Is My Blogging Honeymoon Period Over – Thursdays Two Questions

The poignant latest post by The Patient Gardener  “All Blogged Out”  hit a note with me.  When I started to blog, it was her blog from which I found inspiration and support.  Her regular posts helped me through the learning stage of garden blogging.  She may not recognise it, but I found her a great mentor.  The Patient Gardener, for me, is what a great blog is all about, and clearly that is what her followers think too.   After 3 years, Helen is now struggling.

Compassion Rose

I don’t blame her, when you read what she has taken on.  Not only does she have her lovely garden, she has an allotment, she writes her own blog and two others she is paid for, and she is studying for a RHS Certificate.  All this is coupled with a full-time job.   You only have to read the comments on her post to see how popular and highly rated she is, and the number of people who care.

So The Patient Gardener is going to take a well deserved rest for a while.    She will come back when rejuvenated and “found her groove” again.  We will all be there to read her interesting posts as and when they appear.

I am so sorry, I have lost the label and can't remember the name of this very pretty fragrant rose

My blog is only five months old, and already I am in danger of losing sight of why I am writing my blog.  Obsession with viewer numbers is taking over.  I see it as the number of people who find my posts are interesting enough to want to keep coming back.  Blogging is a very personal thing.  When I see 100+ visits in one day is a great ego boost.  The last couple of posts have not been so popular and the numbers have dropped to 20 and worst of all 10, I feel rejected.

Maybe it is time to take a look at what I am publishing and where I am going wrong.  Is it because I sometimes struggle to find a topic and good photos and it comes across as not very awe-inspiring?  Maybe it is too many photos and not enough of the written word.  Or, is it just that the Honeymoon Period is over and initial visitors and subscribers start to tail off?

I am on Blotanical which should bring in a lot of views but somehow is not.  The first few months I was one of the top 5, but now I seem to have gone stale.  It is probably because I am not “working” Blotanical enough.   You need to spend a lot of time reading other blogs, making comments etc. to get feedback.   Phrases such as “You get out of life what you put in”, “Nothing comes easy”  “You have to work at it” come to mind.

I regularly tweet my latest post links on Twitter and have a band of loyal tweeters, but I don’t appear to be gathering further fans.  The number of followers on Twitter is another subject, save to say I could have well over 250 now if I didn’t regularly remove spammers.  I would rather have just a few true followers but would like a few more.  Again Twitter is something you have to work at to keep being seen.

Elizabeth of Glamis

In a bid to find ideas to fire up my imagination and writing skills, I did a blog search for Memes, and today being a Thursday I looked for a Thursday theme.  I enjoy blogs which require you to think and give some feedback, they become self-perpetuating  and this is what I am looking for – reader participation.  Spoilt for choice, and many not suitable for my blog, I found Thursday Two Questions which is simply two questions.

So my two questions are:

1.  If you were offered a job to work in any famous garden, either National Trust or privately owned, which garden would you chose, why and what job would you like to do?

2.  Which four well known gardeners, past or present, would you invite to a dinner party, why and what would you serve them?

Please leave your replies in Comments and I look forward to reading them.

If you would like to take part, post your two questions on your blog, link it back to http://www.selfsagacity.com by clicking on the button above.  Participants are encouraged to visit other posts and try to answer their questions.

32 thoughts on “Is My Blogging Honeymoon Period Over – Thursdays Two Questions

  1. I’m curious, it is 3 months later. This post nudged me into putting you on my blogroll – and this reader has been enjoying your diverse posts. So … are you now happy with blogging or?

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    1. Hi! Yes, my confidence is there now and it is my blog and I write what I want. I am, however, very conscious that I want what I write to be read and its not just for myself. I am getting great enjoyment out of it now. Thank for continuing to read my blog and I hope that you and others keep coming back.

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  2. A little late in reading this post. Oh I do so know what you mean. In fact I posted about the reasons for blogging recently after I found this quote ‘Never blog out of duty. It’s more like bursting into song’.
    Stats are strange things, pleasing when the numbers are high, demoralising when low. And there seem to be so many permutations so I now ignore them in the belief that someone out there may be reading it but I’m doing it for me really so does it matter? Anyway, your blog is good and I enjoy it enormously and will add you to my blog roll when I have more time. Keep it up and don’t be disheartened! As for a famous gardener – it would have to be Vita Sackville West and then I could listen to her haughty voice telling me all about Sissinghurst, Knowle, Virginia Woolf, and the Nicholsons.

