It was a lovely surprise last week when I looked at my WordPress notifications and saw Nancy and Kathleen, the brilliant stewards of Graphic Novelty², had nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award. Aww, thank you ladies! Nancy and Kathleen have become kindred spirits and – from their explorations of graphic novels to their pop culture musings to their legitimately making me wish I worked in a library – I always enjoy the time I spend on their site. I also appreciate the conversations we’ve had across mediums. They’ve great content but they’re also genuinely nice people. So thank you for sharing the love!
If you somehow manage to follow my blog but haven’t been over to their side of the interweb yet, you should do that now. You’ll love what you find on Graphic Novelty²! And, just to be helpful, I’ll give you a few more links to their site too. So you can easily click here or here or here oooooor…….here and you can see for yourself.
Okay, so on to the rules for the Blogger Recognition Award:
1) Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
2) Write a post to show your award.
3) Give a brief story of how your blog started.
4) Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
5) Select other bloggers you want to give this award to.
6) Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.
My Comic Relief was born of Kalie’s suggestion. In the spring of 2015, Jeff had started his Star Wars blog The Imperial Talker and had been having a lot of fun with it. In the fall of 2015 Kalie decided to begin her own horror blog, Just Dread-Full. She was in love with it too! So then, one afternoon in May of 2016, Kalie and I were sitting in Coffee Culture when she suggested maybe I would enjoy blogging. I’d written some guest posts for her, for Jeff, and I’d done a few posts for the site MinistryMatters.org as well. Was it an idea offered, in part, to channel my endless musing about the deeper levels of comic books into another avenue than Kalie having to listen to them all the time? We may never know. What we do know is – if that was part of her goal – it didn’t work because now I talk about this stuff even more. Yay! Anyway, as I started to take her idea seriously, she began to encourage me with increasing excitement. So I jumped into the world of WordPress and have never looked back.
Aww, this is making me all nostalgic! I just went back and re-read my first post where I talk about why I decided to start this blog. If you’d like more on the story, click here to read my first post. As far as two pieces of advice I’d offer new bloggers? Well here’s what I’ll say:
First, don’t be afraid of evolution. It’s your blog so it can literally be about anything you want it to be. I remember fretting over my first Star Wars post. I kept thinking, “This is a comic book blog! Can I just write about Star Wars movies?” For real. Then I remembered it’s my blog so I can write what I want! In the beginning, I was also a little worried about jumping into the topical social justice themes present in comic books. I remember worrying about alienating readers or offending people or whatever. It seems silly now but, as a little baby blog, I was concerned. It’s also odd because in my second post I was already defending Legacy Characters and diversity in comic books so it didn’t stop me for long. But I do remember worrying about it. Now, through the election and into our current political climate in America, my blog has taken on a pointedly political tone in certain posts. I openly call readers to join the Resistance and add their voices to the fight for justice in this country. My awareness of and passion for social justice is part of who I am – born and driven by my faith and my conscience – and if my blog doesn’t reflect me, well then what’s the point? My voice is all I have to offer that is authentically mine. So be true to who you are and what you want to say, whether or not it’s on theme. It’s your blog! You decide its theme, its point, its purpose with every post you make. And you can change it up whenever you’d like. Like-minded readers will happily stay along for the ride. Those who don’t get what you’re doing? Well, it’s their loss. You be true to you.
Second, don’t worry too much about your stats. Okay, I know that sounds crazy. And I know everyone who has a blog enjoys checking their stats. Heck, I’ll probably look after I finish this piece! But for me, blogging is primarily about creating. I enjoy writing. I’m proud of what I post here. Yes, the likes are fun! Yes, the shares are incredible! And having a piece that surprisingly blows up is beyond brilliant. It feels so validating! But we’ve all had posts we’ve poured our heart and soul into that’ve gotten little to no love. That doesn’t diminish their greatness! We’ve also all seen a post with four likes and two views. Seriously random blogger? You couldn’t have at least clicked on it to like it so I think you read it? Or we’ve all seen someone become an avid liker/commenter on our stuff…until we start following and liking their blog and then they disappear. Some bloggers just look to be on your radar so you’ll read/like/share/comment on their stuff too. What I’m saying is that’s all a game. If you blog to win that game it’s going to become frustrating and stressful. Blog because you enjoy creating and you have something you want to say. Write what you love, what you want to say, and be proud of the authentic audience you find, regardless of their size. I even love the days where I have a bunch of visits to my homepage but few articles read. That just means regular readers (who don’t follow the blog) are coming back to look to see if I’ve posted something new! That’s exciting! Every view a post gets, whether one or a hundred, is special. I know that sounds cliché but it’s true. You’ve written something you’re proud of. Something you wanted to say…and someone read it! For me, that’s a powerful moment. It always is. So don’t get lost in the stats. Rather, lose yourself in the creating and enjoy the audience your labors of love finds.
Although, I don’t want to diminish building relationships with other bloggers! The authentic relationships I have found with other bloggers is one of my absolute favorite parts of doing this. So maybe the better advice is to let your creativity guide you and to be open to building real relationships, not just increasing your stats. On the subject of fun blogs I’ve found relationships with (he wrote, only sort of impressed with his segue), it’s time to share the love!! I’d like to nominate the following blogs for the Blogger Recognition Award:
1) Jeannette from Wondrous Books
2) C.W.A.R. from Leave before it’s too late
3) Briana & Krysta from Pages Unbound Reviews
4) Emrys M. from New to Comics
5) ML Bradford from Bradscribe
All of the above blogs are fun, intriguing, and offer distinct voices and insights in their writing. Please check them out when you have the time. I’m sure you’ll enjoy what you find there!
Thank you again to Nancy and Kathleen from Graphic Novelty². Thanks to everyone I’ve met on this blogging journey so far too! And I guess thanks to Deadpool too for ending up as the random superhero filling out the pictures in this post (or, at least the pictures not featuring me looking like a HUGE NERD). I’m not sure why I settled on Deadpool but maybe I’m missing him. Anyway, it was still fun.