Living. Learning. Creating.
Yes, I’m talking in a selfless way here. Many successful bloggers will tell you that their mantra is always to ‘give, give, give’ – or, in other words, be as informative and helpful as possible, packing each post with jaw-dropping content. And I’m the first to admit that those kind of posts are lengthier, more time-consuming to write. They are worth it, though, and generally get the best amount of traction on social media and have staying power.
I’m also talking smaller-scale here too. As you begin blogging, start moving around in circles and groups, there is an element of ‘If you do this for me I’ll do that for you’. That kind of network-building can be important when building your reputation: you can show you can be reliable, have ideas and are proactive. First, have a think of what your strengths are before making any offers. Back-tracking isn’t the best if you later decide you’ve gone over your head. Luckily, people are friendly and are usually happy to help out!
Those of us who choose to divulge personal, sometimes difficult, details about parts of our lives will be familiar with that feeling of trepidation right around that moment you’re about the hit the ‘publish’ button. Do you get it? I still do. And if I ever get tempted to hit the ‘save draft’ button instead because I get afraid I think of the words of Brené Brown: “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
So let yourself be seen.
Here’s another quote from Brené Brown: “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
I don’t want to get too bogged down with strict dictionary definitions, so I will keep this simple: to me, energy fluctuates but passion is consistent. It’s an important distinction. When I’m feeling energetic, and it usually comes in phases, I get a constant stream of ideas; I have about 20 tabs open on my browser researching these ideas, sourcing pictures, piecing them together. It’s a lovely flow, and exciting. But I can’t sustain it for very long. I burn out quickly.
That’s when I step away and have a breather. It’s also when I used to second-guess myself because I would start to confuse my lack of energy with a lack of passion. But my passion is there, it always will be. I have that burning need to write (online or offline) that is happy to wait. I used to find this quite frustrating, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to embrace it. I turn off now, do other things.
Which, incidentally, helps my energy levels recharge.
So if you’re experiencing one of the ‘valley’ times in the ‘hills and valleys’ flux of life, ask yourself what’s really the matter.
If you’ve been blogging on a set, purposeful track and now discover that doesn’t feel right anymore, or if you’ve experimented by writing in a different style that hasn’t hit the right notes or reaction you wanted, then hello. Sit by me. We have something in common.
Change is inevitable. The digital world is vastly different to when I began in 2006, which no doubt looked different to those people who’d been around since the very beginning in the late nineties. My head spins a little, to be honest, when I think back.
And I know every time something changes that means you have to learn something new. And our brains are pretty full already with stuff we already need to know. But look at it from another angle: this knowledge you have is a valuable resource. Someone who is completely new to this world will look at you in wonder and admiration.
This blog has changed over the years, I’ve changed my style and I’ve been happy to roll with that. But technological changes scare me. I’ve learned to manage this anxiety by either:
1) Outsourcing to find a solution
2) (More commonly) Googling answers
Over the years I’ve been hacked and my Google PR went from 5 down to basically nothing; I can’t remember the last time I got reliable data from Feedburner; social media channels keep popping up; there’s the lure of wanting to be ‘all the things all the time’ (but beware – see point 3); and so on. But I’m still here, typing away – so things can’t be all that bad.
When I teach my blogging classes, this is what I admit to them and now will do the same to you. My biggest regret – and I don’t have many – in blogging was that I didn’t value my early readers enough. In a way, I suppose I took them for granted. I appreciated them, certainly. But I didn’t do many of the things that I now recommend beginner bloggers do: I didn’t respond to comments as often as I could, the same goes for reciprocating comments on their blogs. I didn’t have the excuse that ‘Oh, there’s too many, I couldn’t possibly’ to fall back on.
Some bloggers I did connect with and we remain firm friends to this day. But there is a small part of me that wonders “If only …” to the ones that slipped away. Nowadays, such as with my Christmas Card Challenge, I do hope that I have remedied that situation.
