This is the last post of the A-to-Z Blogging challenge. It took me a little longer to finish than expected because I had a freelance writing job come up and just didn’t have time for every day posting – and to be completely honest, it was burning me out a little.
But here I am – and after that, it kind of fits that my topic for Z is the Zen of blogging.
Because, after all, what is Zen?
Well, it’s not easy to explain, but in very simple terms, it’s the practice of being “in the moment”. It means being one with the flow of the Universe, being free of distraction and conflict with the material world.
So, when I’m forcing myself to do something with my blog that goes against my nature, I’m not being very Zen about it.
And I think my blog suffers for it – but let me back up a little, and go a little deeper into this story.
In my decade-plus blogging history, I’ve connected with very few other bloggers, mainly with a small group of core friends. Since I started this blog 2 years ago, that group has expanded some, especially with the growth of the Tribe on Facebook, which I absolutely love.
But in the last few months, I’ve been making a real effort to connect with more bloggers, so I joined a lot of Facebook groups that are centered on blogging and bloggers.
Now the plus side of this is that there are a lot of really awesome people in these groups – I love the connections and the conversations! And there’s also a lot of AMAZING information to learn.
But there’s a problem – there’s maybe a little too much information. I can easily spend all day in the groups, reading comments, clicking over to posts, talking about the latest Facebook algorithm change… And not getting anything really done.
I feel like I’ve worked all day – but my blog hasn’t advanced at all.
And there’s another thing – there are as many ways to blog as there are bloggers. When I’m in these groups, I’m seeing one person talk about success with Pinterest, and another one talking about her amazing results with Facebook…
And this one is using Tailwind, while that one is using BoardBooster…
And this one monetizes with Adsense, while that one does sponsored posts…
It doesn’t take long to start feeling overwhelmed, and feeling like you’re so far behind, and there’s just way too much learn and where in the hell do you even start??
I’ve been blogging for over 10 years, and it was overwhelming ME.
I started having doubts about this very blog! Am I doing it right? Am I even talking to the right people?
I started comparing my blog design against all the beautiful blogs I see out there, with the pink and gold, and the gorgeous hand-drawn fonts… Is mine too simple? Too cartoonish? Am I turning away the very people I want to help because I look amateurish?
I doubted myself for about 5 minutes, before I smacked myself out of it, but then I realized – if these groups can make ME feel like that, how overwhelming must it be for a new blogger?
I started noticing conversations like this:
Blogger 1: I’ve gotten on every list I can find, downloaded all the ebooks, watched all the videos and I’m doing everything they say – and I STILL can’t get even 100 page views a day.
Blogger 2: How long have you been blogging?
Blogger 1: I launched last week.
Holy crap, y’all.
Just let that sink in for a second.
The final icing on the cake was this post that came out just before the weekend that was addressed to “Dear Mommy Blogger” that said (among a lot of other things), “Your blog fucking sucks”.
You probably read it, it was kind of a big deal, apparently.
I read it, and I think I understood where she was coming from.
But the way she said it was so mean, and so judgemental that I think her message got tossed out with the very dirty bathwater.
And even if she was 100% right about everything she said… So what? Who is she to tell other moms what they can or can’t do with their blog?
There are soooo many different kinds of lady bloggers out there, and we’ve all got our own thing going on – and not all of us want the same thing!
Mom bloggers run the gamut from the mom who wants to create an entire business empire to the mom who just wants to bring home a little cash each month to help out with the household finances. And both of these moms and all the mommy bloggers in between, are equally valid and equally worthy.
See, it pisses me off when someone starts making digs about women blogging for money, as if there’s something less pure about it.
This is my job! This is what I do to support my family! Would you say the same thing about doctors or retail clerks? “Oh, if she really loved medicine, she’d heal just for the joy of it.” “If she truly loved serving the public, she’s work for free.”
Well, sorry to tell you, joy don’t pay the water bill.
I love what I write about, I love being able to help people.
But I also love having food for my kids.
And that’s what’s so awesome about blogging – I get all those things!
It’s funny (not funny ha-ha, but funny coincidental) that I had actually picked this topic for my final A-to-Z post a few weeks ago – and then all this stuff happened and really brought it home for me.
In fact, you may be thinking I got way off of the whole idea of Zen here – but I’m bringing it back around now 😉
You, me – All of us – we need to blog in the way that makes us feel right and whole. We need to blog in the moment or our blogging suffers.
When you start letting all this other stuff get into your head, you lose your zen.
When you panic, thinking you have to learn ALL THE STUFF RIGHT NOW, you lose your zen.
You need to be free of distraction and conflict. So if you’re spending a lot of time in those kinds of FB groups I was talking about and it’s freaking you out a little, let it go.
If someone else’s idea of what a “real” blogger should be is causing you to lose confidence, let go of that person.
If you’ve just started blogging, don’t judge yourself by someone else’s journey. Be yourself. Take one step at a time. Focus on learning one thing at a time. Don’t let information overload screw with your mind and take your zen.
Just keep taking action.
What to do now?
If you know another blogger who’s freaking out right about now, why not be a bud and share this post with her?
If you’re freaking out right about now, why not come join us in the Tribe on Facebook? We’re a bunch of cool chicks taking blogging easy and focusing on small steps, with minimum overwhelm, maximum support.
Or if you’d rather, put your email in the box down there so you can get my newsletter and we can stay in touch. 🙂