I love our blogging community in Northwest Arkansas. We meet up once a month, and it’s one of the rare times I go out by myself, so it’s especially special. We go to a restaurant, talk and laugh.
We usually don’t talk about blogging all that much.
But last night we did a little, and it got me thinking about the pressures we put on ourselves as bloggers and writers and people.
It all started with my dear friend Peter, who writes an amazing food blog. He was talking about sometimes wanting to write about other things and what you do with that.
I usually just write about whatever I want, but his blog has a clearer focus than mine, so he might not want to bust out with a craft project or a parenting essay, it’s true.
I said that I’m at a point where I’m thinking again about what it is I really want to write about and have been feeling unfocused.
He said he thinks a lot of my recent posts have been great, which is, (1) really sweet to say and (2) a sure sign that we have no idea what goes on in other people’s brains, because I haven’t been feeling so confident lately.
He asked what I’ve been doing and I said “I’m only writing when I have something I want to say.”
I don’t even know if that’s true, but what a statement.
Writing just for the sake of writing is great, but don’t force that on your readers.
You should be excited to write, not think of it as a chore or another thing to check off the list.
On Trying to Do It All
A couple other friends, Keisha and Ramona, were talking about blogging pressures, and all the little (and big) things we feel like we have to do in order to be successful, whatever that is, or to do it right, whatever that means.
We can’t just write a post and hit publish. We have to edit, take or find a cute picture, edit it, add a title or something to make it pin-worthy, think about keywords and intriguing titles and how to promote on social and…
It all gets to feeling like a lot of too much after a while.
And it occurred to me that all that stuff is great — especially if you’re trying to build traffic or make money from your blog — but maybe you don’t really have to do all that all the time.
Don’t feel like blogging today? Don’t do it.
Don’t want to optimize your title for SEO or choose a searchable keyword phrase? Forget about it.
Can’t find a suitable image or just don’t want to deal with it? Well, I’m a big fan of photos and illustrations, so I wouldn’t tell you to routinely go without, but maybe you can just pull out a quote (like I just did!) and use an app to make an illustration that may not be all that pin-worthy, but at least is something.
Don’t let the shoulds get in the way of the parts of blogging you really enjoy.
This may be really bad advice if you have a really big blog where readers and advertisers count on you to have new content every day and you need to be found by search engines to keep your income up.
But for the rest of us, it’s OK to ignore “the rules” a bit so as not to get burned out on this thing we really love.
Because that’s the important part. It’s about sharing this thing that you love, not about the perfect keyword phrase.
What blogging “should” is bothering you right now? Is there a way around it? I’d love to hear your thoughts, bloggers!