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Oct 28, 2008

The Psychology of Blogging

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Today Life Coach Tim Brownson from A Daring Adventure explores 6 tips to get your mindset right when approaching blogging.

  • 10 spare hours a week - Check
  • Niche market - Check
  • Basic understanding of SEO - Check
  • Google Adsense account - Check
  • Dummies’ guide to writing great content - Check
  • Burning desire to succeed - Check

There are a lot of great sites, this one included, that can help aspiring writers progress smoothly through the ranks of mere blogging wannabes to the heady heights of ‘A’ listers. To read some articles it would be easy to assume if you follow this A-Z of Blogging success you’ll be basking in the adulation of thousands of subscribers faster than you can say “Really Simple Syndication”.

The reality is that, like people in most industries, few bloggers make a successful transition to the very highest level. Even though they know at a mechanical level what’s needed, they don’t seem to be able to put everything in place. There are a number of obvious reasons such as a lack of focus and/or discipline, inability to write great content and a lack of understanding of the requirements of their target audience, and one less obvious one.

Few newbies take into consideration (or maybe just take for granted) the psychology behind becoming a successful blogger: the ability to roll with the punches and succeed come what may. It’s not enough to just know the technical side of things, you have to be able to stay on track, stay committed and hopefully stay sane. Otherwise you’re likely to burn out quicker than a magnesium candle.

Here are the six tips that, coupled with all the other great advice on offer, will, if not guarantee your success, certainly stack the odds more heavily in your favor.

1. Patience Is A Virtue

If you’re naturally an impatient person you’ll want to curb that tendency when you get into blogging. Otherwise you’re likely to end up very frustrated and very stressed. Wanting to get on with the job in hand is all well and good - but it doesn’t matter how far your veins bulge out of your neck, Alexa won’t be back to your site for a day or two and Google won’t be indexing you on a daily basis to begin with, so let it go.

Do what you need to do to meet your short-term goals and relax in the knowledge that all is good in the world. Be aware of what is within your circle of influence and what is outside it, and then stay focused on the former.

Unless you are very lucky, have lots of spare cash to advertise or have oodles of time on your hands to go on a commenting frenzy, it’s unlikely you’re going to see much of a return inside six months. It can be done, but don’t bank on it

2. Perfectionism Is Pointless

One of the biggest killers of projects is perfectionism in all its various guises. If you are to stand any chance of getting to the stage where all you have to do is switch your computer on to make money, you need to realize that some of your early stuff will be less than stellar.

I thought my early posts were insightful, thought provoking and witty. When I look at them now I roll my eyes and think they were pretentious, self indulgent and forced. It took me over a year to become happy with my writing style and find my niche. Writing is a practice and you’ll improve in the same way as you would if you took up playing the guitar, speaking a foreign lesson or public speaking.

Accept that some of your early stuff will not be perfect and publish it anyway. In fact publish it BECAUSE it’s not perfect. You’ll only really learn and develop as a writer by getting your stuff ‘out there’ and seeing what response you get, or even don’t get.

3. Embrace Failure

I’m sure you have heard the phrase “fail, fail often, and fail quickly”. It makes perfect sense to fail as quickly as you can so that you can learn from those errors and move forward. Ask any ‘A’ lister if they have screwed up at some stage and I’m confident somewhere in the region of 100% will say yes.

That’s life, that is how human beings are wired up to learn and you’re no exception. Of course you should learn as much as you can and avoid the really obvious pitfalls by reading books such as Darren and Chris’s ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income. However there’ll plenty of non-obvious roadblocks specific to your area of expertise that you won’t be expecting and won’t foresee, no matter how much planning and research you do.

Embrace these roadblocks, kiss them and thank each and every one of them for turning up. Each one that you overcome is an opportunity to learn and grow. Not only that, but every one that you deal with successfully separates you from the also-rans that have bailed out at the first sign of trouble.

When (and not if) something goes wrong ask yourself one simple question: “What can I learn from this?” If you can take some valuable experience with you, and know that you won’t repeat the same mistake, then it’s been worth it.

Anybody that has failed spectacularly only to go on to bigger and better things will tell you they wouldn’t have it any other way. We need the agony of short-term failure to ensure delicious long-term and long lasting success.

4. Develop A Thick Skin

Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Unfortunately Benny didn’t have a blog, because if he had the quote would have been “”In this world nothing is certain but death, taxes and if your blog becomes popular people will get jealous and want to see you fail.”

It doesn’t matter how brilliant your blog is, how much you pour your heart and soul into it, how genuine you are and what the quality of the writing is like, some people will still want to see you knocked down a peg or two. In fact, the more successful you are, the more some people will want to see you fail. Twas ever thus I’m afraid.

You’ll probably receive abusive e-mails from time to time as well as commenters who want to make you look foolish and/or criticize you. That’s just life as an ‘A’ list blogger. You need to either deal with it or prepare yourself for the day when you’re asked to put on the jacket with the very long sleeves.

Understand your readers do not know you. Some will think they do and may even start to perceive you as a friend. This is cool as long as they don’t start hanging around outside your house and sending you rabbit paws through the mail, but they still don’t know you. Therefore, any criticism that is aimed at you reveals nothing about you. It says plenty about the person that administers it, but that’s about as far as it goes.

You should deal with criticism the same way as you should deal with compliments: with a pinch of salt. Of course we all prefer to receive compliments, but they’re two sides of the same coin. If you take the good stuff too seriously, you’ll not be able to deal with the bad stuff when it arrives.

Whatever somebody says, simply thank them for their feedback. Then decide whether that feedback is useful and can help you move forward. If it can, great, use it. If it can’t, drop it because you don’t need it.

5. Stay Focused

This leads on from growing a thick skin. If you’re too heavily influenced by what others say you’re going to lose focus. Why did you start the blog? What are your goals? Who are you writing for? Get back to basics and re-connect with your real objectives from time to time. Otherwise you’ll start trying to please everybody and end up pleasing nobody.

Readers will come and readers will go, that’s just how it is. It isn’t about you and it’s pointless to try and work out people’s motives. I have enough trouble trying to work out what is going on inside my own head without trying to second-guess what other people are thinking. Firstly, you’re going to waste a lot of time and emotional energy and secondly you’re probably going to get it wrong, if not horribly wrong. Let it go.

6. Know Your Identity

Your blog is not you; it’s not your identity. If it crashes and burns that doesn’t mean you do too. We all want a successful blog with people lining up to comment and pay us homage (I know I do anyway), but it’s really not life and death.

Keep some perspective. Go all out to achieve your goals (you have got written goals, right?), but don’t stay attached to the results. Not only will that mean you keep a sense of balance, but conversely it will make you more likely to achieve your aims anyway.

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Admin(kk group)
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