A famous writer once said that he constantly met people who gushed, “Oh! I’ve always wanted to be a writer!” What they really meant, he said, was that they really want to have written.
People want to be famous authors like they want to be famous singers. They’d love riding in limos, cracking magnums of Cristal every ten minutes, and rolling in piles of money. What they don’t want is to have spent years standing on stage behind chicken wire in Noplace, Texas, singing to three drunks and a bar dog.
Writing is hard. Having written is easy.
Blogging Is Hard. Having Blogged Is Easy.
Blogging is a merciless form of writing, much like reporting. The blogger’s self-imposed (or audience-imposed) deadline is a lot like the reporter’s publication deadline. Even today with electronic media, the reporter has to have their story finished when the editor wants it.
If the reporter fails to make her deadline, she just might lose her job. If the blogger fails to publish, he might just lose his audience. Add to that the blogger having to get his own audience (while the reporter’s audience is largely supplied by the media company), and the idea of crossing a line that will get you killed, as they say, gets real.
There is a ton of advice out there from successful bloggers (like the available advice from successful authors). Many of them have built enormously popular and profitable blogs. Many of those blogs are about how you, too, can blog like they do.
Small fry like me constantly scour sites and blogs for tips on how to make it big. Very often we get lost in the success of these big shots. Certainly, most of them are charismatic and really seem to want you to succeed (with the help of something they have for sale, of course).
I seem to always find myself spending hours reading about achieving success. And then I realize that my blog’s been idle for two weeks.
Stop Reading About It And Do It
Another famous writer once said that the best way to become a writer is to stop reading about how to write and just write. That’s another way of saying that there is no set path to success.
I fret a lot about what to blog about. My series on how we built our concrete wall was complicated to present. The wall wasn’t built step-by-step. Many steps were happening at once. When I finished and checked Google’s analysis of my site weeks later, only one blog entry was popular (the one about costs). In fact, that entry is the most popular of anything I’ve published on this blog.
So I’m left wondering what to blog about. I’m supposed to write about what my audience wants but after the construction posts are gone, what do I do?
I fret about that audience, too. The truth is that 55% of my audience is in the Philippines. Statistically, that makes a LOT of them Filipinos (with expats living here included, I’m sure). While I obviously love Filipinos, they’re not exactly whom I envision as my audience. I thought I’d be attracting expats and English-speaking foreigners thinking about retiring to the Philippines.
What I’m left with is a lot of reading and a lot of worrying and very little blogging.
So What’s The Answer?
The truth is, I don’t know what the answer is. From working Facebook, Instagram and, to a lesser extent, Twitter, I have more visitors to AdoboHamburger than I’ve had in the five years it’s been live. But that number is still tiny (a thousand per month).
I know I have to increase the content here. The experts say that’s the way to get more Google love and more eyeballs on a blog. I’m not sure how to tailor my posts to my audience when I’m not sure who is in my audience.
I know I have to stop reading so much and start writing.
Blogging is hard.