This post breaks all the rules of blogging

This post breaks all of the rules of blogging

This post breaks all of my blogging rules.

I didn’t start my headline with “How to” or a number.

I didn’t use the Coschedule Headline Analyzer to find a headline that rates a 70 or above.

It’s not a list of useful tips or tools for bloggers.

You won’t find an easily digestible bulleted list.

I didn’t optimize it for any keywords. (Who am I kidding? I never optimize for keywords.)

And it contains more questions than answers.

Want to read it anyway?

If so, allow me to abruptly launch into a personal story:

I’ve been in love with reading and writing for my entire life.

Throughout my childhood, I loved escaping into a book.

One time my family drove from Denver to Canada, packing the car with stuffed animals, clothing, and 10 paperback books. We had to stop at a used book store in Victoria because I had read all of the books on my way up.

When I went to India at age 20, I brought no less than 5 paperbacks in my backpack. (Compare that to the 2 pairs of pants I packed for the 9 week journey, and you’ll get a sense of how much I love reading.)

I spent 3 years in the sunlit Creative Writing classroom at Denver School of the Arts, typing away into a Mac. When I was 18, I published a book of poems, short stories, and dialogues and sold it for $3 a piece.

Writing has carried me through 25+ countries and it helped me get through middle school without going crazy. (I recently found the journal I wrote in when I was 13. Every page made me cringe.)

And…through this blog, writing has helped me grow an audience, create a business I love, and connect with bloggers all over the world.

Every post I’ve written is honest. Every word I’ve published here was exactly what I wanted to write at the time.

But I miss unbridled writing.

I miss the writing that allowed me to let my hair down. The writing that gave me passage to share whatever I wanted to.

The writing that not only helped others but also helped me to see myself more clearly.

I miss the writing that comes from letting go.

Letting go of a niche, letting go of needing traffic. I miss the writing that isn’t just honest, but that surprises me with its depth. The writing that, once it’s written, I know it needed to come out.

I always tell bloggers you need to have a focus.

You need to give people a reason to keep coming back. Your readers need to know what’s in it for them.

I still believe that.

But unless the writing feeds you, serves you, keeps you alive with its strength and power, you’ll fall out of love with it.

And then your blog becomes another way of getting people to like you. (And when I write “you,” I mean “me.”)

Blogging rules were meant to be broken.Click To Tweet

This post doesn’t have a neat little list of takeaways.

It doesn’t have any answers.

Because just like any book worth reading and any adventure worth having, there are more questions than answers on the path of blogging.

Every path is different (even though we blogging experts try to tell you we know exactly what your path should look like, that’s a bunch of wishful thinking).

And we all need different talismans and tools to help us keep going.

When I was a kid, I clutched novels like lifesavers.

This post breaks all of the rules of blogging

Now I’ve found a different set of essentials to fill my blogging backpack.

  • The strength of my own voice
  • Permission to be different and forget about the “blogging rules”
  • The freedom to create not just for my audience but for myself as well
  • The knowledge that when I skid off the path (like I am in this post) it will bring me closer to myself

Blogging is hard.

It’s a treacherous road we’re walking.

And, for me, it’s only worth it if I can do it on my terms, in my own way, and with my own voice fully intact.

It’s a lot to ask. But I’m asking anyway.

  • Monica Bruno

    Thank you for writing this. Thank you for your honesty. Everyone is looking for the “magic formula” to be a successful blogger, forgetting that in the process of trying to become a success, you can lose sight of the very reason you started blogging … about creating and connecting.

    • Daniela Uslan

      Thank you, Monica! I totally agree with you!

  • Amanda Nel

    The guy who writes from Paradise, says you should have fun doing it! Some parts will always be ‘work’ though. You must be yourself!

    • Daniela Uslan

      So true, Amanda. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Sue Anne Dunlevie

    Hi, Daniela,

    This post was wonderfully refreshing. You’re so right, as bloggers we often place too much focus on the “rules.” But we must love what we do.

    Thank you for the reminder

    Thanks,
    Sue

    • Daniela Uslan

      Thanks, Sue! I am glad that you enjoyed the post!

  • Love this, Daniela! I have so many topics on my blog that when one “bores” me, I move on to writing about one that “excites” me. It’s my circle of life/blogging. It’s evident that you love writing. You have a gift. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Daniela Uslan

      Thanks, Rev! I really appreciate your saying I have a gift. That means a lot.

  • Hi Daniela,

    I’m not one to follow all the “rules” of blogging. I think that makes us like little soldiers following the rules that WHO? sent forth? I’m one to make my own rules and walk to my own beat. Some like it, others don’t. However, I think what is most important in blogging, even in our businesses, to be unique and be true to ourselves.

    Thanks for sharing this post with us. You rock girly!

    Bren

    • Daniela Uslan

      You’re so right, Brenda. Who even sets these rules in the first place? You rock, too!

  • Stella Chiu

    Hi, Daniela

    Thanks for sense of freedom you are giving me. I am kind of newbie in this blogging sphere. All these rules of blogging to be successful made me feel sick in my stomach.
    I really want to share my real life experience to the audiences. My liberty to share as much as I can will be cut short if I follow the “rules”. I never did the keyword search for my titles. Once the title is put into the frame or box, it will reduce my creativity.

