In the eight years I have been saving the world through my blog Oh, wait, that is a totally different speech entirely.
In the eight years I have been posting random thoughts and the occasional insight that actually makes people go hmmmmm (or more likely say, “Girlfriend is tripping.”) I have learned the rules of blogging are not that different from the rules of life. Let us take a look shall we? And as any good blogger knows, I should (and shall) do it in list form.
<Cue old Wayne & Garth flashback music and squiggles>
10. Blogging: If you won’t say it to someone’s face, don’t put it on your blog (Facebook, Twitter etc). Life: Similar to your real life, if you won’t say it to their face, don’t say it behind their back. It will come back to bite you in the butt.
9. Blogging: Once it’s out there, it is out there forEVER. Seriously. I can find deleted posts and blogs that people assumed would never see the light of day once they deleted them. Trust me. I have a screen shot of both a blog entry and a Facebook conversation that I am sure someone in my real life wishes she could have disappear. Nope. Life: In the same way once you say or do something in your life, it is out there. Words cannot be unsaid. Moments cannot be edited and redone. You can’t delete an ugly incident just because you had time to think about it.
8. Blogging: Only reveal on your blog what you are comfortable with your worst enemy knowing. (They will totally find your blog. Pinky promise.) Life: It goes hand in hand with only say to someone what you want your worst enemy hear (or the one person you would never want to hear). No matter how much you trust someone, remember that things happen and your words and actions can (and probably will) reach ears you may not want them to reach.
7. Blogging: Don’t hit publish in the heat of the moment when you are mad about some injustice you feel has been done to you by another blogger, PR rep, friend, dog next door, etc. You may wake up the next morning to regret it and as I said in #9, it’s already out there. ForEVER. Rule of thumb: Think before you hit publish. Life: Don’t make decisions in the heat of the moment or say things to someone because they really made you mad. You may end up regretting it but by then there is a very good chance you’ve already set into motion events you cannot stop. Rule of thumb: Think before you speak.
6. Blogging: Just be who you are. Don’t try to imitate someone you think is a better blogger, or funnier or gets more comments. It is transparent. And? If you’re going to take the time to blog, your readers want to know who you are not who you want them to think you are. Just be yourself. For better or worse. (And trying to be anonymous rarely lasts very long. Just a heads up.) Life: Don’t try to be someone you are not simply because you think you may not be “good enough” or “worthy” or whatever word you want to use so that you can fit in with a particular group of people. If you- as yourself- don’t fit it, you need to find the people you will click with who will appreciate you. Life’s hard enough when you are authentic. Don’t try to add on the pressure of being someone you aren’t.
5. Blogging: Write what you want to write about. Don’t try to fit into a niche if it just isn’t you. If the latest and greatest fad is being a mom blogger and that is not what you feel you are, don’t jump on it to be with the flavor of the month. If you like writing about everything under the sun, do it. If you enjoy writing about your kids, do it. If you want to write about every failed recipe you’ve ever tried, do it. Write what you feel strongly about. Life: Do what your heart and passion tell you to do. If you love to write, write. If you have a talent in the corporate world, follow that. Follow your passions. Don’t do something simply because you feel you have to or it is expected of you because someone else said it was. I am all for stepping out of your comfort zone but don’t go so far out that you are miserable or that would deny someone who does have a passion for it the chance to do it. Stay true to yourself.
4. Blogging: Don’t jump on the latest bandwagon just because you see other bloggers getting links and hits from it. Think. Is this really something you feel passionate about? Is this a drama you believe in or something you want to write about because that is what “they” are doing. The hits go away but your part in it remains. Life: Avoid the mob mentality of those around you. Have your own brain and thoughts. Sometimes that “mob” may not be a good fit and the consequences last far longer than the heat of the moment.
3. Blogging: Find your “tribe” and hold on tight. Most of my blogging friends have been friends for years. Of course, that circle has widened tremendously over the years but the one thing that remains true is I know who I can count on for the truth and support. I know those people who will be there for me even if I stopped blogging. I found friends who will be there for me whether my computer is humming all day while we chat or if I go away for a while. Those friends? They are your “tribe” and will stay true. Life: Find your “tribe” and hold on tight. When you feel like you are alone, look around and see who is there for the good times and the bad. Life is too short to stick with drama or the “wrong” people in order to be with the “in crowd” or with friends you kind-of sort-of trust. Cherish the people who treat you well and cherish you back. They are for life.
2. Blogging: Don’t blog for validation. Don’t post things simply to have random people you may or may not know come forward to tell you how great you are. Are they sincere? Is it a fly by night commenter who really doesn’t care if you’re having a rough time, feel fat or feel inadequate? If you need to blog because you are feeling those things, by all means do it. But do it because you need to talk about it. Don’t do it for validation. It’s not real. Life: Don’t look to other people to find validation in your life. Look within yourself. Your faith. Your family. The things you do that you know you are good at and enjoy. Follow your heart and know that the person you see looking back at you in the mirror is the one person in this life whose opinion of you matters the most. Love yourself. The rest will follow.
1.. Blogging: Make lists. Lists are good. Life: Make lists. Lists are good.