A Glimpse Behind the Scenes of a Successful Blog

Believe it or not, being successful as a blogger does not mean blogging is somehow easy. Sometimes it can be fun, while other times it can feel like a daunting chore.

The truth is that we often focus obsessively on failure, but don’t realize that success has its own cons as well.

Curious to know how it feels to be a successful blogger? Read on.

Almost Seven Years

I started my main blog back in April 2012. I have blogged on an almost daily basis ever since. I have managed to build a following on almost 136 thousand readers ( I am as of right now two followers shy of 136,000, so it would mean the world to me if you could click this link here and subscribe).

I’ve wanted to quit countless times. I have blogged full-time, earning anywhere between $100 to $800 a day, but I also went through periods of drought, when I had to find various part-time jobs to manage to pay the bills.

I know that many of you think (and maybe somehow expect) blogging to be a rather effortless endeavor. The bitter-sweet truth is that, at least from  my experience, blogging is anything but gracious – even though some readers I talk to are under the impression that I quickly write a post over a cup of coffee in the morning, and then don’t have to worry about the blog until it’s time to write a new blog post.

It’s not like that. It wasn’t like that.

It took me a long time to even figure out the stuff that I wanted to blog about. Yes, I spent months writing book reviews, movie reviews, and wondering why no one bothered to read my stuff.

I spent years writing like all the people I admired (sometimes trying to sound like all of them at the same time) before I ended up writing like myself.

Oh, and did I mention that for every dozen or so comments from folks who adore your stuff there’s an e-mail from someone who absolutely loathes you?

Truth be told, there’s so much pressure at the top, because reaching the top is not the difficult part. Staying there is.

 1 – Struggling with consistency

If I don’t post for a few days, will my readers forget about me? If I do not network with other bloggers, will anyone visit my blog?

What if there are no more words? No more ideas? What then?

It has been said that there is such thing as posting too much, but what about not posting often enough?

2 – Expectation is the root of all heartache

Once someone experiences some degree of success, they want to keep feeling like that over and over again. Thus, you must keep raising the bar.

Quality over quantity proves to be an issue when you are impatient because you’re addicted to the feedback you receive from your readers.

Trust me, that one time I got some 2,000 visitors in an hour because both Random House and Neil Gaiman tweeted an article of mine gave me this odd sort of high.

And, yeah, you tend to forget that blogging is/was supposed to be fun. You even forget to relax and enjoy your own success.

3 – There’s no safety in numbers

Writing for an increasingly larger audience can be quite intimidating. Also, it becomes all too easy to forget about your one reader, your why, and what you stand for.

One reader may love what you wrote while another might think it was garbage.

What can you do about that?

Do you try to write something that everyone will love? And if you fail? What then?

It’s a real issue, and it messes you up. You stop writing what you want, but instead try to write in a vague enough manner that no one could ever say something negative.

When I first started blogging, I was playing to win. Simple as that. I had nothing to lose, so it was the obvious thing to do. But as my audience grew to tens of thousand of folks from all over the world, I instead opted to play not to lose. To play it safe. And my blogging suffered. My self-esteem suffered. The joy I felt when blogging diminished.

4 – No confidence

As a beginner, I felt like a cow trying to walk on ice. It was not pretty. Not at all. I kept asking myself why. You know, why keep writing when no one read my stuff, no one gave a damn about my words. Why keep doing this if it didn’t make me feel good…

I didn’t feel good when writing my articles, I didn’t feel good after I published them. It felt awkward, because I wasn’t confident about the topics I was writing about, I wasn’t confident about the quality of my writing.

Here’s the thing: love at first sight is rare. And we often think that in order to do something, we must love it, and that those who are good at what they do, they somehow loved it from the start. This could happen, I am not saying it’s impossible, but don’t count on it.

Let me give you an example: I started working out some four years ago, when I suddenly realized I was hideously out of shape and only weighed about some 135 pounds. I hated working out. I didn’t even sign up for a gym membership. I worked out at home for a few months, and then went to the gym for a total of three days, and then quit. I felt… like I didn’t belong there. I started and quit and started and quit a bunch of times, until one day I started going to the gym on a daily basis.

And then, after a few months of working out daily, without even being aware of it, I caught myself thinking: man, I love this. I freaking love running, I feel like I could run forever. I love that I am able to do things that I never could have imagined myself doing. I freaking love the gym.

The same goes for blogging.

Some days, yes, I feel like I am wasting my time. I’d much rather stare at a wall than write a blog post. Or go to the gym. But I still do it, because I know that this feeling will return.

