1. The Negative Comment Issue
Let’s get one of the big ones right out of the way: you may receive negative comments. You may receive a lot or you might receive a few. It may depend on your content.
The first thing you may want to keep in mind is there’s a difference between negative comments and constructive criticism. Sometimes you’re going to hear things that you don’t like-but that’s not the same thing as getting flamed or trolled. Some of these comments are going to be harsher than others, and sometimes it’s going to pop up in odd places (I posted about yarn once on Ravelry and it turned into a conversation ‘helping’ me with my terrible photography skills. Great advice, not the best place to receive it.)
If you blog long enough you will receive angry, negative, or just plain mean comments. I don’t want to call it an inevitability but it almost is at this point. Internet etiquette is a strange thing. Luckily I don’t receive that much on my site proper but I get a fair bit on Pinterest. Some of it I just ignore (you’re right random Pinner, I -don’t- post gluten free alternatives in my recipes, I’m not a gluten free blogger). Some of it I follow through on but don’t necessarily respond to. But you’re going to want a comment policy.
I have to be blunt, my comment policy is pretty unconventional for the type of blog I write. I respond in kind. Or at least I give myself the room to do so. I try to prevent flame wars, but I have a pretty ‘do no harm, but take no sh*t’ attitude with my comments. Play nice, and I’ll play nice back-but if you overreach your bounds, I’m going to let you know.
I actually don’t really recommend that. I have years of experience on the meaner sides of the Internet and am pretty used to that type of behavior. You may be better off just not posting those comments or deleting them.
Remember that this is your chunk of the Internet, you have a right to exist within it, and you don’t need to put up with other people’s aggression.
2. Writer’s Block
If you write enough, and write anything from fiction to academic papers, eventually you’re going to have a problem with idea generation.
I keep a notebook with me at all times now to list out things that I want to make, recipes that look interesting on Pinterest, ideas for thematic months, and stuff like that. It’s an actual, physical notebook because I think best like that.
You may want to keep a database of ideas to pull from.
Keep in mind as well that posting is up to you. You don’t need to post every day if you just can’t come up with information.
Don’t ever let yourself be like me. I do me pretty well but I wouldn’t subject this on anyone. What I mean is, don’t wake up on Thanksgiving and decide that you want to have a baking recipe every day in December. Or decide in January that you want to have February only be sweet things. Just don’t. It’ll drive you mad and if you’re like me, your oven’s going to burn out in December and then what are you going to do.
I love thematic months and I love doing them, but make sure you have enough material going into them that you can carry the theme forward. Or have a way of doing so. I spent a day earlier in March baking for Easter crafts and having people over to eat them-I got something like five projects in during one day.
If you’re more worried about general scheduling, come up with a set schedule on paper. It’ll help you plan out what you need if Monday is cleaning, Wednesday is bread, and Friday is Songbirds of Western New York.
4. The Statistics Issue
Don’t worry about other people’s blogs. Let them worry about their blog. It’s none of your business anyway.
I’m telling myself that as much as I’m telling you.
In all seriousness, don’t worry about other people’s blogs. If you feel like your stats aren’t in the range you want them to be, there are ways to increase traffic. Work on blog hops, do link shares, try social media. But you are not defined by your stats.
The other thing that I think people need to remember, and I actually say this as a statistician (albeit not employed in the field) is that you should be more concerned with trends than single events. If one day is low but you’re 10% higher overall than normal, then one day is probably not going to hurt you.
5. ‘Perfect People Lie’
I love this quote. I swear, I really love this quote. I’ve written about it before.
If other people’s blogs look perfect you need to remember that something else in their life probably isn’t. I deliberately talk about the stuff that doesn’t go right for this blog (to a point, don’t ask me about banana cream pies). It can be incredibly intimidating as a reader or writer to look a blog and think ‘there’s not even any point when these people already have it nailed down.’ They might, or they might not, but that doesn’t mean that what you have to say is invalid.
I don’t remember what blog I was reading, but one of the blogs I found last fall also pointed out that since blogging is purely what you’re willing to put into a post, it really skews reality. Your entire life can be falling apart-but man, can you bake and promote your baking skills. That doesn’t make their life better than your’s. It just means they’re good with cookies.
6. You Can’t Win Them All
Do your best. Live authentically. Keep moving forward. The rest will work out for itself.
You’re never going to make everyone happy. There’s going to be days where you just can’t write, can’t cook or can’t dance. There’s going to be times when you just want to give up, cursing Pinterest and the blogging gods. It’s fine.
There’s going to be times when you wonder what you did wrong. You might not have done anything wrong, the person on the other end may just be having a bad day. Or they may just not be a terribly nice person. It’s fine.
You are a much larger person than just who you are on your blog. Write about what makes you happy and the rest will come.
Bloggers-I have started a new group board on Pinterest. Open to all DIY, craft, food, or other creative blogs, I would love to have you join. Joining instructions are posted on the board-join here.
Please, stop by this week’s Inspired Weekends!