in Reflections

7 Lessons I Learned After 21 Weeks Of NOT Blogging

I haven’t written a blog post in a while.

In 21 weeks to be exact.

I’ve done a few other things in that time, but I haven’t written a blog post.

wpstudio5-7-lessons-no-blog

Really, CJ?

Do you not know the value of blogging?

Don’t you realise that you have to blog in order to stand out as an expert in your field??

Yeah. I know all these things.
I’ve read the internet blogs ((Gates, W. (1996). Content Is King. Retrieved [16/07/15] from WayBackMachine: http://web.archive.org/web/20010126005200/http://www.microsoft.com/billgates/columns/1996essay/essay960103.asp)).

wpstudio5-content-is-king

Yet, I haven’t blogged in a while.

I must admit, I have mixed feelings for not having written anything in 21 weeks.

I feel a bit let down at myself, after all I should be publishing great content, frequently, eh.

21 weeks!!

But then another part of me is not bothered.

And that is why I’m writing this post now. Today.

The Weekly Post Challenge

Back in February 2015, I joined the excellent Weekly Post Challenge. This is a Facebook group, created by Dre Armeda, and was first announced in the DradCast Episode 72 ((Dradcast (2015). Episode 072: Fall Off the Ledge. Retrieved [16/07/15] from Dradcast: http://dradcast.com/shows/episode-072-fall-ledge/)).

I joined in.

I was full of enthusiasm, and for very good reason.

I was sure that I would meet others to learn and share with, as I created my first posts about WordPress, WooCommerce, BuddyPress, etc…

These are topics that I genuinely enjoy working with and talking about.

And I was right.

The initial post on my nascent blog, How Much To Charge As a Developer, was written in my first week of joining the Weekly Post Challenge ((Andrew, CJ. (2015). What Should I charge as a Web Developer. Retrieved [16/05/15] from WPStudio5 Blog: http://cjwebstudio.com/blog/web-developer-fees/)).

It even managed to get interest and comments.

The highlight was some extremely valuable advice from Matt Medeiros; whom I respect and admire in the WordPress space.

What Should I Charge As A Web Developer

That result spurred me on to write another post about WooCommerce considerations a week later.

I felt sure that I had found a rhythm, so I created a list of 52 blog posts to carry me through the challenge.

The list is still in my OneNote notebook.

Unrealised, or only partially so.

The group is great. I’m still a member, and I encourage anyone who writes blogs to join in.

But as the weeks went by, I had more questions about my own license; my permission, or authority to write about WordPress, when there were so many experts covering the same topics as I.

What else could I possibly add to the discussion?

At this point, perhaps I should have reached out to others in my weekly post challenge group, to ask for advice and encouragement…

But yes, that’s kinda hard to do if one is supposed to “know what they’re doing”.

Everyone seemed to “know what they were doing”.

I wanted to believe that I knew what I was doing.

I didn’t. I don’t.

Dude, Don’t Be A Fake

Not long ago, I read a thought provoking post from Kim Doyal, over at The WordPress Chick ((Doyal, K. (2015). Why ‘Fake it Till You Make It’ is Ass Backwards WPCP: 058. Retrieved [16/07/15] from The WordPress Chick: http://thewpchick.com/why-fake-it-till-you-make-it-is-ass-backwards-wpc-058/)), on why the “fake it till you make it” mentality is wrong. This post got me thinking deeper about a few things that I’d come across online, and on the internet blogs.

The post resonated with me on so many levels that I had no choice but to respond with a comment.

Kim tackles this topic very well in her post, and I recommend that you have a listen here:

Why ‘Fake it Till You Make It’ is Ass Backwards WPCP: 058

Mostly, Kim’s post helped me realise how I might have been going about things the wrong way.

Perhaps what I needed to do was to step back and reflect, before moving forward.

That’s what I did.

And it was the right decision for me.

The only problem with that right decision is that I now felt the gnawing guilt of not carrying on with my Weekly Post Challenge, as I had agreed to do.

21 weeks had passed.

Can you see the incongruency here?

“Do what you’ve agreed to do”, vs “Do it right”

Sometimes those two concepts don’t match. It’s like an unset Venn Diagram.

venn-diagram

Maybe I should have reached out to my blog post challenge group for help and advice.

But yes, that’s hard to do, when one is supposed to “always be on the ball”, and always on top of everything, online, all the time, 24/7, switched on, as an expert.

I felt like I’d fallen off the wagon…completely. Flat.

More so when I read blog posts from others who had more experience, more knowledge, had achieved more, were somebody special, knew what they were saying, were respected, had done more, were more qualified,…add yours here.

Thing is, everyone seemed to be experts.

I knew I wasn’t an expert. Still not one.

What was the point of continuing to blog, then?

Who would want to read/listen to a “non-expert”??

But, I also realise that I’ve learnt a lot since I started working with computers, not all of which is WordPress related.

I’m proud of the things I’ve learnt; and tried; and failed at.

Proud of the things I discovered since I first booted up a computer in 1995, and typed out that Fortran-77 program.

I wasn’t an expert then, either. The Fortran program came with the manual.

But we seem to have a lot of experts now.

Millenials; Experts.

Gen X/Y/Z; Experts.

Overnight success; Experts.

Just a hit; Experts.

 


 

Why would I even throw my hat into the ring with experts?

That would be suicide, no?

I have no interest in suicide.

So, I stopped. Flat.

Didn’t quit; but I just stopped.

