It’s already been two months of Mondays.
This blog isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve been posting my ramblings and rumblings to the Internets for as long as I can remember. I’ve maintained several blogs and blog-like things in the past, and most of those have gone the way of the dodo.
What sets The Monday Diaries apart from my other projects is that I’m actually sticking with it, frustration be damned.
In the couple of months I’ve maintained this blog, I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way:
1. Be Patient!
Ash Read of Buffer highlighted the difficulties of building an audience. It made me think about how quick I was to give up on my past endeavors when they didn’t become immediately successful, something I’m not alone in doing. If you didn’t already know, I’m not the most patient person. When I devote my time and energy to a project, I want it to be worth my while. That’s not unreasonable — time is a precious commodity. To me, however, that means achieving instant results.
I have to remember that it doesn’t work that way, and it’s an important lesson I’ve been in the process of learning. Day by day, I’m gradually letting go of the notion that outcomes, especially positive ones, must happen right away. Admittedly, I still have those moments when I cling to that idea until my knuckles lose color.
2. Gauging Reader Interest is a Skill
I’m still trying to find my footing as a “serious” blogger. That’s apparent from the hodgepodge of topics that appear every week. Some of my articles have been hits, and others, misses. I have set high expectations for posts that ultimately performed poorly, and have been pleasantly surprised by articles that touched readers more than I had anticipated.
Maybe in the near future I’ll have a better idea of what resonates with my (hopefully growing) audience. However, I feel like I’ll always be chasing it to some extent, and that’s not always a bad thing. Who doesn’t love seeing an article accumulating views due to some happy little accident?
3. Social Media is Quite Complex
I’ve been experimenting with social media as a means of promoting my blog. Yes, I use Twitter and Facebook every day as a consumer, but I’ve realized that utilizing those platforms as a marketer is a whole other ball game. I’ve read the blog posts, downloaded the recommended plug-ins, paid close attention to the actions of peers and influencers — anything to help me increase followers and engagement.
Even with the tools at my disposal, it’s been a steep climb upward. Twitter, especially, is a tough nut for me to crack. I’ve had my tiny victories on social media early on, though, and I’m grateful for those. My goal is to make those victories more consistent. I reckon it’ll take a fair amount of trial and error to get there.
4. Success is Not a Sprint
The aforementioned Buffer article called out Seth Godin, marketer extraordinaire. Before his site became so huge that it could be found though simply typing “Seth” into Google, he was just another writer who was trying to carve a niche for himself in the blogosphere.
As Ailian Gan revealed, it took Godin at least four years after he started his blog– that’s 2006 — to hit his stride. That’s when his posts started to become more frequent — he publishes something new every day — and began to resemble the distinct voice that captivates his audience today. And what did Mr. Godin do to achieve that? He kept writing.
Godin is, of course, just one of many successful people who had to endure long periods of stagnation, rejection, and failure before making it big. J.K. Rowling was a struggling single mother when she penned the first Harry Potter book that made her famous, and that manuscript was rejected three times. Walt Disney was told “no” over 300 times when he pitched his idea for Mickey Mouse, and now his legacy lives on in beloved movies and international theme parks.
These prolific individuals — and many others like them — didn’t reap the benefits of their hard work right away. Think of an accomplished human being you admire. How long did it take for them to achieve the success they have today? Months? Years? Or even decades? Chances are it wasn’t overnight.
5. I’m Me and They’re Them
“How does he have so many Twitter followers?” “I wish I could have that type of reader engagement on my blog.” “How does she grab people’s attention like that?”
These are thoughts I’ve had at one point or another while reading through others’ blogs and scrolling through various Twitter feeds. Seems a tad petty, doesn’t it?
What I lose sight of is that those men and women who command such a large, devoted following have been doing this much longer than I have. They’ve laid their foundation long ago and are building upon it each day.
As for me, I’m still in the process of laying that foundation. To compare my situation to others who are at a different stage in their blogging career is simply unfair. Whenever those pangs of envy start to strike, I should counter by learning from what they’ve done, not coveting their results. I’m sure at one point, the writers I admire felt just like I did. They worked through it, and it paid off.
I’ll be honest, I hope I don’t have to wait another four years to become even moderately successful with this blog. Of course, I can only control that outcome so much.
I can expedite the process by continuing to learn new skills, altering my approach when necessary, accepting constructive feedback (both good and bad!), and writing authentic high-quality content. Even if I follow that plan to a tee, however, it’s still going to take as long as it’s meant to take. I simply need to take it all in stride.
With all of that being said, here’s to many more Monday Diaries. I’m going to continue to make this blog the best it can be. I look forward to seeing what it will become. The only way I’ll get to experience that is to not give up.
To those of you who are reading and supporting this blog in its infancy, I thank you. You’re partly responsible for whatever shape The Monday Diaries takes. (I hope that’s not too much pressure!)
The Monday Question
Fellow Bloggers: How much has your blog changed from its inception, and what inspired you to keep at it? Share your wisdom in the comments below.
Til next Monday!