So here it is, my 200th blog post!
It is a milestone that I have been striving to achieve since I hit my 50th blog post nearly 2 years ago. There were many times I almost walked away from this blogging business as I was disappointed and frustrated that my message was never being received. I had to learn to write for me and get over my ego of placing the expectation that anyone else would be interested in reading what I wrote. This shift in mindset has been a tremendous lesson and one that leads me to a continual passion for writing.
I don’t profess to be a blogging wizard or any kind of expert in the field. What I can say is that I have experienced a lot more of life and blogging and how the two have become intertwined in being apart of who I am right now.
For my 200th post, I will share with you things that I have learned to get me through some rough times in both my life and writing.
Write when you are angry.
Don’t be afraid to write when you are pissed off. Sometimes the most passionate posts can come from the heat of the moment. When your adrenaline is pumping, and you are hyper-focused on the issue at hand, your words can flow much more natural than if you are distracted by other things. The beautiful part about writing when you are angry is that you can make sense of the feelings you are experiencing and you can find words to accurately describe your mindset. Be careful though, cool off before posting! I don’t recommend posting when you are angry. Take some time, read your words before posting, sometimes you cannot take back your words.
Don’t concern yourself with numbers.
This is probably the most challenging thing to learn when blogging. My first post barely got 10 views and had no likes. Out of my 200 posts, nearly half have not been seen by any more than 50 people. The problem with numbers is that you can never have enough. Once upon a time, I would have been elated to have 50 visitors in a week, now I want more than that in a day.
One of the more exciting times was when I had one of my posts picked up by Hacker News. It was my first experience having something I created to go viral as I had over 10,000 views on that post in one day! That experience spoiled me and set the bar of expectation higher. The crash of realizing that not every post will be that popular was devastating; I almost quit blogging! I had to forget numbers and remind myself why I was writing in the first place. Writing for the passion of sharing experience, not for the numbers or popularity. Numbers are merely shallow victories.
Learn to write anywhere.
I used to write strictly in the confines of my office at work. I had a beautiful view of a mural that was painted on the side of a building next door. That mural gave me so much inspiration until I switched offices and my window view changed. Almost like a creativity switch had been pulled, I could no longer write in my new office.
Not only for my inspiration but for the sake of time, I had to learn to write anywhere. I learned to write blog posts on my phone, in the garage waiting for my car to be serviced, in my living room with my son playing and dog barking. I save the editing for later, but when the moment catches me, I can write a post anywhere to capture the mood. In fact, I am writing this very post while waiting to pick my son up from basketball practice.
Don’t be afraid to play.
I cannot express this enough, play with your blog! Try all kinds of themes, layouts, and colors. Making it personal and fresh will keep you interested in this fun hobby. Change is where the growth happens, and your blog is no different. Don’t be afraid to write silly stuff and explore what readers are looking for. The more different things you write from time to time, the more you will expand your writing repertoire.
Write points now, flesh out later.
Often I will have an idea for a blog post, but I just don’t have the time to write it all. When this happens, I create a draft, write out the points I want to cover and then save it for later. There are times when I will even leave a post for many weeks without ever touching it, electing instead to add more points until I have it ready to be written to completion. This practice leaves me with a draft folder with about 40 blog posts in various states of finish. Doing this takes the pressure off completing a blog post, yet capturing the moment for later reflection.
Exercise and eat well.
I know, I know. We all should be eating good and exercising, but I had to add this as both of these habits have really opened up my creativity. There are many times where I have been able to free a writer’s block by going for a good 45-minute high-intensity workout. Getting the blood flowing feeds oxygen to the brain and helps flush out the stress hormones that often the blockages of creativity. Eating healthy is a no-brainer in that if you do not have the right fuel in your body to create, you just can’t do your best work. There really is no such thing as a starving artist.
Read, read, READ!
There is no better way to get ideas to write than by reading. Read books, articles, blog posts, hell, I have been inspired to write by reading the ingredients on the shampoo bottle in my shower. Reading is the “yin” to your writing “yang.” Not only does it help inspire ideas to write about, but it also broadens your vocabulary and writing style. Don’t stick yourself strictly to the content that you write about, expand your reading knowledge as you never know what may catch your attention and open your eyes to another point of view.
Make it a ritual to release.
My motto of “never miss a Monday” has ensured that I make regular posts to this blog. I have had some awful writing dry spells that would have been blog deal-breakers, but by making sure that I posted SOMETHING on Monday morning, it enabled me to fight through them. Ironically, some of my best posts have been written when I was cramming to get something written for the next day. Be consistent with your posts, your followers like that. Your habits will define your life, and this your blogging. Be habitual, ritualistic, and your blogging will become a “non-negotiable” in your life.
Pay for the full Grammarly suite! Grammarly has made me look like an astute writer and let’s be honest, poor grammar will kill any well-intentioned blog post. The unintended consequence of using Grammarly is that it is a great teaching tool to write better and to gain better writing habits.
Share your posts with friends.
Sharing your blog posts with your friends on other social media platforms is a no-brainer. Having conversations about your shared posts only helps to validate your ideas. The ideas that you get from friends will give you the energy to write that next post, and then the next post after that! When sharing your post on your social media stream, make sure you add a personal note with the link. This helps give your idea a little more context and will make folks stop the scroll finger long enough for them to relate and click.