Tuesday

DG's 5 Blogging Commandments

Blogging is like Parenting:  The only thing I know for sure is that I don't know much...only what worked for me.!
I've gotten many emails with requests for advice or help with a new blog or existing blog that is having trouble.  Though I still do not believe I have any business offering anyone any advice at all, I will play along with this false sense of importance and finally get these rules I live by in the blog world down to share with you.  Make no mistake, there is no magic formula to make you an overnight star.  It takes a nice combination of time, effort, imagination, and skill to build a little corner for yourself in the Blogosphere - but I can tell you this.  It is fun, rewarding, and a nice little thing to call your own in this crazy world!
I am kind of a big deal compared to...well, compared to my mailman I guess...depends on if I'm waiting on a package - so even then he's a bigger deal than I am.  But I digress...
 There is one line that I tell everyone and anyone who asks me this.  If you water it daily, it will grow.  That's it.  That's my one thing I swear by.  Give it attention and love daily, and watch it grow.  There are 5 other basic rules to blog by that I will share with you here.  So without further blather, here are DG's 5 Blog Commandments.   They have worked for me  - maybe they don't apply to everyone - but I swear by them.  SO here goes:

1.  Just Be You.  This is my number one rule for a reason.  The first few blogs you write will take some getting used to.  You have to be the one to tell the story.  So think of yourself sitting down at a cafe with your bestie and telling her a story.  Take those thoughts just as you would say them and type them into your blog.  You'll see how quickly the words start to flow.  Don't try to 'sound' different or use language that you wouldn't normally use with your bestie.  (And I know this is incredibly obvious but I have to say it - Be Original! Yes, it's all been done before - we've all written stories about our kids, and our weddings, and our holidays, etc. etc... but don't steal content from others - it's not worth it.  Be true and honest with yourself and your readers and write from your head and your heart and you won't go wrong).   You'll see that if you are true to yourself, and write stories that you would normally just tell a friend, that your natural voice will shine through and people will relate to it. Which brings me to number 2, ironically enough.
2.  Not everyone is going to relate.  And that's ok.  You are not going to strike a chord with 100% of your readers, 100% of the time, so don't even try.  Most likely, however, your post will be relatable to many people.  Depending on the type of blog you write, you may offend someone with language or content, but that's the risk you take when you put yourself out there.  Which brings me to rule #3. 
3.  Be prepared for critics, and always wear your blogger suit of armor.  You should know that there is always 1% of the crowd that just likes to disagree, be on the contrary end of what you are posting, give their opinion on why your post is incorrect.  It's going to happen.  If you say, Today I painted my son's room green.  I love green. It's fabulous and it's fun.   As harmless of a statement and unassuming, and non-offensive as it is, you just might have that one person who is having a crappy day and decide to take it on you and leave a comment like, "how do you figure green is fabulous - it's dreary and creepy and I hate it."  A comment like that, though overall just plain old stupid, can send you from the high you were on of publishing a really good blog, to a low that has you thinking you aren't cut out for it.  Don't think that.  And don't think for a minute that it doesn't happen to everyone because it does.  1% of people are born without a sense of humor, or the ability to simply not continue reading if it isn't their cup of tea.  Tragic.  Just move on.  (or use your comment moderation power and don't publish it!! It's your blog..your house..your rules).  You've got to let stuff roll off your back - you're going to have comments that don't give a warm and fuzzy.  Let it roll.
And some days - even that won't do it.  We're only human.
4.  Pay no attention to the numbers behind the curtain.  If you constantly obsess about how many readers, how many page views, how many comments you've gotten, you will never find the joy in blogging.  Most of us bloggers know and understand we are not going to become rich quick by this hobby.  (And if you are making lots of money off of blogging, good on you !)  So stay true, don't try so hard that it hurts or is a chore to blog.  Blog about what makes you happy, and what you know - and if you've got nothing of substance today, that's ok too.  It'll come.  Taking the pressure off of yourself can work wonders, but keep writing to keep the juices flowing - you don't have to publish - you can leave as draft.  Just keep writing. (Sidenote - - do keep a notebook by your bed because your best ideas will come to you at about 1:00 am and by 7:00, they will be gone..so write them down!!)

