If you’re anything like me, how you feel about your blog on any given day can change as much as the weather. The whole reason that blogging tips, blogging conferences and blogging books exist is to help us figure out that dynamic. We want to always love it, be working to improve it, and have it be the best it can possibly be.
It’s really kind of like a marriage – a difficult relationship to manage and navigate over time, but one that can be so rewarding.
So why not apply the same basic principles of a successful marriage to blogging?
Expect peaks and valleys.
Every marriage has its ups and downs. Even the strongest of unions will experience trying struggles. Your blog is no different. Expect to have months of literary greatness, awesome traffic and brands giving you amazing pitches. Also expect to have times where you just don’t feel that great about your content, you lose motivation or you feel like no one is reading your stuff. It’s a natural part of blogging, and if you can ride out those peaks and valleys, you’ll have a lot less bloggy angst.
Take time apart.
Partners in a strong marriage tend to encourage one another to pursue individual hobbies, interests and passions. You need that same level of healthy distance from your blog. Take time apart from it, and social media. I find that I struggle the most with writing when I don’t unplug enough. As soon as I turn it all off for a bit and re-engage with the other parts of my life (family!), I am able to return to writing refreshed and full of ideas.
Always have respect.
You (hopefully) have respect for your significant other and hold him/her in high regard. But so many of us are quick to discount and disrespect our blogs: “My blog totally sucks right now.” “I had no idea what to write about so I just put up a crappy post.” If you keep saying that, chances are that your readers will start believing you…and they’ll go away. Respect your work product. It is a reflection of you. Even if it’s not perfect, you are still putting in an effort. The more you respect your own work, the better your work will become.
Blogging is not a 50/50 partnership.
My dad’s best marital advice was that marriage is never 50/50. It’s always 80/10, or 10/90, or 40/60. At one time, your husband might be pulling 90% because you’re just not able. A year later, maybe you’re doing most of the marital heavy lifting. Blogging is the same way. Sometimes you have to put in 90% and your blog? Well, it might not give you much back right away (whether in readers, or community, or whatever your goals are). At other times, your blog will just start giving you wonderful things back when it seems like you’re barely trying.
Admire, don’t compare.
Do you ever watch another committed couple and start to compare your own relationship to it? We usually do this comparing in a negative way: “they’re so much happier than we are” or “Look at how well THEY get along.” We do this without really having the whole story, and it’s dangerous to a marriage. Same with your blog. Don’t get caught in the trap of comparing yourself to another blogger. You don’t know how hard she worked, what lucky opportunity came her way, or if she’s even happy with her own blog. Admire a blogger who inspires you to be better, but don’t compare.
We evolve, and that is good.
Marriages evolve over time. Partners learn each other’s hot buttons, they acquire new and different interests, kids or other major life changes come into play. It’s a completely dynamic state of being. And so is your blog! Chances are that no matter what niche you write in, the last 30 days of blog posts is a really good snapshot or reflection of what your life’s all about right now. Is it the same as it was 9 months ago? Probably not, and that’s okay. As long as you continue to write with a fairly consistent voice, feel free to let your blog be that reflection of who you are right now. Change is good.
It takes care and feeding.
Successful marriages typically don’t just happen, with little effort from either partner. Bloggers that are consistently successful over time work hard at what they do, too. So if you really do think your blog sucks right now, examine how much nurturing you’re really giving it. It might just need a bit of extra attention, if you can spare it.
Any other principles of successful relationships that you think apply to blogging?