This is my 100th blog post. I thought I’d take this as an opportunity to share some things I’ve learned about blogging. I previously wrote on why I think everyone should blog here which speaks to a lot of things I’ve picked up about the benefits of blogging. In this series of posts I’ll focus on what I’ve learned about continuity, process, audiences, and a few other things.
Don’t Make It About the Outcome
Feedback loops are important to creators. They allows us to refine our work. They helps us identify which audiences our creations resonate with and why. They confirm that the work we do is worthwhile, thus motivate us to continue creating.
In the blogosphere, the main feedback loops are comments, sharing on social networks, and traffic. The immediacy of these feedback loops make it easy to adopt an outcome centric approach to blogging. It becomes more about the reaction you receive than the content or creation process. MORE RETWEETS!!! That’s fine and appropriate for certain bloggers. But for a casual blogger like myself and anyone just starting, this mindset can be problematic.
Expecting results leaves you vulnerable to failure. When you don’t get results you want, you get frustrated which makes you more likely to quit. This is why you see many people write 4 blog posts and stop.
Until I switched to wordpress, I didn’t have Google Analytics on my blog. I have it now and can honestly say I’ve checked it less than 5 times. Why? Because I don’t want too much of my practice to be driven by the reaction of a third party. Don’t get me wrong, when a post gets a bunch of retweets, I do a little a dance. But when I don’t, its not that big of a deal. This allows me to keep moving. It’s like approaching girls at a bar: if everyone time you crash and burn you let it get to you, you’ll find reasons to quit. But when you detach yourself from the outcome, it doesn’t really matter when you bomb enabling you to move upwards and onwards!
This mindset has been integral for me continuing this practice.
Write About What Energizes You
I’ve written about this before and think this is why many bloggers who start with a thesis hang the cleats up early in their career.
If you’re not writing about things that excite you, odds are you won’t enjoy the process. When you don’t enjoy the process blogging feels like work. When it feels like work you find reasons not to do it – You write 4 posts and slink back into the shadows of the blogosphere.
This is why pidgeon holing yourself to a thesis threatens continuity. If I only wrote about tech, business development, or “How to” posts would I expedite the growth of my professional klout? DEFINITELY…MORE FOLLOWERS, YAY!. But my interests extend far beyond these things and I don’t always feel like writing about them.
Writing about things that energize me without limiting myself to content that might provoke professional development has kept me writing. I encourage people who want to maintain an active personal blog to do the same.
Recognizing the value of the practice and writing in the morning have also been drivers of continuity. This is pretty straight forward.
In the next part of this post, I’ll talk about process. Specifically, the methodology I use and strategies I’ve found effective to continually create content.