5.  Finally.  And to me, this has gotten me the furthest.  The Golden Rule applies to Blogging.  Be kind to others.  Treat people the way you want to be treated.  Whether it is a fellow blogger who put themself out there with a really personal post that you leave some positive feedback on, or a commenter who reached out to you with a touching comment - acknowledge them.  It doesn't take but 30 seconds to say thank you or  I appreciate your words.  Or even just a heart symbol to let them know you read it.  There's a lot of what ye sow shall ye reap in the blogging world.  Be a positive force and positivity will come back to you tenfold.

That's it for me.  If you've read this far, I appreciate you coming to visit, and hope you find this helpful.   One thing that always helps me when I started doubting myself, is knowing that even the most successful writers panic when they hit the 'publish' button.  It always brings be back to Maya Angelou's quote below and I think yeahh...that little voice that tells you that you're nothing but an imposter...kick him in the shin and run as fast as you can.



Cheers, love and happy blogging..!
xo
DG
PS - - Lots of people are like in me in that they LOVE finding new blogs to read and enjoy.  Please take a minute to leave your blog along with the link to your blog in my comments section. Thanks!

16 comments:

  1. Thanks! I will try to keep these in mind.

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  2. You got it sister. Wonderful advice from a wonderful friend. xoxoxoxoxo

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  3. I just started my blog this summer and I almost found myself adjusting my voice because of some feedback, but that isn't MY voice. I think you and I could be great friends and I love reading your blog. It's funny, it's touching, it's never stale. You, along with some other wonderful blogs I've stumbled on, keep me going when I feel like I've got nothing. :-) Great advice! www.frommeredithtomommy.com

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    1. Meredith that was one of th nicest compliments I've heard in ages - thanks so much. I'll be over to visit your blog! xo

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  4. As a fellow underachiever, I just wanted to tell you that I love your blog!

    I think that your advice applies to life - not just blogging. Thank you for the reminder :)

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  5. Actually, that wasn't all...
    I have to say that I got a kick out of your warning against placing too much importance on page view stats. It took me a while to figure that one out on my own and now I don't pay much attention to them at all...except this fall I discovered that if you post a pretty picture of mums and pumpkins, your page view numbers will go through the roof and will stay there until American Thanksgiving and then everything returns to normal...*sigh*.
    I'm testing the "Pumpkins & Mums Effect" by posting different Christmas pics in separate blog posts to see which one gets more hits...Santa or Baby Jesus ...or Hot Babes in Santa Suits. It's all very scientific, you see. If you'd like to contribute to this ridiculous little experiment, please come and visit me at musingsfromthesquirrelcage.blogspot.ca

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    1. I know what you're talking about. For me, oddly enough, it's been Bob Dylan, llamas and ugly babies. Go figure. ;)

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  6. You sell yourself short. You are the perfect one to give advice on blogging, because you make it seem so effortless.

    I love to write. And I love reading what I wrote (how narcissistic is that?). So while I HOPE others enjoy my posts, as long as I enjoy them myself, then I'm happy.

    Thanks for all you've done for me, DG! iwantbacksies.blogspot.com

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  7. Thank you DG, this is very kind and useful advice - especially as I'm new to blogging. I started my blog recently when I decided to train for my first triathlon. I'm only 3 months in, but it's keeping me honest...so far at least. The threat of public humiliation goes a long way.

    On a side note, I wish I could remember how I came across your blog...

    Thanks again for the tips!

    Warmly,
    g
    cupofg.blogspot.com

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  8. Your picture about being a big deal is so funny! I used to dread critics, but now I wish I had a whole bunch of them! There's no such things as bad publicity, right?

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  9. This all really resonates for me DG. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this thing that we do. Its nice to have a little blogger pow wow once in a while to remind ourselves that we all deal with the same trials, self doubt and triumphs at times - big or small.

    http://www.modmombeyondindiedom.blogspot.com

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  10. I just wanted to say Thanks! I enjoy reading your posts and this one is SO true! Gotta love the critics! They make me laugh mostly. I'm kind of new to blogging but I enjoy what I write and I really love when people like my blog but it's not what makes me write!
    You are an awesome writer and I thank Jenn at http://wirmtsw.blogspot.com/ for introducing me to your blog!
    Thanks,
    Julie http://julescam.wordpress.com/

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