What They Never Tell You About Blogging

Blogging isn’t what it used to be. It’s not exactly dead, it’s not dying, it’s just… different.

When I started blogging seven years ago, all you had to do was create a blog, share some decent content, be consistent, and you’d attract readers and comments.

And you’d be making some money too. Maybe even afford to become a full-time blogger if you managed to build a community of folks who were passionate about your content.

But now… things are different. Now, there are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there for every topic imaginable.

Stuff got complicated. We didn’t even have half of these words back when I first started blogging: webinars, landing pages, sales funnels, SEO, copywriting…

Heck, we didn’t even care much about headlines, intros, and formatting our damn blog posts properly. Just read this old post of mine on “blogging:” 3,647 likes, 508 comments, and all that as a reward for delivering some mediocre advice…

Nowadays, even with all this expert advice, even with all the e-courses and mentorships and books and tutorials, people are having a hard time.

Want to know why?

Because there are some things that no one ever tells you about blogging.

But I am going to.

So, if you want to make it in this brave new world, read on.

First, you’ve got to claw your way out of hell…

It’s easy for those of us who got a head start, who have it kind of easy, who got the chance to acquire some skills over a long period of time, it’s easy for us to be all romantic about blogging.

Sipping lattes and typing out blogging advice for beginners on brand new Macbooks is an almost religious affair. And, man, you should see the view…

But the truth is that I was broke, hungry, and desperate when I started blogging. I mean it.

I wanted it so bad that I tried everything.

EVERYTHING.

The bottom, which is the exact place where you are when you start blogging, has always been overcrowded. There’s no view, no sipping lattes.

You got to put up a hell of a fight to get yourself out of this situation.

You’re not going to receive much attention if you take it lightly. Writing a few blog posts, commenting on a few blogs here and there, and just reading the same regurgitated blogging advice on multiple “award-winning” blogs.

No.

The truth is that even before I started this blog, in order to become a top fiction writer on Wattpad, I did all sorts of stuff: I read other people’s stories, so they could read mine. I read and commented on their stories. I made friends. Lots of them. I offered advice on writing, on life, on love, on anything I could offer advice… found groups on social media, commented on other people’s blogs, guest blogged, asked (begged) others to interview me, and begged (bribed) others to be interviewed by me.

Then I guest blogged for Wattpad, I built connections with social media stars, and then had the “luck” to be featured on Freshly Pressed twice, to have an article shared by Random House on Twitter, and another one by Neil Gaiman.

All the while I was writing like a madman one blog post per day.

It’s not glamorous, I know.

I wasn’t sipping lattes back then. I was barely getting enough sleep.

If all you want is to call yourself a blogger and have your mom and a few friends comment “great job, so proud of you” and the occasional spam comment or two, you don’t have to do any of this.

But keep in mind that things haven’t changed in this regard. No. They’ve just become so much more difficult.

Commenting on popular blogs doesn’t work because there are hundreds and hundreds of comments being added within a few hours. Social media is more complicated, ads are more expensive, and 99% of SEO experts have no idea what they’re doing.

If you want to get out of hell (the 99% of all blogs that no one ever seems to actually read) you’ve got to be willing to do a backbreaking amount of work that will make the time you spend writing your posts feel like a vacation in Barbados.

And when that work is done, and you think you’re done, you’ve got to take a deep breath, smile, and get ready to do some more work.

Authenticity matters. A lot.

Who are you? Exactly?

Are you your own person? Are you a bunch of people trying real hard to act like one person? Are you a mixture of your mom and dad’s personalities?

Are you your star sign? Are you the people you loved?

Why do you love what you do?

Why do you even blog?

I became successful as a blogger because I am an artist. Always been one. And I am deeply in love with words. I am pretty sure it’s ink that flows through my veins. And I am quite certain that sometimes, if I get lucky, I am art.

I’ve run out of walls to hang art on, I’m running out of skin to place tattoos on, and I’ve had to give away hundreds of books because I had nowhere else to keep them.

I became successful as a blogger because I blogged about that. I blogged about my dreams, my hopes, and my desire to become a full-time writer. I blogged about the artistic process, as I understood it, and I blogged about artists that I have always been inexorably in love with.

And I did all this by writing like myself, which isn’t much considering that English isn’t my first language.
I had the guts to be myself, to write my truth into existence even when my hands were shaking against the keyboard and my eyes were teary, because I’ve always thought that the greatest tragedy in this world is to wish and try to be someone else.
In order to stand out from the crowd, your work has to be your own. Creating content that your readers immediately recognize. Writing like only you can. Sharing your stories, your ideas, your thoughts.

I became successful as a blogger because I had the guts to be myself.

Do you?

Adapt. Improvise. Overcome.

A blogger quits after 4 blog posts, 7 likes, and only one comment from a guy with a weird username. Oh, and it was just one word: “nice.”

Another blogger keeps going. She’s been at it since 2010. Consistently. Persistently, some might say.

She has published thousands of blogs in her 9 years. And she has gathered a grand total of 57 followers.

“It’s not fair,” they both think.

What does the first blogger lack? What about the second one?

When I first started blogging, I was writing book reviews, movie reviews, and it felt like death to me. I’d much rather work on my fiction.

But then I realized that I could write about the things that I cared about. And I wrote about art. Then I noticed that people loved to read “motivational” content from me. They thought my story was inspiring. I didn’t. But I blogged about that.

