Tuesday, March 4, 2014

how to be a happy blogger

Whenever I'm on pinterest I see a ton of pins for posts like "5 ways to increase your blog traffic" or "Make your blog successful with three simple steps" or "Sell your soul and gain 100 blog followers!" etc. But I never see anything about actually enjoying blogging.

In February I posted less than any month since 2010. Yikes! Part of it is because I was on vacation and had limited access to wi-fi for about a week, but I'd be lying if I said that I was the least bit bothered by being unable to blog. I was kind of relieved. I've been having major blog fatigue this year and there have been countless moments when I've given serious thought to throwing in the towel. I'm not going to, but I thought about it... a lot. So this post is really as much for me as it is for anyone else.

Blogging is fun. First and foremost, it should always be fun. Obviously if you're a full-time blogger who makes your living from blogging sometimes it won't be fun and you'll have to do it anyway, but this post is directed more towards people like me (and maybe you?) who primarily blog because we enjoy documenting our lives and sharing our favorite things and connecting with other people. There are a lot of things that can put a damper on blogging but if you can maneuver your way around them and concentrate on the good things, you can be a happy blogger.

Step 1: Ignore any and all numbers.

ALL OF THEM. Trust me. When I first started blogging I used to check my follower count constantly. It would go up by two and I'd get excited and then it would drop by three and I'd be horribly crushed. At some point I just stopped looking on a regular basis. Every once in a while (like if I'm updating my advertising traffic statistics or if I happen to catch the number out of the corner of my eye) I'll notice the number but if you only see it once every few weeks or months you don't see the daily fluctuations that can potentially hurt your feelings. (I know not everyone is as insanely sensitive as me, but if you are, keep this tip in mind!)

This goes for comments as well. I don't look at how many comments each post gets anymore. I do read each comment when I moderate them but I never go back to look at the collective number on a post.

Ignoring numbers isn't just about avoiding disappointment, it's also about enjoying blogging for the act of blogging and not for the goal of gaining followers. That's a perk that comes with blogging, not the reason for doing it.

Step 2: Let it go.

Type up your post, hit publish, share on your various social networking sites if that floats your boat, and then let it go.

Don't baby your blog post. Maybe check in a few months later to re-read it or visit over the holidays when you're working on your year-end round up. But right now, let it go. Let yourself feel the satisfaction of having published a post that you're happy with.

If you are content with a blog post, let that be enough. If you get a positive comment, consider that an added bonus.

Step 3: Blog about what you like.

If you blog about things just because you think other people want to read them, you're not going to be a happy blogger. Blog about what you like. My favorite blogger is Kaylah from The Dainty Squid. I love when she posts about her unique interests like her tooth collection and her interest in the funeral industry. Being yourself and posting about the one-of-a-kind interests that make you YOU will make you a happy blogger (and, uh, oops.. this is probably a tip for being a successful blogger too.)

Related -- don't stop blogging about something because it's lacking in feedback. I'm so guilty of this myself. I can't even tell you how many times I've gotten my hopes up about a new series, broken my first rule (checked the numbers... a lot) and then cancelled said series because nobody seemed to like it as much as me. That needs to stop. If you find joy in scheduling your weekly round-up of marsupial photos, by golly you should keep doing it.

Step 4: Comparison is the thief of joy.

Yup, that quote. It's true. I think this is probably one of the biggest obstacles to being a happy blogger. Finding your own voice in a sea that seems to be populated by thousands of girls who are the blogging equivalents of Ariel from The Little Mermaid can be rough. In comparison you end up feeling like you're one of those little pathetic shrunken (poor unfortunate) souls Ursula keeps on a shelf in her lair.

It's definitely easier said than done. I mean, look at this cartoon by Gemma Correll. If an artist as talented, successful and universally respected as her can feel this way, it's no wonder the rest of us do, too. But as hard as it is to accomplish, it's important to try.

Whenever you find yourself thinking "why can't I have blog photographs like..." or "I wish my life was like ...." just stop for a second. You're awesome. And so are they. You can both be awesome in your own unique ways.

Step 5: Blog when you want to.

I've always thought my worst posts have been the ones I published because I felt like I had to blog that day. My favorite posts are usually the ones that I plan in advance, or the ones I whip up in the spur of the moment on a whim. Schedules are great, and I've stuck with a loose one on-and-off for a few years (obviously not for the last month or so) but if your schedule is getting in the way of your fun, stop.


Basically blog about the things you love, don't let your blog numbers get you down, and be proud of the work that you put into your posts. Post what you like and then like what you post. And above all, have fun. Enjoy blogging and just be happy.