Monday, October 19, will mark the fifth anniversary of my blog. Instead of my usual excitement, I find myself reflecting on my purpose for this site and what I’ve gotten from it so far. I say “so far” because I intend to keep writing, sharing, and exploring this venue of the craft I enjoy so much.
1) Schedules – while posting on a schedule can certainly help, it’s not necessary. I try to post twice a week (usually Mondays and Thursdays), but life happens. The stress involved in saying the perfect thing on a timeline just didn’t work for me. I felt pressed to find “fillers”. And my writing suffered. On occasion, I’ve just had to let the blog slide, and that was ok. I have readers who have stayed with me since the beginning, and I am so very grateful they enjoy sharing our love for the craft – when time allows.
2) Comments – it can be depressing when you feel no one is listening, or “reading. After all, isn’t this whole blogging thing about interaction? The truth is, not everyone has time to comment on every post. I myself am guilty of reading blogs religiously, but seldom commenting. The number of comments you recieive is in no way a reflection of what you have shared. Some of the best blogs out there, with thousands of followers, may only get five or six comments a day. Think about the quality of the comments, not the quantity. After all, what does “Great post!” truly tell you? Interaction is the key. Did the comments left indicate your readers were affected by what you shared?
3) Giveaways – In the beginning, I was obsessed with giveaways. I continually handed away books, critiques, journals, gift cards, and more. I was driving myself crazy trying to “reward” my readers for “rewarding” me with their follows and comments. Don’t get me wrong – giveaways and promotion have their place. However, if it is no longer about the loyalty between reader and writer then it rings hollow. You are looking for a long term relationship, not just the day long boost to your numbers.
4) Be Yourself – So many people (especially writers) have had a blog at some point. Don’t focus on what the crowd is doing. There have been times I felt I needed to discuss the same topics as everyone else. When in truth, this only made me “just like everyone else” with little original thoughts of my own. And even when they were original thoughts, they were not necessarily adding any benefit to the already highly debated topics. I’ve even gone back and removed posts because I felt they were too “repetitive”, or not truly representative of my best ideas. Don’t be sheep. Discuss your own experiences. Stop rehashing others. You are an individual, act like one.
5) Never Stop Improving – There will always be someone smarter and better than you. Don’t settle for what you have now. Keep striving for more. More knowledge, more talent, and more friends, followers, or readers. Then give yourself a break. It doesn't all happen at once. Keep driving toward your goals!
What is something you’ve learned about blogging?