I started this blog back in 2012 as a hobby, and it’s still just a hobby. I’m not making any income with this, I just really enjoy writing. I’m in awe of how much this blog has grown in that amount of time, and I’m grateful that so many people think that what I have to say is worth reading.
I’ve learned a lot about myself and even a few other things through this whole blogging journey. I’d love to share what I learned with you.
1. Not everything is about competition.
I may not make any money with this blog, but I follow a lot of blogs by people who do it as a full-time job. I’ve also done a lot of research on how to reach more people with your blog. One of the best ways to increase blog traffic is to follow, like, and comment on other blogs. Unlike most industries, blogging doesn’t rely on the other company or person failing in order for you to do well. I can read as many blogs as I want. Following one blog may lead me to another similar one, and that doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of the first blog. I’m certainly not a major part of the blogging community at large, but I am on the fringes, and I’ve noticed that bloggers are all very supportive of each other. It’s nice that there are still places left in the world where people are building each other up instead of tearing each other down.
2. There will always be someone who doesn’t like it.
It doesn’t matter how neutral or easygoing your writing is. There is always going to be someone who doesn’t like what you have to say. Sometimes (if you’re lucky) you’ll never find out that they don’t like it because they won’t comment or let you know. But sometimes, you’ll receive incredibly negative comments. If you dwell on those, it’s only going to kill your confidence and make you second guess yourself. I write my opinion most of the time, so it makes sense that people with different opinions might disagree. Most of the negative comments I receive are attached to the articles I write for iBelieve. Sometimes people are so rude it blows me away. I used to request notifications from Facebook when my iBelieve posts would get comments or shares. I don’t anymore because I get too frustrated when people misread my writing and/or take my words out of context. It’s going to happen, that’s the downside of this whole writing thing. Some people are going to misinterpret what you have to say. Of course there are also people out there who truly enjoy cutting strangers down for no reason. Which leads me to my next point…
3. It is not necessary to care what everyone (or anyone) thinks.
I get negative comments on the things I write all the time. Sometimes I laugh at them because they are ridiculous, but sometimes they really are hurtful. The key is to realize that the person who said that is nobody to me. I don’t know them, they don’t know me, and so their opinion has no bearing on who I am in any way. I’m not writing in the hopes that everyone loves what I have to say. I write because the act of speaking up – about anything – is cathartic. And the people whose opinion I do care about will contact me directly if they have a piece of constructive criticism to share. They don’t blast it all over the internet.
So, basically, you shouldn’t give a sh*t what people think. The people you should care about won’t demean you for your opinions, and who cares about everyone else?
4. There is nothing new under the sun.
It doesn’t matter what I choose to write a post about, someone somewhere has already written something about it. That’s perfectly fine. You aren’t going to be able to come up with 100% original content that no one has ever thought of or heard of before. It’s OK to let other people’s ideas shape your own. There’s nothing wrong with writing something that’s similar to what’s already been written (unless you’re stealing their ideas…not cool). The point is to get your own unique perspective on whatever the thing is. Everyone looks at things differently, so utilize your unique experiences. That’s what makes your creativity worthwhile.
5. Sometimes, you’re going to put your foot in your mouth.
I try to be very careful with my blog. I am not going to censor myself or be anything less than honest, but I am also aware that a lot of people I know and interact with everyday read my blog. I’m not worried too much about having a differing opinion or stepping on toes, but I don’t want to unnecessarily ruin my relationships. I’m better at this with my writing than I am with everyday conversations, but that doesn’t mean I’m not occasionally going to put my foot in my mouth. I’m not perfect. I say stupid things. In fact, saying stupid things is one of my worst qualities. It is a continual struggle. My mouth just works faster than my brain. I’ve learned that I have to be apologetic and gracious when I unintentionally say something that affects someone in a way I didn’t intend.
The difference in putting your foot in your mouth in writing is that it’s much harder to take back. Once something is on the internet it’s basically impossible to retract it. Things on the internet have a tendency to stay there, no matter how hard you try to delete them. Blogging has taught me the necessity of proofreading and editing, as well as checking and double checking that the things I say aren’t … well … stupid.
Maybe you think they are stupid, but if that’s the case, see #3.
This blog will probably never make me any money. I’m fine with that. I have fun with it because writing is part of who I am, and no matter how afraid they are to admit it, writers all want their writing to be shared and enjoyed by others. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do that.