Advice for New(ish) Bloggers
10 months ago, I started a little business. It's been a dream of mine for a while now, being my own boss, setting my own hours, loving what I do, and doing what I love. It has taken me 12 years to get here.
Blogging got me here. If I say this to someone who doesn't blog, or doesn't read any blogs, they will likely shake their heads and move on. To the many who started a blog just to document family moments, or just write, and find themselves in careers they never envisioned possible (social media consultants, community managers, brand ambassadors, published authors, freelance writers, website designers, the list goes on), they will understand.
To those who blog and found an outlet to express a creativity, a longing, an energy inside of them they didn't know existed - they will understand.
To those who blog and met people they will never otherwise meet, the same people who will shore you up when your insides break down, who will high five you (virtually) when you see victory - they will understand.
To those whose blogging saved their lives in more ways than one - they will understand.
And so, I want to tell you new(ish) bloggers who are looking at your statistics and social media numbers, comparing yourselves to others who seem to be doing better, a few truths I learned over the past couple of years.
Don't focus on statistics
I know this sounds like foolish advice, because when you're new to blogging, that is all you think about. Who's reading? Who's commenting? Where are my people? Why aren't they here? What do I need to do? I can tell you that to have some goals in mind (10,000 page views a day!) is a good thing, but do not beholden yourself to it. Does getting 20 page views a day mean you will stop writing and blogging? No? Then, carry on.
It is so easy to let someone else's joy, happiness and success, suck our very own joy, happiness and success away. Don't let it happen. Whoever you're comparing yourself to, worked hard for their success. Be happy for them. It's far easier (and healthier) than burrowing yourself into a hole of "not good enough".
Write like it matters, write from the heart
Now, this is very important. The actual writing. You could be a social media rockstar, but if your writing doesn't match up, your blog will suffer. Aside from checking your grammar and the correct usage of words (you're/ your, they're/ there/ their, lose/ loose, faze/ phase, I could go on), write from your heart. Write what you know. Write like it really, really matters to you. Don't write something because you think it will go viral. Don't write something controversial to get page views. Which leads me to this....
If you can't stand by it, don't write it
Do you truly feel strongly about an issue and have something to say? Then say (write) it. Are you prepared to defend your beliefs, your stand, to the ends of the earth? If your answer is, no or "I am not sure" - do not write it. Do not put yourself out there if it's not your whole, true self. Do not get into the fray to get attention. Do it if it's something you believe in.
Be honest, be yourself
As above. Write the way you talk. Write in the way that feels most natural to you. Start sentences with "so" or "and" if that's the style that suits you (it suits me). When your readers come back again and again, it's because they like YOU. Show them who you are. Show them your messy desk. Tell them when you're having a hard time. Or not. But don't lie. Don't say you're happy when you're not. Don't project a fake facade. Don't pretend to be who you're not. Don't for the love of cupcakes, make shit up. You will be found out.
Be kind to others
Blogging is a big, big world. But it can also feel very, very small, because when someone does an act of kindness, or the opposite, everyone will know about it (or least it will seem so). So, be kind. Be kind whenever possible, and it is always possible (said a Tibetan monk). Give help when asked. Give it when it's not. Send someone an email to tell them how much you love their words, or that you miss them. Or just to see how they are, because their latest post seems to hint at something sad.
Love, care and share
Be unselfish with sharing. If you love a blog post, tweet it out. Share it on Facebook. Pin it. Comment on it. Send the blogger an email, say you loved it. Know two bloggers who you think should absolutely meet? Introduce them to each other.
Your heart will be broken
I haven't met a blogger whose heart hasn't been broken in some way, big and/ or small. It could be because of missed opportunities, or friendships broken. Of a harsh word from a troll in the comments, or the ending of a brand relationship. I'm here to tell you that it will be okay. Your heart will heal. You will come across other (better) opportunities. You will meet new friends. You will ignore the trolls. You will find and fall in love with other brands.
So, new (ish) bloggers, I know this much is true - work hard, play hard, have fun, be true, be yourself, keep writing/ photographing/ blogging, and one day, you will be where you want to, need to be.
Do you have any advice for new bloggers?