Remedial Blogging: So You Want To Be A Blogger
I’ve been hard at work on the blog, making it more functional and tweaking bugs and what not…for the second weekend in a row. I spend so much of my “free time” (whatever that is) reading amazing posts from successful bloggers, laying out the road to success. The posts are amazing and the helpful guidance is great. But I thought for those of you who want to become bloggers, maybe it’s time you hear about how to be a blogger from a not-so-super-successful-(yet) blogger. I had thought before that I would love to give guidance to other bloggers when I get more established, but to be honest, I don’t have faith that I will remember how much work it is. So I’m laying it all out right now, while it’s still fresh and difficult and dirty. Welcome to Remedial Blogging.
I’ve blogged a touch before, but nothing really very big. And now that I’m older and can be quite honest about the experience, I had no idea what I was doing at the time and was so intimidated to write and let down my guard publicly, that I didn’t do much at all. But I have always loved reading blogs.
I used to be on the PTA Board at my kid’s school (one year Secretary and one year President). Like, bigtime. Full-time, unpaid volunteer work. No free weekends. Few free evenings. But it was worth it. We got a lot accomplished and it wasn’t completely thankless. But at the end of the two years, after powering through every day like the angriest, most motivated bull in Pamplona, a sudden, throbbingly silent void came over my life. What would I do now? I wasn’t ready to go back to work full time and most of my friends remained super involved at the school, which I refused to do (for sanity’s sake). I started SoDomesticallyChallenged because I was great at cleaning and organizing, but couldn’t craft or cook. It was intended to be a blog about some great organizing and a lot of domestic failures. I intended to write a fail blog.
But it didn’t happen. I somehow managed to fear the failure…or worse, the documenting of the failure. And the thought of “who’s going to read this” took hold. So then…nothing. A post here. A post there. A hodge-podged miss-match of everything from a 2-part series on removing labels from dish soap bottles (which was my number one post on Pinterest until recently, with 1 person besides myself having pinned it) to how to make perler bead shapes (yeah. I wrote that. I actually called it “Fun With Perler Beads“. It was riveting) to my Dollar Tree organizing haul (which, okay, I was kind of excited about, but it was sort of underwhelming). With each post, I wrote and re-wrote and took more and more of myself out of it. I hit publish, pinned to Pinterest and waited for the traffic to come.
And it didn’t really. My pixelated life sat here, alone in it’s domain, gathering digital dust. And I, in my real-life domain thought about my poor blog from time to time, too embarrassed to abandon it now, but too embarrassed to write anything.
A few months back, it was like it all clicked. Perhaps I reached some sort of maturity that gave me the strength to fail or maybe the excitement of having a brand new home to make our own was something I wanted to share. Maybe it was seeing things on Pinterest that I wanted to try and tell people if they worked or not. I suddenly had ideas. So many ideas. Disjointed, jumbled, manically scattered ideas. Not a one involved perler beads or Dollar Tree. And again, the fear of who would read it came back. I took that determination that I once had for the PTA, and I refocused with laser-precision and decided to write what I wanted. So what if there is no real and true theme?
So here I am. Several weeks now of posting multiple times a week, starting social media accounts, jumping onto link parties. And I have a small following. My average day is anywhere from 70-200 visitors, which keeps me from feeling like I’m writing that fail blog.
So here it is, for all of you thinking about becoming bloggers or have just started a blog:
Are you excited? Seriously though, expect to stay up late fixing and writing and hating every tired ounce of “creativity” you wring from yourself. Expect to wonder why you do it and who it’s for. Expect to work each and every day to get people to read your work. Expect to be disappointed.
So now, what not to do:
I know. You’re thinking that your content is so clever or you have so many friends or so many people follow you on Pinterest or whatever, so you won’t have any problem getting an audience and you won’t follow the same slave trade rules that every other blogger does. *Cue game show buzzer*. Unless you’re Kim Kardashian, people aren’t going to insta-flock to your blog (and let’s all take a moment to pray that Kim Kardashian doesn’t actually have a blog).
Here’s the bottom line: You will work hard. You will have doubts. And if you just keep up with it and grow as a person, your readership will grow as well. You have to be honest and let down your guard of perfectionism, because nobody really wants that. We want people we can relate to. We want people like ourselves. And if you’re just honest and consistent (and follow a few simple rules), you’ll get those readers over time.
And to be fully blunt, if you can’t take the disappointment and criticism I’ve laid out here, you aren’t tough enough to be a blogger.
So your homework for this session of Remedial Blogging is to decide if you really want to wade into the world of blogging. If you choose to drop the course, simply stop by the registrar’s office and get a refund for the semester. If you choose to stay in and follow the coursework, at then end of class, you’ll find yourself to be Blogger Strong.