Friday, March 23, 2018

Confessions of a {mostly} failed cat blogger

We hope you'll excuse a break from our regularly scheduled content! For those of you uninterested in blogging ... stick around for the cat pictures! I mean ... who can ever get enough cat pictures? And no, I'm not beyond using pictures of my adorable cats to entice people to stick around 😉



Curious about blogging?! Wondering if you have what it takes?! I'm not the person to go to for the elements of successful blogging - by any measure, I've failed miserably. But in the three years I've blogged, I've learned a lot about the challenges of blogging - faced long-term issues from my past popping up in my blogging - learned much about friendship - and expanded my horizons beyond the box of a life I had before. I've learned what NOT to do - and this post shares those lessons with you. So while I can't tell you how to succeed, I can at least tell you how not to fail {well, MOSTLY}.


The unavoidable opportunity cost of blogging.
One of the first lessons I learned was that time spent blogging means less time for other aspects of life. First and foremost, I've learned that the hours of blogging takes much time away from my cats. For any hobby or job, there are opportunity costs - one must weigh the benefit vs. the cost - and decide what to do with one's time. What makes blogging worth the sacrifice?! Most of us start blogging out of appreciation and love for our pets. Yet we have LESS time for them in an already hectic life?!? I must admit that blogging has increased and strengthened my love of my cats. With each post, I fall a little bit more in love with them as their personalities unfold. With each picture I carefully edit, I see the beauty of God's creation. But are there times I'd rather lay on the couch and cuddle with my cats?! YES!


A quick note about success.
To determine one's success, one must have an idea what it looks like. How do YOU define success?! A certain number of readers and followers? Engagement with your content? Making money? Awards? Community? Each person's different - each person will have a different idea of what success looks like to them. There are bloggers who plod merrily along without ever making a dime - while others derive a full-time income from the art. Before one begins, one must set the goal - determine the purpose - and how you'll know you accomplished what you set out to do.

One of my biggest downfalls was not considering this question. If you don't know exactly where you're going ... how do you know when you get there? For me, success has been nebulous - fleeting. I know I'm happiest when a reader tells me how much I made him or her laugh - how much I've lightened or brightened the person's day from life's struggles and challenges. I love to hear that my reader spit out the coffee in her mouth laughing - or laughed so hard, she cried. That's what I started blogging for - mainly to make people laugh. Bear's brought so much joy - so much love - so much laughter - that I try to repay back to the universe by passing it along to our readers. I've also dreamed of writing a book from my posts. Beyond that, I thought that if I make money ... great. If I win awards, great! But in leaving the point up in the air - to wherever it leads me - whatever happens - I've given up focus - given up purpose - never seen exactly where I'm going.

Beware of arbitrary goals. Are 10,001 readers that much more a success than 10,000? Sure it helps to have benchmarks - a direction - but recognize that the only difference between 10,000 readers and 10,001 readers is the value you assign to it yourself.

Last thought on this topic ... not everyone wants the same things as you do. Time after time, I've loved a person's posts about their cats on social media and I've encouraged him or her to try blogging. That just isn't important to some people. Maybe their issues get in the way - maybe the opportunity cost is too great. I've tried to encourage people with unique takes on our beloved felines. But the truth is that the majority of them aren't interested in expanding into blogging. That's okay. Going back to different expectations and definitions of success - some people just aren't interested. Trying to push your ideas on others never works. And blogging is just hard enough that you have to love it to some extent to even bother.


Doing it yourself vs efficient use of your time.
Blogging is hard. Most people will tell you it's really just a hobby. They might understand that they make time for their hobbies - but there's something about blogging that makes it hard for them to understand our devotion to our craft. I can't count how many times I've heard that I shouldn't stress about a post, a review, a picture because it's not something I HAVE to do. Here's the thing though ... to blog is to be a jack or jane-of-all-trades. Creating content (in pictures AND writing), designing a blog and keeping it attractive and up to date, managing the technical aspects of computing and being online, promoting content - including being active on social media, commenting on other blogs, search engine optimization, keywords ... one's job is never done. There is ALWAYS something more that one could be doing. And feedback?!? Nearly impossible to get. I've put the call out for feedback from my regular readers time and time again - with little feedback. And the readers I lost or unfollowed my page? As helpful as that feedback would be, I'll never know why.

With all the balls up in the air to juggle - deciding how to spend one's time - the proper priorities - is difficult. So much to do ... so little time. Knowing how you define success helps you focus on the balls that matter to you. It's hard to do it all yourself. And - as many bloggers learn how to blog by trial and error - is that an efficient use of your time on all the duties of blogging? Most notably for myself, I decided that I wouldn't spend money (beyond time) on my blog. Because of this, the design of the blog was all on me since I couldn't pay a person to do it for me. To say I spent untold hours on design wouldn't be a stretch. What do I know about graphic design and looking professional? What did I know about the resources and graphic assets that the pros know about? I had no idea what I was doing. Spending so much time on design, I had to give up the other jobs - writing a post, commenting on other blogs, photography. It was, without a doubt in my mind, about as inefficient as you can get. My advice?! Outsource the things you don't know how to do - and instead focus on what you're good at or can reasonably learn yourself. Trial and error for every aspect of blogging robs you of time - and much of it. Deciding the efficient use of your time is one of the hardest parts of blogging. Work is never done ... between posts, design, SEO, social media, commenting on other blogs, etc .... there is always something more you could be doing or learning. It is nearly impossible to professionally do everything yourself. I've spent most of my blogging life overwhelmed with all the things I've needed to do. And for what?! To save a bit of money?


