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ToBlogOrNotToBlog

Are you a blogging genius who had their first thousand of followers the same week you started your blog? Than you can stop reading right there and go do something productive. Everybody else, come with me.

How long ago have you started your blog? If it has been some time, I’m sure you can relate. If you’ve just started, let me tell you how it’s going to go. Most likely. Unless you are a blogging genius. Than you can stop reading right there.

  1. Excitement
  2. You’ve decided to start your own blog. Maybe spontaneously. Maybe you’ve been thinking about it for a while. Maybe your therapist told you to do so. Now you are excited. Am I really going to do that? You’ve found a platform, chosen a name, spent half a day selecting a design theme. You are ready to go. Create blog? Yes. And here you are. Congratulations!

  1. Writing for the sake of writing
  2. You write. About whatever is going on in your life. Or about breeding of King Penguins in Illinois. Or about your therapist. It feels great. Your job seems so boring now. How come I haven’t started this earlier? Maybe I should think of becoming a writer full-time? You regularly go to bed at 3 a.m. now.

  1. Getting it out there
  2. You finally quenched your initial thirst of writing. Now it is time you show it to the world. You pass some links to your friends and relatives. You share things on social networks. You maybe even drop a link on a forum. And now you wait.

  1. Success
  2. You notice some movement in your statistics. Other bloggers, people you don’t know start liking your posts. Followers, you got new followers, and it’s not your relatives. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God! Somebody posted a link to my post on a forum saying it’s a work of a genius and now I’m getting hundreds of hits! Reshares! Comments! It’s Christmas time, people! You think this blog was the best idea ever.

  1. Stagnation
  2. You thought this is how it’s gonna work now. You write. Whatever you want, however you want. You drop some comments and links here and there from time to time. And people are gonna come. Lots of them. All impressed with your writing skills, leaving comments of praise and appreciation. And you can just write. Whatever you want, however you want. About your life, or penguins, or therapists. What do you mean just 10 hits today? No new followers this week? Like, at all? You start getting tense. Something is going wrong.

  1. Reading blogs and articles on blogging advice
  2. You start reading everything on blogging you can get your hands on. 10 Blogging Tips and Tricks. 15 Most Common Mistakes of Blogging. 27 Tips on a Perfect Blog Post. Be yourself, write unique content. Don’t write about your life, nobody is interested in that. SEO is the key. Don’t bother with SEO too much. Keep it short. Use pictures. Don’t blog for the sake of blogging. Have a routine and blog often. Oh my God, I’d better start doing all that! You also start reading more from other blogs. This guy is good! Over 2000 followers! Maybe I should be more like him?

  1. Writing for the sake of reading
  2. You try writing unique posts, but not too unique. Forget the penguins. Therapist can stay, but only if you keep it short. Stories from your every day life? Boring. Instead, you try something with “how-to” and “tips and tricks” in the title. You participate in some daily challenges and prompts organized by blogging communities. You write on topics you don’t care about. But you sit down and do it. Routine and regularity is the key. Point 7 from the Blogging Tips and Tricks. Everybody knows that. Your new posts feel crippled. Even to you. You don’t like them. You hit “publish” anyway.

  1. Getting it out there some more
  2. You interact with other bloggers on regular basis. You’ve got 200 additional followers on the social networks. You think now it has to get better. You go to bed at 3 a.m., even if you don’t write. You wake up in the middle of the night to check on your statistics. Any new likes? Comments? Followers? No hits?! I can’t believe it…

  1. Doubts
  2. It occupies your mind. Before, the imaginary conversations in the shower were attended exclusively by your mother/boss/therapist. Now you think about your blog all the time. What should my next post be about? Do I really need to write it today? Why does nobody care? These people on social networks drive me crazy. You start wishing for your old life back, when it was only between you and your mother/boss/therapist.

From here it can go anywhere. You will either become one of the 95% of bloggers, the proud owners of an abandoned blog. Or you will find something that brings you back to Stage 1. Something to get you excited again, something to give you oxygen to continue. But soon enough, you will be back at Stage 9. Unless you are a blogging genius. Which you are probably not, because I asked you two times already and you are still reading.

It’s my second journey from 1 to 9. I’m currently stuck in my Doubts, wanting my old life back, wondering where it is going to go from here. This time it feels more severe, because of all the things I learned from my own experience so far:

  • Your everyday stuff is boring. Unless you have a baby or are miserable. Sometimes it’s both and then you hit a blogging jack pot.
  • Short is way better than long. Readers have no time.
  • “How-to”s and “tips and tricks” rule. Penguins not so much. Nor your everyday stuff, unless… (see above).
  • You need SEO to let Google bring people to your blog.
  • Fixed blog topic is the key (unless it’s penguins in Illinois).

And I think I have serious problems with that:

  • There is no drama in my life. I don’t have a baby. Or a funny pet. Or even a funny plant.
  • I am not able to keep it short. I really tried. Not possible. Was born like that.
  • I think “how-to”s are boring, and I don’t like giving advice in general. I don’t think I qualify. Maybe when I get a baby. Or a pet. Plants I already have. They’ve been no inspiration whatsoever.
  • I hate boring titles with key words in them. It spoils all the surprise. That’s why SEO hates me.
  • I can’t do fixed topic. Can’t work with limitations. If you tell me I’m not allowed to eat my soup with a fork – that I would normally never think of doing – I’ll dedicate my entire day to make it happen anyways.

So yes, it can go anywhere from here. Maybe I’ll join the club of the 95% and just get my life back. Or maybe I won’t and will be magically catapulted back to Stage 1 again. Or maybe, just maybe, there is a Stage 10, like Narnia, hiding in an old wardrobe, yet to be discovered? I’ll let you know if I find it.

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