Don’t Put All Your Effort Into Blogging

If you visit Performancing regularly, I’m hazarding a guess that you want a career as a blogger. If you’ve put ALL your time and effort into becoming an aspiring problogger like I have, you run the risk of suffering from a number of ailments …

  1. Constantly refreshing your blog statistics, just so that you don’t miss when your report shows the next ten pageviews.
  2. Going through writer’s block because your mind is congested with which hot topic you could write about, instead of writing about something you know.
  3. Wasting hours and hours checking the hundreds of RSS feeds of blogs you’ve subscribed to but don’t really like, just in case they something that you could write about as well.
  4. Suffering from the screaming blue meanies (winter/ seasonal depression) because you only posted 5 entries today instead of 6, and worrying how that’s going to affect your pageviews. Or because you got 100 fewer pageviews this week compared to last week.
  5. Place your (least) favourite ailment here.

But seriously, if you haven’t learned how to weather the above ailments in the first year of blogging, all I can say is, get a job! At least until you’ve amassed a quantity of topical articles through part-time writing. Or unless you’re fortunate enough to have a financially supportive partner or family member. Even still, diving into full-time blogging can be an incredibly stressful undertaking. When you’ve got everything riding on a mostly untested medium such as the blogosphere, the pressure affects your writing in tone, quality, and frequency.

Fiction writers know this probably a bit better than journalists, as the latter are more likely to secure a steady job. As an example, both horror writer Stephen King and erotic humorist Tom Robbins had financially supportive wives. (Robbins once feigned a terminal illness so that he could persuade the publisher of his first book to give him back the copyright ownership. This was in the early 70s, when copyright principles were kind of muddy, and the advances were slim at best. But a $1000-2000 advance back then could buy far more than a $5000 advance today.)

Blogging, despite being closer to journalism in activity is closer to fiction writing in fnancial reward. Not everyone is going to succeed, and only a very few will become seriously wealthy from a career in it. But the difference between a publishing house and a blog network is that one top-selling author’s revenues (to the publisher) pays for the book advances of new authors. (Things have changed in the past 15 years, as the big book chains have it made it even harder for the average author to make a living because of the huge discounts they demand from publishing houses.)

There’s nothing like this money-passing with blogging, or even journalism. And no one can live on a few dollars per post without being a writing machine. This may or may not all change as blogging becomes a more acceptable career, and blogs become an acceptable advertising and entertaining medium. That is, as more money is invested in the blogosphere, there will be opportunities for good writers. (Barry Bell does an excellent job of discussing this in this post, and on his blog in general.)

One other possibility for bloggers who are starting to think that blogging is just too unrewarding is to consider non-blog writing. This includes e-newsletters, e-reports, e-books, or even just regular website articles that don’t impose a daily posting pressure on you.

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