This month we’ve focused on sharpening blogging habits for the new year. There’s been a lot of good discussion, and if you haven’t been with us until this point, please check out the other posts in this series:
Here’s a confession: I’m kind of a serious person. I have a hard time going with the flow. Kicking back is not natural for me. I have to work hard to find the positive and the humor in life. It’s part life experience, part medical condition, and part DNA. I used to think I was just organized, hard-working, good at list-making, focused. I am all those things, but sometimes those are code words for anxious, sweating the small stuff and too serious.
Here’s an example. Artist Daughter had a friend visit. We decided to order pizza. We discussed all the menu options, then I called in my order. When I got off the phone, Artist Daughter chuckled. I asked her why. “That’s the calmest pizza order I’ve ever heard you give, Mom.” That was a pivotal moment of realization that I take life much too seriously.
Blog Habit #5: Relax
If you’re blogging as a hobby you can probably skip this post. If you’re blogging because you want to make your voice heard on a specific subject, you’re a writer and you’re building that all important social media platform or you have a product or idea and you’re trying to reach the masses, you may have some issues with taking yourself and your blog too seriously.
Wait a minute, Kristin, you’ve been telling us all month how to do all this stuff to make our blogs awesome, magnificent islands of intelligent communication in a noisy sea of internet flotsam, and now you’re saying don’t take it seriously?
I’m not saying we shouldn’t take our passion or career seriously, but sometimes we can get so consumed with doing what everyone says we should do to be successful we are not enjoying the journey. Here are 4 diagnoses you may be too serious about your blogging, and a possible cure for each.
Diagnosis: Lawbreaker Phobia – If you’re spending the majority of your blogging time trying to implement every ‘rule’ that you hear mentioned on any expert blogs and you’re afraid if you don’t follow all the rules your little blog will shrivel into oblivion, you need to relax. It’s helpful to learn techniques for better blogging, but don’t become enslaved by them.
Cure: Don’t be afraid to break the ‘rules’. You have the opportunity to give your blog your unique signature, and the creative aspect makes it fun.
Diagnosis: Blank Screen Syndrome – Your agent/boss/mentor/critique group said you needed to start building that ‘social media platform’ so you jumped into blogging with both feet, ready to conquer. You made it past the newbie hump and stuck with it, but now the spectre of trying to come up with blog post ideas and content day after day or week after week has become a teeth-pulling, stressful burden. It’s not just a few down days, you know it’s infecting your entire attitude. Get ready, I’m going to wave my magic wand.
Cure: Maybe blogging is not for you. AND THAT”S OKAY. Deep breaths, see that wasn’t so bad. If blogging is not something you enjoy, you aren’t going to stick with it over the long haul. Try microblogging instead. You can still build relationships and a following with Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, where there’s less time investment and writing involved. Movements.org covers the basics of microblogging on How To Microblog.
Diagnosis: Blog Hot Mess Fever – You’ve been blogging for a while. You were enjoying yourself, getting good feedback. But somewhere along the way you lost your focus. You got enamored with widgets and crammed them everywhere on your blog. You started posting on unrelated subjects. Your feedback went down. Months have gone by in between posts. The passion that got you blogging in the first place seems to have dissipated.
Cure: Maybe you should consider a reboot. Start from scratch? After all that work? Sometimes the energy we get from starting something new gives us the motivation to continue. Jeff Goins gives some good advice with When To Quit Your Blog and Start A New One.
Diagnosis: Personality Flu – You’re knocking it out of the park with informative posts. Good design. Bullet points. Good links. Well-researched. But something’s missing. Somehow you’re not connecting with your readers. There’s not a lot of interaction on your blog.
Cure: Loosen up and have some fun. Look for the humor in your subject. Share a funny anecdote once in a while. Relax and be yourself. When your personality shines through your blog, it will help you nurture reader relationships and make blogging fun. Claire Legrand says “Forget the stress, forget the expectations, the daily slog through statistics. It’s okay to be yourself, it’s okay to blog yourself.”
Take your blog to the next level by relaxing. You’re going to do great. Seriously.