Being cheap can be more costly.
As hinted at in the last section, there are costs to blogging. Because I refused to pay for anything for my blog - I shot myself in the foot in terms of time spent and looking professional. I didn't register my own domain name and instead use Blogger. My header and design are passable at best.  I haven't had goodies made with my blog name printed on them, I haven't given away things to other bloggers or our readers, and I haven't participated in card or gift exchanges. All of these things served one purpose: to save money. But in the end, the pervasive consequence is not being part of the blogging community that does participate.


Your baby, your voice.
The more you do on your blog - the more the blog feels like your baby. If you have issues putting yourself out there and taking chances - this could be a problem. Each post is a little bit of yourself that you're sharing with the world. What if no one likes it?! What if people make fun of you? For me, what if no one laughs?!? Writing a blog implies that you have something worth saying - that you think other people want to hear and discuss. It makes you feel vulnerable and exposed. Quite honestly, you'll have readers that will comment on your choices - how you care for your cats. 

You will protect your work like you would a baby. And the best policy is being yourself. Many bloggers use "top 1o" lists, write pet-holiday-themed content, and use photo editing software to manipulate and add to their pictures. When I started blogging, I wasn't sure about photo-editing clothes on to a cat. I wasn't sure about cats pasted in to different scenes. To some extent (not that there's anything wrong with either) - I've avoided both. It's just not me. Neither is themed pet holiday posts (like National Cat Day or My Cat's a Jerk Day). I love reading those kinds of posts from others - but they just don't fit into my blogging voice. 

I should've said, "up until recently," in relation to using software to manipulate and add to pictures I admit that I've used these tactics recently. I'm feeling more confident in my photo-editing abilities, so I've been trying different things out to help tell my story. 
  • RECENT EXAMPLES {click on the pictures to read the associated posts}:




Finding a way to be authentic - and following through - are what truly makes bloggers great. Everyone can be different and bring something unique to the table. My voice is more irreverent, dry, sarcastic, and non-cutesy than most. That's what feels genuine to me. Product reviews are another example. Our product reviews take the form most of our posts do - dialogue between me and my cats. That's our angle - that's our way of being authentic. We stand up for what we believe in more than we capitulate to fit in. I don't apologize for that. I don't apologize for being an advocate for cats and our friends. Does everyone like my posts? No. 

At the same time, a blog should grow and evolve - in a way that feels natural to the blogger. In the past year, we've evolved a lot - from Momma and Bear Cat - to Momma, The Boy (Momma's fiance), Bear Cat, and Ellie Mae. Not always easy - and sometimes I miss the old way - but life changes and we adjust. New and different can be as great as it is scary! And keep challenging yourself! Take up a new social media channel, write a different kind of post (like a top 10 list!), try something new. You might be scared at first, but the rewards can be boundless in terms of one's blog AND one's experience.


Blogging to expand your horizons.
So much of blogging doesn't come naturally. For instance, no where else do I put myself out there like I do with blogging. Infamously, I was the kid in school who had to have a specific direction and specific expectations to projects. Being able to choose format, even topic - was too much for me. Tell me what you want, and I'll give it to you. Blogging has challenged that. I have to come up with the topic, format, content of every single post. Mostly, I use bits of reality and expand on them to write a post. For instance, I took a series of pictures awhile ago when Bear jumped in the open cabinets as I unloaded the dishwasher. I've written several story lines around them. Element of reality - made into a story. In the case of these pictures - they became The Dread Drop, Bear: The Musical"I do what I want" {with supervision, and provided pictures for several posts detailing Bear's misbehavior.





One thing about the issues behind your "limited" horizons: The issues you have in your life will follow you in blogging. Feel unappreciated by everyone? You'll probably feel the same way about your blog. If you have issues with people not liking you - that will follow you as well. Not everyone will like you - and not everyone will comment on your blog no matter how many times you visit theirs. For all the time I've spent commenting on other blogs, I've found the rewards are NOT commensurate with the time spent. Some people NEVER comment on my blog. Some bloggers don't like me and don't include me. This becomes a problem when it triggers past issues of not fitting in.

Another of my issues that followed me into blogging was never feeling good enough. In social situations, in correspondence, I always figure I'm lacking somehow. I think all kinds of things: I'm not a good enough friend, I don't know what to say and I'm awkward in social situations. I figure people are only humoring me in spending time with me. I jut assume I don't fit in and people won't like me. 

