The hardest thing about blogging

Blogging can be a very rewarding thing. It can give someone a channel to express themselves and share their opinions with the world; it can open the door to a network of people with similar passions and interests, along with some great conversations; and it’s the perfect way to learn from those around you and refine your writing skills.

But it’s not an easy hobby and it can take a lot of effort. Having to come up with ideas for new posts on a regular basis, keeping up with reading the articles published by other bloggers and fitting it all in while dealing with adult responsibilities can hit the motivation hard. And then there’s the dreaded writers’ block: when you stare at a blank page for what seems like hours, knowing that you really need to have something ready for the following day but not having a clue what to write.

I count myself extremely lucky that I don’t often suffer from these things. I’ve been blogging for over five years now (with Later Levels going for almost two of them) and don’t see that stopping. My day-job is all about best-practice, analysing data and writing processes, so writing gives me a positive creative outlet. And when I’m not sure what to write about, I dip into a stash of post suggestions I save for a rainy day and which I add to whenever inspiration for a new article subject strikes.

There is something I do find difficult though, and it’s going to sound pretty weird considering the nature of blogging: it’s the social aspect of blogging that’s the most challenging for me. I’ve been thinking about writing on this subject for a while now and it’s a lovely Sunshine Blogger Award from the BeardedGamer82 Gaming Blog that has finally given me the push to do it. After all, what sort of writer uses a public platform like WordPress and then admits they find the social side of it the hardest?

Well, this one for sure because I totally suck at it. I’m not a naturally social person: I can be quite happy with my own company or that of just a few family and close friends. I can go an entire day without having any contact and not get stressed out by it or feel lonely. That’s not to say I dislike the companionship of others; I just prefer small groups to large ones, and after interacting I need to retreat into my corner in order to let my ‘social meter’ fill back up so it’s ready for use again the following day.

Blogging is the opposite of this. Visit any website or read any book which claims to give advice on how to do it properly and the one thing they all agree on is that it’s about interaction. You need to be willing to open yourself up to meeting new people and instigating conversation with them. The community aspect of the activity is indeed one of the best things about it and the group I’ve found here is one of the nicest and most supportive I could wish to be a member of.

Sadly though, I still find it difficult when faced with a large group. If I’m in a chat with a handful of others, then I’m usually fine and can follow and join in with the discussion. But get to more than five people or so and the anxiety about saying the wrong thing starts to creep in, leaving me unable to keep up with the conversation. Social media is a minefield that I frequently prefer not to navigate, and I admire those bloggers who can just jump straight and get involved without any hesitation.

Is it weird then that I continue blogging despite its social nature? Probably, but I’ve found it’s the perfect way to push myself outside of my comfort zone; and doing that that sometimes be the only way to overcome something and make a change. The hobby has taught me a lot about myself and my anxieties over the years, and Later Levels is now something that reminds me it’s not healthy to always retreat into my shell. It’s no fun holding back all the time even if it is far less scary.

The benefit of blogging has been noticeable in my work life too. Although I wouldn’t say it’s yet the most pleasurable of experiences, I’m able to attend overnight conferences away from home and even network when I need to – a word that would have brought me out in a cold sweat previously. The fact I’m to represent SpecialEffect by volunteering on their stand at events, meeting attendees and talking to them about the charity’s work, is an achievement which shouldn’t be underestimated.

I’ve come to realise that I’m never going to be someone who’s completely at ease in social situations, or who’s always active in conversations. But that’s ok because I know I can do it now. Sometimes you just need to bite back your fears and show them who’s boss by doing the very thing that scares you.

This post is dedicated to the BeardedGamer82 Gaming Blog, who very kindly nominated Later Levels for the Sunshine Blogger Award in August. Thank you to him for giving me the opportunity to tell this story.