Don’t get green-eyed at other’s successes; question whether hitting refresh on your Twitter stream or Facebook news feed is doing any good for your mental health; go outside, take your phone and take some shots; bake; read; throw a tennis ball really, really hard against a wall; have a shower; go to a bar or cafe you’ve never been to before; paint your nails; dress up your cat or dog; watch some weird-but-wonderful YouTube videos.
Basically, if you feel the crazy coming on, step away from the internet for a while. It will still be there when you get back.
I created my Living List almost two years ago. I can’t say how much of a comfort it has been. Does that make sense? Whenever I go through phases of feeling misdirected or unclear, I just go over there and think “Oh, that’s right”. I’m reminded of my purpose. Yes, long term purpose, and that’s not quite the same thing as short term, so I have to be mindful of that. But if you need to create a goal or dream to keep motivated, then for goodness sake go do it. Now.
Your blogging might depend on it.
Karen Andrews is the creator of Miscellaneous Mum. This is one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country and is a two-time finalist in the Best Australian Blogs competition. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Is an exercise junkie (when she finds the time).
I love you.
I love you x
My default position on Blogging is that there are no rules, but I liked this post because it’s more about “you as blogger” than the blog itself…
I’ve been blogging for about the same time as you have – I’ve been through many incarnations of “blogger” – and, once again, I’ve been re-evaluating my Blogging goals this year… it’s all about change and authenticity… we change as people, and our Blogs should reflect that change… it would be boring to be the same blogger forever!
John James recently posted..Tarot Tales: Victory (6 of Wands)
Very true John! I love that word ‘incarnation’ – it’s a perfect description!
You have articulated this sooo well! I was nodding in agreement the whole way through!
Grace recently posted..Wordless Wednesday – Lachlan Swamp
Thanks Grace, you kick-ass runner lady, you! x
Great post and wonderful tips! I am a relatively newbie blogger so I really appreciate all the help I can get! I particularly love #1 and #5. Thanks so much Shelley
Shelley recently posted..5 Financial Tips You Should Know Now You’re a Parent
Hi Shelley – welcome to the blogging community! Glad I could be of help
All true, all excellent advice. Thanks for posting
Most welcome x
Awesome tips Karen, thanks for sharing. It’s always great to hear others’ wisdom of experience. Kim
Glad you liked, Kim x
I found you via With Some Grace and really appreciate your tips here – seven years is a long time. I’m just coming up to 1 year and still very much learning. Anyway, I clicked through to read more about you and your professional writing and for whatever reason clicked on your story of Hope with no Expiry (you know, meant to be). We had many years of infertility and went through 9 IVF cycles, which included an ectopic pregnancy – I lost my right tube as well as the baby. We are now so blessed to have our two kids adopted from China and I try to explore the yin and yang, loss and gain, that is at the heart of our story. I’ve written a memoir too, but still have it ‘sitting in the drawer’. Will you be coming to the ProBlogger conference (apologies if you are speaking as I haven’t checked the program)? I’m looking forward to attending and learning more….kathy
Hello Kathy, lovely to meet you x I’d love to meet you in ‘real life’ at Problogger as well, because yes I’m going! I’m doing a lounge session on the Saturday morning, please if we find each other we must say hello!
Aloha Karen! Thanks for the tips; great for an aspiring blogger. In particular #3 really resonated with me.
Aloha! Welcome! And no problem
As always, excellent advice. Thanks for sharing Karen
Bronnie recently posted..Time for camp – and a mother’s worries
Firstly, congrats. you’ve crossed the 7 year itch, and that’s awesome! i’d like to add “do diverse stuff on your blog” – interviews, best of, guest posts, curation, videos, etc etc – makes blogging fun for blogger and readers.
happy blogging for many more years! nischala
Great advice! These are things I know already but it’s great to have someone else put my thoughts in writing and to reinforce what I’ve been thinking.
Andrea recently posted..Eastern Slovenia’s Prettiest City
Great list! Thanks for sharing. They’re things you know but don’t know you know until you read them. You know?
Emily recently posted..There are enough hours in the day
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