It is just over a year ago now that my then sparsely filled blog was made an Editors Pick on WordPress Discover.
The blog was relatively young, only going about six months and had a following you only needed two people with hands to count. I had only made about thirty posts of single Black and White shots, mainly of the landscape around me.
Suddenly, within days of being featured, I gained hundreds of followers. Hundreds of people out there who had been diverted here by the Discover post to see what it was all about and had pressed the follow button on liking what they saw.
So I just continued posting what I thought they would like and what had made Ben Huberman pick the blog as it was. Photographs that were quite a lot like what was already here.
People were telling me I was very talented. People were encouraging. Friends were telling me how proud of myself I should be. People were leaving glowing comments.
I didn’t really want to believe very much of it but set about making out that I did. I never wanted to be known as ‘a photographer’ but this Discover thing came as a result of my photographs. So I tried hard to continue the role.
But I hovered hesitantly over the publish button on every post now and, a lot of the time, I completely stopped. Often I deleted my draft posts because I thought that they didn’t come up to the standard I had previously set. I was petrified that my posts were just not good enough to live up to my newly-acquired reputation – good enough to be the Editors Pick for a week on a platform of millions of users. I’d be found out.
This, I think, is called ‘imposter syndrome’. I still struggle with it.
Before the Discover Editors Pick I would not have been so bothered when visitor numbers started falling, because they were shooting mainly unnoticed out into the cyber-void anyway then. But I became worried about it now. Perhaps this recent abstract work I was posting in an effort to break out of the mould disappointed a lot of the ‘audience’ who, to be fair, hadn’t originally come for this style of thing anyway?
Then, as hinted at in a previous post, there has a longer period of enforced MS darkness than I was used to. My posting here has been sporadic to say the least recently and I found myself posting simply ‘to post something’ and keep the blog ticking over. The numbers continued falling and I still worried. Around 100-150 visitors per post have become more 30-40.
Should I, perhaps, return to posting mainly black and white landscapes?
I am back, thinking more clearly than when in the grip of the MS fog. And I worked out that blogs by creatives shouldn’t be driven by seeing the little columns go up in the site statistics page, by my worried imaginings of people coming to look and then high tailing it out again because they hate it or it’s not quite what they have come to expect.
This is my place and, if it hadn’t been an Editor’s Pick featured blog a year ago, it would have taken some of the twists and turns of a blog’s life more freely, a lot earlier, or be somewhere else entirely different.
It was my trying to live up to this imaginary standard that was stifling.
The audience is probably always going to be a fluid and ever changing thing and I realised I shouldn’t be messing about trying to please them all. I’m just going to post what I like and they can come and go as they please. That was the mindset I started off with and it has taken me over twelve months to find it again.
I am still very proud of having an Editors Pick though. And I can still post the kind of photographs I mainly posted then as well as a mixture of my other more unconventional images. In fact, I can post anything.
Mainly, it was a problem with my mindset and now I’ll have this post to go back to and reset myself if I’m finding that concept hard again.
So, welcome to my blog, Cornish Bear’s Photos, where I’m happy to occasionally publish shots that I took and I like and I am now trying hard not to feel that people are expecting anything other than what is actually here.
Although if you do like it this time, that’s lovely.