Monday, December 4, 2017

How to Avoid Being a Blog Snob

When I first began blogging nearly nine years ago, I was as green as they came. So I invested time in educating myself, gleaning from "how-to" articles, reading others' blogs, observing standard practices from successful bloggers, heeding veteran writing friends' advice, etc. My skills improved, as did my grasp on blog etiquette. I gained followers, generated and made comments and voila, I was a bona fide blogger! Or so I thought. I still had much to learn...

I learned that posting consistently is important. Readers need to know your schedule, appreciate return comments and visits to their blogs, and so on. As I strove to uphold this blogging code, I noticed at times where others did not always use this code I so diligently followed. I puzzled over why they did not follow suit. To be fair, most of those who I regularly interacted with were kind and consistent. But I did begin to form a bit of a prejudice against those who were not. That's right, for a short time, I became a blog snob. It wasn't that I was offended at their lack of attention or reciprocation, I just had an attitude of, "Hey, if I can keep up with this, why can't you?" Yeah well, I told you I was green. And quite the silly girl.

Thankfully, this state of snobbery did not last long. I got a healthy dose of reality when accosted by a busier schedule, book contract, and other assorted and necessary commitments. There simply weren't enough hours in the day to remain on top of things all the time. No doubt about it, I discovered that schedules and expectations had to be adjusted. The reality of all this offered the swift kick I needed; I was ashamed of the bit of smugness that crept in. Suddenly I had eyes to see what the reality of it was. These lovely bloggers were busy too, couldn't always reciprocate, didn't embrace the same things I did, and/or just had to let some things fall by the wayside. Blogging is a wonderful thing, but unless we have superpowers or a team of virtual assistants, it can become taxing to even the heartiest soul.

Now I'm sure that none of you have ever been tempted to be a blog snob. But if you happen to know anyone who might fall into that trap, here are four things I learned that lent perspective:

1) Extend Grace

We've often no idea what's going on in another person's life. So if they don't live up to our expectations, blogging or otherwise, we need to allow them the grace and space to be who and where they are. Yeah, there are times and instances to challenge others in a loving and diplomatic manner, but this probably isn't one of them.

2) Not Everyone Fits or Follows

As bloggers, we're a diverse group. We're good about crossing genres and topics when it comes to interacting, but sometimes it doesn't end up being fruitful or a good fit. We've all got 24 hours in the day to use wisely, and must prioritize accordingly. Which can mean we don't follow every blog all the time. And no one should hassle another about following, or not.

3) Your Cup of Tea

Lest we get tempted to be offended by others' actions, remember that our blogs, beliefs and principles, styles, etc. will not be everyone's cup of tea. And that's okay.

4) Lend a Hand

If you know someone's going through challenging times, extend a hand. Most bloggers would welcome a guest post to take the heat off during a tough or busy stretch. Or stop and comment, share their post on social media, or simply send an email letting them know you're thinking of or praying for them.

I'd probably be remiss if I didn't include some tips I've learned since the blog snob days. These six items have helped me maintain blogging balance.

1) Short Posts Can Be Your Friend

Short posts, though not always as meaty as long ones, can offer great info, feedback, and connection potential. Share a quote, ask a question, highlight a topic - you can still engage readers in this manner. High word count doesn't guarantee quality content.

2) Schedule Posts

When possible, it's always great to schedule posts in advance. It can be a lifesaver for the busy blogger. 

3) Regular Features

Posts of this type provide good content, can be scheduled in advance, and can be the backbone to consistency. My Meet the Blogger and Miscellaneous Monday features have been successful staples.

4) Less is More

There are those who can post every day or several times a week, but if that's not your thing, that's okay. Post once a week, twice a month or whatever suits you best. It's got to be manageable, otherwise it'll be too much. Choose sanity over frustration.

5) Manage Your Time Wisely

This is tricky, and an ongoing challenge if we want to be healthy and productive. Family, work, social media, and necessary commitments - we need to find and maintain our right balance. Give yourself some grace, be flexible, set good boundaries.

6) Breaks are Good

Time to regroup, recharge, and catch up on other things is crucial. And therapeutic. The blogging world will carry on in our absence. We'll be missed, most likely, but it'll all be there when we return.

Have you ever been a blog or other kind of snob? Did I miss anything here? What helps you stay afloat with blogging and other commitments? What are you working on this month?

I'll be taking a break and will return on January 15, 2018. I hope you enjoy a lovely holiday season with your loved ones! Thanks so much for being so wonderful, kind, and faithful. :)

Happy writing, 

Photo image: Pexels