There are many ways of running a successful blog, and you’ll see that a lot of successful bloggers have followed (and/or broken) a different set of rules to get to where they are now. Sometimes breaking the rules will work in your favor. Sometimes they will stall your progress.
But as long as you don’t break the rules in the name of procrastination, being a sinner might just work in your favor.
So today I’m sharing my blogging sins, and my reasons for committing them:
1) I don’t post frequently as I should/want.
As a writer, I’ll be the first to admit that despite my best intentions, I don’t always write as often as I should, or as often as I’d like.
In addition to life getting in the way (and by life I mean getting sick, approaching deadlines and the ultimate enemies-procrastination and depression. Come on, who doesn’t get writer’s blues? And, no, you are not allowed to say Stephen King. :))
Then there’s the other writing I like/have to do. Fiction and non-fiction. Posts for me and other publications.
And while writing is one of the things I should be doing, as researching/marketing/blogging/finding inspiration in different places are also vital parts of freelancing description, I don’t write as much as I should. And without writing, you don’t have something to pitch, market or edit.
Oh, and there isn’t only writing fiction or non-fiction, and with non-fiction, there are several blogs of mine as well as markets to pitch.
Now, while I love my blog and I’d publish once a day in every one of them in an ideal world (where the days last at least 48 hours), sometimes I get lost in a blogger’s other important tasks, or writing other things.
Do these sound like invalid excuses? Maybe you are right. But guess what I did right after the pain from my severe ear infection – I wrote 3,000 on the novel I’m working on, wrote and published Resources for Writers & Bloggers:Travel Blogger Academy Review, researched markets, organized bookmarks and my home office and…well, did this post of course. I might be a sinner, but I do work hard to compensate for the sins.
2) I don’t post on a constant schedule.
Sometimes I post twice a week, sometimes twice a month. Partly because of the sin covered above, but mostly because I like to write things that not everybody else is already writing. I don’t want to read another post about how to optimize your blog for the search engines. Yes, we need that post, but there are a million of them out there. You don’t need to read them here as well.
And yes, there have been other posts on the deadly sins of blogging- but these are my personal sins, and their reasons and why they don’t have to be deadly.
I also don’t want to write about killer headlines. Not because I am not fond of the topic, but so many people have done that, and they have done it well. You might want to check out Headline Hacks, where you only need to give your email address to download Jon Morrow’s free report (52 Headline Hacks) for instance.
3) I don’t treat a current topic as timely- because ultimately, even the current topics I’m interested in tend to be evergreen.
I saw Bryan Adams live in August this year, and I’m yet to post my review/experience post in the music category of my entertainment site. Partly because of sins number 1, partly because…well, a Bryan Adams concert isn’t something that’ll go out of fashion. I was a fan 12 years ago, and I still am. So the important thing is to find the current element in the post, highlight what matters and publish the post in its relativity.
After all, I have a couple of more slants I have up in my sleeve. For instance, why concerts are a great way of staying fit (for my unconventional beauty and fitness blog), why I tend to get over the worst colds at concerts (motivational post)- oh and then there’s the musical aspect – the testament to how Bryan’s rocking skills are “aging like wine.” So you see, maybe I missed out on my “Sarsborg” or Norway audience (not that I am saying I had audience there.)
So maybe it is not that sinful to commit this delaying sin, depending on which angles you are taking and why.
4) I don’t comment frequently enough on other blogs.
In the world of blogging, some marketing tactics don’t always remain valid. Some do remain valid, but lose its level of impact. And some are too valuable to be dismissed as a marketing tactic.
To me, blog commenting falls into that “too valuable” category. I genuinely like commenting on other blogs, and I enjoy it when people comment on mine. Of course when I say commenting, I mean actual commenting- comments that say something personal, meaningful and related to the post.
So I don’t think it is a great idea to try and comment on every related post, regardless of where they are posted. Because let’s face it: forcing yourself to leave 20 distinctive and worthy comments are going to come out as just that: forced.
I comment when I want to say something others haven’t mentioned, or I want to share my own personal experience. Or I just have to say that post made me laugh/cry/think/feel inspired and why.
