What I’ve Learned From Blogging
Disclaimer: This post is part of this blog’s That Tiny Tirade series. It can (and likely will) contain harsh language, scenes and storylines not suitable for children, and some content that may be unacceptable to other readers. This post may also contain strobe lighting effects.
In a few weeks (November to be more specific), I’ll be turning 27 years old. Along with that change of age, I’ll be celebrating my tenth anniversary as a blogger in the month of November as well. Shortly after I had my 17th birthday, I started my first blog on Xanga. The blog is long dead and deleted now, though I do recognize its importance as a stepping stone to where I am today, both as a blogger as well as with my writing in general.
As I’ve become more involved in blogging and gained more experience from it, I’ve felt an increasing need to share the knowledge I’ve gained with others. This has manifested itself in trying to give advice to other bloggers on their blogs directly, as well as giving my input on blogging forums when the opportunity arises. Earlier this year, I was made a Community Manager at 20 Something Bloggers, an accomplishment I see as a natural progression in my growth as a blogger and writer.
I don’t know why you — the person staring at this blog post — specifically arrived here. You might be a long-time reader of mine from other sites, who is coming to ask me when I would please just shut the hell up. You could be an infrequent visitor who stumbles over here from time to time wondering what I’m rambling on about now. You may be a veteran blogger clicking around the blogosphere, or you may have come here from a random search engine result for “how to power a car with marshmallows”.
There’s a chance, however small it may be, that you came here because you’re a new blogger and you’re looking for advice. The advice you’re looking for isn’t on how to blog, how to promote yourself, or how to write. While those things are all well and good, what you’re looking to know is what you can learn from blogging itself. Hopefully the following items will shine some light on what I’ve learned, and in turn, help you with your growth as a person through blogging.
1. There are some people in the world who are jerks no matter what you say or do
I suppose this may go without saying, as there are people who are good and those who are evil in the world, however this fact is even more obvious once you’ve been blogging long enough. There are people out there who are just pricks. Some will show up as a snobby know-it-all who thinks their tastes in music/popular culture/movies are more sophisticated than yours. Others will take the road of religious zealot, flaming any post you write that you write that doesn’t adhere to their strict (read: fanatical and cult-like) religious beliefs. This may even be the person who takes your comment section and turns it into an attempt to humiliate and degrade your name.
People like this suck. They won’t go away because they’re not intelligent enough to know how to go away from anything. And you know what? That’s okay. These people drive up your traffic stats like few things outside of creating a viral video/post are capable of doing. Embrace idiots like these, as they’re a gold mine of free page counts.
2. Your best post will not be your most visited/most discussed post
3. Your most visited/most discussed post will be one that you think is awful
I’ve combined the two points above because of the fact that these related thoughts have been true since day one of my blogging life, and will likely remain that way until the day I finally hang up by blogging hat for good. You could spend five hours crafting the perfect post, share it with all of your friends, family, readers, and the Associated Press, only for that post to get nine views across the next thirty days, and one measly comment from a spam bot in Algeria looking to sell you boner pills. Meanwhile, a post you wrote in three minutes that’s nothing more than a picture of a sunset with the world “magical” underneath gets reblogged in 46 languages. Because reasons.
I’d love to tell you this happens by accident, but it doesn’t. It’s actually Philington’s Second Law applied to prose rather than code:
Real programmers don’t comment their code. If it was hard to write, it should be hard to understand.
There are lots of people in the world who don’t understand things. Furthermore, people are prone to gravitate towards things they do understand than things that they don’t. It’s important not to take things personally when more people like your shitty work than your quality work.
4. If you’re writing well, people will hate you
Please don’t confuse the order of the words in this sentence. It does not read “Because people hate you, that means you’re writing well”. Some people are hated because they’ve done something awful worth hating them for. They could be a good writer, but just because they’re hated doesn’t necessarily mean they a good writer.
If you are writing well, however, you’ll say things that provoke some sort of reaction. Even if what you say is indisputably a fact (water in a liquid state is wet, climate change is real and caused by humans, guns can be dangerous if used improperly [or properly by a person with intent to harm]), someone is going to say that you’re terrible human being for stating those facts. If you’re using opinions instead of facts, look out. There’s a chance that the “someone who is wrong on the internet” is you for the day.
Continue on writing and writing well. Most people get over being angry quickly and get on with their lives. That is, unless they’re the people I mentioned in point number one, in which case, hey…free traffic.
To other veteran bloggers: What have you learned during your time blogging that you’d like to share with everyone?
To new bloggers looking for advice: What would you like to know more about?
Sound off in the comments.