Sigh. I look at the stats and only a handful of views for my new post. OK, put the phone down. Wait to check for like 15 minutes this time. Eeeek. I can’t. The adrenaline is irresistible. Oh boy, one more view than two minutes ago! Progress! Yessss!
You Can’t Be All Things to Everyone
And so are the thoughts of many new bloggers as we embark on this new journey of putting ourselves out there in the blogosphere. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started my blog about sixish months ago. I remember thinking to myself I just want to write. This is my release and I need this. Then it morphed into I just want to encourage others. I want others to feel like they aren’t alone. Someone else has been there. Then you start picking up steam and think you need to write about everything. You start thinking I’m a genius. I need to let other people know about this awesome thing I have discovered. Everyone needs to know that you can knit underwear in five minutes.
Before you know it you feel like your blog is all over the place and last time you checked the stats on your phone, things felt pretty stagnant. All that work you’ve put in to try and be versatile, then trying to be coherent, then back to being versatile, then OK, I’m going to keep a focused content on my blog this time. You feel like no matter what you do, you come up empty handed with hardly any new followers to show for it. Why is it that us new bloggers get sucked into this? Whether you lose focus and keep trying to reinvent your blog or stay focused but feel like your progress is “meh,” many bloggers come to some sort of crossroads at some point.
I decided to survey a group of bloggers. I was interested to see how they got in the game and how they survive the journey. I gotta say, reading the responses were incredibly enlightening. I started flipping through the sheets of responses and not only did I notice a similar trend of advice from veteran bloggers to new bloggers, but I noticed a similar struggle amongst us newbies. It was like the new blogger was speaking their frustrations into the wind, hoping for a change, while the veteran bloggers were whispering back keys to stay the course. While I initially was going to make this article a little more about statistics, my muse sent me in another direction. Thank goodness, because any time the muse shows up, I must bow down.
I needed to write about this. To write this for me. I wanted to write this for the new blogger. I wanted to write this to remind veteran bloggers. We bloggers must never forget these life blood tips from our very own. The ones who have been there. I pulled these from the mouths of the very ones who have traversed the line of success and a mess, but always pushing forward to better themselves as writers.
Write about what is important to you and stay the course. Don’t get caught up in appealing to the masses.
Write what you love. Write what you feel, not what you think others want to read. I find this hard at times. I see other blogs thriving and easily get caught up in tweaking my blog to some similar version of someone else’s. I mean, if they have a gazillion likes then they must be dong something right! Yes, and no. They are doing what’s right for them. Trying to do your content based on what you see out there working for someone else will most likely lead you down a path of writing destructiveness. Yes, cliche comment coming but just be yourself. Let your own personality come through and learn to harness your own creativity over whatever topic fits you. Come on people, there are a bazillion mom bloggers out there writing about their life as a mom and tons of them are successful. You know why? Because they write about what’s important to them.
Write because you want to, not to receive validation.
I keep going back to that image of my staying sucked to my phone checking stats. While I like to think I’m a little more lax about it, boy those first few months I couldn’t get enough of my stats reader. It would be arrogant and ignorant to say stats don’t matter at all as you write. Maybe for some, stats don’t carry much weight. For the rest of us, remember to walk the balance of learning from your readers but not being controlled by them. So you have a certain page that gets the most views? Great, keep developing that page IF you feel good about it. Don’t change everything you enjoy about your site just for that statistic. I have easily been sucked into the numbers game and finally decided to go with what I felt most confident with my writing. While I am learning to be patient as my readership grows, I am not defined by them. I should be defining my readers.
Connect. It is the life blood of bloggers.
It is easy to get isolated in the blogging world, so get yourself out there and join a blogging group or two. I did not realize how rad the blogging world can be until I started joining blogging groups. The more I started engaging in our own community, the better I started to feel. The more you give the more you receive. You can’t make it blogging very long by yourself. You need the help and advice of other bloggers. If you aren’t part of Naptime Nation Facebook group. Join. Trust me. It is a life saver and I have not found a woman in that group who tore another writer down for her success. Choose to encourage those around you who are success. It will make you a better writer in the long run. Stay out of the vortex that is jealousy. Lindsay from Pinch of Yum has some great tips about fighting jealousy and being supportive of our fellow bloggers.
Write. Write. Write. And BE PATIENT.
The more you write, the better you’ll be. Focus on producing quality content and the rest will fall into place. Be patient. Good things can come from being patient. Patient as your writing skills grow. Patient as you grow your number of followers. Patient as you wait to hear back from ScaryMommy to see if your piece gets published. Patience doesn’t mean sitting on your hands. Keep working your butt off to engage your readers to grow your readership, but as we all know, most empires take time to build. Build your blog by writing, writing and writing some more. Be patient as you continue to learn the process and learn from others. “As one blogger said from our survey, “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s midpoint/end because at one point, they were right where you are now.” Nuff said.
I couldn’t write this list without adding the most popular, beefy tip from our fellow bloggers.
DON’T GIVE UP.
Don’t get discouraged by your stats. Learn from them, but don’t live or quit writing by them. Don’t rush. Blogging is a forever learning experience. Enjoy where you’re at. OK, begging for some sponsors with your media kit may not sound all that enjoyable, but remember why you started this in the first place. Keep that in the forefront as you move forward and remember what is important and obsess less about what isn’t. Capiche?
An original version of this post appeared on livingfornaptime.com