Your blog isn’t just some neutral, formless page out in cyberspace; it’s a projection of your consciousness, an externalized, virtual room hung with mirrors: a world of light and shadow, conjured out of your own imagination. As such, like all projections of the psyche, your blog is going to test every personal edge you’ve got.
It will remind you how afraid you are to let people in; how shattered you are by criticism; how orgasmic you get when someone you admire offers praise. Your blog will walk you straight up the plank of enlightenment and invite you to plunge in.
This is a good thing. In fact, it could be the best thing that’s ever happened to you – but only if you stay the course, and open to the lessons that your blog will, inevitably, present.
Your blog will change your life.
There’s an entire book in this, and one day, I may write it. For now, I offer up this list – bloggers love lists – to inspire you to consider what your blog might teach you.
1) Your blog is not about you. It’s about one reader – sitting at his or her desk, reading your words. Visualize this reader as you write. When your audience starts to build, notice what it responds to. Most of this is intuitive. Be intuitive – about your audience and about yourself. When a post that you just zipped off generates more excitement than the one that you slaved over for days, how do you feel? Delighted? Annoyed? Hemmed in or limited in some way? Use this as guidance about yourself.
An audience is a community that will tell you why it’s forming. It’s like a beehive, buzzing with energy. Tune into the energy of your tribe. Who are they? Allow that to tell you something about who you are and what you have to teach.
2) Blogging is a team sport. The most successful bloggers form alliances – clubs, groups and real-life meet-ups, where they support the heck out of each other. They link to one another, and retweet and comment on posts. They connect through email and at conferences and Tweetups. They build tribes.
3) Tell the truth. Even the ugly bits. You don’t have to open a vein but let people know you. Share your questions, your curiosity, your challenges. Ask your readers to share their own. When they do, honor them, comment on their comments Listen to them.
A blogger is a teacher. Be willing to step up to the front of the room.
4) Write from fullness– even when you write from pain. Share your fascinations, your curiosity, your bewilderment. Share, also, every ounce of wisdom you’ve got. Empty your cups – and watch, amazed, as your cups refill. There will always be more ideas, more wisdom, more opportunity. This is a secret all mystics know: “When we give it all away, more comes.”
5) Give everything away. Your wisdom, your stories, your heart, your shoes. Be as generous as it is humanly possible to be. If someone takes advantage, let it go – bless their path to learning. Allow their unfolding to be part of yours.
6) Let the world have its way with you. This is a line that I picked up from a Mary Oliver poem. I made it into a practice: I hold my mind and heart open. I watch life arrive and, even when it’s rough, I do my best to stay engaged. I use everything that happens as inspiration. It deepens my writing – and my life.
7) Stop competing and reach out. Scott Stratten (unmarketing) is one of the most successful business bloggers out there. His tagline is: Stop selling and start engaging. Remember those blogger clubs? Form one. Reach out to the people who are doing exactly what you’re doing. There are billions of people on this planet. Surely, you can share the abundance.
Every time you catch yourself envying or competing with someone else’s success, remind yourself: this is guidance that I want what s/he has. Then, reach out.
When you live in a world without an ‘other’ – without enemies, the world changes. Overcome the conditioning that taught you to hoard resources against some future calamity. Give up the notion of scarcity – and let yourself open to the Universe’s promise of infinite abundance. Know that this is a ‘call and response’ universe – and as such, that which is withheld by you is withheld from you; just as what you give is given back to you, multiplied.
8) Dream bigger. Aim for the real goal: you want to save the world – that’s the truth of your cupcake business, your coaching practice, your surfboard shop. Widen the container of what you think your life is for.
When we surrender the false humility, the dissembling about not being ready, or qualified or powerful enough,
- the coaching practice becomes a platform for grace;
- the cupcake baker becomes a beacon of sweetness and joy;
- the surfboard shop owner becomes a teacher who shows us to ride waves in the ocean so that, later, we can ride the waves of the world.
Use your blog to zero in on your mission. What are you always writing about? What themes are most people responding to? After I’d been blogging for over a year, I realized: I’m not writing about angels at all; I’m writing about calling – that’s what I love. That’s who I am!
Out of that, I rebranded myself: Today, I’m a Soul Caller: teaching my audience to tune into the call of the soul; and the constant call of the Divine.
9) Waiting murders inspiration. Remember that image that came to you in the shower (or while you were driving)? It was the one that made you laugh out loud before, a moment later, you convinced yourself: I could never do that…
Do that… now. Let yourself believe this: inspiration arrives at the perfect time – the time when you can best put it to use. Like all perishable items, the longer you wait, the less appetizing it becomes.
10) Let your wild heart lead you. Write a blog post that makes you tremble a little bit and quickly press ‘publish.’ Edges are the most powerful places in the world.
11) Let your slip show. Release the video where the camera was looking up your nose but the content was amazing. Tell your readers about that crazy new idea before you’re completely ready to sell it.
In the new blogosphere, nobody’s perfect. In fact, everyone’s imperfect. Being human lets people in – on your blog and in real life.
12) Be you, your way. After you’ve done the inner work to discover what makes you you, take it all the way. If you’re kinda shy, be outrageous enough to be shy – but then, draw a circle around it. Leo Baubauta did it – his blog, Zen Habits, was gentle, simple, quiet – and wildly successful.
13) Honor your audience. Each is a mirror and a drop of liquid gold. They are also, all of them, diamonds – each flashing with her own light, color and brilliance. Cultivate that – help your readers grow and to shine.
Remember that you, too, are a diamond – and for the teachers you follow, you’re a precious drop of gold.
Stand where they can see you. Wave. Do this by supporting them; by reaching out. Where there is resonance, your teachers will recognize you, and they’ll wave back.
14) Try to have fun. Otherwise, why play this game? Use your blog as a space where you can unfold, and let yourself out of all the boxes you’ve stuffed yourself into.
Your blog is a room, a neighborhood, a world that you’ve invented in community with people who cannot wait to connect with you.
Make yours the kind of world you can’t wait to return to. When you do, you’ll have built a blog – and a world – that your readers will want to visit, too.
(Excerpted from a post that I did last year for Judi Knight’s wonderful ‘Big Dog Series‘. )