I’m a “middle-aged” blogger now, with six years of blogging under my belt — that’s like 20 years in real life, right? If I only knew then what I know now… these are just a few sage words of advice to my baby blogging self…
It’s okay to discover yourself along the way. That blinking cursor in the empty text box sure is intimidating, isn’t it? There will be days when you will be overwhelmed by the brilliance on the blogosphere. Your blogging heroines will inspire you and intimidate you, at once. You’ll laugh and cry with Anissa. Your heart will weep at the beauty of The Velveteen’s exquisitely crafted prose.
But you’ll discover that your blogging voice is like a muscle, it must be worked and developed by the (daily) practice of… blogging. Nothing else will do. In this process you will discover yourself and give your readers the gift of discovering that voice along with you.
Set up some boundaries and ground rules. Shhh… you don’t have to say it out loud but blogging is so much fun that sometimes it hardly feels like work. Actually, it’s like crack! You’ll want to do it all the time to the detriment of relationships with your offline friends and family. So before your significant other and children threaten to flush the laptop down the toilet (that didn’t happen) or you start hearing yourself say stupid stuff like “I’m exhausted. I had to stay up so late working” (that did), set some ground rules. Things that will work really well for you are: putting the laptop away on Saturdays and most days after school through dinner. And, no texting, tweeting, etc. while in the driver’s seat. Period.
Don’t be afraid to show yourself. Sure, you may have useful advice or helpful information but get real, people can get advice and information anywhere. There are actually experts out there with letters after their name and such. If people are reading your blog it’s because they like YOU. Blogging from “the chin up” is like writing a corporate brochure and it’s about as much fun to read as one… NOT!
I know it will be challenging, because you’ll ask yourself daily, “Why would anyone care (how I feel about this topic?)” And the answer is not so much that they do or don’t but that YOU do. You will look back on this blog and see your journey in self-worth and self-love.
Don’t be too concerned with what everyone else is doing. As far as the business of blogging goes… remember what Chris Brogan said, “You can’t win a race looking sideways.” Better yet, forget about the race. There is no race. There are as many ways to be a successful blogger as there are bloggers. The only mistake you can make is trying to do it someone else’s way. Try not to waste too much time doing THAT!
Lighten up. Seriously.
This is not brain surgery. It’s blogging. No need to agonize over every step or perceived “failure.” No need to mastermind every move. Allow yourself the luxury of Oops! — making mistakes, screwing up, getting a little egg on your face, picking yourself up and trying something different. Experiment. Play. Reach out. Make friends. Okay… just like you’ll be telling your kids before too long… “Have fun. Be Safe.”
photo credit: jencu