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  3. Hi Ronnie, just catching up on last weeks happenings. I read your tweet on this but not had chance until now to get on the pc to read it.
    I share many of your thoughts too. I started a Blog with a desire to forge a garden writing career. I quickly found it was tough finding the time to sit and write but hoped the blog hit stats would encourage me to prioritise writing. The hits didn’t come. I too joined Blotanical but found it all abit complex for my time pushed Blog adventure. So few Blog visits and comments destined my Blog to the rainy day. As its been such a dry spring, my blog is empty! I have loads to say & write but no time. Someone invent a ‘thought to pc’ writer! I often sit and start to write late evening only to delete it because I feel people wont bother to read, out of choice or lack of time.

    As for the questions, Heligan is a big favourite of mine and I would like to take to the areas yet to be re-cultivated.
    Over dinner I would love to talk to the people for whom I owe my career too, as if it were not for the inspiration of Alan Titchmarsh, Monty Don, Chris Beardshaw and Rachel De Thame I would never have found my passion.

    If you have the time to write, keep doing it! You have a great style.
    Best regards
    Karl. DigKAW
    P.s. I loved the video blog. It is something I have considered for a while but haven’t for fear of criticism.

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  4. Hi Ronnie, I happened onto your post because I saw the pingback to Helen’s post. I am coming up on my second blog anniversary later this summer, and I’ve also seen ups and downs. There was that heady first moment when someone I didn’t know commented, then the dramatic increase in numbers when I joined Blotanical, then the slight drop off when I fell out of the “200 newest blogs” listings. Because I started blogging to share my garden and my reflections on my garden with others, I do care about having readers and so I care about my stats. I actually keep my own stats on a spreadsheet where I track the # of views the first week a post is up and and # of views overall. What I’ve learned from that is that there are some posts that make a big splash initially (often because they strike a popular chord at Blotanical) but that then fade into the sunset. There are other posts that hardly anyone looks at initially, but that have staying power (usually because they include some kind of practical information). Today, I got my first comment on a post written almost two years ago, which had 0 views the first week it was up, but has had hundreds of views since!
    People change and the way blogging fits into their lives changes. Some people decide that blogging is a time sink that is costing them more than they are gaining, and they stop. Sometimes people drop out for a while and then come back. But if you are getting some of what you hoped for from blogging, I think its worth pushing through the lean times at least for the first year to see what follows.

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    1. I started my blog initially as a challenge to myself. The intention being to chart my journey towards 60. It has slowly developed and alongside that I discovered a love of writing and taking photos. It get enormous satisfaction knowing that others have enjoyed my posts. I will make my blog a little more diverse and back to how it started with posts that were not always about gardening. Thank you very much for stopping by to leave a comment. Everyone has said something really thought provoking.

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  5. Which garden – the Eden Project please. Dinner guests? No, rather good friends to tea and chat.

    Once you are bounced by the next 200, on Blotanical you are competing against 2,600 and climbing steadily. BUT, those new bloggers are also a potent source of new readers FOR you, if you go and fetch them. Remember, how delighted you were to get your first comment … and glad to be mentored … I’m not sure how to interpret comments about Blotanical being a clique I don’t play with. Blotanical is not a machine, just other busy people, like you. Join in, with a little effort it is a wonderful way to get new readers. If, you want more readers, you need to keep reaching out to more new blogs. Or you can ignore the stats, and blog for joy and passion because you love to write. Lots of comments here, you seem to be popular ;~)

    Blogging goes quieter when Northern bloggers are in their gardens. But I still have 200 posts waiting to be read.

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    1. I have just set up Google Reader, a new discovery for me and a great way to read all the blogs I like in one place. That will make it much easier to follow people. I like your idea of working at the Eden Project I went there when it was only a few years old and just getting established,,, very exciting. Tea and chat sounds good. 🙂

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  6. Hi Ronnie, I’ve been blogging for just over a year, some weeks I post two or three times, sometimes only twice a month. I blog to share my joy in my garden and to enjoy via the ether others gardens in very different places to where I garden (Italy). I rarely look at the stats, but one thing is for sure people who have lots of followers and lots of comments spend an amount of time I for sure don’t have reading an commenting on other blogs. Blotanical is even more of that. This time of year is sooo busy that although there is also a lot to photograph and write about I’m too exhausted to do it. I mainly write and take photos as a record so I can look back and improve tings next year or just sometimes give myself a pat on the back. So bog when YOU want to and we who are subscribed will pick up your post, others will find it only if you leave comments elsewhere. Christina

