The fire is burning low. It’s little more than hot embers at this point. We have to push through. Success depends largely on constitution, on how badly you want it. Do you have the testicular fortitude to continue to bust your ass with very little to show for it?
Starting a blog is hard. “Well, it’s just writing, anyone can write.” First of all, no everyone cannot write. If anyone could do it, everyone would. Writers are a different breed. Think about it. They spend their day constantly rearranging 26 letters over and over until it makes something interesting and entertaining. It’s not easy, but if you love it, you can lose yourself in it. Secondly, it’s not just writing. It’s hours and hours of research, and proofreading, and editing. You have to find advertisers, come up with trendy topics, find the right keywords, the list goes on and on. And all of these other things can slowly put out your fire.
When you started your business/blog you were full of passion, at least I was, and you had a head full of dreams and plans that would take you to the ends of the earth and back. You had a love for something, and that’s why you started. It may have been travel, new technology, sharing your experiences, or simply the act of writing. You were going to take your passion and make a job out of it. You were going to make money fulfilling your dreams. Only now it’s a half a year in, and life got in the way. You haven’t begun to make a living wage from your blog yet, so you’re still working a full time job. You feel like you’re neglecting your family, and the idea of writing another post seems like a disheartening act in futility, but the fear of failure weighs on you like a ton of bricks.
“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” – Og Mandino
The beginning is the hardest. It is the hardest because it is the easiest, and that sets unreasonable expectations. Your passion and ignorance carried you through all of the hard work. You tackled tasks with a zeal that would make others jealous. You experienced the thing you loved like you never had before, pumping out post after informative post and relishing the adventure. Every week you learned another aspect to running a blog. As your ignorance eroded, things seemed a little harder, and your fire burned a little less bright. Soon you are spending more time marketing your blog than you are writing it.
We all get there eventually. This is a hard business. There were 30 Million blogs updated at least once a month in the U.S. alone in 2017, and standing out isn’t easy. If you can just push through, once you get really established everything else becomes easier.
“Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” – Gena Showalter
You have to find a way to stoke the fires of your love and passion for what you do. You started out with a bonfire of pallets and old couches. It lit the night sky for miles around, but now it’s dying down and leaving you in the dark.
Travel somewhere you wouldn’t usually write about, or set up a play date just to connect with other parents, do an activity related to your blog just for the sake of doing it rather than because it will make a good story. I love the writing, so I write and submit short stories to contests. It helps me step away from the pressure of succeeding and lets me reconnect with myself. However it comes with its own disappointments and pressures.
On the flip side, try to limit the activities that drain your drive. Spend only 30 minutes a day on social media marketing. Don’t kill yourself researching keywords, 30 minutes per post should be more than enough. Don’t worry about finding the perfect keywords, nothing is written in stone. If you find better ones, you can do a quick rewrite. It’s your site, you can do whatever you want. Remember that content is king. Just keep doing what you love, and writing about it. The more content you have the more likely you will be found.
“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates
Keeping a fire burning takes work. You can’t just light it and walk away. You have to regularly cut and split wood. You have to feed it. Likewise to keep your passion alive you may have to do things you find unlikable or challenging. It may be something as simple as keeping a deadline, or as complicated as learning Google Analytics.
“You are braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Christopher Robin
The bottom line is, you have to work at it. But, if you find yourself beginning to dislike or even hate something you once loved, it’s time to change something. Write about something else for awhile, or lengthen the time between posts, maybe reformat your site completely. You may even have to take a step back and reevaluate your work life balance. You may be spending too much time on your site and risking burnout. Talk to your friends and/or family, sometimes just a few kind words in your direction is enough bring you back from the brink. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, email me or leave a comment, I’m always around and I’m glad to help.