35 thoughts on “The hardest thing about blogging

  1. Hi, i can tell you my 2 cents about the “social thing”.
    Maybe the most important thing not only in social meetings but everywhere is your capability to stay true to yourself. Unfortunately if you believe so hard in “your thing” than the social accepted “thing” there is always the chance to loose some sympathy and some people with that. You can’t be simply loved by all the people, and that’s the sad thing. Something like the elephant in the room that nobody wants to see… xD.

    One particular Youtuber comes into my mind as an example – AngryJoe. Part of the reason to have so big popularity is because his channel is dedicated to express himself at 100% about criticizing mostly the crappy sides of the games. I liked him before, not so much later, because i try to find always the good part in the games. Yeah sometimes his comments are very hilarious and straight to the heart…but with time i just can’t stand it anymore even if it’s funny…
    A lot of people are happy that he has the balls to say all that, because behind the curtain he in fact criticize the hard work of a lot of dedicated game designers, drawers or software engineers. And in the other hand besides the negative parts of these games, there is good parts, certain good memories or nostalgia for a lot of gamers. And with his words is like stabbing them with a knife. It’s not pleasant to hear that kind of words for your beloved game and the sequel that you waited for so long but unfortunately failed to become another Monkey Island or Final Fantasy 6… Yeah it’s maybe the fault in the designers ets, but you never know what’s the reason behind people’s misfortune… It may be some personal drama, familly loss etc…
    Aside all that he is disregarding he still is standing behind his opinion on a world scale: “i will destroy your game if it sucks… “. So that keeps him focused on what he loves even if it’s evil for a lot of people. Even if it’s true it’s still evil… and in the end of the day he can say” yeah that video is watched 5M times, i feel GOOD! I have my money in my pocket, i helped a lot of people to save some money ; D but hmm am i feeling so good?Nahhh it’s nothing… i hope…”

    About the blogging stuff and how that’s connected.
    I am also a blogger but i do it more to express myself that to serve like a source of knowledge to my readers, subscribers or followers. I must admit that i am not very popular. But that’s perfect for me, because after certain time when the number become larger than you can feel expressing yourself not so relative already. I mean you feel about all the people that can read you and somehow you can invisibly become part of the system. You want to be more assertive and more liked, and more helpful to all these people. And that’s very nice. That’s the true idea behind why we are humans! To share and help each other. But still there is that little chance to loose yourself. I am speaking about little % here. But still under the 51% limit. Even if your blog is about gaming for example, even if you know that you post about your favorite games. There is still a chance somewhere in your mind to do it more for the others than for yourself. The reason why that can be bad is that your statements become more socially acceptable, than what you truly believes.
    As you say that you have another job connected with writing stuff, yeah particularly that’s the resolution. You do what you loves on your job and shares what you loves in your blog without a fear. When you start to look out your blog as a source of alternative money than… well than you can find very easy if you deviate from yourself more or less. xD

    Sorry for the long post but yeah… ;D.


    • No need to apologise, thanks for sharing your thoughts and story with us! I think blogging is only truly enjoyable when what you write comes from the heart; as you say, if you tailor your opinions so they become more socially acceptable, that’s when writing turns into something less satisfying. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes! This is absolutely how I feel as well, thank you for putting it out there. It’s funny with big groups – I’m the same online as in real life in that I can have a great discussion in a small group or one to one but as soon as I’m part of a big one I just shut up shop, and when I do say things I generally wish I hadn’t.

    I think understanding that you’re not comfortable in particular situations is half the battle, and perhaps accepting that it is ok to be like that is the other half. It isn’t better to be more ‘social’, just different. Once you understand what you are comfortable with you can work on things that are helpful to you and that push your limits a little like your experience with conferences and volunteering. My work has recently started pushing me to go to more conferences, some overnight, and I was terrified the first time, but actually it was a good lesson to me that I can go to them and be just fine, even if I don’t particularly enjoy them.


    • I was a bit worried about writing this post (which is why I put off the subject for so long) as it can be a bit weird for a blogger to say ‘I’m not good at being sociable’. It’s therefore a relief to hear that others understand where I’m coming from and have had experiences of the same thing.

