If you have read a million and one blog posts on how to have a successful blog, but you still feel like you’re spinning your wheels, you might want to stop looking for advice, and do these things instead.
But first, a story…
I don’t know about you, but I started blogging because I had something to share with the world. Something only I could share. I had a deep desire to put my voice out there and connect with other people.
But then a bunch of things got in the way.
Fear of not doing it right.
A lack of clear focus.
Avoiding writing by making myself busy.
And when I felt all of these things, when I felt fear, and loneliness, and when I wasn’t focused, I turned to blogging gurus to help me get it right.
I bought multiple blogging courses. I read a ton of posts about blogging. I listened to podcasts about blogging.
Yet somehow, I still wasn’t creating the blog I wanted.
And not only that, I lost sight of my original purpose for blogging, which was to write about things that really mattered to me.
So when I started this blog, I made a commitment to myself that I wasn’t going to listen to any gurus. I wasn’t going to change my voice to fit in with what other people told me to do. I was just going to blog about what I wanted to blog about, and that was that.
And guess what? This blog has transformed my life. In 6 short months, I’ve built many important relationships because of this blog. I’ve figured out what I really, really want to do when I wake up in the morning (coach people on getting their unique voices heard in their blogs in a way that also makes them money). I’ve also built an audience.
When I think about what I did instead of listening to gurus, it comes down to cultivating 5 things: Commitment, passion, courage, trust, and relationships.
1. Make a commitment to keep blogging. And then follow through on it.
I can’t count the number of times I read a blog post on blogging instead of just hunkering down and doing the work. And it’s mainly because of fear.
Blogging is scary. You are putting your words out there in the world and hoping people like them. That is scary as shit.
So it’s really easy to think, If I just learn one more thing, then I’ll be ready to start blogging. Uh, no. You don’t need to learn one more thing. You need to write one more blog post. Just do it. You’ll feel better. I promise.
Make a commitment to blog a certain number of times per week for a certain length of time – let’s say one month. And then actually do it. That’s really the only way to build your blog.
2. Figure out what you really, really care about.
Figuring out what really matters to you is way more important than knowing the best number of words to include in your headline.
Because it doesn’t matter how many words you have in your headline if it’s not followed by a kick-ass post that only you could have written.
You can’t figure out what you are passionate about by reading blog posts about how to blog. You can figure it out by:
- Writing A LOT. Like, every day if you can. The more you write, the more you’ll learn what you want to write.
- Doing things you love and paying attention to why you love them.
- Remembering moments of true joy in your life and asking yourself why they were so joyful and how you can replicate that in your blog and in your life.
- Looking for a through-line in your life. What have you always enjoyed doing? What do people in your life count on you to help them with?
- Tapping into your greatest struggles or painful experiences. The inverse could be your life purpose.
Once you know what is extremely important to you, your blog will draw other people to it like a magnet. Because your passion will come through in every word.
3. Talk back to your fears.
Often bloggers engage in “digital hoarding” (otherwise known as buying way too many courses that they never actually implement, or reading tons of blog posts whose advice they fail to put into practice) because of fear. Fear of getting it wrong. Fear of not being accepted.
When those fears creep up, face them head-on. Don’t hide by seeking advice or trying to be “over-prepared.”
Here’s how to deal with fears when they come up:
1. Acknowledge the fears by writing them down.
I might write, “My fear is that no one will want to read this blog post.”
2. Ask yourself, “Is this true? Does it really matter if it is true?”
In my case, it definitely isn’t true, because many of my other posts have been shared lots of times, so I know I have an audience. And even if it is true, it doesn’t matter, because I know I’ll write another post later this week. There’s always another chance to write something people resonate with.
3. Now ask, “What am I missing out on by giving in to this fear?”
If I didn’t blog because of my fear, I would miss out on a lot. I would miss out on building relationships with people who might need to read my words. I would miss out on building my business. And I would be stifling my own creativity and voice, which can lead to depression.
4. Finally, take one step to move past the fear.
For me, that’s writing a post. For you, it might be writing a headline, or calling a friend.
When you confront your fears and move through them, instead of hiding from them, you’ll be much more likely to actually do the creative work of blogging.
4. Trust yourself.
Have you ever done the corpse pose in yoga and felt your back against the solid floor, or laid on your back in the water and felt the water hold you up? You know, in that moment, that you are held, and that you are safe.
That’s what it feels like to really trust yourself.
There is nothing wrong with learning as much as you can from other people. But there comes a point when you already know as much as you need to know, when it comes down to doing the work. That’s when you need to trust yourself.
Trust that whatever you write will be exactly what you need to write. Trust that you know your audience and how to speak to them with truth and authenticity. Trust that even if this one post fails, you’ll be okay.
Because you’ll still have solid ground under your feet.
5. Make friends with other bloggers.
You don’t need another blogging guru.
You do need other people who get what you are trying to build, who will encourage you, give you feedback, and let you know that they’re having similar experiences, and that whatever struggles you are facing, it’s going to be okay.
For more on this, check out this post.
You don’t need another guru, or another how-to blog post. What you do need is commitment, support, passion, courage, and trust. Now go forth and blog. I know you can do it.