I couldn't sell water to a thirsty person - and I don't have the self-confidence to sell myself. Blogging is trying to sell yourself - especially if your goals involve money. I can't ask people to consume my services. I can't ask people to be my champion. I can't ask for help period. It's that way in life AND my blogging. My interest and engagement looks different than most people's. At Conferences, I'm not the kind of person to go up to another blogger and ask to take pictures. I don't like pictures of myself - and I figure no one wants me in their pictures anyway (unless they're humoring me). It's not that I don't like people - it's just that my enthusiasm shows in other ways. Instead of taking pictures with other people, I'm more likely to go up to a blogger and ask questions about themselves or their cats. In blogging, you meet so many different animals. Some will touch you in ways you can't explain. Sometimes you're just curious.  Sometimes they capture your imagination. My enthusiasm for cats shows in how many questions I ask about cats. I love to see pictures - I love listening to stories - I love learning about individual feline stars. So I'm more likely to ask you a ton of questions about your cat(s) and refrain from suggesting a picture with you. 

In life, I seek external validation. I want recognition for a job well done. I want proof that my content is quality. With little feedback from others, this can be hard. Instead, I look to awards from organizations like BlogPaws to tell me if I'm funny, or putting out good content. I'm liable to decide that I'm not funny if I don't end up a finalist in the "Best Humor Pet Blog." I figure my blog isn't that good if I don't show up in, "Best Cat blog." I take all of these as cues of my blogging worth. Even more, I take whether people comment on my posts or not as evidence of quality. If they want to read my blog, it's good, right? Without external cues of success, blogging can be soul-crushing. One may feel that she writes her heart out over and over again - to no difference. Quality of content doesn't make you a successful blogger. Selling yourself does. And I can't sell myself. So every time a list of blogs come out - there's some award - that I don't get, I get depressed and just want to give up.

Here's a funny story for you ... in 2016, I nominated myself in the Nose-to-Nose Awards. I was sure I wouldn't be a finalist and I figured if I wasn't chosen, I'd be justified in quitting blogging entirely. I thought I would use the {lack of} Awards to prove I should quit. I truly believed applying and not getting the recognition was the easy way out of blogging - the one way to quit that my conscience can deal with. And then I was named a finalist in the Best Pet Humor category. My plan was foiled - I couldn't give myself permission to quit - and even more so, my horizons expanded exponentially when I decided to attend the Conference. I had absolutely no desire to go before finding out I was a finalist. I did the one thing that scared me. As the old saying goes: Courage isn't the absence of fear, but perseverance despite it.

Other life issues that have followed me into blogging is that I'm a perfectionist. My own expectations and evaluations are the most crushing. I might feel a lack of recognition - but it's those internal battles that create the most problems. I also have issues with procrastination. For reviews and content, I put off doing them because I want them to be the best quality. I want to have the best ideas - the best content - and those posts end up never getting written. Sometimes I find that I want to do a topic justice: express my feelings and impressions adequately - make a difference with my writing. In expecting so much of myself, I become overwhelmed and tell myself I’ll wait until I find the words … which of course, never happens. 

Before I started blogging, I was thoroughly and completely disillusioned with taking pictures. No matter how much I love the shot ... they just never came out the way I saw them in my head. With blogging however - I needed to figure out how to take decent pictures. If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you've seen the progression: dark and blurry shots, to OVER-edited shots, to a new normal with my new camera. I can't think of any way I'd have saved myself time and effort without just doing it. Take the shots - learn - and have patience that the shots WILL get better with practice. Bear used to stop what he was doing or run away when he heard the camera ... now, he hams it up for me every so often!
  • EXAMPLES OF PHOTOGRAPHY BEFORE:




  • EXAMPLES OF OVER-EDITED PHOTOGRAPHY:


  • EXAMPLES OF PHOTOGRAPHY NOW {BETTER [mostly]}:









