In What Is Sucking Your Blogging Confidence Away?, I covered many of the things that tend to suck away the confidence of bloggers, casting a shadow on the blogging experience, and making it difficult to keep the energy and enthusiasm going.
Today, I want to focus on ways you can regain your blogging confidence.
It begins with taking charge of your blog.
Take Charge of Your Blog
When the comments, emails, and things other bloggers say about your blog, and possibly even you, get you down, it’s time to start taking charge of your blog again. Get back in the driver’s seat, start giving out orders, and start taking them yourself.
1. Re-examine Your Blog’s Purpose
Without a clear path, your blogging journey takes you wandering here and there, often getting lost in the tangents. Take another look at your blog’s purpose. And if you don’t have one, get one.
Print it out and put it on the wall right near your monitor, so you can look at it every day. If you want, put it in the sidebar or tagline of your blog so you and your visitors know the moment they land on your blog what the purpose of your blog is.
Everything you write about on your blog, every comment you make on it, every comment you allow on it, and every comment you make off your blog, should be in line with your blog’s purpose. If it isn’t, either change your attitude or change your blog’s purpose so it matches.
This helps your feet stay on the ground and keeps you focused on the right path. If you deviate, you will know in a moment and pull yourself back on course.
2. Make The Unsaid Said
assume. It’s your blog, so tell your users how you want your blog used.
Write down policies or guidelines on:
- Blog Comments (what is acceptable or not)
- Copyright (what you will permit for preprints or usage)
- Terms for Use (including who is permitted to view (age restrictions?), how content is to be used, how comments are to be used, etc.)
- Legal Policies (hold harmless protections, libel protections, etc.)
- Feed Policies (types of feeds, how to read feeds, how content from feeds are to be used or not, etc.)
- Your Policies (what you promise to provide for your readers)
If you have these already on your blog, why not take a moment to update them and check that they still say what you want them to say, leaving nothing unsaid nor assumed. And if someone ever crosses your line in the sand, you can point and say “Ignorance is no excuse. It’s written down here.”
2. Get Social
There are so many ways to socialize on the web, you can network in at so many levels – what’s stopping you?
Interaction with others is the number one way to learn more about what they are doing, thus learn more about what you are doing. The more you learn, the more you know, the more energy and enjoyment you have for continuing on with the blogging process.
Meet Other Bloggers
Whether you meet them online or in person, start meeting other bloggers. Attend local meetups and conferences with bloggers and fellow web enthusiasts. Get to know them in your neighborhood and community, and then go further and meet others around the country.
When you meet a fellow blogger, you find you suddenly have a common bond: language. You can toss around words like trackbacks, twitter, social media, pings, SEO, plugins, and themes and they know what you are talking about.
Ask them how they are blogging and why. And when they ask back, have an answer ready, because bloggers love asking questions – and giving answers!
Comment On Other Blogs
You don’t have to travel to meet other bloggers. Start communicating with them immediately by commenting on other blogs.
In one of my most popular Blogging Challenges, I asked participants to comment on 10 blogs and then blog about the experience. It was amazing to see how excited people got, and how quickly they realized that their moaning about not getting comments on their blogs wasn’t getting them any comments.
A blog is just a website without comments. If you aren’t participating by commenting on other blogs, you are missing a big part of the excitement. And the energy to blog better, so your blog will be worthy of comments.
3. Take a Vacation
I know it’s hard to leave your blog, even for a few hours. But sometimes, you just have to take a vacation from blogging.
The first three days are the hardest. A good blogging vacation is more than five days long, ten is better. You have to first break the blogging habit, and then stop thinking “blogging” all the time, and let your mind and body do something else for a change.
It’s amazing how excited you feel when you come back to blogging after you’ve stopped for a bit. As you relax, your mind opens up to all types of ideas and thoughts, paving new paths along the blogging route for you.
Don’t Stop Blogging. Use Future Posts.
Taking a vacation from blogging doesn’t mean turning your blog off. With the future posts feature of WordPress, you can publish posts on your blog while you are on vacation.
There is something energizing about writing a bunch of posts long before they are published. It’s a lot of hard work, but you can get pretty creative when you know your blog must keep going while you go elsewhere.
And there is a confidence that comes with knowing your blog is still working while you aren’t. Like a Timex, your blog keeps on ticking.
Do Something Different
If you can’t take real time away from your work and blog to play, then do something different. Anything. Interupt your blogging routine. Instead of blogging first thing in the morning, blog at night. Or the reverse.
Or let future posts do the blogging for you while you spent your time writing something else, something off subject, or on subject, something that blogging keeps interrupting.
Or take a cooking class if you never have. Or go for a walk when you normally jog. Do something different for a week that totally breaks the routine you’ve created between your life, family, work, and blogging.
See what energy is generated when change enters your world, and see how that impacts your blogging experience.
Don’t Forget The Printed Word
Take a vacation from the computer by heading back to the printed word. Hit a bookstore and pour though the magazine rack. Look at books. Read something on paper for a change.
