Welcome to one of many regular installments from self acclaimed blogging “guru” Matticus. Learning about blogging techniques is one thing. Actually going through with them and carrying them out is another and that’s where I hope to help!
From the many emails and conversations and forum posts I’ve read and had over the past month on Blog Azeroth and abound, I’ve figured out that there is one aspect common in all bloggers and that is the fear of sucking.
There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.
– Colin Powell
Common blogging fears
- Flames from readers
- Comments saying “You’re wrong!”
- Not enough research done
- Getting facts wrong
- Offending people
And I’m just skimming the surface here. Don’t try to be a perfectionist right off the bat because it’s nearly impossible to write the perfect blog post every time. Blogging has a learning curve to it. Start with the idea, then support for the idea.
As you gradually progress, you’ll notice your blogging will improve. You’ll start receiving feedback. People will start pointing out grammatical mistakes, factual mistakes, and whatever else mistakes. It happens to me all the time. In fact, I had one particular reader who was so adept at pointing out every error I committed that I eventually gave in and brought her onboard so she could help fix my posts after I had already written them =).
Don’t be worried about fixing your mistakes right away. The most important thing is to get the process of writing down regardless of how it looks and how you sound. Get into the habit of writing whether it’s every day, every 2nd day, or right before you to go sleep or during lunch. Whatever time you pick, make sure you stick with it and commit. Otherwise you’ll start to lapse and wane and your discipline will be rendered non-existent.
Once you get your writing habits developed and you start blogging punctually, then you can spend more time on formatting.
This is not to say that fact checking isn’t important. It is. But it’s not something you should obsess over right away as a blogger. The moment you start getting paid to blog is the moment you need to make an effort to get your facts straight in a really obsessive manner. But since you’re starting out, don’t bust your chops with irrelevant things like that right away.
Besides, it’s good comment bait for people to swoop in and say “Hey, you made a mistake here!” and then you respond by saying “Oops! Fixed! Thanks!”. It makes you look good due to the pseudo reader and writer interaction that’s happening ;).
Try this whenever you hit a wall:
A major in game event happens which affects you strongly. Write as sincerely as you can how you feel about the situation and how it will change things. Maybe a friend left the guild or a piece of loot dropped that you really wanted but didn’t get. Don’t worry about the spelling or grammar. Write for 30 minutes on back to back days about it.
Eventually, you’ll get to a point where a blog post will take more than an hour to finalize. I know bloggers who spend a few days crafting one post. I typically spend 90 minutes on average on a post. The process includes conception, raw writing on paper, typing it on the computer, editing it again, formatting it, finding the necessary images to help accent it, and then finally promoting and publishing it.
I highly doubt anyone is born a natural blogger. It’s a craft that takes nothing more than repetition. In fact, blogging should be a form of martial art because it takes an insane amount of practice before it becomes second nature. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Don’t stop writing. Because once you do, it’s going to take a monumental effort to get back into the groove again.
Try asking anyone that’s taken a break from blogging how hard it can be to get back into the swing of things. There’s still a period of adjustment they go through. But if you love blogging, you have to actually blog. Even if the posts are fail, you have to keep pushing. Even on days where you just don’t want to crawl out of bed, you have to keep blogging (a simple I don’t wanna blog because I feel like crap and why you feel like crap would work). Because at the end of the day, bloggers who don’t blog aren’t bloggers.
Don’t ever be afraid to suck.