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to write your supportive comment. I a lot of the enjoyment I get from writing is knowing that it is read and enjoyed by others, but a small loyal following I realise is more important. As you say there is not enough time to read all blogs and leave comments. I have a few blogs (yours included) that I follow but am remiss at leaving a comment, even if is just to say “Hi”. Thank you again for be a subscriber. Ronnie

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  7. I’ve been blogging about Holly Grove garden for almost 2 years and only add posts when I want to and on
    things that are personal to me and our garden. I treat the blog as simply my gardening diary;
    I don’t have many followers and my stats are low but I don’t do it for those reasons although it’s
    very pleasant when I do get a comment on one of my posts. Blog for yourself, no-one else.

    Like most other respondents I’d prefer to work our garden here at Holly Grove, but if I had to choose
    someone else’s garden I’d probably try Wollerton Old Hall.
    There’s only one famous gardener past or present that I’d invite to dinner and that would have to be
    the late Geoff Hamilton and I’d serve him fresh vegetables from my garden and wait with
    trepidation for his verdict!

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    1. great replies! Thanks. Your dinner party a deaux sounds like it would be fun. I read about Wollerton Old Hall last night because there is a David Austin rose called Wollerton Old Hall. Just popped over to read your blog – glad I found you,

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  8. Hi Ronnie.

    I wonder if it is the time of year? During the winter, blogging was great. There’s naff all on the tele, and it gave me an opportunity to share allotment and growing ideas with people when it was dark and miserable and nothing was doing on the plot. I was blogging three times a week at least.

    Recent weeks I’m down to about two, but then its light outside, and I can garden, ride my bike, fish etc until late. Suddenly the blog, as much as I love doing it, tends to fall behind. I’ve beenabsolutely useless at tweeting and leaving comments on people’s blogs recently.

    Your blog is great, and definitely something you should keep at. Don’t worry about the stats though, just write when you feel like it. I for one will keep reading. 🙂

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  9. Hi there and thank you for participating in Thursday Two Questions this week. It’s nice meeting you.
    1) I would love to work on a private garden, and something from the very early stages, where I can build and see it growing over time. I find much more satisfaction in seeing progression.
    2) I have no idea about a well known gardener’s name. And yet I have gardening magazines all over my office. To be honest, if you send me anyone, it would be great pleasure for me, since I love to garden and would love exchanging ideas anytime.

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  10. You look like you have some faithful readers to me. I enjoy your blog and visit most times you have a post, but I fully understand taking a break. If I was not at my computer much of the day because of work, I would do much less blogging. For me, it is easy to find topics because it is my line of work, but ironically, that is what I blog about the least. I use it more as a creative outlet because at times my job is mundane and repetitive. Designing is great, but proposals, bidding, invoicing, site work, and loads of other less glamorous tasks accompany the design portion. Plus taking care of all the business aspect of a large commercial nursery is again not so fun.

    I find blogging to actually be relaxing and reading blogs even more so. Maybe you just need to add posts that expand your perimeters. I know I go off topic quite a bit yet try to post things maybe a bit different or unusual if possible. You are torn with the writing like I am because if a post is too long, people have a tendency to skip over it. I have not figured out the writing as of yet, but do enjoy working around themes.

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    1. The blog evolved into solely gardening, my earlier posts were also about other things. I love to write and like you I do find it relaxing. I will go back to posting all sorts of things, as it is supposed to be charting my “hurtling” towards 60 and finding out who I am. Thank you for being one of my loyal readers because I do write to be read, not just for myself.

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  11. After two and a half years here in the blogging universe all I can say is keep it light and have fun. I enjoy sharing and talking with all the wonderful bloggers I have met, and continue to meet. I have two blogs, one I use for reviews and giveaways with regular posts/memes in between. The second blog is strictly for fun. It is a lot of hard work and I’m posting less now than when I first started but I’m still having a ball.

    I would prefer to work in my own garden, that way I can pick up the camera or pet the cats when I want. For the life of me I can’t come up with any famous gardeners……total blank.

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  12. PS… I’d love to work as the assistant to the rose curator of the Cranford Rose Garden at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. And I am totally stumped as to famous gardeners, past or present.

