Pick and Mix, One Direction, and Why Blogging is Awesome.

Mojo’s a tricky thing.

Blogging – like any creative activity – only works if you’re in the right frame of mind.

There can be any number of reasons not to be in the right frame of mind, from personal issues to work problems to not feeling like you’re happy with what you’re creating.

But every so often, I read a blogger saying, “I don’t want to blog, because blogging has changed.”

The world has a habit of not staying the same. But that’s no reason to let it squish your mojo!

Blogging changes for lots of reasons. Our children grow, our jobs change, technology improves, brands want to be written about on blogs, meaning bloggers can now choose to make money, or accept free products.

Here’s my secret to not letting any of that stuff mess with your mojo – forget the idea that there’s one version of blogging.

THERE REALLY ISN’T. 

I run the Tots100, and we now have a membership of almost 5,000 bloggers from all over the world. Wouldn’t it be odd if they all wrote the same way, about the same things?

Instead, I think we have blogging tribes, each blogging in a different way, for different reasons, and different audiences. Maybe it’s harder to find blogs you feel an affinity with in such a big community, but you only need to look.

THERE’S A TRIBE FOR EVERY BLOGGER. 

There are bloggers who use their site as a platform to earn money from home while caring for their children, selling links and posts to companies at £100 a time.

There are bloggers who use blogs to secure products and experiences for their family, from a few fun extras to once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

A growing number of bloggers are campaigners using blogs to raise awareness of issues from depression to homelessness. The power of social media means their voices are being heard in a way that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

There are professional bloggers, using blogs to build businesses and careers, from selling downloads and e-books to professional services and consulting.

There are geeks, who love technology and the Internet and view each new social media platform as an adventure waiting to be explored. They’re learning new skills every day, and having lots of fun in the process.

There are professional writers, using blogs as a showcase for potential clients, securing writing commissions and book deals on the back of their blogs.

Then there are heart-on-their-sleeve bloggers, using their sites as a personal space to capture family memories and those small moments that make us who we are.

There are community linchpins, people who set up networks and Linkys and events. They help create a sense of ‘joining in’ for people who might never physically meet one another.

And the photographers – they don’t say much but their pictures speak a thousand words.

 

WHO’S TO SAY ANY TRIBE IS DOING IT RIGHT, OR BETTER, THAN ANY OTHER?

Whether we belong to one of these tribes as readers or writers, or move between tribes depending on our circumstances and mood, there’s only one question that REALLY matters:

Is your blog making you happy?

If you’re happy with your blog, I don’t care whether you’re selling sponsored posts, or writing about knitting. I don’t care if you have G+ and 1 million readers or whether you’re using a pre-made template with two readers a day (including your Mum).

If you’re blogging and you are getting from your blog what you need from it, then you’re doing it EXACTLY right.

If you’re blogging and it’s not making you happy, then you are the master of your blog. Choose the things that make you happy and keep them close. Ignore everything else.

  • Don’t like awards? Don’t enter them.
  • Don’t like reviews? Don’t write them, or read them.
  • Don’t want to use Pinterest? Ignore it. Honestly, nobody will mind a bit.
  • Don’t want to compete? You can’t get rid of ranks and charts, but you don’t have to look at them.

Blogging isn’t one thing. If it ever was, those days are gone.

But the brilliant thing about blogging is it can be whatever you want it to be.

It can even be neglected, for months, if you’re not in the right mood to blog. It will still be there when you come back – and it doesn’t mind a bit how you want to use it.

 

IT’S PICK AND MIX, RIGHT? 

Absolutely, sometimes it can feel as though you OUGHT to do X, Y or Z. Pinterest will TRANSFORM your blog, you HAVE TO have SEO, you MUST go to this conference or join that Facebook group.

But try not to view this recommendations as pressure – it’s mostly just enthusiasm.

People love something, they’re excited about it, and think you will be, too. Or they don’t enjoy writing about X, they much prefer writing about Y, and they can’t see why you’re different.

