I’m in a toxic relationship with my blog. There, I said it.
I know I’m supposed to love my blog, or at least appreciate what it can do for me: the search engine rankings, the engaging virtual storefront, the opportunity to exercise my writing voice. Instead, I circle my blog like a wary stranger, saying a polite hello every now and then, wishing it would just go away, until in remorse I lavish some attention, make a few promises, and the dance begins anew.
I am resolving to restore my blogging relationship to health.
Why? Marketing benefits aside, I have come to realize that how I treat my blog, or any aspect of my business for that matter, is how I treat myself.
Avoiding and neglecting my blog means I have been avoiding and neglecting myself, my authentic self that is called to write and share and live successfully in my chosen career.
That needs to change if I am to lead the life I want, and at the very least, sell a few of those books serving as box shelves in the basement.
My blogging attitude is not the only thing that needs to change, but it’s a start.
These are my first three steps:
1. Be honest.
Come on, seriously. No time? The truth is, faced with the choice of blogging or scrubbing the rim of the toilet with a cotton swab, well, let’s just say my bathroom has never been cleaner. It’s all about owning choices and focusing on the ‘can’ rather than the ‘can’t’. Do I have time to blog every day? No, and that is realistic. Do I have time to blog once a week? Yes, I can. An hour a week. I can find that, if I choose to. And I will choose to, if I want this relationship to work.
2. Make a date.
For everything in my life – project deadlines, client meetings, kids’ dentist appointments – if it’s not in my calendar, it doesn’t get done. My blog will not write itself, nor will it appear magically in a dream when I suddenly decide today’s the day. It certainly can’t give me any kind of return if I give it nothing to start with. It takes (and deserves) creative space, which only I can create. Getting it on the to-do list starts the process.
3. Offer kindness.
Writers can be their own worst critics, which in the extreme can go two ways: complete shutdown that smothers ideas and deletes any words before they can see the light of day, or complete detachment, where stream of consciousness bubbles unchecked and unedited into publication, flooding the blogosphere with typos, rage, and half-formed thoughts attached to your name. There is a middle ground, discovered through kindness to self and to writing. Be clear in expectation, but also realistic. I am in a position to write a blog because I’ve written and published books; that counts for something. And, this is a blog: a small snapshot of my world, my story, my intent that I choose to share today. It is not a pitch for the Pulitzer or a tome to endure the ages. Maybe someday, but expectation and unfair comparison to anyone or anything other than where we are in this moment can be cruel, demoralizing and a good excuse to just say no.
Why do this at all? Because my relationship with my blog will lead to something bigger: my relationship with you, fellow writers, readers, and creative spirits, and ultimately, a healthier relationship with myself. So, today, I blog … Thanks for being here to share in it.