Coming home from very lonely places, all of us go a little mad; whether from great personal success, or just an all-night drive, we are the sole survivors of a world no one else has ever seen.
- John le Carre
- John le Carre
is something I don't do. It just happens to be on TV right now. Not Twister (with the flying cows) but a reality show with storm chasers. I know, lame intro to a blog post but I'm trying to be all spontaneous here.
The topic for this post is not tornadoes but transitions (stress, how it relates to new media and blogging, and a few tips for noobs).
Living life in transition is a bitch. Anytime there's some kind of major change going on - the daily routine falls by the wayside and you're left kinda winging it from one thing to another. On top of that the anxiety levels skyrocket. As I'm typing this I've got a tight knot on my shoulder.
My transition? The final push to get rid of stuff and move to NYC for about a year/year and a half, going back to school, elevate my blogging goals, starting a business.
But hey, life's all about transitions right? Some are more significant than others but the point is to adapt and embrace change. Learn from it - good and bad. Keep striving and trying until you get things just the way you like it.
Like Tom Petty's song says - The waiting is the hardest part.
During this "in-between" stage everything's awkward and you sometimes question decisions, second-guess yourself, maybe even start back-pedaling.
New job? Moving? Starting over? New relationship? New project?
Scary? Hell Yeah.
The first instinct when dealing with something that forces you outside of your comfort zone is to resist. You fight against it because you're afraid - what if you look like a complete ass, what if you're rejected, what if you get a bad review, afraid that nobody will visit you blog, afraid to let people in.
Give perfection the middle finger.
Let that illusion go because it'll get you nowhere. All you'll end up doing is make excuses. Before you know it, you would have talked yourself out of doing something new.
The thing about transitions is the unpredictability factor. Sure, we're all creatures of habit but not all habits are good.
I say screw all that. Once you've committed to doing something, just get it done. Try it out. Launch that site, try a new design, a new style of writing, record that demo...whatever it is. Then quantify the results later.
Great ideas without execution is nothing but pipe dreams.
I can cover all the bases here but since one of my missions is to help you build sites/blogs that don't hate you - I'll deal with that today.
Making a transition from non-blogger to noob blogger or elevate your noob blogger status to something more is tricky.
I've put my noob goggles on to break down the basics for a smoother transition. So here goes.
Where's your focus, man? Pick a topic any topic.
Choose a main topic that you want to be known for and write content around that. You like juggling? Then your blog should be mainly about that and not about pancakes. Unless you can find a link between the two that is. I kinda cheat on this - look at the title - it says "dark fiction writer, new media tips, elevate your passion." Those three are actually interconnected for me and is very relevant to what I'm doing here so at the moment those are my key topics. There's also more to the selection process but I think I'm gonna explain that in a future blog post.
You need some discipline.
No, not like some weird kinky bondage thing. More like a work-flow thing. Set an editorial calendar. Decide how many posts you want and can do in a week and when you want it posted. Then as you brainstorm topics you can assign it to specific days. Before you know it, you'll have a month's worth of content roughly assigned. You can even break each weekly post down to specific topics (i.e., Monday - is movie review, Wednesday - spotlight on gadget, Thursday - fav website, Friday - weekly roundup)
I've actually experimented with the themed post - it's fun but feels forced. I'm on a schedule right now and I just recently started the monthly pre-planning of posts, and it's reduced the amount of chaos and anxiety that comes with writing a consistent stream of content.
You can use Google Calendar.
Me? I have a techy-crush on Teux Deux.
Deadlines. Stick to it.
I hate to say this but be brutal about this part. Do your best to stick to a schedule. Pretend you have a boss and your boss is an asshole, you better get it done or else he'll eat your lunch, pour honey all over your keyboard or slash your tires. If for some reason you know you'll be MIA then let your audience know (even if you have a very small audience). It's like missing a dinner date, you gotta let 'em know somehow why you you can't make it. Don't leave them hanging. It's just the nice and classy thing to do.
Write the way you would talk to someone.
Seriously, show off your personality. This is like a pet peeve for me - I'm always looking for new blogs to read and sometimes I come across one that has a gorgeous visual layout, everything's perfect and shiny, until I start reading the posts...then what a let-down. Nothing is more of a buzz kill than reading stuff that sounds generic, boring, and using words that sounds like it came from a refrigerator manual or a prescription label.
Don't delay. Put the darn thing up and tweak later.
Remember what I said earlier about executing an idea?
There's a lot of elements that can be improved on but just get your idea out there and take action. You can worry about SEO, SERP, social media, keywords, design, functionality, marketing, etc. as you go along. Start bare-bones and learn as you go. Also, you don't need to wear all the hats in your operation. Again that's another post in itself.
Very important. Once you're comfortable with the technology and how it works you can turn around and make it work for you. Then you can actually reverse the process - research, test then launch.
And it's ok if you don't know anything about half the stuff I just mentioned because it's overwhelming.
As Joss Whedon said - There are no rules, so let's all get out there and play.
P.S. - As I was finishing up this post I just realized there's a lot of info that I can further elaborate on so I'll be taking it apart and breaking it down so I can get to the specifics. That should be fun.
So this Thursday - I'll be talking about your blog's focal point and choosing your topics. See ya then. Same bat time. Same bat channel.
Be an action figure. Do something.
1. Share this post and site with others - email, tweet, FB, stumble, digg. (I've turned off comments for now so you can focus on sharing)
2. Subscribe to my RSS then join the Hooligans
3. I love e-mails! Send me a quick note - tell me how you deal with your transitions, how you're spreading your reach and what you're doing with your blog and what you need help with. I love chatting with people so don't be shy!