Think back to day one. When it all began. The day you decided to start your blog. Do you remember why you did it? Did you think about what you wanted it to become? Now look at today and what your blog looks like. Is it a reflection of your initial vision? Has it met or exceeded your expectations?
Let’s face facts – most blogs start with a lot of headway but are quick to sputter out – In fact, the majority of bloggers call it quits within the first six months. Why? Most of it lies within your own self-doubt. Not knowing what to write about, not having enough time, not seeing the results you were expecting, or generally losing overall interest.
I’ve been through it all myself – maintaining a blog is no easy task and there are many obstacles that will stand in your way. If you’re questioning yourself, wondering “what’s next?” – Hopefully by the end of this article you’ll have the motivation to keep things going.
Probably the most common dilemma amongst writers is wondering what the heck to write about. It is becoming especially challenging in this day and age as the market (any market) seems to be saturated – in short, we are led to believe that everything that can be said, has already been said. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Yes, almost every topic out there has been discussed and debated – but while there may be very little new ground to cover, there is always room for one more opinion – yours.
We focus on unique as being an entirely new topic or subject, but really, simply by being yourself and voicing your own opinion and ideas – you’ve created something unique. Maybe you’ve shed new light on a topic that’s been talked to death. Maybe your perspective is the one that clicks with your readers. Maybe you provided the missing piece to the “saturated” puzzle – the one angle that hasn’t been thought about.
Whatever the case may be, never stop writing because you don’t think there’s anything to write about. If you have an idea, just write. The masses are always hungry for more opinion and commentary, especially topics your readers claim to be experts about.
The best debates and discussions take place when all parties know what they’re talking about (or at least think that they do) and can offer diverse perspectives.
There are two ways of looking at this: One, you actually don’t have enough time to manage a blog anymore. Maybe you started a new job, you went back to school, or got involved in some other projects that take up your free time. To those of you who are in this category of genuinely having too much to do, there isn’t any advice I can give you. If blogging is not a priority somewhere in your to-do list, you don’t need to be blogging.
But, to the rest of you who claim not to have time – it’s time to get organized. You’d be surprised at everything you can do when you start thinking about how much time you really have. Blogging doesn’t have to consume your life, but if you start a blog with a desire to keep it going, you have to realize that writing and publishing compelling content is a significant time investment that demands commitment.
The best way to get organized is to schedule EVERYTHING. Sunday afternoon is prime writing time for yours truly. I turn on some football, enjoy a beer, and let the creative juices flow. My Sunday routine typically results in at least two solid blog posts, and while I still do a bit of “spontaneous” writing, knowing I have a couple posts “on deck” is a great position to be in. Whatever your schedule is – set aside some time each day/week that you can focus undivided attention on your blog.
This is one I’ve struggled with in the past, as I’m sure everyone reading this has as well. We all start a blog because we have something to say – something we think other people will want to read. We’re also very impatient when it comes to results. Try as you may, it’s almost impossible to not measure success in numbers (blog comments, page views, etc.) – and after a few months of putting out consistent content without seeing any results, it’s easy to get discouraged.
There are people out there who will tell you that good content will sell and promote itself.
I’m here to tell you that this is a myth.
The best writers in the world didn’t get where they are today by staying quiet and letting people find them. Somewhere along their path to success, they put in a significant amount of time self-promoting. Does good content market itself? Yes. Eventually. But initially, you have to be willing to put in the time to bring attention to your blog.
Get active on Twitter, comment on other blogs, connect with other writers within your niche – do everything you can to bring people in. Just make sure that once you have them there – you’ve written content that will keep them coming back for more. In time, you’ll build a community that will promote your content for you. Meanwhile, you can focus what’s most important: Writing great stuff.
We blog to be heard. We write to be recognized. We do what we do with the intent of sparking conversation and debate, to educate and inspire other people. We’re hungry for knowledge. We want to learn. And above all else, we blog because of a passion for writing. You can take all of the above advice for what it’s worth, but at the end of the day, if you don’t love what you’re doing, why are you doing it? If you are passionate about writing – maybe you should just quit now because you’ll undoubtedly get burned out before long.
It’s all about passion. You don’t have to be a good writer to be successful – you just have to love what you do. Stop questioning the identity of your blog and start believing in it. The rest will fall into place.
(Photo by gagillphoto)