started the blog to document my journey as a designer. I then got some mentions from other blogs which generated more readers which (perhaps weirdly) made me feel a lot of pressure to tailor my posts more to the people who were now visiting my blog, which felt inauthentic and however hard I tried my readership didn't increase which was disheartening. I now write for me, document my designs and the things that really inspire me and think less about what people may want and try to have a more authentic voice. Having said that I really enjoy comments that I do get and value each and every one.
Great post to make us think!

Here is a blogger that  was briefly caught in the trap of trying to figure out what her readers wanted. As she wrote more of what she thought they would like to read, she got further away from her authentic self. I was glad to hear that she went back to being a designer on a journey, and she is sharing her journey with her readers on her terms.

How many of us have been caught in the trappings of wanting more readership, and we try to tailor our blog post to what we think the readers out there want, or at least what we think they want. You know how uneasy you feel when you do that. That is because You and I are not being our authentic self.

We happen to read a blog post, and we see a great response so we think, maybe I should write a post like this? We try to write a post like the popular post and it falls flat. We don’t enjoy writing, or researching for it, and to our dismay there is very little response from our readers in the form of comments.

When I thought about writing this very post, I thought to myself, that this is probably not a post that my readers will enjoy, and yet I find myself writing it anyhow.

You see I am being my authentic self here. I love design! I love talking about design and reading about design. I also love fashion as you have read in my last couple of posts. I also love to know what makes people tick, including myself. So from time to time I will be writing a piece like this that will make me think, and hopefully will make, you, my reader think also.

After reading the comment that my reader left me. I had to be honest with myself, and realize that I am not always my authentic self when it comes to writing my blog. Sometimes I will put a post up that I feel is a bit lack luster and less inspiring than I would like it to be.

There have been other times I write about a subject that I think might be a bit controversial or that my readers might not accept. I have done this many times and I have hesitated, and when I finally write it  the response has always been a positive one.

I realize we as blog authors can not always write an inspiring post, but we must always be our authentic selves, even if it is just a few words describing something that inspired us.

Life is a gift and we each have our very own life to live and no one else can do that for us. Why would we rob ourselves of our own personal experience of this great life by being inauthentic or not genuine.

There was a lesson for me in this comment and I had to share it with you all. Whether I am writing a blog post or a comment on another blogger, I am going to try my hardest to be my authentic self.

I pose this question to myself and to you all:

Is my blog representing who I am. Am I using my own voice in what I am writing? Has my blog evolved into the blog that I hoped it would be?
Hard questions to answer, but I feel these are very important questions we should ask ourselves as we continue to spend the time and energy that it takes to write a blog.

Blogging has been a wonderful and sometimes mysterious journey for me, but I am always learning, and I am inspired by all of you. I am inspired by your creativity, your writing and your comments. I hope I can continue to be my authentic self, and you will allow me to be a part of your day by reading my blog.

Thank you for making this a wonderful journey 

Kathysue Is:

“Enjoying the Process of Blogging, very much!”


Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

Hi Kathysue,
I enjoy reading your blog and I think that through your style and your writing that I have a sense of who you are. I feel as though I know you and I respect your design knowledge. The real you comes through and that's what attracts and brings me here. Don't change a thing.


laxsupermom said...

Another great post! It's hard not to see your reader numbers go up for a particular post, and not think I need to write more like that. Of course it's hard for my ADD self to stay on any one topic, so I really couldn't tailor my blog for any one type of reader even if I wanted to.

I think my struggle with my authentic self comes when I want to slough off and I realize that it's been a couple of days of not posting. I then feel pressure to come up with something to not disappoint my readers. I think those are the posts that sound the least like me vs the ones that I just write.

This summer, I'm going to try to listen to my authentic self more, and take time off when I don't have anything to say.

It'll be interesting to read the comments on this blog post. I love how these posts have opened up a whole dialogue with perspectives from so many other bloggers. Thanks for starting the conversation.

The enchanted home said...