Then there is also the commenter’s block. It just exists for me. I don’t feel like commenting, even though I thoroughly enjoyed the post. So I either save and come back, or have a reading marathon when I’m in the commenting/researching mindset. This saves time, and makes commenting a natural act, and not a promotional tactic.
Oh, and then there are these powerful blogs who have disabled comments for their own reasons. Now, they definitely want us to commit this sin.
I like reading comments where my readers have shared what’s on their minds while having fun doing it. That’s what I like to do when I’m commenting.
Chores are boring. Promotion might feel forced. Instinct and passion, on the other hand, make for better comments, don’t you think?
5) I write for my audience- even when the audience is me.
As wonderful as it is to be read, and as valuable as it is to write for your readers (and write what they want/need), I can’t write a post I have absolutely no interest in writing, even if my readers were dying to get it.
Some bloggers will definitely disapprove of me saying this, but for me, blogging is an amazing form of expression- and as a writer, the freedom to express comes first. I love being read, and it is an awesome feeling when somebody reads, and hopefully resonates with, your work. But in order to be read, you need to write. But I can’t write something I don’t want to read.
Yes, I love having readers. Yes, one day I’d love to have thousands, millions of daily readers. But I want those readers to come because they identify with what I write. I can’t do that if I am not happy with my topics.
Yes, I write for my audience. But guess what? Before anyone else sees your writing, you still get to read, proofread and edit your writing. You’re the first set of eyes to see the work, and if you are not happy, you won’t want to pass it along.
Audience comes first. But don’t ignore the needs of your first ever reader.
6) I write more than I market. Or pitch.
This is a sin I’m not proud of. But it is a sin I find very hard to stay away from, because as you can see from the name of the blog, I’m addicted to writing- first and foremost. This of course can harm future earnings, or delay how much you are going to make. It might also stall your career. But I try to use this to my advantage.
Because guess what? As much as I often drown in ideas and have a hard time keeping up with them despite my best efforts, sometimes even I get writer’s block. It doesn’t mean I don’t write anything for days or weeks. I wouldn’t have managed that even if I tried.
But I know it goes against my nature to stop a writing flow to market or do anything else. So I let myself write until I drop, or the ideas stop exciting and/or entertaining me. Then I move on to other tasks. Then I organize, plan, market and do all other things on my to-do list- until inspiration comes flooding again.
Is this the most effective way of marketing? Absolutely not. Can/Should it be improved? Hell, yes. But does it result in a happy writer who doesn’t get depressed over lack of inspiration, eager to learn more about self-promotion and improve her marketing skills? Certainly.
It is a big sin. But it is not a deadly one as long as you have a counter-attack plan.
7) I have many niches.
I can’t be a generalist, and I don’t want to be a generalist. Meaning I don’t want to write about anything. However I also can’t be a specialist in one area and keep writing in only one area. I’ve published 545 posts on my entertainment blog at time of writing this article, and over 400 of them are on movies. And despite my obvious passion for movies, I have also written novel/book reviews, album and concert reviews and so on. I am passionate about music and reading too.
And while I’d have probably have come a longer way in any one area, but it is impossible for me to work that way. I’m passionate about a lot of topics, and I love writing about a lot of different topics. I have either the experience, enthusiasm or both to justify this need and want of mine.
I also realized that writing in a lot of different areas is a great way to prevent writer’s block, or at least a chance to move to another topic when one road gets blocked.
So here’s the thing. If I wanted to write about one thing alone, I’d have gotten a desk job. It may not be so for everyone, but diversity is a part of my definition of freelancing.
Verdict: A Sinner With A Cause
So there you go. I’ve just shared my 7 sins. I’m proud of some of them, seldom ashamed of a few and determined to improve on the shortcomings. But I like knowing what I do and why I do them.
While I make some mistakes along the way, I tend to come up with more ways to compensate for them. Committing some sins are also a nice way to learn what works, what doesn’t and how to get where you want to get to faster, without compromising your personality and passions.
What about you, fellow bloggers? Should you been forgiven? Have you sinned? : )