My Top Ten Blogging Epiphanies

A  friend recently approached me and asked, “I want to start a blog. Can you give me a list of helpful tips?”

OK, no, that really didn’t happen. I’m just trying to participate in the #Summer Blog Social sponsored by Liz from a belle, a bean, and a Chicago dog and Jessica from Four Plus an Angel.

This great social experience actually started August 1st and will finish August 5th. I’ve already read through several well-written, established and successful blogs, gleaning great advice and perspective. Sadly, it has only made my blog seem, well…less.

Less organized.

Less planned.

Less goal oriented.

Less consistent.

However, it is not necessarily less visited or supported, so perhaps I have inadvertently done a few things right. Now, if only I knew what those were, so I could duplicate them.

In an effort to give myself some clarity, and hopefully save you from making my same mistakes, here are My Top Ten Blogging Epiphanies. (prompt number 2, Advice for Others)

  1. Blogging late at night will affect your sex life. The supportive husband who first flattered you by reading your blog posts, asked what you wrote each day, and congratulated you when you had your first 100 hits, will quickly disappear if he constantly goes to bed by himself. In other words, don’t let blogging become more important than the very things that probably inspired you to blog in the first place – your family. Not only will they start to resent “the blog” (not to be confused with “the blob”, although it may feel like it is sucking you under at times) but you will start resenting what used to bring you joy too.
  2. Blogging may make your butt look big. My assets are directly proportional to the number of blog posts I have written this year. I developed tunnel vision, forgot how to manage personal time, lost hours either writing, reading, or commenting on blogs. There is a life outside of blogging, and I don’t mean a virtual life. You still have to take care of you, so make time for it without the guilt. Read a good book, go the gym, take a walk or have a meal with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Besides, the more you venture outside the same four walls, the more opportunities to uncover great blog inspiration.
  3. Blogging might cause you to lose friends. Blog with integrity, people. Write from the heart, be as honest as you feel comfortable, air your own dirty laundry if you want, but never air someone else’s (even if you were some how in the mix). Embarrassing friends and family in a way that is disrespectful or demeaning is never okay. Sure, I could write for days about all the reasons why my first marriage didn’t work, but that would be reckless and damaging. Yes, it’s a part of my history, but it’s not mine to share. I have to be more interesting than the mistakes of others.
  4. Blogging will require you to be reptilian. There will be times you get your feelings hurt by either mean comments, lack of comments, or rejections. Technology and social media might make your head spin so fast you feel like you’re on a never-ending merry-go-round. You will have to learn how to shed your skin and move on, toughen up a little, because the triumphs far out way the frustrations.
  5. Blogging will not make your life more interesting. When I started this blog 18 months ago, I was convinced great ideas would flow freely. My children and husband would surely give me inspiration daily. The first few weeks were a breeze, but then suddenly, I realized there just wasn’t that much to say about scrubbing toilets and folding laundry. I needed to pay more attention to the little things, take a look at my life from a writer’s perspective, and participate in writing communities that would nurture my creativity.
  6. Reading other people’s blogs will make you a better writer. The more blogs I read, the more I realize what I like to read, which transforms how I write for others to read. I found myself skimming longer posts for the main idea – so I started to write shorter posts. I struggled to connect with blogs that didn’t give enough detail or description but read more like a news commentary – so I started using more imagery and conversation. I loved reading blogs that helped me see the author as a whole – so I started to focus more on personal experiences to “show” rather than “tell” my audience who I am. Surround yourself in the talent that you want to achieve.
  7. Blogging requires you to write. Shocking, I know, but you do actually have to write consistently for this blogging thing to work. Unless you really are writing it as an on-line journal for your own personal enjoyment, then by all means, write as sporadically as you want.
  8. Not everything you write will be good, some of it will be crap. Refer back to #7, please. My biggest frustration is not feeling brilliant every time I sit down to write. There are a lot of posts I read later and say, “What the hell was I thinking?”  However, because I try to write every day, there are more opportunities for personal excellence. Like all things in life, the more you do it, the better you get.
  9. Blogging will not make you rich, in fact, it might cost you some money. People who think bloggers are sitting around in their pajamas collecting advertising dollars, free products and trips, being sought after for speaking engagements or publishing opportunities are obviously totally high. (okay, well, I actually do sit in my pajamas often. That part is true.) You have to write a blog for the love of writing and a desire to reach out to a community or else, don’t bother. You will be disappointed. And don’t be afraid to spend a few dollars for things like logos, mast-heads or self-hosted sites (I’m still dragging my feet on that one) because they only make your blogging experience more enjoyable.
  10. Blogging will boost your self-esteem. It has been sort of a domino effect. Before blogging I felt lost and lonely. Now I feel like I have another purpose. I have a community of friends that understand me on a very personal level as a parent and wife, but also as a writer. If you had asked me 18 months ago what I do, my response would have been, “I’m a stay at home mom” now I boldly say, “I’m a freelance writer and blogger”. The greater your self-esteem the more important you feel, catapulting you further in the direction you want to go. Want to be a public speaker? Want to get paid to write? Want to start an after school writing program? Want to start your own business? All of these things are possible when you believe in your ability.