I am sooo loving these thought provoking posts, you sure have found YOUR niche!!
I can honestly answer this with a big YES!
Admittedly I "tested" posting about lets say more modern/transitional styles and trends in decor but I wasn't passionate about them, (only did it once or twice) as though I like and apprecaite the style, its not "who I am" or what excites me. And I realized that the way I built my readership so fast was because people liked what I was writing about, my style and that I stayed true to the style that I love. Granted its not for everyone, and I had gotten 2 or 3 emails since Jan indicating that it wasn't "realisitic" or too elitist to them but I politely wrote back and basically said I learned a long time ago, you cannot be all things to all people so I was staying true to what I like and what I feel like I know about and its paid off. I get so many wonderful amazing emails from people telling me how much they like what I am doing,etc..and that is the ultimate validation.
This is a great point Kathysue and will keep me mindful of staying true to myself and what I stand for, and not wavering from that, that there really is something for everyone. Excellent!! (once again)

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Why do you suppose I am posting posie photos, this week?:-) I was getting away from the real "me". Expect to see more posie photos and roadside views. Because, lately, I am feeling a tad empty or dissatisfied with my efforts.

Clearly, "posie posts" do not garner many comments. Or at least not as many as some of my other posts.

These posts are authentic and reflect my love for photography. Not just photography needed to illustrate a post, but rather photography, for the simple love of it.

I also find, when I do "posie" posts, they generate paragraph comments. I love paragraph comments!

Unknown said...

Well said Kathysue! I agree, the most important person to please in writing a blog is yourself, failing that, the pleasure and sense of accomplishment goes missing. In my short time reading your blog you seem to accomplish that, so keep up the good job!


Splendid Sass said...

I try to post what I love, but there are times when I post a post that has one or two things in it that inspire me that I want to keep for my records while the overall post is not what I love.
My blog is a compilation of things I love and want to save, and I always think about my readers too.
Great topic, Kathysue.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for helping me to realize why I was struggling last night. I was trying to come up w/ a guest post for another blog and was totally struggling. I think I was more worried about it being suitable for her blog than what I would normally create. I got completely stuck. I came up w/ nothing. Now I think I am just going to go ahead and pretend as if I am creating it for my blog and send it on over to her. I think readers can tell when we are not authentic... they can smell it a mile away. I think the most popular bloggers just let their personality shine through. xo

Unknown said...

babes i think ur doing an amazing job on ur blog - and of course i think ur authentic - being authentic doesn't mean it has to "be the same" all the time - ur mind changes, ur thouhts change, life happens - longs ur true to urself UR GOOD babes!

*kiss kiss*
Erika @ ~Tiptoe Butterfly~

Hi Blogger Friends today is the LAST DAY to stop by and ENTER~Light as a Feather necklace GIVEAWAY~ it’s an almost $50 value!

La Dolfina said...

You always post something like this just when I need it... sort of like hearing a sermon at mass that seems directed just at you!

You're the best Kathysue...
Thanks for enjoying your process and sharing your insights with the rest of us!!
Love you,


Tote said...

Kathysue, I think you are very authentic. You post what you love and that does show through. I think your readers love what you blog about, or they wouldn't follow you. When I started following people in the beginning, I would follow anyone. Now I pick out who I have something in common with to follow. I love fashion, and that is the industry that I have been in all my life, but now I would much rather read about decorating then fashion on a daily basis.
As I have always said, keep up the good work!


Anonymous said...

Brilliant post! It's always good to take some time and self examine and look at our motivations and the outcome of what we are creating. There is a lot of stuff being put onto the internet (some would say too much stuff) and so editing ourselves and what we contribute to the world wide web is really valuable, not only for our authentic selves but also that we are contributing something totally unique that only we as individuals can offer.

vignette design said...

I think we all have been caught up in this mysterious blogging journey--trying to figure it out, that is. As a blogger, I try to remain authentic. Blogging is uncharted territory though. When we started, we had no idea where it would go and how it would affect our lives. Thanks for the insights and discussion. ~Delores

Amy Vermillion @ Martineau Vermillion Interior Design said...

