Why I’m Ignoring My Own Blogging Advice
One of the first things I tell bloggers looking for advice – whether they’ve booked my blogging services or I’m mentoring them through the awesome Bloggers Helping Bloggers program – is that you absolutely must have a publishing schedule.
It helps you stick to posting regularly, which is so important when you’re trying to build and maintain an audience. It helps you get past writer’s block because you’ve got topics already lined up and aren’t facing the page blank. It helps you treat your blog more seriously, because hobbies are fun but you need discipline if you want to grow something awesome.
It’s Blogging 101, in my opinion.
And I am officially ignoring it.
Because I’ve stopped loving this blog, and that defeats the entire purpose.
A Side Rant on the “Business” of Blogging
When it comes to giving advice to other bloggers, I’m sort of a “do as I say, not as I do” kinda gal. For the most part, the tips I give bloggers are things I myself practice. But, every now and then, what I do here at CCIQ flies in the face of what I tell every other blogger they should do, and there’s no other reason for that than the fact that this blog is my baby, and I am very protective of what I do with my baby.
Take popups, for instance. I would never in a million years add them to my own blog, but when it comes to my clients’ blogs, I have no problem going along with them, because my clients’ blogs are businesses, and popups are proven to “work” in the business sense.
But this blog is not a business. It never has been.
When I created it back in November of 2010, it was with an eye towards eventually making a living in the blogosphere, but it was, much more importantly, about why I wanted to do that and what I learned along the way. It was about learning to live life intentionally. About designing a life you love and not being held captive by a life that was prescribed for you. About encouraging my readers to take control of their shit, and showing them I meant it by doing it myself.
It’s a platform.
It’s a passion.
It’s a personal crusade.
And the instant I add a popup to this blog, it would degrade all of that. It would instantly tell my readers that I’ve become one of those bloggers — the ones who weigh SEO keywords against each other for headlines that convert 27% of traffic rather than 26.5%. The ones who write inspiring calls to action carefully calculated to generate email list signups and affiliate program purchases. The ones who view their readers as a commodity and not an audience of likeminded traveling companions.
Maybe most readers would never spin off conclusions like this. Maybe they wouldn’t even notice. But I would, and I can’t abide by that. Because this blog has never been about doing anything other than inspiring people to live awesomely, and I intend to keep it that way.
Otherwise, really, what’s the point?
Why I Am Killing My Editorial Calendar
In the almost 3½ years since I started CCIQ, I’ve made maybe $200 through random experiments in sponsored posts and in-text links, which I swiftly stopped doing because they made me feel icky. Any money I get from blogging is an indirect result, meaning someone’s found me through my blog and booked my services for other things.
On a monthly basis, this blog actually costs me to run it. I pay $9.95/month to DreamHost for hosting services and $120-something/year for backup and tech support, so that’s about $19.95/month to keep the lights on. I realize I’ve put enough time into CCIQ, and grown it into a respectable-enough entity, that not monetizing it is probably a bit dumb. I’ll likely do some experiments in affiliate marketing to get a little of that whole “passive income” thing everyone’s talking about, because I can understand the merit to that, and let’s be honest: money is nice to have.
But it’s not my priority.
On the day-to-day, the only reason this blog exists and I devote so much of myself to it is because it keeps me real, and I hope it keeps you real, too. I write a metric shit-ton of words every week for my clients, some of them deliberately motivational, but this blog is the only place where the red pen gets set aside and the little glowing light at the heart of all I do gets to rekindle itself.
Recently, I’ve lost sight of that (along with so many other things). I’ve been treating this blog like just another to-do in my endless stream of obligations. I know I should write weekly (really, more than weekly), but every time I’ve sat down to tackle the topic I set for myself that week, I balk like a kid getting a forkful of brussel spouts shoved towards his mouth.
It feels like a chore, and any time writing feels like a chore, you are absolutely guaranteed to lose the magic. You can get words out, sure, and they may even be some pretty darn good words. But the heart will be gone. And when CCIQ loses its heart, I might as well close up shop, because the point will be done for.
Because of this, I am throwing all sensible blogging best practices to the wind and going with my gut: I am going to write only when I have something to say. Something I think you should hear, that’s burningly urgent and makes my soul hurt not to write it.
Given the mile-a-minute hamster wheel that is my mind, and my inability to go through life without analyzing everything, this will likely still be a once a week, if not more. But I’m not going to hold myself to an artificial schedule. I’m not going to scramble on Sunday because I don’t have a post ready for Monday. I’m not going to worry about losing relevance or audience members if I’m a whole (gasp!) two weeks since my last post went up. I’m not going to care if a post isn’t ready to publish till Thursday, because technically Mondays and Wednesdays are my better conversion days.
I’m not going to worry about any of that.
I’m going to write what I feel compelled to write, and I’m going to take as much time as each post needs to be exhumed properly.
I’m going to respect my message, your time, and this blog.
I’m going to run a blog, not a business.
Because I’ve already got enough business, thank you. This is about something more important.
Image: Elisa Dudnikova on Flickr
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