All right, before I delve any further into the topic at hand, let me make one thing clear right now.
I am not a “guru”.
I am, like so many of you, just someone who’s passionate about writing. Who dreams of, one day, getting published in the New York Times.
So, without further ado, let me simply say that it’s an honor to meet you, and you may call me Yousuf.
I am a firm believer in the notion that knowledge shared sincerely with others becomes wisdom. That’s why I’m here to share some of the life lessons that I have learned from five years of blogging.
1. Nothing fails like success
When I first started blogging, I used to admire (and religiously follow) a few blogs. So, what happened to them and how are they faring now?
Well, they got really successful, and that success diverted the minds of the bloggers from what had made their blogs successful. Within three years, all the blogs which I had once admired shut down.
In every walk of life, complacency is a killer. One lesson I’ve learnt in five years of blogging is that you need to be wary of success, which can inject myopia into you by making you arrogant.
Being successful is not a bad thing, especially not in the area of blogging, but one mistake many bloggers seem to make after becoming successful is to stop doing all of the things that made them successful in the first place.
2. Editing is valuable in more ways than one
Some people consider editing to be an easy job. But trust me, people, when I say it is one of the most important and meticulous tasks involved in blogging.
I still remember when a post of mine was published without going through my editor’s filter because he was on vacation. The next day, my phone was bombarded with tons of messages and tweets just because I had made a single typo. It turned out it had offended people at the helm of affairs of a renowned brand. I had to apologize.
There’s a lot you can learn about the value of editing that you can also apply to life itself. Life is filled with moments where things go wrong or you’re feeling blue. But these are also life’s defining moments.
I encourage you to edit your life before allowing it to pass through your ‘internal’ filter. You can allow past demons to define your inner content, or you can omit them and take the extra baggage off your back.
To edit, in life, is to forgive and forget. Forgive those who hurt you; forget the moments that disturb you. And move on with life, because the show must go on, and it’s better if you travel light.
3. Positivity is key
Everyone has a unique point of view and a different set of preconceived notions. When I first started blogging, I used to critique other bloggers a lot. But as time went by, I learned that in blogging you need to learn the art of seeing the best in everything.
Of course, there are two sides to every coin, but it’s up to you which side you wish to focus on. The side you focus on is generally what grows.
So, instead of pointing fingers at other people and what they’re doing wrong, learn from them. Learn whatever you can, wherever you can, and no matter how many obstacles you face, try to connect with the right people.
That means being a positive person yourself – someone who inspires others.
You can learn a lot from books, but you can learn far more from actual people. Every person has a story to tell – a success story to brag about, and a failure which you can learn from.
4. Discipline generates results
If you want to be good at something, do more of it. If you want to be an author as well as a blogger, then discipline yourself to write every day! Write so that you can fail, and when you start failing, you will start learning.
The key to discipline is to become a creature of habit. By writing every day, even if it’s not creative, you will gain the discipline to sit and write for hours. At first, it may seem like you’re packing a lot of hours in, but after a few months (or even years), you will start to reap the benefits.
Write what you love and what excites you, as well as what you do for business. Then, you won’t even notice the time spent.
Writing daily will be enough to write your name in the sky. When you’re published, people may dub you an overnight success, you will know how hard you have worked for this success and be able to feel truly proud of it.
It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.
5. Writing is a craft, not a trade
New bloggers, excited about instantly making money, often ask how much they can earn with blogging. When I get this question in my inbox, I simply respond with, ‘not much.’
This may sound dispiriting but it’s not. Something I have learned over the years is that it’s not the money you earn that makes you feel happy, it’s the work completed itself.
It’s your craft that is there as a legacy for people to learn, grow and share with others that actually counts the most – money will come and go.
Craft work you’re proud of, even if you don’t make much money from it initially. It’s an investment in your future.
6. Authenticity is indispensable
When I first started blogging, I used to imitate the writing styles of other bloggers a lot. After a while, I realized that people had started to associate me with other blogs. Initially, this felt like an achievement, but later on I started getting agitated as I realized I wasn’t appreciated on a personal level.
It’s human nature to want to see our skills acknowledged, our ideas appreciated and our perspectives understood. So, one thing that I started doing is actually putting my own view alongside with the expert’s view. This automatically added some flavor of my own to my blogs, which became a hit.
Now people know my writing style and respect it like they do those of other successful bloggers.
Trust your intuition and trust your own voice. It’s your original and inimitable selling point.
7. Honesty is enticing
Blogging is not just a hobby to most – it’s a way to express your innermost thoughts and promote your personal or professional agenda.
One thing that I’ve learnt over five years’ of blogging is that honesty is one of the most appealing traits that a blogger can possess. Of course, some people will tear you down for your honesty, but this is what makes it even more valuable.
To genuinely put your views out there regardless of how people might respond, in blogging and in life, is essential. You need to be true to yourself and let people know who you are and what you believe in. In other words, to be honest with everyone.
Instead of making excuses, just go out there and deliver your best work without worrying about what people will say or how critics will react. It is your life, your show and your stage.
Don’t blog as though you’re avoiding hurting the feelings of others or pandering to a popular point of view.
Over to you
I still consider myself a novice blogger because every day I learn new things. And this is my final takeaway from five years’ of blogging. The moment you stop learning should be the moment you die.
I hope the lessons above will help lead you to a more meaningful blogging experience, and hopefully, a more meaningful life.
I would love to know what your views are about my experiences, so we both can benefit from them. Please feel free to share your experience in the comments section.
Guest Author: Yousuf Rafi is a passionate blogger and a content marketer who is currently associated with Branex, a creative web design agency. He enjoys reading, writing, Coffee, books and loves to know all about the latest trends in social media marketing.