Hi Kathysue!
Great and interesting post! "To thine own self be true" is very important to me.
Honesty and being authentic (as a designer) makes one great, and sometimes unpopular.
Keep it coming :)

Bring Pretty Back said...

Kathysue ! This happened to me just TODAY!!!!! Things have been very tense between V and I lately and I did a post on it just today and when I posted it , I thought to myself - is this too " me" . too personal about my marriage and life. Is it too much of a downer? etc. etc. I have only gotten ONE comment , so I thought to myself , maybe it was a mistake to post it. maybe noone cares, I sound like an idiot... that sort of thing.but you know what . It's me , my authentic self , my authentic life. I have been getting less and less comments on my blog and I honestly thought that maybe i should just stop because no one is interested in what i have to say.
Great post.
as always.

The Buzz Blog said...

Love the fact that you bring up authenticity in this post as YOU seem to be one of the most authentic bloggers out there... and you share so much of yourself and your home. And please know that my comments are always authentic, too!

lvroftiques said...

Well since I can't begin to figure out what it is I might/or should be doing to garner more readership I just keep on doin' what I do! *winks*
And I love that you ask these thought provoking questions Kathysue! Keeps me on my toes....Good thing I have pointe shoes *winks* Vanna


Kathysue...you always bring up such interesting post that really ignite the conversation. I was not sure what I wanted to do when I started blogging because I couldn't imagine anyone outside my circle of friends reading it. But....as my readership grew, what I figured out is that readers like to see projects...like to see when I can't make up my mind like everyone else...I think they just want to know you are real. As the saying goes we all put our pants on one leg at a time and nobodies life is perfect. I just try to be me cause I don't know how to be anyone else :)

Lee said...

Authentic voice is hard to define but I know it when I read it -- fresh, thoughtfully spontaneous, without too much self-editing, not strident, not asking for approval or needing to be unique. maybe it partly boils down to the writer who feels comfortable in her own shoes but needs to be moving, learning, exploring. There's an energy in that voice that is somewhat contagious.

Unknown said...

I think you have a gift for encouragement. That is what I always walk away from your blog with....a feeling of encouragement.

How funny that you should mention seeing a post that gets a great response and thinking you should do the same. On my rounds tonight, that exact thing happened to me. I do try to stay authentic though....so I'll probably just do what I normally do.

I think, in the end, you have to risk a few dud posts to get to the best authentic ones you can write.

Keep on being YOU!
xoxo Elizabeth

Susie @ Maddie G Designs said...

This is a great post...actually I've been enjoying all of these thought provoking posts despite being on vacation for the last two weeks and now home buried in laundry and some contractor disasters from while I was away. Anyways, I try to be authentic but I have to admit I have fallen into the woes me, why bother trap when I spend a ton of time on a post I am passionate about and get no responses and then slap up a "LOVE THIS" image and get a ton of responses. Hard not to take the easy route at times.

Last night my husband and I were reviewing the builder bids for our remodel that are all WAY over our expected budget and I was telling him I know that this will challenge me to really get creative in decorating as the budget will be less. He looked at me (seriously and looking like he felt guilty) and said something to the effect of "You probably feel like you need a showplace for your blog." I couldn't believe he even thought I would alter my taste or how I'd decorate the home to please readers! In fact, it kindof made me question the role of my blog if he thinks it's my main concern! Sorry, I've rambled here....not enough sleep....hope my point came across somehow.

Mona Thompson Providence Ltd. said...

I always enjoy reading your blog, because i can just see you through every word and image. Just keep doing what you do. Love you. Mona

Mel@Georgica pond said...