What I've learned.
  • Having a smartphone REALLY helps. Not only do you always have your phone with you to take pictures of your pets, but it's much easier to engage on the go. At Conferences, you can post in real time instead of waiting until later in the day. To me, the lack is acute. Many topics and panels include examples on smartphones. 
  • When I'm struggling to come up with ideas - I've found that focusing on other things helps the answer come eventually. It's not a very efficient way to do business, but it works. Spending an hour on e-mail gives one some room to work out issues sub-consciously. Taking a break might change one's perspective slightly. It's hard to trust that the idea will come - but I think it does more often than not.
  • If your format is a dialogue, don't plan out posts line by line. My best posts have come from following where the dialogue takes me. Planning out every detail loses the spontaneity ... the crazy things your brain can come up with - and is especially helpful if you write with humor.
  • To gain readers and awareness for your blog, participate in linky parties or blog hops. Other participants will visit - and some might like your content enough to come back on their own. Any person stopping by might become a long-term reader. I found this out the hard way. When I started blogging, I used Facebook as the way to get my blog out there. At the same time, Facebook changed their algorithms and made it harder to get a page's content seen. If you see a page with a million likes - it makes my paltry 580 look less quality. But in most cases, that severe difference in readers is not the page's fault
  • Cat blogging friends are the best. Just saying.
  • Writer's block really sucks. I've heard it described as when your imaginary friend refuses to talk to you. For me, that's accurate. I'd have more luck squeezing a stone for water than forcing a post.
  • You never get used to stories and pictures of animal abuse or abandonment. When I started blogging, seeing the pictures of abused animals - the calls for help - drug me down. Still does. Reading about some human's stupidity and cruelty to a cat is the best way to destroy my day. I make myself look and read anyway - because the only way to stop it is to face it. The animals can't ignore the abuse visited on them - and so neither will I. That said, many of my days have been ruined - my heart's bee broken time and time again by these types of stories.
  • You will never get used to losing cats you regularly read about. For whatever reason, some cats on other blogs steal our hearts. We almost feel that we know them, we're total fans and can't get enough of them - and we cry when they are taken from us. Not only does a fellow blogging cat's death remind us that ours might be next, but you genuinely love the personalities behind the blogs.
  • As much as I haven't seen commensurate returns on my commenting - it's an easy way to get your name out there. Introduce yourself. If you leave a comment the writer finds funny or touching, you might gain a new reader.
  • DON'T COMPARE yourself to other people. You will ALWAYS find some person who beats you on a particular aspect or statistic of blogging. Take your body of work as a whole instead of as pieces. Sure, my Facebook page doesn't have a ton of likes, but I do have other things going for me. Comparing one's self is the quickest way to feel worthless and burn out.

I will never have a social media channel explode with followers. I will never make a full-time income from my blog. I will never win an industry award. As much as I'd like the recognition to validate the quality of my work, if it doesn't happen, that's okay too. I blog because Bear's given me so much joy - so much love - so much to admire. And I pay it forward with my blog. If one reader's day is brightened ... if one reader's load is lightened - that's what matters most to me. I try not to get caught up in the recognition piece - but just like my blog, I'm a work in progress. Will I ever be better than a {mostly} failed cat blogger? The answer doesn't change how much I love my cats or how much I love making people laugh so I'm just going to keep on keeping on with those. How can either be wrong?

66 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this. You are so right that we each have to define what success means to us. I have trouble with self-promotion too, because some part of me is always thinking that no one will respond, and wouldn't that be just like middle school all over again? You and Bear and the Boy and Ellie Mae ALWAYS make me laugh!

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    1. We're so glad to hear that! And it's nice to know I'm not alone!

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  2. There's no way you are a failure, you're quite the success. Having met you I can attest to the fact that you are a fun person and a joy to be around.

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    1. Thank you! That means a lot coming from someone I admire as much I admire you!

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  3. What a very open and honest post - just like you are. I'm happy to have met you at BlogPaws in Phoenix when we were both newbies. I imagine a lot of bloggers have the same thoughts and feelings that you've written about here. I, too, blog as a hobby and never intended to make money from my blog (and don't!). And you're so right that blogging takes so much time and commitment. When I first started, I blogged three times a week with full articles/profiles on rescues. It was hard to maintain because of how much time it took (and also relying on rescues to actually respond). So as you stated, a blog evolves. I now incorporate my own cats more into the blog and think that's probably some of the more popular content. I don't have the numbers or stats to back up continuing to blog, if that's how one measures success. But I do it because I find blogging fun and like the community interaction. I'm pretty quiet in social media groups, but I still like to lurk (just like at the conference!) and still feel involved that way. Someone told me about BP literally the same week I started blogging (my insurance agent!). And had I not found it, I'm sure my blogging experience would be very different. I am fortunate to have been recognized by them, but it's certainly not the be-all and end-all of blogging. I was "overlooked" this year, but I don't actually consider myself left out. I look at it as there are SO MANY wonderful bloggers and blogs out there -- that how can someone possibly be included every single year? In fact, BP has rules in place because of that very thing! And how can I feel bad when I see my friends being nominated? I'm more than happy to share in their joy and success! Yes, you make me giggle (or is it Bear and Ellie?) when I read your posts. And your photography has definitely improved. I have a "fancy" camera but find some of the best shots are the candid ones from my iPhone. It's the EXPRESSIONS you capture of Bear and Ellie that readers connect with, not the overall quality of the image. And some of those expressions...priceless. Keep your head up, Momma Kat! Your readers need you. I hope you have a wonderful conference this year. We will meet again, I'm sure of it!

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    1. You're not going to be there?!?! You are, without a doubt, a success. Your blog touches people's lives and inspires them to advocate for cats. Okay, okay ... and Olive, Dexter, Sophie, Woodrow, and Harley inspire great content!

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  4. I still don't know how I describe success. My definition of success changes based on my mood. Most of the time I am with you - if I have made someone laugh, adopt a less adoptable animal, or even look at things a little differently, then I have been successful. Awards are really nice and I'm grateful for those I have received, but they are subjective and I don't think they a true measure of success.

    I am also a perfectionist and I don't like publishing posts that I don't feel good about - and those I have published that I think are flawed, pretty much drive me crazy and make me cringe.