That’s not your problem.

My niece thinks I should love The Wanted. She tells me all about how amazing they are, and I must download this song or that song.

I smile politely, say thanks for the recommendation, and then I completely ignore her. I recommend you do the same next time someone tells you you’re not blogging in quite the right way.

What? I’m 38.

Besides, One Direction are way better.

 

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the HIBS100, Foodies100 and Tots100 - an online community of more than 15,000 UK bloggers. She is also a busy single Mum to Flea, the world's coolest eight year old.

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55 Comments

    • says

      It really is daunting but honestly, I merrily shrug so much of it off for this blog. I don’t have the time or energy to do it all, only the bits I love.

  1. says

    A very thoughtful, and timely piece, Sally. And I would agree with what you are saying about the different reasons for writing a blog, and how we need to try an stay true to why we are doing things. It’s not easy though – sticking to that route when there are so many ways that external influences distract you from that path. I have two blogs, one heart-on-sleeve and one business related, though hopefully still honest and entertaining. Keeping all the “other stuff” out that is pushing me away from why I really started doing all of this can be hard sometimes. But I love writing, blogging and the communities that have sudden become part of my life, so I am trying to keep it all together! I totally understand why people’s mojos are getting interfered with at the moment…
    Helen Neale recently posted..Christmas music for kids: Win Jingle Bells music activity books & CDsMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks Helen.

      I suppose I think what we need to be careful to avoid is the idea that if we’re distracted or disillusioned that there’s a problem and someone to blame for causing it.

      The PR agencies didn’t ruin blogging, and nor did the awards, or the charts, or the SEOs, or the people who invented Pinterest or G+ or anything else that’s new. Rather than blaming those things, I just wish sometimes people would accept and celebrate all these different ways of doing things, even if they’re not quite right for THEIR blog at a particular moment in time.

  2. says

    I’m halfway through a blog post on this very topic, and you’ve just captured exactly what I want to say, so much more elequently than I. I agree with you completely, I think they key is for everyone to understand WHY they blog. If you know WHY you blog then any time you feel lost in this great sea of other bloggers you can take a step back and refocus on YOUR blog.
    Ruth (geekmummy) recently posted..My week in pictures 02/12/2012My Profile

    • says

      Absolutely – I am generally very clear on why I write my blog, so I don’t worry if someone does something differently. I just hope they’re doing what they love, too :)

  3. Mrs Teepot says

    You’re so right. I’ve seen a few bloggers quit lately because they feel like they’re being left behind and such, it’s such a shame to lose them, especially when they’re very interesting people, but as you say they need to enjoy it.

    • says

      I don’t think of it as being left behind, it’s just treading their own path. As we all do, surely? It’s so sad if people DO feel left behind.

    • says

      Yes, I think lots of people do find awards and conferences and charts and networks fun, and I think that’s just as important to recognise as the people who don’t find those things fun. Some people do just enjoy those things, and that’s great!

      • says

        I am another that finds the charts fun. My ebuzzing score went flying this month and that’s purely because of World Prematurity Day where I did 8 posts in a day and they got retweeted here there and everywhere.

        I think its important to be self aware enough to know whether you can see the numbers as just a game. If your self worth starts to be affected by that number then its time to reassess whether its worth it.
        Kylie recently posted..The Drugs Don’t Work…..My Profile

  4. Lindy says

    Very timely post Ms Sally! I have lost my mojo and I think it’s because I’ve forgotten what tribe I belong to! I have always been a photographer. Lately I have been unsure of myself, wondering… comparing… finding myself lacking when I look at others. I need to get back to what I do best and not compare myself to others. It is debilitating.

    • says

      I think it’s natural and understandable to look at other people and wonder why we don’t have what they have – it happens in all parts of life, so why not blogging? But ultimately, being content and living life your own way, for your own reasons is what makes you happy, I reckon.

