Blogging – Twists and Turns, Ups and Downs
Written by guest author: Kerry Creaswood
Am I describing a roller coaster? Well yes, I am. Because blogging often feels like that. And if you blog for a living, you get it.
There are great “highs” when you’re “on your game” and your submissions are being accepted. There are terrible “lows” when they are not.
And just when you think you have it all figured out, someone, somewhere, comes up with some new blogging trend that you now need to learn and incorporate into your own blogging.
In short, blogging is an ever-changing, very competitive business, and you have to be ready and willing to “roll with the punches” and continually adapt.
Here are the joys, frustrations, highs, lows, twists and turns of being a blogger.
The Joys and the Highs
You Learn Something New Every Day
Whether you have your own blog or are blogging for others, there are always new topics. And new topics mean research. And while you do that research or read what other bloggers have to say on a topic, you are learning. Lifelong learning should be everyone’s goal, but, for a blogger, it is just part of the job. And earning money while you are learning new things is even better.
You Keep Getting Better
As you learn new skills and get better, you are able to demand higher payments. Of, as your own blog becomes more popular, you are in a position to monetize it by carrying advertisements, offering e-books you develop, etc. There are probably 30 or so ways to make money from your own blog. And if you are just posting for money, the better you get, the more you will be approved by the bigger blog that pays more.
You Develop New Skills
When I first began to blog, I wrote long essays, like I did in college. Big fail on my part. And so I had to begin the process of learning how to use sub-headings and short sentences. I had to learn to make lists and use bullet points. Then came adding images and photos. But that wasn’t enough. I was soon a master at adding hyperlinks, and getting keywords in the right places; I learned how to use tools to make infographics.
Then came marketing those posts on social media. Now, I am hopping around among Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest like a pro. The next challenge? Making video and adding animation – I can’t wait.
You Make New Friends
Being a blogger means that you are always online, always following other people’s posting and always engaging in conversations. Many of the acquaintances I have made are now Facebook friends and on my email contact list. We share ideas and how to do things we are just learning; we give each other advice. And we have come to share a lot about our personal lives too. I am developing a global community of friends and I love it.
You Stimulate Your Creativity
When you have to find a new angle on a topic; when you have to come up with a catchy title and opening, you get those “creative juices” flowing. Most bloggers find great satisfaction when they have come up with creative and unique ways to say things. And their posts are much more fun to read.
The Frustrations and the Lows
So, it would seem that there are no downsides to blogging. Not true. Like any profession, blogging has its downsides. And here are a few.
If you blog for e-commerce clients, your topics are pretty much related to their businesses, to their stories, and, most of all to their customers. This means that you have to spend some time analyzing those customers and finding out what kinds of information they want, how you can entertain them, or how you can inspire them. Sometimes clients will give a contracted blogger the topics. Most of the time, however, they don’t. They are busy and want you to come up with the topics. Deciding on topics can be time-consuming all by itself not to mention then doing the research to fill the page with content. And if the topic is unique or obscure, it is much harder to find the information. Sometimes, you spend as much time finding topics as you do writing the actual post.
If you have your own blog, you have more flexibility, but if it has a singular purpose, such as teaching others how to blog, then your posts have to relate in some way to that larger topic area. You can run out of topic ideas after a while, and so you have to go hunting. That takes time too.
Yes, it happens – more often than you might think. You have a topic, you’ve done the research, and still you are staring at a blank screen. The words are just not coming and if you have a client deadline, you can get pretty panicky. No one cure for writers’ block will work with everyone, so you have to find what works for you. And when you do find something that works today, it might not work tomorrow. Pumping out content is a huge pressure at times. You can ease the stress a little bit by brainstorming topics in advance when you have the time. Sometimes just writing anything at all to fill that blank screen will help get things “loosened” up.
Burnout is real and it can be a killer. You will go through periods of time when you just have no motivation to write another word. This results in two behaviors. Either you close up your computer and walk away for a period of time (and sometimes this can last for days or weeks) or you find every excuse possible to get up from your desk and do something else. In either case, client needs are not met or your readers are not finding anything new to read. Your reputation is at stake, along with your income. A lot of bloggers I know are also working on a book or other writing that is totally unrelated to their blogging. When they experience burnout, they move over to their personal projects and work on those instead. What they say is that they are able to move back to their blogging faster if they do that. Others think about why they decided to become bloggers in the first place – mostly because they hate the thought of a regular 9-5 job-making someone else rich. That can often do the trick. Again, recovery from burnout is an individual thing, but you need to figure it out fast.
If you are blogging for clients, you have to be a diplomat as well as a writer. You go into blogging assuming that everyone is as reasonable as you – not! Clients change their minds while you are midway through an entire series of posts on a topic; clients have “emergencies” and need a post on a particular topic within the next hour, and they want it promoted on every social media site too. It’s hard to find the balance between keeping clients happy and your own sanity.
One of the things about being in business for yourself, whether you have a monetized blog or you are a freelancer, is that income will never be completely steady. Sometimes you just do long for that steady paycheck every week or month. But you wake up from that nightmare pretty quickly and figure out to deal with uncertainty. When I have a good month, I always sock some money away, because I know there will be lean times ahead. So far I have not had to miss any meals.
Keeping Up with New Technology
One of the joys of blogging is always learning new things. It is also one of the frustrations. We live in such a visual online universe these days, we have to keep picking up new skills. When I first started to create infographics, I remember, it took me an entire day to make a really simple one, even with a great infographic tool. The same went for me when the new trend of interactivity hit. I had to find tools to create polls and surveys. Now it’s videos – traditional and live streaming. Again, my learning curve may be a bit longer with these, and I’ll have some frustrations along the way.
Well, there you have it. These are my joys, highs, frustrations and lows with blogging. But it is my passion, to be sure. And I cannot think of anything I would rather be doing at this time in my life.
Guest author Kerry Creaswood is a young and ambitious writer from Savannah, GA. She is fond of various forms of art and thinks that everything we can imagine is real. To find more about Kerry – check her Twitter or read her article How to Develop Writing Imagination.
Admin blogger’s commentary: Do you feel Kerry accurately described the joys and disappointments of blogging? Did she miss any? I look forward to your views in the comments section.
Readers, please share, so other bloggers know they are not alone in experiencing these emotional swings.
Do you feel Kerry accurately described the joys and disappointments of blogging? Did she miss any? I look forward to your views in the comments section.