Does it look like other bloggers achieve success really easily?
Maybe they’re content machines, pumping out great post after great post. Perhaps they’ve just launched yet another course, or have an amazingly swish new design for their blog. Or maybe they always reply to comments and emails really quickly.
And so you start to feel inadequate. You wonder how they do it, and why they never seem to struggle like you do.
But the truth is they probably do struggle. All bloggers do, even long-established ones. That’s why in today’s post I want to share four realities of blogging that don’t often get talked about.
#1: It’s Hard to Be Creative Every Day
I’ve written thousands of blog posts over the past fifteen years or so. But it can be hard to be creative every day, or even every week.
As any blogger will know, there are times when you have loads of ideas and your posts or podcasts flow easily.
But there are also times (a lot of times) when you stare at the screen and wonder what to write about. You worry that everything has been done already, or that you don’t really have the skills or experience to cover a topic.
Every blogger goes through this, so don’t think you’re alone.
Make it Easier
Push yourself to make a start. Once you push through that initial resistance, you’ll feel a sense of creative energy and your ideas will start to flow.
Make creating a regular part of your day or week. Even if you don’t create something each time, just getting into this rhythm will help.
#2: First Drafts are Almost Always Bad
It often seems like my favourite bloggers have this innate ability to put words together in an amazing, effortless way.
But that gripping article probably started out as a hastily scribbled list on a scrap of paper that became a first draft full of mistakes and awkwardly formed ideas.
Then it was revisited and reworked time and time again. The headline, opening lines and conclusion were probably agonised over. And it was critiqued and edited multiple times before eventually being polished and published.
Make it Easier
Don’t compare your first drafts to someone else’s polished, published work. It’s not a fair comparison.
If your ideas don’t feel complete or your writing doesn’t seem to flow, make sure you’re putting enough time into editing. You need to spend as much time on editing, polishing and finishing your work as you do on that first draft.
#3: You Never Really Finish Anything
In fifteen years of blogging, I don’t think I’ve ever hit “publish” on a post or podcast episode I’ve been 100% happy with. I always have mixed feelings. While I’m proud of what I created, I also think I could have done more – added extra details, polished it further, found a better quote, or made it look better.
These feelings of “I could do more” can be a good thing if they drive you to improve your first draft. But they can also stop you in your tracks and prevent you from publishing anything.
Make it Easier
Recognise that perfectionism can be both a superpower and a curse. Let it drive you to improve, but also learn to set your work free.
Remember, you can always go back and tweak your post or product later. But you’ll never build anything of value without hitting “publish”.
#4: We All Procrastinate
Do you ever put things off that you know you should get done? I bet you do, because everyone does.
For me, procrastination is often tied to fear. But I know the things that scare me are also the things that could potentially have the biggest impact on my life. For more on that, check out episode 167 of the ProBlogger podcast – My Million Dollar Blog Post (and How Procrastination Almost Stopped me Writing It).
Maybe it’s the same for you, in which case procrastination is a sign you need to pay attention to something.
Make it Easier
Set yourself a deadline and tell your readers (or a fellow blogger) about it. The main reason I launched my podcast was because I told a friend I’d do it by the 1st of July 2015. And I did.
Pick one thing you’ve been procrastinating about – something that would have ongoing benefits for your blog – and do it. You might start an email list, create your first product, set up a “Start Here” page, or something else entirely.
When you’re having a bad blogging day (or week, or month), and it feels like everything’s difficult for you and easy for everyone else, remember these four realities of blogging.
Keep persevering. The more you face up to the difficulties, the easier it will be to overcome them.
Image credit: Niklas Hamann