I am excited to read more insight from all the bloggers participating in the #SummerBlogSocial, and will hopefully implement many of their great ideas.

What blogging epiphanies have you had?

20 thoughts on “My Top Ten Blogging Epiphanies

  1. I love these – they are all so true! Especially #3. Sure, we want to be able to be ourselves and vent sometimes in our writing, but keep those writings to yourself. At the end of the day we all still have an image we want to maintain. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put up a “meh” post just because I needed a post. Sometimes I’m a bit relieved when there’s a meme I can take part in!

  2. These are spot-on. Blogging takes time. So much time. And still, only 1% of the blogs out there make any sort of considerable income. For the most part, it’s work without pay. And you really, really have to like your job to stick with it.

  3. These are all awesome epiphanies! I love the one that it could cause you to lose friends & to be careful with that. There are many topics I’ve wanted to write about before, but didn’t, because it could totally offend someone other than myself. You do have to be careful what you say. I have a terrible, terrible relationship with my MIL that causes a lot of stress – but I never write about it. She doesn’t read my blog – but on the off chance she did, I don’t think it would go over so well. 😉

  4. Talk to me more about this making money thing…how can that work with blogging? My blogging epiphany is that it keeps you mentally sharp as you age. Who said that? Did I just say that?

  5. This is a great twist on the prompt! I love every word.

    I especially like #3. I could write about all kinds of crap about friends, family, neighbors, etc. But I don’t. I know there are times I mention others in passing, but I try to make it about ME and not a laundry list of the things that person did wrong (unless it’s something a company did wrong — then all bets are off!) The In-laws are one big example, as is work. I wont’ write about either!

  6. I really miss blogging on a regular basis… but woah buddy, does this being pregnant thing really kill your social life and the fun stuff there is to blog about. I am certain no one cares to read my pregnancy woes every day! I hope to get back to it on a regular basis by the time Beck is 10 or so! 🙂

    I have actually started a personal, hidden, private journal blog where I can say and do what I want with nobody to judge it or get mad at me. I have really enjoyed just typing a stream of thought without the need to structure or spell check. (though I still spell check bc it drives me crazy not to!)

    Blogging started for me way back in the days of Live Journal and Myspace blogs. I moved to the WP format to document my life after divorce. I love looking back over the last 2+ years of posts at all the fun things I have experienced. I guess I never did it for the readers, I just did it for me. By doing so, I have made a handful of amazing friends. Including you!

    ok. sorry. I think i just blogged in your comment section. haha!

  7. Great post. When I started blogging two years ago, I promised myself I’d only view it as a hobby. That way I had no guilt spending money or time on it. Of course, it blossomed into something wonderful as I’ve connected with so many people and made new friends. The community of bloggers it introduces you to is so rewarding.

  8. Oh dear, I thought I was coming here for enlightenment but what I got was a hefty dose of reality 🙂 Yep, blogging makes my butt look big, has made me a little more broke at times – on the upside though – it has been quite entertaining and has stimulated my imagination and improved my writing 🙂 Funny post – thanks for the laughs 🙂

  9. Great tips! I think you have a good balance of things here that highlight that you need to find a balance between your life and your craft. And now it’s time for me to actually get out of my pajamas…

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