When you’re a SAHB (stay-at-home blogger) life can get damn lonely. I’ve been known to sit in my pajamas for more than 24 hours at a time because, hey, it’s not like anyone is going to come by (other than my husband, who most likely won’t even notice. I mean, do men even notice that women wear clothes or is it just that they merely recognize you’re not naked? That’s for another post, I suppose.) You also know the loneliness is starting to get to you when you listen to the Backstreet Boys’ “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” over and over and over again. Or when you start talking to yourself. And I don’t mean the simple act of saying something out loud because you want to validate a thought. I’m talking about the more frightening type of talking to yourself, where yourself talks back. I’ve had complete conversations with myself that have turned into knock-down, drag-out debates. Who wins in these situations? Me or me? But I digress…
Left unchecked, this career-driven dilemma can spiral down into the depths of despair writer Emily White chronicles in “I’m not crazy, just lonely: A writer reveals how she was driven to the brink of madness.” Check out how Emily describes her descent into loneliness as she quits her job to write full time:
“In short, I became cut off from other people. I had a constantly anxious feeling that I was alone too much. I had friends and family, but I was no longer seeing them as much, and it wasn’t uncommon for me to go the whole weekend without seeing anyone at all. As the situation became worse, I began to feel more ashamed of how lonely I felt and, increasingly, too embarrassed to talk about it; too concerned that people wouldn’t understand, that they would say: ‘But you have friends, so how can you feel as though you are alone?’”
I have a little secret folks — writing can be as lonely as she describes, but it doesn’t HAVE to be. I’ve found the key to quashing that loneliness is to get some bloggy friends!
What is a bloggy friend?
Just as you might expect, a “bloggy friend” it is someone also blogs and who you can befriend. Now, before you start rolling your eyes about how you need “real-life” friends, I’d like to just say that I agree with what one of my bloggy friends, Quirky Chrissy, has to say on the matter:
“There are people I’ve never physically met, but I have just as close a relationship with them as I do some of my best friends in ‘real life’. I love the online community that has come from blogging. I’ve got friends around the world, and that warms my heart. The Internet is magic.”
The point is not whether or not you see these people every other Saturday at Starbucks; it’s about engaging and connecting with others in some meaningful way. About sharing experiences based on common ground. About supporting and getting support from people who understand where you’re coming from. Those are the kind of friends you can find in the blogosphere.
So, how do I find a bloggy friend?
You start in the same place where you spend way too much of your time, my secluded fellow writer — online! Here are a few of my favorite ways to connect:
Did you know that there are several Facebook Groups dedicated to blogging. Personally, I’m part of the Ultimate Blogging Challenge Group, Bloggers Community Group and Tampa Bay Blogger Gals, to name a few. I confess I’m not as active in them as I would like to be, but when I’m feeling the sadness of not interacting with people, I jump into conversations with others. In fact, I now follow a few of these bloggers regularly and thoroughly enjoy reading their posts and commenting on what they’ve written.
We started with a retweet and now we’re bloggy friends. Yup, that’s how it happens. Get on Twitter and find bloggers in your niche; you’ll already have something in common to bond over. Give a retweet or a shoutout, and all of a sudden you’re connecting. Before you know it you’ll be Skyping and Facetiming!
These are similar to Facebook Groups, but LinkedIn Groups are pretty frustrating to me. Not only do you get capped at 50 groups if you go without paying for the pro subscription, it often feels more difficult to get accepted into the closed and invitation-only groups. Nonetheless, I do get a kick out of reading some of the group posts. If you’ve got tips on making the most of this platform, please share in the Comments!
It’s OK, take the next step
After exhausting your online efforts, it’s time to start looking for face-to-face interaction with bloggy friends. Yes, you might need to change out of your PJs for a few hours — but it’ll be worth it!
I’ve attended two or three of these, and I have to say blogger Meetups are pretty fun. You actually get to hang with a bunch of other individuals who generally hide behind their computers. It’s interesting to see them in the daylight (or after dark for evening cocktails, depending on when the event is scheduled). I had a great time at Meetup held at a pizza shop. We live-tweeted the entire evening and the owner gave us free pizza. With a double win — human interaction and free pizza — like this, how can you go wrong?
I’ve only been to two full-on blogger conferences so far, but I definitely hope to go to many more over the course of the next several years. Why? Because there is nothing like being among hundreds of people who are doing the same thing you’re doing.
Attending blogging conferences makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger than me — and that’s a major antidote for loneliness.
You might find this hard to believe, but you can find fellow bloggers in local networking groups. There is one networking group here in Tampa Bay that I used to frequent and I found four fellow bloggers who I still regularly read and interact with. Can’t find a local networking group that works for you? Start your own.
So, get out there and get some bloggy friends. It might seem difficult at first, but keep in mind that many of your brethren in the blogosphere are probably just as hopeful to connect with someone as you are. And if you want to be my bloggy friend, hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn. I’d love to have you in my life and truly believe you can never have enough bloggy friends!