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  13. I’m so sorry that you are struggling with what sounds like a crisis of confidence. I found you on Blotanical, and faved your blog because you’re close to my age, write about the same things I’m interested in and we are growing some of the same things in our gardens even though we are an ocean apart.

    Although our blog is my first garden blog, it’s not my first blog, and neither of my blogs has a platoon of followers. But honestly, I write my blog for our purposes and I am not as caught up in the statistics as some, but I won’t deny that it is an ego boost to see your blog listed as one of the most popular on a given day.

    I agree with Jen – Blog because you love it. We blog to document our garden – kind of our own garden journal. I wanted to connect with other gardeners to learn more, to seek answers to problems, to share what we know, and to provide an album of photographs for family and friends so they can enjoy it with us. We have friends around the country and world and they can keep up with the gardens, our pets, and our activities via our blog.

    I joined Blotanical more to find other garden bloggers than to get more exposure, although that is part and parcel of being active there. I choose my faves carefully, and while I don’t subscribe to blogs (I have too much clutter in the in-box already), I faithfully check my faves every day for new posts and either pick or comment or both.

    I post to document our garden-related activities, what I’ve done, what I’ve learned. I think of our blog as a garden journal that is open to the public. I don’t worry about whether a post is going to be “popular” as I’m putting it — I write to document what is growing or what we’re dealing with. Even if it isn’t important to anyone else, it’s important to us to record the history and evolution of our garden.

    I am totally mystified by the whole “Pick” system and “faves” system on Blotanical because there doesn’t seem to be a clear and objective way to measure your standing in the context of however it is they rate things (and they aren’t telling). Whatever their algorithm is, I can’t figure it out — it seems rather random to me. Moreover, it became totally unimportant to me when I visited blogs and saw people aggressively recruiting people to “pick” them to improve their ratings. I don’t have time for that kind of silliness.

    What I do want to spend my time on, and what I do enjoy, are photos like yours of Elizabeth of Glamis. Now that is one gorgeous rose. And I enjoy reading about others’ experience in their gardens, visiting gardens, and solving problems in their gardens. To me, it simply provides a way to connect with people of similar backgrounds and interests to me and my husband, a way to make friends both near and far, whether they are friends we ever meet or not.

    Your blog needs to be what’s important to you. It should reflect your needs and activities at any moment. Followers will come and go, but I write just for the joy of sharing, just for the pleasure of writing it. If it becomes a ratings game, and you become consumed with who and how many are following, you will burn your bright light out.

    As time goes on and your garden evolves, your blog will evolve as well. You may focus on more artistic things, or recipes or crafts related to things in your garden, or on different competitions or different weekly blog rolls. You may change your focus altogether. The thing is, it will reflect your interests, whatever you do and wherever it takes you at any given time. Let it be your creative outlet, but don’t let it become a chore that saps your creativity and energy, which is what happens when you do it for some other goal and not for yourself.

    Oh gosh, I’m preachy tonight! Chalk it up to me being a bossy American!

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    1. Thank you for taking the time out to write such a lovely and thoughtful comment. Preach away! I have found some lovely people through blogging :-))

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  14. I’d like to echo most everything that Jen said in her comment. I’ve done two things that have increased the enjoyment I get from blogging – the first was to quit looking at stats and the second was to only post when I wanted to. Sometimes I want to post just a single picture and I do. Sometimes I have something serious to say. I remind myself that I started blogging without expectation of any audience so why get discouraged if I’m not very popular. I especially agree with what Jen says about comments. I comment a lot but it’s because I can hardly resist – I want to join in the conversation that the blogger has started. Those comments often encourage someone to take a look at my blog, and then sometimes that develops into a friendship and that’s a joy. Try not to get discouraged. Take a vacation from the stats for a week or two. I look forward to reading more of your posts!
    In answer to your two questions – the garden I want to work in is an imaginary one – The Secret Garden from the book by that name. I’d have to give some long hard thought to the second question – and maybe do some more reading 🙂

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    1. Thank you Ginny – you are all singing from the same songsheet, and I have taken the comments on board as you will see when you read my replies.
      I will have fun reading the answers to my two questions.

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  15. A very heartfelt post Ronnie –
    I do agree with what Jen has written above. I rarely look at my stats now, and as I cannot remember my password for Blotanical and it does not seem to recognize my e-mail address I have not been there for ages, I have probably been excommunicated!

