Long ago I promised myself that I would follow one simple rule when it comes to bizchickblogs and nothing else: I will love this blog, but I will not marry it.
I was inspired to write this after I read a post about blogging misconceptions by Kristi Hines on kikolani.com yesterday (kikolani was one of the very first blogs I ever read, and also one of my first guest post hosts – might have even been the first, I don’t remember).
Her post gets real about blogging. And although there’s a lot in that post that is beyond the scope of this one, I think it’s a great wake up call for bloggers to stop putting so much unnecessary pressure and criticism on ourselves and each other.
What so many great bloggers are managing to accomplish with limited time is fantastic! It should be celebrated, not criticized.
Part-time (Blog) Lovers
Most of us are part-time bloggers. We blog in our “spare” time and the rest of our time is spent living. It may seem like all bloggers spend 23 1/2 hours per day blogging, tweeting, and updating Facebook, but it’s just not the case. Most of us have families, jobs, and hobbies that we had before we were blogging. In fact, it’s those outside things that make us so interesting to connect with on a daily basis. And it’s those things that give us something to talk about.
Some of my favorite, popular bloggers live busy lives and hold down jobs and still manage to be at the top of their blogging game. How?
If you want my advice on how this all works, I say, love your blog but do not marry it. Loving your blog means caring for it, helping it grow, and enjoying it. Marrying your blog, though, means elevating it to a level of importance and priority that cannot be sustained if you already have a life outside of blogging (which most of us do). I’ve done that – gone and married my blog – and the relationship ended badly. I had to get some perspective back.
This is how you love your blog without over-committing to it.
- Take a break when you need to. If you get flack for whatever reason, have the confidence to say fuggedaboudit.
- Write well. Writing well when you can is better than writing poorly all the time. And what I’m referring to is good, honest writing, not grammar (although, C+ or better grammar does help).
- Make something of it, or have a plan to. I love how Kristi suggests that if you want to make money from your blog, you DESERVE to do so. So if you want to monetize it in some way, go on and do that, then. You’re providing a huge service to your readers, and there is nothing wrong with being compensated or with making money in general.
- Remember to live. Sorry everyone, but blogging is not living. Balance is so key.
- Have fun or make it fulfilling. If you’re not having fun or blogging is not fulfilling for you, see the bullet point above. If that doesn’t help, consider taking a sabbatical.
- Put Compete scores and Klout scores and Alexa rankings and social proof in their places. I consider them like many vanity surgeries. At the end of the day, it’s all skin deep, so, who cares?
- Give your blog some friends. Friends keep you balanced and will bring some perspective. Note that I said friends, not idols. Idols are people you are constantly elevating and wishing you were like. Friends are pals who will tell you a booger is hanging out of your nose, or who, like Ileane, will tell you when your blog is taking FOREVER to load (emphasis, hers).
Last point: Don’t expect others to be married to their blogs, either. Try not to criticize.
Prioritize joy over obligation and you will be a happy, successful blogger. Agree? Disagree? Fire away.
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