What I am trying to say is this: you have to fall in love with the process, and that’s okay. And you will also fall out of love with this process, and that’s okay too. Because you will fall back in love too.

What you must never, ever, under any circumstance, give up.

A few years ago, this bodybuilder friend of mine told me that when he started working out, he had this idea that once he achieved his dream body, he could just give up and that was it.

He didn’t know that you lose muscle mass if you stop working out.

If you blog with the idea that one day it will become effortless, or there won’t be anything to be afraid of, or you won’t feel pressured in any way, you’ll be terribly disappointed the moment you reach the top.

The pressure is always there. The obstacles. The frustrating bits. The desire to procrastinate, to postpone, to obsess over the stuff that doesn’t matter.

But do you know what matters?

How you choose to act under pressure.

“Pressure can burst a pipe, or pressure can make a diamond.” – Robert Horry


32 thoughts on “A Glimpse Behind the Scenes of a Successful Blog

  1. Very good motivational article. Oh, the laziness can get to you after years and years. But it sure helps if you have a wide audience. Many of us don’t. I have a writing instructional type blog called Guerrilla Warfare for Writers, where I teach, warn cuss out, motivate and level with all of the new or old writers out there. I’ve only had 54,000 hits and my subscriber button broke down four years ago, so I don’t know just how many are my little members. Now I just started a new blog/website, and it sure is maddening. Baby, baby steps.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well well well..thank you for this post, Cristian! Yes, it’s motivating, frank, encouraging, helpful and all the rest of those kinds of words that refer to your posts…but you know somethin’ – one line in particular just inspired a laugh (like, a really necessary 5-10 second laugh) that was sooo refreshing and still resides on my face as a smile…and I’m grateful for that.

    Here it is in case anyone reading this missed it the first time and could do with an extra ab or laugh today. “As a beginner, I felt like a cow trying to walk on ice…” (sometimes I say I feel like an elephant trying to do ballet) and this just helped me to relate to you even more, beyond as a blogger but as a person. What a pleasant glow to my day in this post, and that light line. Have a fabulous rest of the day

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Indra. I guess we all feel like that sometimes, but we have different ways to describe it. Or use different words, metaphors, etc. Maybe inadequate is the right word. Maybe just feeling as if you do not belong in the blogging world, as if there’s more to it than you could possibly manage to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Omg your this post is so so so awesome… you have no idea how much inspiration is given in this post and thank you so much to share it with us … its so inspirational specially for beginners like me … i love your all posts contents , but this post gives me true inspiration… really welldone .👍

    Liked by 2 people

  4. OMG!!!!!! Cristian you just put all of my feelings… like how I feel right now! And have felt in past times… They are all in this post! I needed every word man. When I was younger all I ever wanted to do was write for a living… But marriage, life, 3 kids and 4 grandchildren later… Writing is still a hobby for me… a hobby that I laid away for quite some time until recently. I follow you because you have a beautiful way with words, and you inspire me as well. Thank you for your writers wisdom and knowledge for your encouragement.

    Lady D.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just one example: I once wrote a post about all the wannabe writers who were trying to teach others how to write, even though they had no fiction published whatsoever. It also opened with a quote: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.”

      Half the teachers in the US felt insulted by that. It was fun.

      Everyone gets haters.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree! Just started my blog and am doing the free site. I know nothing about blogging just wanting to share my experiences and hopefully help other travelers. I don’t know how you gain followers, or become paid off it. I also don’t think anyone will read it but I am going to just keep doing it =) I teach English online so I do have another job while traveling but would like to help more people via my blog with their travels

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you. This is certainly motivating. I’ve been trying to blog regularly and have been exploring with different types of content. More than earning from my blog, right now, I would be happy if it would reach more people who can give constructive criticism for me to improve.
    Thanks so much for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow. Your journey is very impressive. You are one of the few that never gave up and reach the success that every blogger dreamed of. I started blogging 2007 after college, and from then I owned 3 more blogs that I deleted and this is the fourth one. I gained friends, and some readers but I ended up deleting all of them. It’s just that i lost the interest and gave up. You are somebody that I look up to. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thank you for this post. It was really inspirational. I have been trying to blog but in only in 2 post i felt like giving up because i didnt get even a single reader. But this post is somehow helping me to be patient . Thank you.💜

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Wow, when reading this, I felt this was me. In fact, it is. There has been times I wanted to quit, even now. Just asking myself a whole of questions, who’s reading? Will you succeed etc. But thanks a lot for this encouraging words. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I really like how you say that if you blog with the idea that it’ll one day become effortless, you’re going to be severely disappointed.

    If it’s worth working for, why would you stop working for it?

    Liked by 1 person

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