    I really like what you said about writer's block. I have a bad case right now - and yes, that friend is not talking to me, in fact I think she may have left the country. LOL

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    1. Hahahaha. I'm so glad to know that I'm not alone. Even more, that I blogger I admire so much has the same struggles :)

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  5. It took me a few posts to really get into the blog, but it was worth it. I always get a laugh from Bear and Ellie Mae's antics. Plus you always "like" when I share your posts on Facebook and you respond to almost every comment on your blog posts. I appreciate those things because I know that you have other things to do. Thank you. :)

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    1. No need to thank me. You have no idea how many times that "share" is the reason I keep going. Thank you for everything you said. I suppose my blog does take a post or two to fully get - and I don't think that's something I can fix. Anyone coming in and reading one post wouldn't get the entire effect! THANK YOU for being a support and a friend!

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  6. Momma. You're a great person. You love your cats. Your cats are hilarious. I think about Bear and Ellie every morning when I'm looking at FB for the first time that day. I often wonder what they're going to dream up today. Keep doing what you're doing. I enjoy reading your posts and yes, your pictures have come a long way (for the better I might add)! Thank you for bringing us into your life through Bear and Ellie. Now, you also have a wedding to plan!

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    1. Ugh. Exciting ... and not! Thank you for your friendship and support - they mean the world to me. And you have no idea how many times your comments have kept me going!

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  7. Hi, I've just read through your latest post and thought of how long it must have taken for you to write and how much effort you put into it and all your posts. The thing is,I think of you as someone who I wished just lived down the road so I could just pop in to have a cup of coffee and a chat and hopefully a bit of time with Ellie and Bear and we could swop crazy cat stories.... You and Bear and then Ellie have made me smile when I have been really low and I'm really sorry if I haven't responded as much as I could have.... Penny Leahy

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    1. I would love living just down the street from you! Thank you for what you said - I want do badly to ensure that you're never down again - because I've been there - and it's not a nice place. I'm glad we help to some extent - that is enough to keep me going. You have nothing to apologize for. Your comments always make me smile!

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  8. Your posts (or are they Bear and Ellie May's?) always leave us laughing and smiling. Your photography skills are vastly, vastly improved, and we love the paths you allow the dialog to take us. We are so happy your blog is being recognized. Your growth from your early days up until now is exactly what our blogging community loves to see and your work should be rewarded, maybe sometimes seemingly in just in smiles and laughs but rewarded nonetheless. We think you are awesome. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and making so many good points!

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    1. It was your Facebook post that put the screws to this idea I came up with after last year's Conference. I finally found the words. And you are right - we value your blog - and the photography to no end. Heck, I'm addicted to Jigsaw Planet because of YOUR cat pictures!!!

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  9. I really admire your honesty, insight and courage to speak your heart and mind, Katherine. You've reminded me how complicated this whole blogging thing is! But more importantly you've reminded me what success means to me. It's the occasional comment or email from someone who laughed or cried or snorted their coffee onto their keyboard that makes all the difference in the world. And it's the joy of meeting fellow bloggers like you. 💜

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    1. We're blessed to do what we love ... and blessed with great friends!

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  10. "Mostly failed pet blogger", I think NOT! Consistent finalist in the BlogPaws Nose to Nose Awards..and again this year (con-catulations!!) Love to keep up with Bear Car and Ellie Mae and the humans they allow to live with them.

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    1. Thank you! "the humans they allow to live with them." Is it THAT obvious?

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  11. This is such a thoughtful post! I really wish you didn't feel like a failure. I have to say that honestly makes no sense to me. You have a wonderful, unique, creative, and humorous blog that also showcases your love of Bear and Ellie and cats in general. I always (underline always) enjoy your pictures. You've been blogging just three years and have a finalist nomination in years two and three? I think that is something for which you should be proud, but even if you didn't have those, that would in no way change the quality of your blog posts. I think everyone that received the nominations deserved them, but I also know of several wonderful blogs that didn't get any and they're still wonderful.

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    1. You are right on all counts. We love you, Annie and Pierrot and your pictures of them are always breath-taking!

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  12. To write a blog all the time. It is really hard to do. Your cats are all troopers for taking some great pictures. Hope you have a great day. Keep up the great work. Thanks for the share.
    World of Animals

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  13. (tears in my eyes, 'cause this Persian kitty thinks you're pretty grr-eat!) Oh Momma Kat, what Mom and I luv about your bloggie is that it has a true identity and focus. It is not trying to be like every other blog. It has separated itself from the pack by being unique. The dialogue feels real, 'cause it is and it is like watching your fav weekly sitcom on TV that you can't wait to see the new episode and see reruns of over and over again of the older ones. We ditto Annie Bear. You so undervalue yourself and your abilities, but the rest of us know that you bring so much to the blogging world! It is an honor knowing that you are our furr-iend and we are so proud of what you do as you should be of yourself. There is not one blogger that does everything purr-fect. We each learn from each other and Mom and I certainly look up to you, Bear, and Ellie Mae. Mom says, "There are many of us that share many of the same or similar insecurities about ourselves and our abilities - 'cause we are human. If only we were cats. Maybe in our next life..." Hugs from both of us. -Valentine (& Mom) of Noir Kitty Mews

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    1. Thank you. I'm lucky to have amazing friends to remind me that it's not as bleak as my head would have me believe!

