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5 Misconceptions about Blogging

type writer type that say blog

1. I am going to get rich!

Many people think that when they start blogging they will have created an entirely new revenue stream within a few months.  Set up some ads, maybe offer a product for sale, and BOOM! Instant income.

Of course this is not actually true.  Yes, there are the wunderkinds out there who have done just that. If it weren’t for the exceptions we would not have the rule.  They act as inspiration.

The reality is most blogs will never make any real money, and the great majority of bloggers will not make a living off their blogs. Even the most successful among us will tell you to blog because you are passionate, not to make money. Do it because it is something you really want to do.  Then, if you do manage to make money it is a bonus.

2. I am going to get a book!

When I was younger I was a poet. I believed that if I could get enough individual poems published I would prove my worth and get a book deal.  Many publications later, I still had no book.  Blogging is much the same thing.

There are a few bloggers out there who have created enough buzz and popularity that they got a book deal.  Most of us won’t.  Self publishing is an option, though that is not usually what we had in mind.

If you are a writer, blogging is a great tool for honing your craft. It can help create discipline and give you a forum to work through your ideas.  It can even give you a history of writing to show a publisher, which can demonstrate your ability to complete a project (if you are proposing an idea vs. a completed manuscript, the ability to finish a writing project is very important).

So blogging might help you create an opportunity to publish a book, but most likely a deal will not just land in your lap.

3. Everyone will read my blog!

Thanks to Kevin Costner, we all like to believe “If you build it they will come!”  Unfortunately that is not actually how it works.  If you want people to read your blog you have to post consistently. You have to post a lot and publicize it. You have to work the channels to get your blog out in the public eye.  At some point you will generate momentum and you will acquire organic traffic more easily.  But first you have to do the leg work.

4. I am a good writer, blogging will be easy!

Writing and blogging are not the same thing.  As writers we try to set ourselves goals. We will set aside so much time every day to write, and produce some number of words or pages. Of course, unless you have a publisher breathing down your neck for the next installment, the only person you are accountable to is you. Plus you can write about anything that strikes your fancy.

Blogging is not the same.  First, you have to choose and develop a topic.  You can waver a little bit, but ultimately you have to write within the same general area.  Second, you have to be consistent. If you blog three times a week, then you’d better get your writing done. You have an audience you are responsible to, and if you do not post regularly you will lose that audience

5. I will always have great topics!

The last big hurdle is coming up with regular topics. When you first start blogging you are ripe with ideas. However, as you turn up the volume and start increasing the frequency of your posting you might find it difficult to continuously come up with interesting topics to write about. Or you might find the topics, but are suddenly lacking in opinions on those topics or lacking in anything interesting to say.  This is just another form of writers’ block, but it is more like writers lag.

This is where discipline, focus and persistence come into play. Sometimes you still have to write, even if you think you have nothing to write about. You may throw out a couple of lousy drafts, but just doing it can engage you in the process and the outcome may surprise you.

5 Sources of Inspiration for Bloggers

Comic image of two people talking about finding things to write about

Blogs can be a source for – or a source of – inspiration. Blog writing is something we come to in many different ways. Some people write out of a deep interest in a topic; they have a passion about a subject that they want to share with others.  Others have expertise they want to pass on.  Some people do it out of professional intrigue or professional necessity.  The reasons for blog writing can be as varied the topics covered.

Regardless of the reason for writing, sharing is one of the key elements that unites bloggers. One of the things they most want is for others to read it.  We all want to acquire an audience.

There are various ways to promote our blogs, drive traffic, and build revenue and subscribers.  But before you can focus on these things you have to face some primary technical questions – like how often are you going to post?

How often can you write on your topic?  How frequently can you find sufficient inspiration?

Is once a week enough?  Twice? Three times?  What about daily? Oh my god, daily! Yowza. Let’s not even talk about the nuts who post twice daily (ahem…Chris Brogan)

If your goal is to drive traffic to your site, then Brogan summed it up nicely when he said, “the more you post, the more traffic you get.”

So now you are blogging three times a week, or maybe you have even gone hell bent for leather and are blogging daily. So how do you do it?  How do you find motivation?  How do you find your topics?

  1. Read other people’s blogs!
    This is one of the best ways to find inspiration. See what other people are writing about; perhaps respond to what they have written.
  2. Read the news
    Many of us don’t actually blog about mainstream news, so what is the news in your industry?  You probably have thoughts and opinions on trending topics.  Share your opinion. Stop worrying if people agree with you, or if you are right or wrong.  Put your thoughts out there, and then if the response you get changes your point of view, well then you have another post topic!
  3. Follow Twitter
    Twitter is a beacon of discussion.  What are people talking about?  How are people interacting? Twitter is ripe with inspiration seeded in the conversations.  If you pay attention to what people are talking about you will see what people are interested in…write about that!
  4. Watch a movie
    Sure, it is a great form of procrastination, but if you are feeling stagnated then challenge yourself with a movie.  Watch a great and notable title and see how you can apply your writing to that movie.  Integrate buzz words from your industry into movie liners.  Have fun with it!
  5. Just start writing
    Occasionally we are just blocked. Blocked for words, topics, creativity. Sometimes sitting down and just typing whatever comes to your mind will lead you into something.  Think of it as an active meditation.  Just write what comes, no matter how goofy or nonsensical.  Many times finding inspiration is a matter of discipline, which may means committing to writing even when you can’t think of anything to write.

The more you write the easier it will become. When you first ramp up your frequency it can seem really daunting.  But the old adage is true; the more you write the more you will be able to write.  If you focus, the inspiration will come!

What inspires you? Tell me about it!