    Thanks for sharing

    will share!

    Stella Chiu

    • Daniela Uslan

      Thanks, Stella! I think we all want to do it “right,” but it’s a sad thing when doing things by the rules makes us feel boxed in. Good for you for breaking the box!

  • Enstine Muki

    Hi Daniela,
    I admire the fact that you’ve been writing and reading a lot since you were a kid. That was the contrary of me. Shocking, it was in 2012 when I picked the interest in reading and writing (as a blogger) 😉 and I now enjoy it big time.

    You are correct! I think bloggers should be natural. Blog like you live 😉

    Happy Weekend

    • Daniela Uslan

      Thanks for your comment, Enstine. I have always loved a good book, and now I love a good blog as well!

  • Daniela Uslan

    Esther, that’s a really great idea! I am also going to add a “journal” section of my blog for writing about random things that don’t necessarily “fit” my niche. Maybe I’ll put those pieces into Medium as well.

  • I love this, and I love your writing! 🙂

    • Daniela Uslan

      Thanks so much, Julie! I really appreciate that!

  • Excellent! While writing by the rules so the search engines will love us (Oh please, just loooove me!) is important, writing for ourselves and our readers is important. I seldom ever find the blogs I love via search engine. So there, how to, take that. 😉

    • Daniela Uslan

      Thanks, Robin! I still haven’t figured out how to wiggle into the search engines’ hearts, but I’m glad I found a place in yours! 😉

  • Amen! It’s okay to break the rules sometimes. And I think stepping away from our focus from time to time helps keep us happy and keeps us from burning out.

    • Daniela Uslan

      Thanks, Charlene! You’re right – doing something different is often so rejuvenating!

  • Chief_Blogger

    Daniela, I really enjoyed this post. Colorful with a nice use of formatting. I’m going to share it with Thursday’s blog club.

    • Daniela Uslan

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing!

  • Thank you for writing this post. Your honesty is so refreshing. I know I’ve found myself following the rules of blogging quite a bit lately. Reading your words has motivated me to write without rules more often!

    Tiffany

    beautifuldawndesigns.net

    • Daniela Uslan

      Thanks, Tiffany! It is important to follow the rules a lot of the time, but I am glad you’re going to venture out a bit after reading this!

  • Peggy Nolan

    Damn hon. You just nailed it. I started blogging because of writing. My love for each word, carefully or not so carefully put down in just the right place. Spaces for breathing room. Silence in between words. I finally got my collective shit together and I’m self-publishing my poems. I started my blog back in 2007, not to make money, but to write. And then I got sidetracked.

  • Tonya Denmark

    I love it. You remind me of my kids who go through 3 hardcover big books a week. I keep encouraging them (and me) to keep writing keep practicing keep being real. it sometimes takes us as adults a long time to realize that and I’m so glad to be on the journey with you!

  • Hey Daniela,

    Wow, how cool that you had such a love for reading and writing at such an early age. I’m kind of jealous of you. I used to enjoy reading a LOT but I have to tell you, I just don’t have the time for it anymore. I know, we can always make the time if we love it so much but I guess my love of things has changed over the years. I think maybe because I’m online ALL day every day I am reading a lot of stuff and of course I don’t read a lot of stuff anymore that I just don’t enjoy. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about right! 😉

    I don’t do the keyword research, I scrapped all of that myself years ago and just started writing for the pure enjoyment of it. To my surprise, my audience loved it more then before. Now I confess that my content has purpose but I’m having a blast writing it and I’m having even more fun helping those who need my help. Oh girl, the joy that brings me is indescribable…

    Thank you for sharing this and I say hallelujah… Keep up the writing for the pure enjoyment of it because I have a feeling those that love you will keep coming back.

    ~Adrienne

    • Daniela Uslan

      Adrianne,

      I have to say that I’m so impressed by your thoughtful comments – both on other blogs and on your own. I am not surprised that you don’t have time left to read – because you not only read other blogs, you also take the time to write out truly well thought out and personal comments.

      It’s interesting, because I do love writing posts that follow the “rules” (aside from the keyword thing…that just doesn’t happen for me), because they help me build relationships. But I also crave a space to write just for writing’s sake. Is that on my blog? I don’t know. What do you think? Should I just write in my own journal and keep my blog focused? I would love to hear your thoughts!

      • Thank you Daniela, I appreciate that. Most people ask me how I’m able to write the comments I do but you know what I tell them? I’m from Texas people and I ALWAYS have a lot to say. LOL!!!

        I’ve become much more focused this year so that I can gear my content toward those who are my target audience. At the same time though I do occasionally write personal posts. I think that’s important in a way so that people can still get a feel for who you are as a person. In the way that we’re human, things happen, life’s not perfect, etc. For your blog though I would stay more focused writing to your audience so that you can help those who REALLY need what you offer. Just writing to be freeing and for the pure enjoyment of it, maybe that could be more in a journal. I NEVER want you to not be you though and of course this is just my own opinion. We all love you for who you are and this is something you’ll have to decide for yourself. Hope that helped some!

        ~Adrienne

  • Katharine

    <3