Wow - another thought provoking and challenging post, and it makes a nice change to actually get my mind thinking after reading a post rather than just always looking at beautiful photos (which I adore, don't get me wrong!). From my limited experience I know there is immense pressure for one's blog to do well quickly, get your readership up, get subscribers, get noticed, get advertisers etc, and in order to achieve all that within record time and compete with the big and "successful" blogs, there is the tendency to want to see what everyone else is doing and feel as though you should do the same. If it works for them, maybe that's what I should post about? Why have they got so many more readers/subscribers than me? What should I change/do differently? So you can go down the path of imitating others and being influenced by others, and obsessing about numbers and popularity, trying to read the minds of your followers and give them what you think they want. Occasionally I've been tempted and distracted by this and thought should I post about fashion or do more DIY, show what I wear daily, or add more of this or that, or less of my family or personal life, but at the end of the day I decided that if I don't love it, and it's not something I would do, buy, decorate with, live in - then I won't put it on my blog because it's not me. And this is my damn blog anyway, it's about me and my life, so it's going to include whatever I want it to include! And surely that's what people are coming to see. So whether I get to 100 readers or not, or whether I get sponsors or not, or whether it never gets to much more than it is now, at least I know I was authentic and stayed true to myself. If somebody else loves that, I'm thrilled, if not, I have a pretty sensational diary!

debra @ 5th and state said...

oh kathysue, you are so thought provoking and for me, this post is timely.
yesterday's post, which you kindly commented on, was a bit of a deviation from my norm. my authentic self prefers "teaching", setting out there original context.
it was not a slacker post...too picky for that.......but others images.
guess what? the response was good! then i am thinking should i make the blog prettier with less text? then along comes this post........thank you dear authentic friend. ps; love these conversations

Linda Hartong said...

I believe you are also a philosopher- and one with good advice. My mission is to document Carmel as it is in my time. Things change so fast. I do find myself disappointed when I write a "meatier" post and it gets fewer view than the "puff" pieces. Your post addresses this nicely. So, I mix them up and enjoy writing them all. And I enjoy the research and learning more about my little community.
This is a wonderful post. Keep up the good work.

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

When I first found out about blogs I thought, That is NOT for me! But then I found a few decorating blogs and searched for more... I wanted to find a blogs that only cercerned themselves with decorating and did not take but a couple of mins to read. I was mostly interested in the photos ! Well you guessed, Room Service ~ Decorating 101 was born. I now find lots of blog out there like mine, if I had found them first I may have not started blogging at all. I have never changed from my style, few words and few photos. A blog sharing what I believe to be true when it comes to decorating. The one thing I have changed is thinking I have to post so often. My blog continue gain followers with few monthly post and I prefer it that way. Thanks vicky

Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia said...

Hi Kathysue-
I hope you know I always love stopping in and reading what you have to say. I think you are real and beautiful in everyway. I've been so fortunate to run accross you and many other bloggers that share the same interests.
PS...I'm trying to figure out what happened to Michelle from Shells Shabby Shack????Do you know anything?

quintessence said...

I always write about what I find interesting - otherwise what is the point?! And that's one of the reasons I love visiting you - you are most definitely an authentic voice that I can count on!!

Karen said...

I started my blog as a way to document changes in my home and to share what I've learned over the course of the many years that I'd been a homeowner. Along the way I have found that I sometimes don't give my true opinion because I don't want to offend anyone. I'm not sure if that qualifies as not being authentic to myself or simply not wanting to lose readers. Either way, the longer I blog the less I concerned I am about increasing my readership. I do however hope that the handful of people who regularly comment will find something of value.

Cheryl said...

I have no idea how I actually stumbled upon your amazing blog. Your post today is so though provoking. My blog is new. I started it for me, but as people are starting to visit, I would like to make sure I am me. I look forward to reading through your old posts.

Stacy CUrran said...

I try to only put up photos of rooms that I love, but admit that sometimes I fill a post that I think is too short with images that I don't quite love. I also post every day, so it is hard to write as much as I want sometimes. This is good food for thought -- thank you so much for the questions!

Jessie said...

A very interesting and thought provoking post. Sometimes, whenever I wanted to post some unusual products or objects that excite me, I feel a little hesitant because those are the blog posts that garner the fewest comments and viewership. After pondering about such posts for a while, I usually post them anyway. So, overall I think I am quite authentic with myself.

I think a blog is meant to be an outlet to express yourself and if people like it, it's a bonus. If they are not, then you still have all these wonderful inspirations for yourself.

Just to let you know Kathysue, you are one of the most authentic blogger out there with a genuine voice when you write. I am sure all your readers will agree!