Lessons in life are repeated until learned. Such an awful cliche. But it’s so true.

You either evolve and learn from your mistakes, or you are forever destined to repeat them. And guess what? You’ll grow bitter and angry and remorseful. And you’ll think the Universe hates you, so why not hate it back?

That’s what I thought because my “business plan” for the first few years was to ask people for donations. It didn’t work very well. And I put the blame on the readers, because they were stupid and didn’t appreciate my “great content.”

Newsflash: the content wasn’t that great. And to most of them, it wasn’t worth offering a monetary reward to this weird kid from this country famous only for being the birthplace of freaking vampires (not the sparkly kind, mind you.)

If you’re a blogger looking for more readers, start by learning as much as you can about getting more readers. Obviously, it’s not going to be easy.

If you’re having trouble being consistent, try to figure out how others are able to be consistent.

If someone else is earning thousands of dollars a month blogging, ask yourself how they do it, and replicate.

You must either find a way or make one.

Adapt. Improvise. Overcome.


You know what I find funny?

They never told me these things about blogging, but I figured them out anyway.

And now you know them too…

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182 thoughts on “What They Never Tell You About Blogging

    1. Well, I am not in the sugar coating business, so, yeah, there’s a lot to learn.

      Seven years of daily blogging, and I am still learning a lot of stuff.

      But the good news is that learning something new can be exciting. Like an adventure. It is something that grows you as a person, gives you more self-confidence…

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I wholeheartedly agree! I’ve just built up the courage to start blogging my short stories and it’s turning out to be quite the learning process…I’m curious to see what people think of my writing (once they find my blog, of course).
        I really connected with what you wrote about learning from experience. I think there will be a lot of that happening in my near future 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you! I don’t know what the hell I’m doing but I know I love the feeling of typing for hours and hours in a café (not sipping lattes) despite the fact that no one is reading my stuff (yet). Thanks for the words of advice and encouragement!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow. You speak to my soul, you understand how I feel about writing and what I can’t seem to get from my blog. Thank you for putting this out here so that the rest of us can get a clue as to why this is so hard to break into. Now it’s tome to get to work.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Excellent post. We’re really in a time where people think they can achieve anything in mere seconds. Then, they burnout when they realize success requires work and consistency. Thank you for being so frank!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am even more inspired! English isn’t my first language either. So, imagine the additional I had to do to check my grammar, spelling, and even my “tone”. I am glad to know that there are people like me who struggled and found their way out of it — SUCCESSFULLY.

    Thank you for another inspirational post, Cristian!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am brand-spanking new at this so of course I’m always skimming through posts that offer tips for those “invisible” bloggers. You have a way of separating the truth from the crappy illusion most of us newbies have and you put it into words better than any other blogger I’ve read. I really appreciate your raw honesty though it does scare the hell out of me–an introvert who loves writing but unfortunately has never been talented in the art of promotion.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for the compliments!

      The thing is, you can always change. Quite a lot. There were times when I’d define myself as introvert, antisocial, and I’d dislike interacting with people or be terrified.

      If you force yourself, you can change.

      We are much more fluid than we like to believe.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You are so right. I’ve only just begun and i’m already exhausted. Lol. I just want to write and share but there is so much more to learn and do. This was most helpful. thank you.

    Like

  6. Thank you for this very frank post. I’m very new to blogging and it’s really more of a hobby for now. I’m more testing out whether it is something I want to do. But, I have found that consistency is probably my weakest area so far. I’ve read a lot on ways to tackle it and am working on it, but I have a long way to go. Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So much advice and so little time to follow it. But what you say rings true; the environment certainly has changed since you started, and that’s no doubt a good thing. No doubt. I think the one thing you mentioned that stands out for me was simply “be yourself”. The word “authentic” gets thrown around a lot these days, which I find amusing. It’s sort of like wanting to be cool: if you try you just don’t get it. Anyway, I’m glad you seem to be doing well. I’ll keep reading just to be sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s nice to have this free advice from someone seasoned. There’s a lot of fundamental stuff in here, and that’s exactly what I want right now. Big thanks to you for taking the time to share some wisdom with the newbies.

    I think it is very important to be happy about the things we are passionate about.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Being female and attractive works well to get followers also, it seems, as long as she puts plenty of photos on the blog. I don’t know if it generates income from the blog though?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love what you write, I struggle with my depression on a daily basis and i would like to share my experiences for real on my blog. I don’t want to sugar coat it and pretend I’m OK. What do you think about being open and transparent on your blog?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s a shame blogging is such an overcrowded field now. There are probably thousands of great voices out there that will never be heard. I’ve been lucky in that I send one my blog posts in to collectors website Gemr and now I write regular articles for them. But they didn’t find me, I had to go to them, and still NO ONE reads my blog. Although obviously I concentrate on the stuff for Gemr I’d still like my own blog to get a few more views as (I feel) I’ve got some good stuff there. Hopefully one day more people will check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think that the idea of working your way up from the bottom is common to many professions. It’s really about just putting in the work and the hours the smart way. 🙂

    One of my favorite phrases is: ”everything is possible if you work hard and believe in yourself.”

    I admire your writing style. It’s interesting, concise and dynamic.

    Most importantly, what you say has some actual value and usefulness.

    Thanks for blogging!

    Like

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