Three small steps to blogging happiness

Saturday, November 09, 2013

1. You cannot read everything. Stop trying.

I was devastated when Google Reader packed up. Okay, maybe not devastated, but definitely hacked off. I relied on Google Reader to update me the moment my favourite bloggers posted something new. It provided a constant supply of fresh reading material and I gobbled it up faster than Smidgen ate her birthday dinner (pork chops and mackerel, mmm). 

Since Google showed no sign of changing its policy, despite my silent but pointed huffing, I reluctantly signed myself up to Bloglovin and continued consuming posts like the dutiful blogger I am. Read, blog, consume, repeat, until one day I just... stopped. I stopped logging in. I let the unread count pile up. And guess what? The world kept turning.

Now, instead of feeling obliged to read whatever's been published, at the time it was published, in the order it was published, I read what I feel like reading. If I have some spare time, I'll click over to my Blogs I Love page and pick whatever takes my fancy at that particular moment. There might be no new posts (hello, me in October) or there might be ten (um, hi November). I just go with the flow, and it feels goooood.

2. Stop doing things that make you feel bad. 

Bloggers are always told to have a social media strategy. You should check your stats, see what's being shared, work out what does well, do more of this, find out what people hate, do less of that.


For some insane reason, at some point I signed up to a Twitter app that tells you who's stopped following you. I thought it would be a good idea to check it regularly. WHY?? All it does is make me feel bad and wonder what I did wrong. Should I not have tweeted that picture of Benedict Cumberbatch? Was it the joke about the Hallowe'en apostrophe and the Watersone's apostrophe getting drunk together in a seedy bar somewhere? It is literally the worst app ever. 

Unfollow the unfollowing app. There are enough things to feel bad about in the world without adding more of your own.

3. Stop networking. Start helping.

There aren't many crossovers between my working life and my blogging one, but networking is one. Law firms are obsessed with it. Having a strong online network of fellow bloggers and creative types can also, apparently, lead to all kinds of interesting collaborations and opportunities. Sadly, in case you couldn't tell from the business card debacle, "networking" in the traditional sense is my idea of hell.

BUT. A couple of months ago, I had networking training at work (yes, that's a thing) and the trainer said something that blew my mind. 

Networking is not about selling yourself. It's about helping people.

And not in a "I'll scratch your back, you'll scratch mine" kind of way. Offering genuine help, with no strings or expectations, is apparently the best way build a strong network. Pinging someone an article you thought they'd like. Noticing when someone asks about something, and keeping an eye out on their behalf. Offering to be a guinea pig for a new project (for which, might I suggest this sexy guinea pig outfit?).

The thought of handing out business cards, making pitches or selling my services makes me want to scratch my eyes out. But helping people? Hey, I've been doing that the whole time! Every good thing that has come out of this blogging malarkey - styling shoots, writing for Emerald Street - has come not from a deliberate attempt to ingratiate myself, but from a certain generosity of whatever time and talents I may have. Helping people makes me feel good. Apparently it also makes me good at networking. Who knew?

What small steps have you taken to make being online a happier experience?


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  1. Thank you. Excellent post. I currently fall into the 'must read everything' category, which is really tiring sometimes. Glad to hear the world didn't stop!
    Claire xx

    1. It felt like a weight had been lifted! Obviously everyone should keep reading *my* blog, though.. ;)

  2. I'm still trying to read everything. Still trying to comment on everything but I know these things to be true.


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