There is still a lot of valuable information in your local library. Go use it.
I find some of my best ideas come from plowing through the accumulation of junk mail, old catalogs and magazines that seem to grow. You never know where an idea will come from, so hit the printed material and see what gems still lie on paper.
4. Do The Right and Sensible Thing
I know you spent hours at the computer, as part of your work as well as your blogging. You hunch over your keyboard and lean into your mouse elbow, poking at the words that get harder and harder to flow from your fingers.
Do the right and sensible thing and step away from your computer. That’s right. Step back. Take a walk. Move around. Do something with your body for a bit to stretch your muscles as well as your mind. Your blog will still be there when you come back.
Look at your body. Does it look like a computer-obsessed blogger’s body? More pear shaped than straight? Isn’t it about time you paid a little more attention to the machine that runs the blog than just the blog itself?
Start getting more exercise. Personally, I hate exercise and will do everything I can to avoid it. Yet, I love physical labor and effort. It’s the getting away from the computer that I have problems with.
I walk early in the morning, listening to the top of the news and National Public Radio (NPR) as I trudge up and down the hills. When the news gets boring or old, I turn it off and write in my head. So when I get back to my computer, my posts are already written and ready to go – I just have to make my fingers do all the work.
In inclement weather, I watch movies as I trudge on the treadmill, letting my mind relax and go elsewhere, until I’m ready to put it to work again. I come back feeling energized and excited about what I’m doing.
Are you sitting at your computer? Why not stand? Bring the monitor, keyboard, and mouse up to standing height and stand while blogging. I do when I’m traveling in my small motor home. I find the position keeps me literally “on my toes” in my writing efforts.
Eat right. Eat less. Eat healthy, and stop putting all those energy sucking foods in your mouth.
And when was the last time you got a hair cut? A massage? Your nails done? Men, too! When was the last time you spoiled yourself a little? If you are the source of your creative inspiration, shouldn’t you treat yourself a little better?
When you feel better about yourself, you will feel better about your blog.
5. Jump Off A Cliff
When all else fails, to recharge your blogging batteries, jump of a cliff. Take a risk. Take a chance. Go sky diving.
Invite Guest Bloggers to Blog
There are few risks greater on a blog than inviting people to blog. When you have control over your blog, you have total control. When you invite others to your blog party, you lose a lot of that control.
It’s exciting to have guest bloggers, and also terrifying. You have to make a lot of decisions about what you want them to blog about, or even if you want to make that decision.
It’s risky, exciting, and fun for your readers. It also pushes your blog’s creative energies, and you, in turn.
Blog a Risk
I know you have at least one. We all do. That one subject you have been rolling around in your head but were afraid to blog about.
You might have been brave and managed to get down enough thoughts to make it a draft, but you can’t bring yourself to hit the publish button.
Take another look at what is stopping you from blogging your risky blog post. Maybe you need to tackle that fear to the ground and go with it. Maybe holding back on that one blog post might be holding you back from blogging on other risky subjects. If you release this one, the dam might break all around you.
Accept a Challenge, Meme, or Carnival
There are tons of blog challenges out there, including memes and carnivals, writing assignments that challenge you to blog more or different than you usually do.
These blog challenges can stir up all kinds of positive energy flow on your blog, getting you thinking about how you blog, what you blog, what your readers expect from your blog, and possibly, bringing even more readers to your blog.
Take the risk and accept one of the challenges and you might find new motivation to keep blogging.
6. Stop Looking at Your Blog Stats
The number one thing you can do to put some life back into your blog is to stop looking at your blog stats.
Yeah, I know, it’s hard to measure your blogging success without some kind of score card, but honestly, what defines success on your blog?
Is it the number of visitors? Or the number of repeat visitors? Is it the number of comments? Or maybe the number of comment spams? Is it the number of posts you’ve published? Or the number of incoming links to those posts?
What determines your blog’s success? Is it something that has nothing to do with the numbers?
Ask yourself why you started blogging in the first place. Was it about the numbers? Seeing the count go from 6 to 16 to 60 to 6,000? Or was it something more?
Go back to the something more to find what it was that got you blogging in the first place.
Recently, Pelf Nyok realized that after blogging for a while, she wanted to change lives with her blog. The reward for her was not in the numbers. It was in the changing of lives.
It all started when I blogged about a newborn baby with complex congenital heart disease and a teenager with acute myeloid leukemia. That particular post did not generate much discussion in terms of comments but the satisfaction I felt was indescribable. I did not know how much my post would influence the baby and the teenager but I knew that I had done whatever I could at that point in time — to raise and spread awareness about them and their diseases.
Then I realized that I enjoyed doing it. I enjoyed spreading awareness on issues that needed the attention, and I enjoyed sharing with my readers the many ways that they could help the needy. And over time, that particular post grew into a category by itself and then a website by its own!
When you reach that magic point, the numbers don’t matter. The comments don’t hurt. The work of finding things to blog about becomes easy and a joy in the effort. And energy abounds unlimited.