My Top Surprises
I’ve been blogging now for four years. I have done some things right, but many things wrong. If you are thinking of starting a blog, I shared my advice in an earlier post.
Someone recently asked me, “What surprised you most about getting this project going?” At first, I thought about the platform I used, about the wrong advice, about the misunderstanding I had about it all. As I reflected on it further, it was even more basic.
As I think about this list, I realize that these surprises are not only for bloggers but also for authors. See if they ring true for you:
10. How long it takes.
When I first started, oh my word! Everything took so long. I would labor over something. I thought I was a good writer but learned how far I had to go. The formatting, the images…the everything. It just took forever even with some help. Fast forward a few years and all that has changed.
Benefit: I have a greater appreciation for digital content creation and design.
9. How fast you can write and produce.
Sure, I may labor on something for longer than I should, but I don’t need to anymore. I can write posts quickly. What took forever is now routine, easy, and takes little time.
Benefit: I’m now a faster, better, clearer writer. This has been a big benefit at work.
8. How critics emerge.
Who ARE these people? Produce free content, designed to help people whether increasing their productivity in meetings or their creativity, and you want to argue about it? Out of nowhere, people will criticize what you say, what you do, or how it looks. Look closer and you may find that these people are unhappy, unsuccessful, and unfulfilled. Don’t ignore them, but write posts to help encourage them.
Benefit: I now handle critics better than I ever did.
7. How easy it is to be discouraged or stop.
I can’t tell you how many times I consider just shutting it all down. Anything worthwhile requires a commitment, so I power through those times.
Benefit: I learned to be self-motivated and find encouragement in the small things.
6. How disciplined you must be.
Everyone has a different process. Some people regularly get up and write a post. That’s not at all what I do. I may write numerous posts on a long international flight and then queue them up. Some of my posts that appear were written some time ago. This blog is not my main job and not my main focus, and I keep everything in perspective. But it has increased my discipline and focus in a way that I never imagined.
Benefit: No doubt about it. I am more productive, manage my time better, and am more efficient as the result of my blogging experience.
5. How content does not always equal success.
Some people will tell you, “Just keep writing. Eventually, it will all come together.” Maybe that’s true. On the other hand, get crystal clear on your goals. Is it to sell something? Generate traffic? Enhance your career? Use it as a stress outlet? Great content no longer is enough. Your site must be optimized for mobile. You need social media expertise. Your design and branding have to work. And the more like-minded people you are associated with, the better your chances are for success. Great writing is not enough. You need great promotion. And you need social proof.
Benefit: I have become an online networker, met more positive, productive people due to blogging than I ever could in person. Many I now call friends.