      I’m really grateful to blogging for giving me enough confidence to start volunteering because it’s now something I love doing regardless of the bits that make me feel uncomfortable. It sounds as though neither of us are ever going to totally enjoy the experience of work conferences though – but at least we’re able to make small-talk over coffee. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The hardest part I find about blogging is fleshing out my ideas. I have had loads of pieces that I’ve started writing and then I’ve just lost my way with them, or not really got any point or argument and it’s really annoying.

    I think I’m what’s classed as an ambivert, I can be totally fine in social situations but they can also be pretty draining for me. I recharge by either being alone or just chilling out at home. If I’m out in large groups multiple times in a row then I feel drained by it. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t bother with EGX day 3, I was done being around so many people even though I wasn’t really that chatty with anyone.


    • It’s the whole ‘social meter’ thing, isn’t it? There’s a certain amount of energy that can be spent on being sociable and around people, but once that runs dry then it’s time to wait for it to recharge.

      I know what you mean about trying to write a post and then losing your way; there have been a few times where I’ve thought my initial idea was good but then it’s kind of tailed off into nothing. At those points I’ve realised it’s better to cut your losses and start on something new to get the inspiration going again.


  4. I can relate a lot to this post! I’m not a social person in real life at all. Crowds and dealing with social situations are quite draining and difficult for me to handle. But online is where I’m most comfortable being social, for whatever reason. The community aspect is the biggest reason why I continue to babble on the internet, haha.

    I also have to say you do an awesome job making this blogging community a fun and inclusive place to be. I mean, come on… your blog parties are legendary! 😎


    • And you are one legendary blog party guest! I must admit, I do find it difficult to keep up with the comments when they get busy because of my reaction to social situations but I do like the fact they get everybody talking. 😎

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I can relate to this post and I agree with your motivations for pushing on. Sometimes you need to be pushed out of the comfort zone to find new things you enjoy. Blogging has been that for me, much like yourself, I’m not all that social. Thanks to blogging though, I’m speaking to new people about different things and having a great time. I could never have gone to a club or a class and done that. Too much social pressure and anxiety!


  6. There’s a lot of bloggers agreeing with your post and I’m the same! IRL I have a really close knit group of 3-4 friends. I’m not a big fan of socialising and find it draining and it can trigger my anxiety (depending on the situation). So I guess it’s weird that I blog but I like the creativeness of it and the ability to express yourself and thoughts and feelings it all tends to out weigh the negatives. Next year I’ve committed to going to a few conventions, Comicon and Insomnia probably do that will be a fun challenge! I’m getting my cosplay sorted already! 😁


  7. I used to have to have real bad social anxiety but going to college and university has helped massively. At school I had a small group of friends but at college I had this new found confidence and I was able to make so many friends.

    I still have some social anxiety, I suppose even though I’m more confident in meeting new people and being a part of big groups, that feeling will never go away.


    • I think for a lot of us it’s about coming to terms with the fact we’re never going to be entirely social people, and will always feel some level of anxiety in social situations. Once you’ve realised that, it kind of makes it easier to manage and you can start building your confidence. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Well said! It’s difficult to juggle lots of things at once. I for one find it very hard to dedicate time to my blog but massively enjoy reading other work, so always hop in and out. I think it’s important not to judge yourself by the standards of others (as hard as that is to do. ) Everyday things can be major victories for others who struggle with them. The fact that you’re pushing yourself is what matters and doing things at a pace that suits you. Great work! 😊


    • “Everyday things can be major victories for others who struggle with them.”

      You’re so right. I’m extremely lucky to have found a community here which gets that and is willing to support everyone else in their victories.


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  11. Wow an amazing article. I can really feel everything you wrote because I am the same type of a person. But it is very true that you have to sometimes push yourself into a situation that is not comfortable to conquer your own fears. Good wishes to you


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