    • says

      Yes, I feel the same – this blog is very much a memory bank for us, but I’m also one of those bloggers who uses the blog for new experiences for us both, and I am very happy because that’s what I want, and I don’t do the stuff I don’t want to do, or worry about why other bloggers do it differently!

  5. TheBoyandMe says

    I read this the other day and completely agreed then. After another day of “I’ve given up blogging because of rankings/competitiveness/fake awards/reviews/lack of communication/blah, blah, BLAH!” I’m completely fed up of people’s attention seeking behaviour with this tantrum as they leave the blogging world. Blog because you want to, if the stats don’t matter then ignore them, if you don’t like awards then don’t enter them and don’t vote, don’t read the reviews, don’t complain about people not commenting if you don’t comment yourself; STOP COMPLAINING!

    Blog because you want to, do what you want to as long as it’s legal and doesn’t hurt anyone, chill the hell out!

    And I think you’ll find it’s Union J which is where it’s at it nowadays!

    • says

      Thanks for agreeing, it’s always welcome :)

      There used to be a joke among bloggers that you couldn’t really call yourself a blogger until you’d written a post about why you were going to give up blogging – and subsequently come back to blogging three months later.

      I think many of us go through phases of thinking, I don’t want to blog, or I want to blog differently, or I don’t feel as connected to other bloggers as I did a year ago, or whatever… and that happens a lot around this time of year, because people are reflecting on things and thinking about new starts.

      Ultimately, if blogging isn’t making you happy, then I say absolutely, you should step away – for a week, a month, or forever. Take a break, see how you feel.

      I don’t judge anyone for making that choice any more than I’d judge them for stopping knitting, or going to the gym. But I also don’t think it’s anyone FAULT that you don’t enjoy your blog – it’s not yours but it’s also not down to other bloggers who might choose to blog in a different way, either. The world is big enough that you could easily ignore those blogs and find blogs you have more in common with, if you choose.

  6. says

    So very true all you have said ,the best thing about blogging is you do it for yourself. I am one of those who write about my memories and things that happen around me ,I always feel I should blog once a week but then realise there’s no pressure. I have made friends with many lovely people from all parts of the world and its even gave me a new love of photography as well as writing. Lovely post.

  7. says

    When I first started blogging I felt a bit lost as I didn’t feel I fit into any tribe. And it was attending Cybermummy that made me realise that there are so many people out there blogging who blog about similar things as me, parenting with a difference and now there are so many preemie bloggers out there, its so inspiring.

    So the only thing I’d add to that post is if you can’t find a tribe that speaks to you, go out and make one yourself! Don’t sit in the corner sulking about it.
    Kylie recently posted..PTSD, Paroxetine and PSYMy Profile

    • says

      I love the notion of setting up your own tribe, that’s very true, I see new tribes being formed ALL the time among bloggers who find people they have something in common with.

  8. says

    It’s not a backlash comment at all, CJ, it’s your opinion and actually I agree – there are a million reasons for having a blog and as many for stopping it, as I said, I wouldn’t ever judge anyone for taking a break, one of the things I love about blogging is that you CAN put it down and pick it up again as you please.

  9. says

    Brilliantly written post. People should bookmark this and read it every time they are starting to doubt themselves. I personally get a thrill from good things people say about my blog, but if they didn’t would I stop writing? Hell no – I write this shizzle to entertain myself! Me myself and I (and my mum). The biggest insult is prob that my own husband doesn’t even read my blog! lol. I agree with every single bit of this post and have huge respect to you for saying what I probably couldn’t put into coherent sentences! Well Done. xx
    Emma Day recently posted..If the ring fits…My Profile

  10. says

    Sally – this is a super post. Sometimes just getting out there we are stymied by the fears that we create in our own minds. You really laid it wide open – it’s really about doing what you want to do and anything goes! The tough bit comes when you know what you want but you’re not sure about how to get it – so get clear and get focussed.

    I love it – I’ll be back for more – thank you.
    Sunanda Bailey recently posted..How to find your ideal client, again and again?My Profile