Stopped trying to stand out as an expert, or even as someone who knows stuff: because I’m not one.

Stopped trying to write the perfect blog post: because that will probably never happen.

Stopped trying to offer unsolicited advice: because for everything I think I know, there’s another approach that works just as well, or even better.

I stopped, but I didn’t quit.

I continued learning from, and engaging with others who are further along, or at least at the same stage as me in their journey.

I’ve done this on social media mainly, but using other channels as well.

That’s when I began to observe my “new” beliefs and attitudes, which I now call the 7 Modes of Blogger Belief (my coinage)

All 7 of them seem to be affective of my particular situation (no one else’s).

Here they are:

The 7 Modes of Blogger Belief

These seven “modes” have helped me to see past my own rose-tinted glasses of blogging success, and what it might mean for me: e.g., more fans, more gratification, or more business.

1. Everyone Is an Expert Online

(we are what we think we are) plus the internet allows us to call ourselves whatever we want. Don’t necessarily believe the hype.

2. Community is Important

Engage and interact with the people who matter to you the most. This depends on your goals and your message. Reach out to an existing community that share your interests, or create your own community.

3. The Outside World Does Indeed Have Greener Grass

Look beyond your website and blog. In the rising tide of social media, its important to reach one’s audience where they are. Phil Bowyer has a great G+ podcast, where he talks about how the new website paradigm should be more “transactional” than informational. Engaging with the audience on external platforms like G+, LinkedIn and Facebook, can help to drive interest to our websites. Guy Kawasaki has shared a similar opinion too.

4. Never Forget Where You’re From

Its easy to focus on where we want to go, to the exclusion of everything else. But don’t do that. Always look back to where you started from. What you did before you arrived here. What you’ve learned before. What you told your future self that you would be. Never forget.

5. Stand alone, or Stand with others, but Stand

To stand is the important thing. People don’t mind if you stand with them. They also don’t really mind if you fall. They’ll empathize, but they won’t mind, as long as they themselves continue to stand. So, standing is the important thing.

6. Nobody’s really watching you

Read 5 above.

7. There is no perfection

Yeah. Most thought leaders have established this.

Long story short: feet of clay.

 

feet-of-clay

Similarly, there’s no perfection in what we do as humans, because our approach to problem solving is not multi-dimensional yet.

SkyNet Bubble:

Out of interest, we’re passing on this (typically human) dimensional limitation to our computational programs.

Computers can only be perfect when they begin to auto-generate their own algorithms.

My Zen Reflection: Zen-flection

I have been wrong all along. About my approach to creating content, and spreading my message.

I know it now, and I should apologize to myself for not realising it sooner.

So, because of this, I wrote up a few questions for my Zen Master:

Me: I wanted to be an expert with a successful website and blog

Zen: No, CJ, you’re probably never going to be an expert, nor a successful blogger…but that does not mean you should not write anyway. Speak your own mind clearly.

Me: What about having a unique voice, and being a thought leader in my field?

Zen: Well, first, CJ, you don’t have a field, and you’re not here to lead anyone. You’re also not Nike.

More Zen: Your voice? Doesn’t matter. Here’s the thing though:

You pay the hosting fees for your website. Write what you feel like, how you feel like

wpstudio5-pays-the-cost-to-be-the-boss

Me: What if people don’t read or care about my content?

Zen: They don’t care now, and probably won’t, either. Get real. Help those whom you can, and move on.

So What Now?

For now, I’m still studying my 7 modes of blogger belief; simple as.

Have I therefore now found a voice;  a license/authority to blog, or to write about the things I’m learning and doing?

Has anyone?

Probably not.

Or, who knows..

I’m still on the road to discovery…

Leave a Reply

  1. Love this post, CJ!

    Blogging is like dieting — it’s very hard to stay on track if you’re not feeling it. I struggle with this too. Not so much because I don’t enjoy it, but because I’m spread so thin throughout the week.

    I read a great piece by Justin Jackson recently about not following your heroes. So many of us get caught up in the success others have had, that we think we can just replicate what they did to make it happen. Well, back to dieting, everyone has different DNA and not every diet will work the same for you.

    Daily blogging might not be your thing either. Same here.

    We need to find the fit that works for us and drop stuff that isn’t working. Try to find the balance so we don’t get burnt out, so that reporting for duty day-in-and-day-out is still exciting.

    Keep on doing what you’re doing!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Matt, and for the kind words. It does mean a lot 🙂

      I totally agree with your comment.

      There’s quite a lot of brilliant content out there, and as such, part of my problem was deciding if I genuinely have anything valuable to add to the discussion.

      Replicating other people’s success is pretty much impossible, as we all have to make our own way, more or less.

      As you rightly point out, daily blogging may not necessarily suit everyone. It is definitely a good way to improve my writing skills, though, and I plan to continue working on writing constantly, even though I may not publish as often.

      Staying focused on business, and on the things that work, is mighty crucial. This is something that I’m trying to do even more of.

      Gary Vaynerchuck talks about scaling back in order to focus on business, and I can relate with his thinking on the subject:

      My advice to myself .. Focus (by Gary Vaynerchuck)

      As you quite rightly point out, at the end of the day its all about ensuring that

      reporting for duty day-in-and-day-out is still exciting

      And avoiding burnout is an important part of that strategy.

      Reading Mark Shuster’s article from your Twitter update actually triggered this post.

      I will definitely find and read Justin Jackson’s article. Who knows what will happen soon after! 🙂