Nobody talks about how laborious faith is. How mentally challenging it is to wait for something that feels like it’s never going to come, and yet believe that it is still yours. To see without seeing. Seeing beyond sight. No one talks about the exhaustion that sometimes comes with seeing beauty where there is none. To begin again and not feel silly for surrendering to strength. To keep falling, and getting up again. Each time, being strong but feeling weak. Each time knowing that what is easy is not worth it and what is hard is worth everything. No one talks about what it’s like to hold onto hope, even as it’s slipping through your fingers. To faith-walk the staircase with no idea what’s at the top. To believe that you can see, even when you can’t. To believe you are not standing alone, even when you are. To foresight your way to the next step. To be future and present at the same time. To act according to what’s coming, and not just what is here. No one talks about the mental fortitude it takes to be patient and still and to see nothing and everything at the same time.
Been a minute since I gave you an EC quote Friday. Today I just want to remind you that it’s hard to beat someone who won’t quit. Whatever you do, just keep going:
If you wrote an article no one reads, write another one. If you sing a song no one hears, sing another one. If you publish a book no one reads, publish another one. If you dance your heart out and no one watches, dance again. The most obvious solution to me in the face of adversity is to keep going. To always try just one more time.
When Def Jam started they had a small office with three desks, two phones, and no air conditioning. The point is that you can’t be afraid to start from the bottom. If you can see the vision through to the end, there are no limits to where you can go. Do not misunderstand me, I am not telling you to be Def Jam (let those who read understand.) I am simply showing you the power of endurance. If you can’t endure the struggle for a little while and in that process be hated, mocked, lied on, judged unrighteously, and looked down upon… please tell me again why you deserve to be great?
To the champions. Dare to struggle. Dare to win.
Since I have a family camping trip coming up (Whoo hoo!) and I know that many of you are also looking forward to breaks and vacations as this year nears its end, I thought this was a perfect time to discuss how we can ensure our blogs are still putting in work (even when we’re not).
When I started this blog in 2014, I didn’t know about the specifics of what went into building a blog that could last. I also didn’t care. At least not consciously. I mean obviously I wanted to grow, but I wasn’t devoting any time and effort into figuring that out. My learning process has been pretty much learn as you go. The more I interacted with veteran bloggers, participated in challenges, and commented on other blogs the more I became aware of the little nuggets and tidbits I needed to help my blog, not to grow, but to keep growing. Which is, of course, a goal that I consistently strive for.
Though I wasn’t new to the concept of blogging, I was afraid to miss a day of blogging, let alone a couple days! But, this turned out to work in my favor. Once I decided I wanted to stick around for awhile, I developed a routine that I kept up for my first year of blogging. This routine, as I discussed in How I Reached 300 Blog Followers in 3 Months, consisted of me publishing three new posts every day for six days. I know, crazy, right? Maybe so, but to get your blog to work for you even when you aren’t blogging is going to take you getting a little bit crazy (especially in the beginning).
I’m not an expert and you probably have more followers than I do (lol hee hee), but I do believe in hard work. I also believe that hard work pays off. These are pretty much the basic principles that help me to keep this blog going.
One way that I’ve found for bloggers like me to be consistently active is to….be active! As active in the blogging community as possible. In the beginning, you should be publishing a new post every other day or once a week at minimum. No, not once a month, that’s pushing it. Pushing what? Pushing your chances of not being seen. In addition to posting its also important to follow other blogs, comment on other blogs and interact on social media. It’s also important to respond to comments on your own blog as well. Communication is key. Not only do I believe new bloggers could benefit from doing these simple, basic things, but I believe they should do it obsessively! (What?)
OK, let me explain obsessively. Perhaps dedication is a better word? I’m not saying that quantity beats quality. I am saying that with dedication and persistence it won’t matter, you can have both; pushing quality content at faster rates. I know, don’t look at me like that. This post is about getting your blog to work for you when you are away, but that doesn’t happen unless you first work on your blog.
Here’s the thing: When you are active in the blogging community (really active), your blog will get views and follows even on the days when you are not blogging. I’m not saying you should blog just for those follows (as your content must still have enough value for people to stick around), but what I am saying is that hard work pays off. If you work at setting a foundation that’s strong, then you can build on it. You won’t have to worry about posting as much once you’ve been doing it consistently for a period of time and you won’t have to worry about losing followers as much because there’s enough content for people who have not yet discovered your blog, to read. I’m not saying work like a Hebrew slave. I’m saying start working like a Hebrew slave and then quit. Start off strong and your blog will be there for you in the end. Yes, some people aren’t fond of receiving lots of blog post from their subscriptions but who cares? Not me. Sure, you’ll lose followers. It happens, part of the territory. Don’t take it personally. It’s inevitable. Everyone does not like you. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
On creating enough content for others to read:
Last week a blog post I published two years ago suddenly got lots of attention. My stats were going crazy! Shooting up to over six hundred views within a 48 hour period (over 3,000 by the end of the day) with over four thousand shares on Facebook. This was an old post that was just being discovered by new visitors. OK, so it only lasted two days, but here’s a clear example of your blog working for you! If I wanted, I could have sat back and took an entire week off and made it up in views, likes, and follows coming in from that post alone. This same thing can work on posts that surround certain historical events, like 9/11. Maybe you posted something on 9/11 and two years from now it gets all of the attention you thought it deserved when you first published it. It’s all about timing.
Time spent blogging and time spent writing can often clash into each other, frustrating author bloggers who understand the value of using blogging as a legitimate platform, while at the same time understanding that producing more material is essential. We struggle between having a presence in the blogosphere and dedicating more time to our books. Contrary to popular belief, there’s a way to stay active in the blogosphere while consistently producing material without neglecting the blog. Yes, I’m saying its possible. I know because I’ve done it. Since starting this blog, I’ve published three books and I am in the process of publishing two more next year.
The key is a little bit of discipline and networking with others, incorporating blogging into your platform building strategy as a necessary part of the work, and producing quality posts as early and as often as possible in your blogging journey.
An Easier Way
Sorry, unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. There’s no way to build a blog than to work at it. The best way for us to grow our blogs is to be present.