I have seen a few of those ‘social media changed my life’ posts doing the rounds lately. I’m just about to hit the 7th anniversary of starting my first blog, and I’ve been wondering how blogging has changed my life. Mostly, I’d say it means I sleep less.
Rather than changing my life, I think blogging has taught me some things. Like:
- When you create something and you’re passionate about it, it becomes really hard to draw a line and say, ‘this is when I stop working’. Hence me writing this post at 2.21am on a Friday morning. This is probably not a great long-term life strategy.
- You can spend an hour crafting a perfect post that says just what you want it to say, or you can panic and write something in two minutes flat because you haven’t posted for a week and you don’t want your readers to think you died and your corpse is now being eaten by cats. And the second post will always, always get more comments than the first.
- When you’re angry and emotional, it’s best to write a blog post in Word first. This means you can edit it repeatedly until you get it just right. And then you can delete it. Angry blog posts never get you anywhere. Either you’ll calm down and realise it’s not worth writing about, or you’ll realise it is worth writing about, in which case you’re now calm enough to kick ass with your logic, reason and general amazingness. Result.
- Blogs are magical. They have the power to make typos invisible until an hour after you hit ‘publish’ – which is usually just after some smart-arsed reader points out your mistake on Twitter or in the comments. Note: this will always, always happen if you post about grammar or spelling.
- When you get into a groove of blogging, you can pop up post after post without much thought – it’s only when you look back a year later that you realise how many special memories you’ve captured. Don’t under-estimate the value of what you’re creating.
- One day, if you want them to, some of the people who read your blog and comment on it will become good friends. And while PR freebies and awards and stuff are great, having someone to laugh with about your blogging adventures is worth more than anything.
- Everyone has a view on what you should and shouldn’t do on a blog. But providing you’re doing what makes you happy, I think you should feel free to ignore everyone else. You should particularly ignore anyone who tries to lecture you about ‘dignity’ or what’s ‘appropriate’. I can confidently say that life is way too short to worry about that sort of thing.
- At least once every six months you will have a meltdown and want to delete your blog. Take a day off. Talk to some people who say things like, “What’s a blog, again?” This will help you to regain the proper perspective. But if something isn’t making you happy, there’s no shame in taking a change of direction.
- It takes two people to make a row. That means someone can say all the mean things they like about you, but if you’re ignoring them, then they’re just some idiot swearing to themselves on the Internet. Try to imagine them dressed shambolically on a street corner, holding a can of super-strength lager and shouting at strangers as they walk by. Not so intimidating after all, eh?
- Bloggers are mostly a really friendly bunch of people but business is business. So try not to take it personally when that client you blog about is approached by another blogger trying to undercut you, or if a blogger attempts to undermine your work or poach your business. Take it as a compliment that they clearly see you as being more successful than them, and next time, be a little smarter about what you share online.