The 8-Stage Life-Cycle of a Blogger
Several of my usual reads in the blogosphere have moved on. Maybe they are writing a book; maybe they are planning a hit on Trump; maybe they are learning to crochet. Whatever the reason, they are not talking about the world on their website anymore, and it makes me sad for me. And, let’s face it, it is all about me here.
I am approaching my third blogiversary (March 30th, a simple card with cash in it will do), and I wanted to look at the life-cycle of a blogger. If you are thinking of getting in ‘the game,’ and don’t be mistaken, it is a game. Here is what you can expect. And, as always, I am 100% right about exactly 2% of the time, so this is popcorn at best.
The 8-Stage Life-Cycle of a Blogger:
- Excited terror. I remember my first post. I’m not linking to it because it is crap. Practice may not make perfect, but it sure improves the mundane. I was so excited that I was on the web, I had figured the technology out, and had pressed publish. I sent the link to some friends for feedback. Some of it was good, some not so much. My skin was much thinner back then, so I didn’t ask again.
- Excited exuberance existentialism. Not really, but the alliteration made me smile. This stage is called DESPAIR. But, saying that might deter those who just look at the bolded titles. You certainly start excited about the prospect of someone else reading your words, but when you get an average of one view per day to start (and it is your mother), you can become dejected fast.
- Real excitement. Your first comment from someone you don’t know in person is a thrill a minute. Unfortunately, it only lasts a minute, because you immediately want more. More comments, more conversations, more praise.
- All consuming over sharing. Once you have strangers reading your words, you start writing and sharing too often and pushing those social media channels like crazy. It feels like success is around the corner (for the lucky, maybe. For the majority, you have four stages to go.) We are told to write daily to keep the writing muscles exercised, but sharing those word babies so often can be a trap that might send readers running. A daily commitment to reading your life story is just too much. Take it from me, send those extra pieces to other sites or anthologies, compile them into a book, or put them in a journal, or the round bin. Have your fans seek you out a bit. Absence makes you feel more affection for those you love when parted from them. That’s the saying, right?
- Overwhelming frustration. The same lovely folks are there for you. But, there is nobody new. Nothing has gone viral. It feels like no progress. I get it, the demand of sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else people recommend, as well as reading and commenting on other blogs can be a time suck. I have no advice because I’ve tried everything that has been recommended and didn’t improve. So, yeah. Good luck.
- Despondency, reevaluation, and retreat. I hope this goes fast for you. For me, I was despondent for far too long, and I called it a ‘slump’ to make it sound more ‘writing tragedy.’ Feel free to use that too. I reevaluated why I was writing and who I was writing for in this stage. I toggled with writing for other people before I realized my why didn’t involve money (even though the money was a fabulous bonus). I felt like a failure before I finally came to terms with my need to write being a means to an end (End = My first novel is called ‘genius’ by the NY Times).
- Decision time. Your decision to stay with blogging happens around the time you get your reminder to renew your www at the two-year mark. Most blogs only last two years. The rest of us suckers still hanging around have gone through the life cycle many times and settled into a comfortable rhythm of random postings and sporadic sharing. The blogs I want to emulate are a bit more organized. I just can’t get there, yet.
- Success. Be it something viral; Traditional media recognition; Bradley Cooper sharing your blog and calling you HOT; A steady pace with predictable schedule; Or, 10,000 subscribers 🙂 Subtle hint there… Part of the life cycle is defining your success. Mine, for now, is to publish. Publish here weekly. Publish anywhere else up to two times per month. Write my novel on the side and publish that eventually. The end game will be to share my words, inspire, entertain, and relate. If you are blogging, what is your end game?
Wherever you are in the life cycle, or if you are thinking of starting a blog, know that it might look easy and fun, but the mind is a bitch. Thicken your skin, strengthen your resolve, stretch those fingers, and get typing. If it only lasts two years, consider it a journal. If your blog lasts longer than two years, consider it a successful hobby. If you make money, you have a career! Quit your day job and buy a shit load of Sharpies ‘cuz those books ain’t gonna sign themselves!