    I think it is useful to know why you are writing your blog, and what you want from it, if it becomes a chore, it is a less than happy experience, if you are writing from the heart, your readers recognize this and respond in kind.

    At this point in the year I hardly have time to do anything, and I suspect that many folk who garden are in their own patch rather than on the computer – but come the winter we will be reaching out across the world and moaning about the rain, cold and snow!

    Please dont loose heart and write about what you love, what troubles you and what makes you laugh – the stats will follow in their own time and in their own way!
    K

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    1. Karen, you are right and I too should be spending more time in my garden after work rather than on my computer. Blogging has drawn me in on an initial tide of success which has clouded what I was doing it for in the first place. BAN THE STATS I SAY!!! I have made some friends through this medium and would like to build on those and get back to blogging for fun. Thank you!

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  16. I suppose I’d like to know why you want lots of people to read your posts. When you started – what did you anticipate?

    I’ve been put off some blogs when too many people leave comments. It can all get a bit repetitive and over-crowded. Not always. But it can.

    Blotanical. I keep going there and the page doesn’t load and it creaks and groans and I give up . . . and look forward to its re-birth soon.

    Your questions. I’m a bolshy sort. I really wouldn’t want to work in anyone else’s garden (though if I could stand the heat, I might like to work in commercial greenhouses – which is probably because my mother and my husband both did that so it seems a homely thing to do – and I love the smell of tomatoes).

    Bolshier still. I don’t like dinner parties and would be so ridiculous and so opinionated and so ignorant that it would be much better not to let me near any famous gardeners. Mostly, I’d need to hide my astonishment that there is any such thing as a famous gardener. I know there is but . . .

    Esther

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    1. I started my blog at the end of January this year, as a challenge to myself. It soon became an outlet for me to write and take photographs to share with others. It is the sharing element I enjoy. I am beginning to lose my way and reasons for blogging. Sometimes to get thoughts down in words is quite cathartic… it helps bring back into perspective of why I started to write a blog. I journey of self-discovery. (1) I discovered I love writing (2) I discovered I like photography. To receive the feedback I have had already is very important and useful to get back on the right track. Thank you Esther for taking the time to reply and your response to my questions – it is a great way of getting to know people better.

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  17. Thanks for your blog! I’m new to blogging and I have some of the same feelings, too!
    At this stage in my life the only garden that I would want to work in is my own – small, cozy, quiet.
    I would invite Beatrix Farrand, an early female Landscape Architect and serve her anything she wanted!
    Barb

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    1. Thank you so much for leaving a comment. I like the idea of working in your own garden, I tend to agree with you on that. I will have to investigate Beatrix Ferrand, a name I don’t know.
      I have been across to visit your blog (and left a comment) – your paintings are absolutely fabulous!!

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  18. Since you are interested in stats I will tell you that I saw your post on twitter. But I rarely worry about the stats.

    Blog for the joy of it, not the necessity. Unless you are making money from your blog, there isn’t much more of a incentive to post then “you just love doing it.”
    I am days short of a full three years of blogging, and there are up times when the count of new followers is a heady rush, and there are lean times, when it seems no one is reading or responding. Remember that many people are very busy, and this is prime gardening season.

    Reaping what you sow, can lead to a small harvest, or a larger flood of comments, but do those readers keep coming back for the right reasons? Leaving comments because you liked the post, or you would like to further a friendship is much better then just leaving them because you hope someone will follow you in return.

    Maybe I am biased, I am on Blotanical also, and find it a little more a clique` now then it ever was before. That could be and hopefully will be a temporary thing.

    I blog for the love of sharing, and meeting new people. And admittedly I love to share my photos with my readers. But that said, I think it is a fair exchange. I can now count some amazing friendships from readers of my blogs. Some I have met in person, and some I have not met, but feel just as close to.
    There now I have had my say, you may disagree with me, or you may not. It’s up to you. My simple advice is keep on blogging, and give it a little time. It’s amazing what happens out there, and I look forward to reading more of what you have to say..

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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    1. You are, of course, right. Sometimes comments such as yours are enough to make me realise what and why I am blogging. It is an outlet for me to write and take photographs to share with others. Even if I only make a few good friends, they will be better than those that just drop by whilst passing. There are a great many blogs out there and only a few that I read regularly. I must remember though to always leave a comment, otherwise no one will know I called to say hello.

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