I started the Blogging for Daters series as a way to explain blogging so anyone could understand, but all too often, I get the question, “How do I actually start blogging?” I generally give a technical answer about blogging platforms, grammar, building a community, etc. The truth is: you start blogging exactly how you start a relationship— blindly.
You could spend your entire life going over the pros and cons of starting a relationship with a certain person, but no matter how much you prepare, you inevitably just have to jump.
I’m not trying to usurp lessons on finding your niche, branding or anything else along those lines, but no matter where you start, things are bound to change. I’ve blogged for four years and am constantly evolving. The only way to really figure out what you’re doing is to start and figure it out what works for you as you go. No two blogs or relationships are the same.
When blogging, there are three general stages:
The Honeymoon period
We’ve all gone through the Honeymoon period of a relationship. It’s thrilling, gratifying, and absolute perfection. You’re able to overlook all hardships because you’re falling. You might be a little scared, but everything is new and anything could happen
When you first start a blog, you have no idea what’s going to happen. Every pageview you get makes you giddy. Your first comment is like the first time you had sex. The first time a publicist contacts you is like realizing you’re in love. Nothing can get you down, and the act of blogging is sheer bliss.
After you’ve been together for a while, you start to see to imperfections of the relationship and the person you’re with. You’re still growing and learning, and there are still firsts. The longer you’re with a person, the more you start to let yourself think of the future. But, in the back of your mind, you know there’s always the possibility of losing everything. This is when you decide whether you can truly stick the relationship for the long run.
In blogging, after you’ve seen a steady increase in your pageviews and you know you’re posts will get comments, you start to feel the pressure. Perhaps, you find true success in your blog and you become the next professional blogger. You’ve found something that truly makes you happy, and you’re willing to put in the time to make it work. Other times, life happens. Fitting a daily post into your schedule becomes harder. You keep telling yourself you’ll post later and later becomes almost never. Sure, there is always the possibility that things will get easier. You can make things work if you truly want them to, but if your heart isn’t truly in blogging, you might have to make the big decision to break up.
Breaking up is hard. It’s not supposed to be easy, and if it were, it’d be called eating cupcakes, or something. For whatever reason the relationship doesn’t work, you’re in pain and left without that thing you’ve had “for so long.” When you decide you need to break up with a person, you know your decision is going to impact not only you and your partner, but everyone around you.
The same goes for blogging. Deciding to stop is hard, and it’s not going to simply affect you. You have readers to think about, you may even have advertisers. You have to decide what to do with the blog after you stop posting. These are the big decisions you have to make:
- How will you tell your readers?
- Do you leave it up for archival purposes?
- Do you delete it?
- What happens to all of your material?
- How do you fill your free time?
- What if you want to come back to it?
Unfortunately, there are no right answers, and there aren’t any set formulas for maintaining a blog or relationship successfully. I’ve experienced breakups of the heart and of the blog, and still I can only tell you one thing— jump and see what happens!