Blogging Tip: Stop Caring So Much
We’ve all done it: posted that sparkly new blog post (or Facebook post, or Instagram photo), only to check back every hour to see how many people have viewed, liked, or commented on it. We all know that feeling that bubbles up when we get lots of attention, and we all know the sinking sensation that comes with little to no activity on our post. But, what if we tried blogging just for ourselves? What if we wrote absorbing, captivating content that we took our time on, and didn’t constantly check to see how many people viewed it?
I was curious to see what would happen when I stopped checking any sort of activity on any of my online content, specifically blog posts, but also Instagram and Facebook, too. For a week, if and when I posted anything, I wouldn’t check the number of likes, views, or comments it got, and you know what? I was a lot happier. I felt more at peace. I realized that a lot of the time, my instant reaction after posting something was to see how many people saw or liked it, and I don’t like that feeling, feeling like I was posting for other people. Yes, we all need a certain amount of validation in our lives, but constantly relying on it from internet activity is not the way to get it. During this experiment, I came up with a few tips for bloggers, writers, and serial social media posters, which you can see below.
Stop Caring So Much
Before you say it, yes, I know that many blogger’s goals are to blog full time, and in order to do that, they need brand deals (at least, that’s one method). To get brand deals, you need subscribers, and to get subscribers, you need to get lots of page views, and to get lots of page views, you need lots of interesting content.
However, perpetually checking stats, subscribers, and social media followers leads a person to put way too much weight on their importance. Yes, if you’re working towards blogging full time, these are important to keep track of, but you shouldn’t be checking them obsessively. Your main focus should be writing blog posts that you find interesting and enjoyable, not having a field day when you’ve lost subscribers.
If your main goal is subscribers, and lots of them, may I gently suggest that you re-evaluate why you’re blogging (because the number of subscribers you have is not necessarily going to get you lots of brand deals, and if that’s your main goal, your content is likely to suffer, driving down your number of subscribers anyway).
But You Should Care About Some Things
When writing blog posts (or anything), the main goal is quality. Posting three blog posts a week means nothing when they aren’t your best work and you aren’t proud of them. When I’m perusing blogs, I’d much rather read one long, well written article once every week or two, than several shorter, confusing or vague or overdone posts that the writer clearly didn’t care about writing. You should never create content just to get another blog post out; you should write something you’re proud of, and only release it into the vast space of the internet when you feel you’ve done your very best job.
I recently wrote a post about unique gift ideas for writers, and although that may seem like a popular post that someone would pump out for page views, I wrote it because it’s something I have a deep interest in (I’ve received far too many coffee mugs that vaguely center on writing or literature), and I spent a lot of time researching exactly what I (as a writer) think writers would like to get as a gift. Quality over quantity is the objective here; write about things you love, and put your best into it. Your blog is the showcase for you and your work, make sure people are seeing your best side.
Write It For Yourself
As an extension of what I said above, you should try your best to write about things you want to write about. Let’s say there’s this new big thing everyone is interested in. For example, downhill skiing. It’s all over the news, everyone is writing and talking and tweeting about it, and you Just. Don’t. Care.
Best course of action? Don’t write about it. Remember writing about the civil war or (insert least favourite subject here) in high school? You teacher was definitely aware of how you’d rather write about anything, anything else. If you aren’t interested in something, it will seep through into your writing. People will be aware that you have zero interest in downhill skiing (or fidget spinners, or politics, or the latest news regarding the Kardashians), and the worst thing you can do is be fake with your writing. Write authentically, and write well.
Don’t Be Hard On Yourself
Now, we’ve all written things we weren’t super proud of. We’ve all crammed an entire essay into a day and handed it in thinking good enough, and we’ve all done the same with our blogs at some point or another. This summer, I made a promise to myself that I’d post at least once a week, and I tried to maintain that throughout the semester, but life got in the way.
This was one of the busiest semesters I’ve had to date because on top of four courses, I was working at my school newspaper and volunteering two places and trying to maintain healthy relationships with friends and family (stay tuned for a blog post on slowing down and learning to say no), and trying to maintain a weekly posting on my blog was asking too much. For a while, I still tried to maintain it, and ended up posting things I wasn’t entirely proud of, things that weren’t totally finished, or could use some editing. I kept thinking good enough, but when it comes to writing, I think you should strive to put out things you’re proud of.
However, if you put out work that doesn’t fit your personal standard, I think you should use it as a learning experience: accept that you can do better, aim to do better in the future, and forgive yourself. We all make mistakes, and I know that in the future (unless I end up blogging full time, of course) that I’m not going to put restrictions on myself that aren’t sustainable.
Let’s Wrap Up
The main thing to take from this is that you should be blogging and writing for yourself. Don’t make numbers your sole focus, and don’t try to fool the system into thinking that that you’ve got quality content when really you’re just regurgitating the same “top ten” posts you see on the highest ranking blogs (unless you’ve got the burning urge to share a blog post on the “top ten chocolate cake recipes that’ll knock your socks off,” then write that sucker).
Write what you’re interested in, and write things you’d be proud to share with anyone. And, if you notice yourself getting caught up in the business side of things, slow down, and take a moment to remember why you started blogging in the first place.