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  14. This is a great and honest post. Blogging really is difficult and time consuming, which is why my posting frequency has decreased and my commenting on other blogs has as well. It’s just a hard thing to juggle while working “regular jobs” too! But it is worth it because, like you said, I fall more in love with my kitties with each post. I think blogging has strengthened my bond with them. And the sense of purpose and accomplishment I feel when someone emails me or comments about how I’ve helped them with their wobbly kitty? Priceless. I think that all of our blogs are successful for that reason - even if we just reach one person. Thanks for doing what you do.

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    1. And thank you for your comment. I love your babies - and their adventures! Your love for your cats, dog, and sugar gliders are obvious!

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  15. I think to be a successful blogger you need to be passionate about your subject, and for us, that's cats! It shines through in what we write. You are a HUGE success, and don't ever doubt that! To be a BlogPaws Finalist 3 years in a row is insane and you deserve it!!! I love that you stick to what works for you and don't feel pressured to do what others are doing. Confidence in yourself is so important. Onward!!!

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    1. Thank you. I'm truly touched and I take everything you said to heart! You are right.

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  16. I thought this was a wonderfully perceptive and honest blog! I think you share many of the feelings we cat bloggers all have from time to time - your blog always has me laughing and it's very unique! THE HUMAN: You do make people laugh and give their days and extra chuckle! You are certainly not a failed blogger at all!! You even get comments from Glogirly - the author of one of my fav cat blogs!! - and I never do-she doesn't read my blog --the fact that she reads your blog is just one sign of many that you write quality funny posts!! Keep up the great work!
    AMARULA: Bear, what's all this nonsense you mom is going on about?!?!?:! We all know it's you and not her who writes the blog! And if I win I promise to share my trophy with you! I am so sad the human is going to be in Spain instead at the conference!! Love ya!

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    1. Awww. Amarula, you don't need to share. It's all you, girlfriend. Just don't let those nitwit brothers of yours anywhere near it! ~Bear Cat

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  17. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on blogging. I started blogging because I love my cats and I wanted to share them with the world. But you’re right, blogging isn’t as easy as it looks, it does take time, and it can be frustrating when you think you’re only talking to yourself. I’ve been blogging a long time, 10 years, and many times I thought about giving it up. But then you get those comments like “we love you guys” or “you really make us smile/laugh” or whatever. And it makes all worth it. ~Island Cat Mom

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    1. We love Ernie, Wally, Zoey and you! We're always curious about how things really go down around there - and you've thrown us for a couple loops (at first we thought Ernie was the one following Wally around ... the last couple months have been a different story!).

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    2. That's because things always change around here. One minute Wally is in charge...next thing you know Ernie takes the lead. We always keep the mom guessing. And we like it that way. :)

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  18. Ohhhhhh this just underscores the reasons why I ADMIRE THE HELL OUT OF YOU!! (hate to tell you my friend, we are more alike than you think! How crazy is this that we BOTH were thinking of these things, only you presented your feelings ELOQUENTLY and here I go comparing myself again!) I LOVE THIS: "We stand up for what we believe in more than we capitulate to fit in." which is why I deeply appreciate you! I know I am not here commenting all of the time, I don't comment on ANYONE'S posts all of the time and I don't expect others to comment on my posts all of the time either, but...I do expect to see them a few times a month and I do my best to get here! You march to your own drum, you ARE A HUGE SUCCESS and that shows that by being TRUE TO YOU the rest just falls into place! Now, that being said, if I used awards as a measure of if I am good then I need to quit blogging NOW because all I have ever been nominated for is one photo...........that's it! But..I have finally realized it's all subjective and I just keep on keeping on in my own loser-like way! lol (((hugs))) xoxoxo catchatwithcarenandcody

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    1. Well, I admire you ... so that's makes two of us :) The blind leading the blind or something?! ;)

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  19. We join the loser blogger club. After 10 years, we have nothing to show for it except I never get any attention from TW. We both want to get off this merry-go-round but find that it's addicting. TW feels totally useless as it is but not having a blog would take away her reason for getting up in the morning. We may suddenly disappear someday.
    BTW, going to conferences IS spending money on the blog which is why we mostly go on years when we've actually made money blogging.
    Concats on being a finalist.

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    1. If you disappeared, I'd miss you AND TW. In fact, I would mourn the loss of your voice in the Blogosphere. You and TW are more successful than you realize - and if a bunch of stupid people can't see it - that's on them and not you!

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  20. Thank you for this honest post and sharing it with us. I can relate to many things mentioned here: the procrastination can be almost crippling and paralyzing. Ideas that get shelved for later and never happen because I think it has to be said "just so." I consider myself a late bloomer in everything I did in my life mainly because I take longer than average to get things done! Just to give you some context to this, I knew I wanted to start a cat blog way back in 2006! Back then I was listening to podcasts on how it's done but never actually did anything until two years ago!

