Blogging is great, and I love it. But there are some serious issues that can come from blogging that you need to be prepared for so you don’t become one of those geeks that spends your entire social life in posts and tags rather than at restaurants and clubs.
A recent article that explains it all much better than I ever will is here, the Dark Side of Blogging.
To help you prepare for what will surely become obstacles you must deal with, here are some quick tips on how to beat the pitfalls and balance your life while still enjoying all the benefits of blogging:
- Don’t take on a completely different personality online.
It’s easy to get caught up in the “new you” you could become online where no one really knows you. Don’t do it. You’re just fooling yourself, you’ll freak out your friends and eventually your readers will detect you’re faking it.
- Talk about this stuff outside of your blog.
Early on in starting this blog, I realized I was writing about stuff that I didn’t talk about to anyone. And it kinda scared me. So, I made the effort to talk about a lot of what was on my mind, even if I was thinking in terms of “this would make a great blog post.” It’s not that I didn’t want to talk to people about it – I just wasn’t. Once I did, though, it actually helped my blog and, more importantly, enriched my life. For some of us, writing is easier than talking, so a blog is a great place to work your thoughts out. And that’s a good thing. But don’t let that allow you to not talk about this stuff to someone else (especially your spouse!).
- Spend enough time away from your computer so that what you write about will be interesting.
Pretty simple – get away from the desk and go live life. I’m reminded of a quote in Mr. Holland’s Opus where the principal (William H. Macy) is telling Mr. Holland (Richard Dreyfus) that the school is canceling the music and arts programs so kids can spend more time learning how to read and write. Mr. Holland responds,”Without music and the arts, what will kids have to read and write about?” Same thing with your blog – live life so you can better blog about it.
- Go easy on the stats.
Don’t become a stats junkie. Blogging is addictive, and you’ll find yourself checking your stats every chance you get. There are 2 main reasons not to do that: 1) it kills your productivity, and 2) it takes away from some of the joy of checking your stats. If you just check, say, 3 times a day or so, you’ll have more surprises to look forward to simply because there’s been more time for traffic and pingbacks and comments to occur. Space it out.
- Don’t become a blog snob.
I’ve found myself a couple times answering someone’s questions with “Well, you can just go find that on my blog.” Don’t be like that, using your blog as a resource for others so you don’t have to deal with them for any other reasons than your own.
- Take it in stride.
Similar to #4, take this blogging thing in stride. There are times you’ll feel like you’re completely tapped out. There are other times you’ll have 7 posts you’re ready to write immediately. Take advantage of when the funnel is full and write as much as you can. Just don’t post all of them. Save some of them and post them on those days that you ain’t got nothin’. You might be out of the flow, but your readers will think you’re always on just because you’ve always got something up there new.
- Don’t blog about everything.
One of the symptoms of too much blogging is that you think of everything in terms of what you can write about it. This movie, that restaurant, this customer service experience, that street sign – it’s amazing how it can take over. Keep it in perspective, and remind yourself continuously that not everything is blog worthy. Spare your readers of all your bitter rants and all your pointless observations.
- Don’t stop just because no one is reading.
You’ll be tempted to stop. According to the article I link to above, it usually happens somewhere around 4-6 months, and it’s normally because no one is reading what you write. Hang with it, investigate ways to increase your traffic and things will happen over time. The good news is that it’s exponential in growth. And remember why you’re doing it in the first place – it’s more than the traffic.