It all started with a bad date and seven years after typing my first line “I am fed up with men, and quite frankly, I’m actually a bit fed up with myself”, I’m still going strong and have managed to turn my prior bad taste in men, my observations on relationships, and getting knocked up a couple of times into a career.
Blogging was still ‘new’ back then, even though it had been around a few years and you literally only had the option of commenting on one another’s blogs and signing up to various directories (remember those?!). Now you have Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and far too many things to speak of plus it’s very ‘dramatic’ with Dynasty levels of drama coming in swings and roundabouts.
And yet I still love blogging. Really. OK while there are some days when it gets a bit Samuel L Jackson in here with prolific use of the ‘m’ word, I wouldn’t be doing anything else, although I could do with some more time on my hands.
As it’s my anniversary, I felt it couldn’t pass by without sharing my thoughts on some lessons I’ve learned that keep me sane and on the straight and narrow so I can continue doing what I enjoy – writing, sharing, creating, and connecting.
1. I live by the I Don’t Give a Eff principle and it keeps me out of a lot of trouble and ensures that I don’t internalise other people’s drama. It doesn’t mean I don’t care about anything or anyone, but what I don’t lose sleep over is trying to get ‘everyone’ to like me, trying to fit into stupid stereotypes or cliques, or courting the opinions of all and sundry because I would go mad. Between motherhood and blogging, everyone from the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker has something to say – hold onto the useful, productive stuff and bade farewell to the rest of the noise.
2. You are what you are, not what you tell me you are. Let your actions do the talking and make sure they match with what you say. Online there’s a lot of people with Those Who Doth Protest Too Much syndrome and I’ve always believed that you don’t need to keep telling people you’re the cleverest/nicest/sexiest/best/whatever – just be yourself. We live in a time of competitive meanness, competitive posturing, competitive everything. Show it, don’t spray it.
3. Those who can, get on with it, and those who can’t make a lot of noise policing you and telling you how they’d be better than you. This is why I love the internet because never has it been easier to make things happen instead of talking about making it happen but not. I hear from a lot of people who get quite worn down with having their arses ridden like Zorro by other people’s opinions – don’t give them your back to hop on.
4. Write what you want to write. I’m still doing that and every time I’ve deviated or got distracted by other people, it’s led to frustration. Trying to compete with everyone is like trying to cup the ocean in your hands. There will always be people doing things differently to you or people with a different idea of what they think you should be doing. It doesn’t matter. Dance to the beat of your own drum because it’s a lot easier to distinguish yourself and remain authentic. You are what makes you you. There’s no fun in being someone else.
5. The sky won’t fall down and the world will keep turning if you don’t post. Honestly, this is a lesson I’ve learned a number of times over the years and it’ll surprise you when not only do you feel more relaxed, but you generate the same or even better results for a fraction of the effort and stress. While it’s good to have a rhythm, locking yourself into a rigid schedule or high post volume is super stressful.
6. Disagreement can be useful. That’s of course unless it’s a personal attack. I sometimes get inspired by differing opinions plus it makes for a more interesting dialogue. I’ve also found that even when people actually criticise you, it can spark your mojo – basically don’t let it knock you down. That said, take it from someone who has had a stalker and seen how some people don’t know how to wind their neck in online – don’t engage with people that overstep your boundaries and get personal. Also don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say directly to someone’s face.
7. Exhale, embrace, enjoy. Blogging in itself is thoroughly enjoyable and has connected me with thousands of people all over the world and given me some wonderful friends that I hang out with regularly in real life and are incredibly supportive and downright funny. I’d like to think we’d have met somehow even without blogging, but we probably wouldn’t have. You can make this blogging journey whatever you want it to be, but have fun, carve out your own opportunities, don’t follow the herd, and stop when it feels like a pain in the arse. And if you do want to pursue making a living from blogging, don’t hold yourself back.
- I'm Natalie and I blog for a living. I'm a dating and relationships writer and coolhunter. This is my 'journal' of what I get up to, the occasional rant, tips and inspiration, plus things I love that you may find useful or just plain lovable too.
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