    You are by no stretch of the imagination "a blogging failure." Your passion for cats shines through in your blog and Bear's wry and sardonic humor and his love of tasty whole chickens always gives me a giggle. You don't have to write product reviews or do what everyone else is doing because I think you already have your focus - your main characters that you have created for Bear and now Ellie Mae. I think you should extend on writing that book and join the CWA, if you haven't already. You already nailed 'your voice'

    I think I'm one of those lurkers who doesn't often comment, not because I don't like the person's blog. It's a combination of not enough time, fatigue, and the fact that I can't do it during working hours at my day job. I tried to remedy this by participating in some BlogPaws boosts but then I wondered where are all the cat bloggers! So remember, you may have more lurkers and people actually reading your blog without commenting, but I understand that a comment is a tangible measure that someone actually read it. Sometimes I will get a random comment from someone who commented for the very first time, but they would mention that they've been a reader for a while, which can be pleasantly surprising.

    Honestly, I think we all feel that we're behind in something or the other. But we all have our strengths, doubts, fears and days when we feel a little off. It was a pleasure meeting you at last year's conference and I hope to meet you again at a future conference. Chin up, you've been a finalist a few times and that speaks volumes!

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    1. Wow. I'm blown away by what you wrote. I'm so lucky to have such amazing friends to remind me of the "score." And if you'd ever like Bear to contribute on the "sticky notes" front, let me know!

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    2. Absolutely I want Bear to contribute because I know of his penchant dor stickie notes! I actually wanted him to be next, but see again, that is an example of my procrastination because I want it to be perfect. I even scoured your site looking for the perfect angle. So he’s definitely my next candidate. My sticky note secrets is still ongoing so please drop me a line on his best pieces of dry wit. I want the tasty whole chickens in it MOL 🐓

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  21. Excellent post, and every word a truth, an encouragement, and sound advice. The blogging world is full of diversity from those who comment, and those that never do. Being ourselves is as important if not more so than pleasing others, but when we seek to better or help humour others, it is hard not to seek some sort of recognition or affirmation. I think one kindly comment makes it all worth it. Which is why we try to reply to all on our blog and visit all on the selfies, come what may. Keep doing what you are doing and keep getting better, as you are, and you will get to where you want to be, with the folks you want to have with you for the journey.
    Toodle pips and purrs
    ERin

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  22. We love your post ! Claire could have written many part of it if she had your writing skills, MOL ! You're so right : it's not about monetizing or having the best stats, it's about being truly yourself. "Do your best, have fun, do what you love and feel good, and don't compare yourself to others" are the best advice that bloggers should never forget. Thank you for writing this ! Purrs

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    1. Claire has fantastic writing skills! But as always, we underestimate ourselves!

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  23. Dear Momma Kat,
    Please don't be so hard on yourself. You give so many of us pleasure sharing Bear and Ellie's voices and adventures. Pressing "publish" on a blog post is always a little scary - sending ourselves out into the world never knowing how many people we touch.
    My advise, for what it's worth, is to save all the comments that make you feel good in a folder, or print them out. Read them when you start to wonder why you're doing this work. You and your blog and your family are loved.
    xxoo

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  24. Thanks for taking the time to write out your thoughts about blogging. I think you have a great blog, have developed the cats' purrsonalities very nicely - nowhere else have I encountered a male princess cat obsessed with tiaras. :) There's really no question about being a failed cat blogger, unless you are looking at income and awards, something I've never even tried to do. Very, very few bloggers of any topic can manage those things. I started mine ages ago just to have a place to share cute cat pics and stories, and be part of a community. And I've acheived that, so I'm happy. Though I do admit, I've gotten a big kick out of being sent free stuff to review recently, mostly because I LOVE free stuff. So carry on!

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  25. Thank you for this wonderfully honest post, MommaKat. Please don't ever doubt yourself, or the fact that your blog is a big success. I say this because you, Bear and Ellie bring so much laughter and joy to so many of us. And you do it by being who you are, and not by trying to be like everyone else.

    We may never again be a BP finalist, since they decided this year to do away with the "cause blog" category. We were a little sad, but you know what? We're okay with it. We know why we blog (to advocate for, and to give voice to the adoptable PAWS cats who don't have their own), and we know that we reach the readers who are interested in our content. It doesn't make sense for us to try to transform our blog into something it isn't to fit into a different category. So we'll just keep going. We've met so many wonderful and amazing friends (like YOU!) through blogging, gotten so many opportunities and raised awareness for the importance of adopting. We're good with that. :)

    We love you guys. Stay strong and keep on keeping on!

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    1. Thank you! We're lucky to have such encouraging and supportive friends. I don't know why they eliminated a best cause blog - it's very unfortunate.

