You realize writing online is an iterative process. Do. Learn. Start over … Repeat.
You also understand finding your voice and your “thing” can be harder than parallel parking a 1970 Eldorado.
Yes, many have this nailed from the start, but most of us don’t.
That’s what today’s post is about: what I’ve observed, experienced and learned over the past two years. And I’m hoping this helps you, Dear Blogger in some way …
1. Stage One: The Tail Wagging Puppy
Trying to make a dent, you comment anywhere and everywhere with golden, flowery, complementary prose. Racing around like Kim Kardashian at a Paparazzi beach party you have one goal: To get eyes on your site.
I did this and started to to make friends and rub elbows with big shots, but there was a problem: Like a stinky puppy I had boundless energy, and was crapping everywhere, but needed serious training.
My main goals were:
1. Building audience (good)
2. Making connections (even better) and …
3. Getting a bazillion comments (you make the call here, but really, Craig?)
The above practices didn’t earn me a red cent and I burnt about 8,765.81119 hours. BUT all the racing around launched my “blogging career,” kind of.
The “kind of” part is where it gets tricky.
My hyperactive beginning was a launching pad and gave me the impetus to bust some moves along the way. I made connections that I still maintain to this day.
But my excitement got in the way. I became obsessed with meaningless metrics and my overeager approach led me in too many different directions.
If you come into blogging with a solid plan, great.
If you have a narrow target audience in mind, even better.
If you’re jumping around like a tail wagging pup that’s fine, just work like a fiend to get yourself focused as you go.
As a blogging infant I was spinning my head faster than Linda Blair in The Exorcist, which led to …
2. Stage two: The Over Promiser
One of the amazing benefits of blogging? You get to know so many bright and talented people, but this brings a host of problems. In my case, the more peeps I got to know, the more excited I became and the more stuff I wanted (and, um promised) to do.
The over promiser sees what other peeps are doing and says, we’ll I’m gonna do that: Start speaking at conferences, publish four eBooks a year, create a video training course, grow that email list to mammoth proportions, and start publishing on Amazon … exhausting, right?
This just overextends little old you. That is not good, especially when you have 199.57 other distractions in your life.
My main goals were:
1. Be everywhere. Get on as many channels as possible (not good without a plan).
2. Build authority (again not good without focus).
3. To have more Goals (Argh).
Being everywhere is great (if you have a plan for each channel).
And building authority is one important part of a making it online. And yes, goals are wonderful.
BUT … here’s what the above becomes if you are not completely dialed in: A giant, time-draining succubus.
Over-promising means over-planning which usually leads to zero follow-through. You don’t accomplish what you set out to do, opening the doors to self-doubt, negativity, and burn out.
So, what helps you get out of this hyperdrive rut? Read on …
3. Stage Three: The Settled Planner …
The over eager, over promiser (read: me) eventually realizes there comes a time when you must slow down, re-tool, and refocus.
I’ll be honest … at the end of 2013 a host of issues in my life kinda sidelined me. But these events, plus two years in the online jungle help me gain clarity.
What is essential to my success?
And what will suck the life blood right out of me?
Then KILL the life-sucking part.
If you don’t gain this clarity you’ll get caught in a never-ending cycle: creating for naught.
For me, stages 1-2 helped things come into focus. But I really wish I’d hit the gas pedal to reach phase 3 more quickly.
My main goals now?
1. Having a clear reason for blogging and all attached to it (read: hard work). I thought I had this at first, but didn’t.
2. Improve by slowing down. Hyperdrive means trying to be everywhere with no plan; writing without purpose; and burning the midnight oil with no return on your investment.
3. To kill my goal-setting addiction, for my health and bottom line.
You’ve read this advice: just write, give, give, give, and be in the moment. All good, but if you’re like me you need to work to get more business, write to establish some kind of authority and retool and refocus to actually find the customers you covet. Meaning this simple framework ain’t gonna cut it, sorry.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t be passionate (you should).
Or you shouldn’t write with conviction (that’s part of the golden ticket).
And I’m not trying to convince you to do something you hate (quite the contrary actually).
What I do think you should do is: read the above again, decide which phase you’re in, and make some decisions. Stop spinning your wheels.
Blogging is damn hard work … just make those precious hours count for something.
I would love to get your thoughts on this below.