Three Things I Learned about Blogging (by Not Blogging)
I met Aaron Smith a few years ago at a blogging conference in Portland. We’ve been reading each other’s stuff for a few years now, and I’m continually impressed with the raw honesty that Aaron brings to the page. He’s also part of the Clumsy Bloggers’ Workshop, and today he’s telling us what he learned about blogging by… not blogging.
I’m a shitty blogger.
You’re supposed to be consistent, posting regularly so people know what to expect from you. Your blog shouldn’t be just some dormant space on the internet. You’re supposed to keep it live, fresh, updated.
The last time I posted anything was June 24th, 2015.
In two months, silence has become my blog brand.
I just dropped off. I didn’t tell anyone I was taking a break. Hell, I didn’t think I was taking a break. But I have. For two months.
All the blogging experts will tell me that this is basically killing my blog. All those little stats and numbers that are supposed to tell me how important my blog is, those have plummeted to almost nothing. This essential vacation from my blog is supposed to be a death nail in my platform building.
I guess when I actually get around to blogging again we’ll see if the experts are right, if I committed blog homicide or not. This accidental hiatus from the blogging has taught this shitty blogger a few things about blogging though. Things that are bigger than online branding, platform building, and a “successful” blog:
1. Not all of life is blog fodder.
Some shit is too personal, too emotional, too much to put out there right away. You have to go through things and finish them sometimes before you can write about them. Some stuff is too painful, and you may never write about it. That’s ok. I don’t live my life so I can blog about it.
Our lives are bigger than our blogs.
Stephen King said, “Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.” I think sometimes we bloggers get this backwards. We spend all of our lives adventures thinking of ways we can share the story, the experience, the lessons learned. “I’mma blog the shit outta this” is our mantra at times.
There is a great push to be vulnerable in our writing these days. Hell, vulnerability and rawness are my jam in writing. But there are things that I can’t talk to you about over the internet. Some things must be kept close to your chest and not shared with the world and it’s grandma. Some things have to be lived because they are a part of life, not a topic for your blog.
Maybe someday I’ll tell you all about the shit that has happened in these two months. But not now. And that’s ok.
2. Even if you don’t blog, you still have readers.
Twitter is a good way to connect with people, not just blast your post links. If you keep talking on Facebook and/or Twitter, people will listen… even if you’re not blogging at all. And when you do get back to blogging, you have people that are waiting to read what you say because they have a relationship with you.
We live in a digital age. Social media is our drug of choice these days. People are all about branding and platform building and all that shit. It’s not bad, but it’s not all there is to connecting online. We are still people talking to people. Just because I don’t have a link to share or a post to push doesn’t mean I don’t have something to say. It also doesn’t mean that I won’t listen to what you have to say. Listening and talking, telling jokes, sarcasm… these are all things people do with other people. A keyboard and screen don’t change that.
Be human with other people. Don’t let your blog’s activity (or lack thereof) dominate your online presence. You are more than the words you put out. Your relationships should be bigger and better than who reads, comments, and shares your newest post. If they are, people will still be there for your words when you come back from your times of silence.
3. Blogging is not all there is to writing.
I’ve written during these two months; I just haven’t blogged. I’ve worked on my book and written some articles for Bedlam Magazine. I’ve been productive, just not on my blog. That’s ok. Blogging is not the sum all of writing on the internet.
There is a kind of rush that comes from hitting the “publish now” button. But, there is more to writing then that publish button. You can write guest posts, submit articles to various online magazines, write in your journal. All these are ways to keep writing even if you’re not blogging. Blogging shouldn’t be your only writing outlet. Who knows? maybe you’ll find that you begin to grow in new ways as a writer by taking some time away from the demand for new content. Either way, there is a bigger world of writing than blogging. We forget that.
These are a few thing I have learned about blogging in my two months of blog silence. I’m hoping I can get back to posting on my blog soon (I do miss it), but I’m not going to punish myself for however much time I take away from it.
After all, there is more to this life than blogging, I still have readers, and I’m still writing.
Aaron Smith is a dad, husband, writer, nerd, believer, coffee chugger, and kind of a mess. Diagnosed bipolar. In the never ending process of writing a book. While you’re waiting for him to get back in the blogging game, connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.
Are you a clumsy blogger too? I wrote an eCourse just for you, with everything I know about social media and blogging.