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  26. This was a particularly poignant post as I often have considered many of the same factors {from a dog's perspective mind you}. Blogging is hard work, often doesn't have much in the way of rewards but to visit blogs like yours for a smile on a clever post as well as adorable photos...that's just priceless and inspires me to plod along. Well done, Mamma Cat. The poodles and I just love you and your tails and tales of Bear and Ellie. Maybe next year I'll get to BlogPaws to see if I can up the ante on this nebulous notion of success. Till then, keep up the good work!

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  27. This is a great post, and you are not a mostly failed blogger! You always make me laugh, and God knows, some days I need something to make me laugh.
    I am one of those bloggers who started years ago (2006) when no-one got any money from it.
    It was luck that I started when I had a badly broken leg. I was bored as I was immobile for quite some time. I found the blogging community which was much smaller then, and I was persuaded to start my own blog. Back then you could leave a comment on everybody's blog and still have time to spare. You are right though, the more people who started blogging, the more time it took to keep up. I used to stress when I couldn't visit everyone and it became a chore.
    One day I realised that although I really loved sharing my boys with the world, the time I spent at it was wearing me down. I made the decision to put a certain amount of time aside each day to comment and that would be it. I started with people who left comments for me, then I would go to the CB. I occasionally had time to go to others as well, but not often.
    I used to take the boys for walks around our fields every day and never went out without my camera. They both had very different personalities but complimented each other so well.
    When Eric died it was hard to make stories of the adventures so I cut back to 3 times a week from my daily posts.
    When Flynn died it left me not knowing what to do. Blogging had become such a big part of my life and I have made many friends through it. I decided to continue with "Memories", but even now I still find myself trying to blog as them and not as myself.
    This year will be our 12th Blogoversary. I will continue it for the boys for as long as I am able to.

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    1. I thought of your boys when I talked about falling in love with other blogs' cats and being sad with each loss. I need to set a time limit like you said. I got into blogging the same way as you did - something to do - it's amazing that we are so good at it!

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  28. Great post...I have to concur with Jackie.
    I started because I liked the other cat blogs and Nellie wanted to be there too. I never looked at the statistics and I I don't know if I have 50 followers or 5,000...it does not matter. I do what I do because I want to. That is what makes it fun.
    And Life is too short to not do fun things.
    Do what you love.
    Love Barb

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    1. You are right! Thank you :) I thought of Nellie Bellie when I talked about falling in love with other blogs' cats and being sad with each loss.

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  29. I thought you had won a nose to nose. I know how you feel, I do it for the love of my cats. I have also fallen in love with many other cats ( yours included). XO

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    1. Thank you! No, no wins :( That's okay ... I have my cats and that's what really matters :)

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  30. There is just SO MUCH here, and I've been saving this post to read for when I can give it any focus. I know I"m going to miss commenting on some important part of it. I think you've hit on every challenging aspect of blogging out there.
    How many mornings did I wake up and think I'd just quit (still do) - who would care? How is it worth all the work I put into it for little financial gain, much loss of time, and few rewards?
    I'd give anything to be even nominated for an award, never mind winning one. Last year, family and friends went all out to nominate me, but nothing. But in the end, I blog because it's my passion. I've wanted to be a "professional" writer my whole life, and even though I consider my blog half part-time job/half hobby, I still feel like I am a writer. Every single time a company contacts me with an offer to review their product, I am encouraged.
    I'll never feel like a true success, never feel like I measure up to so many other bloggers, but my whole life I've been mediocre. Half the time people don't get my sense of humor.
    But I've made a core group of friends through blogging, and we may not be the "popular kids", but they are all my friends. Some are cat bloggers, some are dog. I suppose if I focused my blog more, I might do better. But I'm going to do what my heart says to do, and that probably will never get me an award, or a million followers, or get me rich. And it probably means I'll doubt myself almost every single day.
    Oh, by the way, huge congratulations on your nomination again this year! I just wish that made you a success in your own eyes....because I think you have come much further than I have in a much shorter amount of time. But I also know you are so right about how our lives affect our blogs...I will always feel mediocre and you may never feel like you fit in (but you do....and I was seeking you out at BlogPaws because I wanted to meet you!).
    I could go on and on....you are doing great, so great, and don't forget that.

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    1. We always underestimate ourselves, don't we? You are not mediocre in any sense ... your way of sharing Cricket and Sheba with us is a testament to that!

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  31. Sorry we're late to the commenting pawty, we read this last week and thought OMC WHAT A MAGNIFICENT POST! MK, BC & EM mew're not alone with how mew think and feel, it's the same here. Some days we want to just run in the bunker shoot the freak outta something and furget about blogging altogether furever, other days we just want to create and create and create - the life of a blogging artist is not an easy one - it's a love hate relationship where mew need to find an equilibrium fur your time/output/creativity vs loving it/hating it/ just doing it which is the hardest.
    We KNOW your blog is hilarious, we told mew in purrson last year that we thought it was the best thing since catnip, so know that we're always cheering mew on, no matter that we can be a bit tardy at times [fighting our own blogging demons]
    Here's to many more years of your hilarity and mew should so write that book! And thanks fur sharing such a great post, it was EPIC!
    Big hugs
    Basil & Co xox

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