Fact of the day: I'm a horrible blogger. That's a harsh statement, but I've discovered it's true. Now you know that when I don't respond to comments, post regularly, or answer your email, it's because I'm a horrible blogger. I blog almost every day, during every spare moment, but I don't have a schedule, and no matter how hard I try, I can't post on time. That's why I refrain from saying "I will" on my blog.
I began being a horrible blogger—well, from the beginning. The main problem was that I wasn't prepared to do everything that a blogger has to do to be successful. I wasn't prepared to be a blogger. I thought it would be easy, but when I realized how big of a job it was, I became frustrated and overwhelmed. It wasn't fun.
Before I get into chattering, I want you to know that this article is aimed toward the amateur approach to blogging (the good kind of amateur, that is), rather than the all-about-moolah approach. Not that there's anything wrong with the all-about-moolah approach, except when it's taken to the extreme, which is when writing loses its value, web design loses its creativity, and as a result, blogging as a whole loses it's glamour. But that sad story
A few months ago, I had a "brilliant" idea. I thought that since blogging tutorials are overdone, not to mention boring to read, I would create videos. Not only would it be an entertaining way to tell my viewers how to do something spectacular, but it would also help me gain new readers through YouTube. Great idea, right?
Then I visualized the number of voice recordings I might have to do to get it to the point of where I didn't sound stupid. Not fun.
That's when I decided to make an animation and use synthesized speech (if it's supposed to look and sound stupid, stupid is okay, right?). I cringed at the idea of an animation, but I told myself I would keep it simple. I recorded all the voices, things were going great, and so far I liked the idea. But, when the animation application I planned to use didn't work and I had to resort to a different application that was less than suitable for animation, things stopped being simple.
Day after day I worked on the animation. At first it was fun, but by the end of the week I hated animation. I hated blogging. I wanted to quit. I said to myself, "why did I create a blog if I don't get anything out of it but frustration?" I was only halfway done with the video when I wanted to be finished, and at the slow rate I was going, I expected it to take another week.
Yesterday I remembered the day when I enjoyed blogging. It seemed so long ago. What happened to that? Why wasn't I enjoying it now? It was then that I realized that it was me causing the problem. I was making it difficult for myself.
Blogging is hard, so get used to it!Of course blogging is hard. I'm not going to say it's not, because that wouldn't be true. With blogging comes the time-consuming promotion, web design, and writing—and writing is the the worst, right? Half the words you write must be rethought, rearranged, replaced, or when worse comes to worst, removed. Words are present in blog posts, comments, tweets, and newsletters, and somehow, you have to generate those words, because your readers will be upset if you don't, your reputation will be ruined, your traffic will plummet, and everything good will turn bad.
So hard—poor you. But face it: writing is hard. Learn to cope with it. You'll never get anywhere if all you do is gripe. After all, you're not trying to...
- Please your readers (they don't care)
- Make life difficult for yourself
- Write a masterpiece
- Take over the world
- Kill yourself
But, what you should be trying to do is...
- Write well
- Have fun
What? That's it?
Good writing is hard to produce. I'm no expert, but I've learned that good writing is not made of the words that make their appearance on the paper (or in a text editor) the moment after they register in the brain. Good writing is constructed of value, common sense, and character—things that don't usually come naturally.
Is writing fun? It's not fun when words don't come and ideas aren't as great as you anticipated. I enjoy writing, but only when I can actually write. It's when I do nothing more than smash my keyboard in frustration when I detest it. That's when I feel like quitting and never looking at a word again.
Unless you have a vlog or photo blog, writing is a necessary part of blogging. You may not like writing, but that doesn't mean you can't like blogging. Blogging isn't all writing.
Giving up isn't always the best solutionHave you ever come to the point where you ask yourself why you're blogging at all? Do you ever feel like giving up and trying something else?
Here's a startling fact: blogging is supposed to be enjoyable. This means that all the frustration and misery you go through while blogging isn't required for your success. It means that the minute you hate blogging, quit.
But before you throw your computer in the trash, think back to when you started blogging. If you started blogging because you enjoyed it, it's doubtful that you really hate it. After all, hate is at the other end of the spectrum, and such a drastic change of mind would be unlikely.
Don't confuse abhorrence with overwhelmingness (and yes, that is a word!). Here are some reminders:
Blogging takes patience. Getting the hang of blogging takes time. If you're new to blogging, the haunting need to publish content regularly and the lack of means to do so, the learning of promotion techniques that seem to never work, and remembering to email so-and-so before a month slips away and everyone figures you died, can be difficult to handle—and it will always be difficult until you learn the best methods for making your blogging tasks easier and faster. (Sorry for such a mouthful.)
Blogging takes determination. You've probably heard this one before. Everyone should know it. It's the secret ingredient of success for anything you want to do, not just blogging.
Blogging takes time. Everyone complains about the lack of time. Every task related to blogging seems to take forever if you don't know how to manage your time. Note to self: what about that schedule you were talking about?
Blogging takes human interaction. I'm not just talking about interaction on your blog, but also on social networks. Building relationships is, from what I've found, the best way to get exposure and gain new readers.
Blogging takes enthusiasm. Blogging without enthusiasm is like music without instruments. If you don't get any enjoyment out of blogging, it's not worth it. Your writing won't be compelling and you'll be boring on Twitter. Nobody likes a boring blogger.
Blogging takes frequent breaks. Do you think your readers have nothing better to do than wait for that post all day? No, I didn't think so. They can wait, and so can your blog. Besides, you're hungry. And look at your dog. He's more dependent upon you than your blog is. Dogs can beg for food, eat your dinner, yell louder than you can, keep you awake at night, and manipulate you—and those are things that only dogs should be able to do. So don't let your blog take control of you.
And the solution is...Unfortunately, there's no way to make blogging easy. It will always be time-consuming. There will always be the occasional frustrating moment. It will always take more effort than you would like. But, there are ways to make blogging easier.
First of all, stop thinking about how hard it is. You already know about the difficulty of blogging, and there's no point in complaining about it. In fact, doing so will only make it harder for you.
I don't mean you should say "blogging is easy" twenty times every fifteen minutes. That's stupid. What I do think you should do is learn to deal with the difficulty of blogging. Find a way to manage your time efficiently. Don't burn yourself out by blogging non-stop. Stop complaining about the process of blogging. If you need to write a post, write it. If you have comments to moderate and reply to, moderate and reply to them. But remember, in most cases, you won't die if you put it off for a while when you need a break.
I'm sure you can relate to a time when an idea didn't go well, and the finished result was either horrendous, or you lost focus and it never got to the point of being finished. That's when you need a plan B, and maybe a plan C and a plan D. This way, if you discover your idea stinks, you lose focus, or you get bored with what you're working on, you can switch to something else, and work on the original idea later. Or, if worse comes to worst, it may be a better idea to just abandon it.
So, what happened to that video I was working on? Nothing. It will sit and collect virtual dust until the day I feel like working on it again. I decided it was more important to have fun than to kill myself with plan A. Keep that in mind next time you think you hate blogging.
If you've come this far to be reading this, I'm amazed. Thanks for taking the time to read all 1500+ words of this article!
Here are some things to think about. I hope you'll tell me your thoughts in a comment!
- Why are you blogging? Do you enjoy it?
- Have you ever considered quitting blogging?
- What do you do to prevent a blogging burnout?
Edit (06-04-11): I've been amazed that some of my readers haven't sensed the sarcasm in this post. So, just so you know, I'm not really giving up!