Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: Get Serious By Relaxing


image courtesy Creative Commons

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:

Part 1 –  Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: 4 Ways To Define Your Audience

Part 2 –  Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: 7 Keys To Blogging On A Consistent Basis

Part 3 –  Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: 14 Actions To Take To Amplify Your Blog’s Voice

Part 4 –  Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: The Golden Rule For Bloggers

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.

"They're more like guidelines than actual rules..."

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.

"Just click your heels together and say 'It's okay 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.

"You think I should start over?"

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.”

Read Claire’s entire post ‘It’s Okay To Blog Yourself’.

Take your blog to the next level by relaxing. You’re going to do great. Seriously.

Question: What’s the funniest/silliest/snarkiest post you ever made on your blog? Let’s start off the week with a laugh and leave a link in the comments.

7 thoughts on “Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: Get Serious By Relaxing

  1. Once again, another great post with lots of food for thought.

    I went through a very, very crazy blog period around my third month of social media — I think it was when I found your blog and you mentioned the white board with sticky notes. I think I made a comment that you “saved my blogging life” LOL I was pretty stressed out by about everything social media back then and to find a friendly blog about blogging was a huge relief.

    I think the most controversial post I wrote was Deceitful Me where i mentioned that I sort of lie to my family to get in more writing time. Some people loved it but others were a little put off and my family was shocked. I tried to get across in that post that my family is supportive of my writing and the problem was with me and my guilt, not with them. However, I still don’t think my daughter is convinced. I feel bad about that.

    Love the pictures you chose for this post and the caption under Glinda. Hmmm… microblogging….

    Thanks Kristin!

    Like

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  4. Thanks for your blog Kristin! I’ve been following you for a little over a month and you’re a Godsend to newbie bloggers like myself. I have to admit that I’m still lost as to how I want to approach my blog but then I’ll find one of your posts in my email and they usually reel me in off another tangent from which I find myself, and gets me back on the right track again. Relaxing- I can do that!

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    • Thanks for following, Donna, and glad I could be of help. Hang in there and try to think about what you’re goals were when you first decided to blog and that can help clarify what you do going forward. I have blogging tangents, sometimes daily, because there’s always so much ‘shiny new-ness’ out in the blogosphere and I can relate to the idea of ‘reeling myself back in’. I have to tell myself to relax about blogging all the time. That’s why I love sharing with other bloggers. We’re all here to support one another. 🙂

      Like

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