In “5 Ways to Rid Complacency From Your Blog” on Daily Blog Tips, Bob Bessette writes about how to mix things up in the new year on your blog:
If you’ve owned a blog for a while there’s a good chance that complacency may have already set in. Dictionary.com defines complacency as “a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.”
The key expression in the above definition is the phrase “unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like”. Maybe you’ve been writing for a while and have gained some notoriety through guest posting and have built up a pretty good following in terms of subscribers. It’s only natural that we think that all is well and we just have to put our blogs on auto-pilot.
While I agree with many of Bob’s recommendations, I want to take a different perspective on this, having been bashing a bit at blogging since before 1994.
Don’t Touch That Design
The first thing most people do when they get bored or down on their blogging is to change the look and feel of their website design or WordPress Theme. STOP. Don’t touch that button. Don’t click the search function to find a new Theme. Don’t activate a new Theme you’ve poked before. Take your hand away from your mouse now!
This is like saying, “I’m depressed, so I think I’ll paint my bedroom a new color.” It only changes the colors of the walls. It doesn’t fix what’s really wrong.
Peel the Onion
Ask yourself why you are really losing interest or feeling dulled by the lack of word slices and hacks across the world’s perception. What’s really going on?
Is it that it’s easier to spend most of your time microblogging, tweeting, tumblring, or facebooking your “I like sharing” way? Is it easier to click “like” than it is to put some thought and effort into a comment?
If you are taking the easy path to communicate, maybe you need to get back to your blog and remember how to have your own say. To share stuff your way, and not through the limits of microblogging. Maybe you are taking the easy way because it is easy and you’ve forgotten the joy that comes in pushing yourself a little harder.
If not, make a change. Change your mission, your purpose, your identity, your intentions, whatever it takes to get to the truth behind your passion and blog that.
Have you really run out of things to say, or did you ever have true motivation and passion behind what you were saying in the first place?
Learn to Write
I’ve always found that the more I learn about writing, about putting the words together in new ways to tell story, make a point, or change a perspective, the more I enjoy writing.
We live in the most literate time in the world. More people know how to write, type, and speak coherently around the planet than every before in history. We all have something to say, and there are more ways of sharing it than ever before.
Learn from all the different writers and writing styles out there. Take a class. Read a different type and style of a book genre. Go read some blogs. Pick up a how to write book and do some of the exercises.
Since you write all the time, be it Twitter, Facebook, emails, blogs, or notes around the house, why not take a little time to master the art.
Comment on Other Blogs
Honestly, it’s just too damn easy to “like” something. Take an hour out of your day and read 10 blog posts and leave a comment on each one. Or do one a day for 10 days. Just go out there and comment on other blogs and tell them what you really think about what they said and how they said it, and give them your opinion on the subject.
Sure, this will bring tons of link juice but comment with no expectation of return. Just comment for the sake of commenting. You love getting comments, right? Why not give some and see how it makes you feel.
If you are having trouble writing new posts, why not clean up your old posts?
Begin with the most popular posts on your blog and give them a spring cleaning. Do they still say what they need to say? Is there new news on the subject? Is there something you can add?
While digging through the dust of old published content, you might find that you overlooked a point or two in the telling. Inspiration can come from anywhere. I find a lot in my old posts to give me incentive to fix mistakes, clarify, and find a new way of helping people with topics today that I covered ages ago.
Once you clean them up, publish a post summarizing up the posts you cleaned up and why. That will be one new post that highlights some goodies on your site.
Then hit your Draft bin. Got a few good ideas that you started and went nowhere with? Maybe it’s time to finish those or delete them.
Get a Life
Get a life. Do things away from the computer. Leave your phone at home and take a walk, or better yet, take a trip. Spend a few days away from technology. I spent a week recently at a hot springs in the Oregon Cascade Mountains with no links to the outside world. No cell phone. No computers. No wifi. Nothing. My first vacation in many years and longest I’ve been away from technology with intent. Scared me to death.
I talked to people. I listened. I learned. I spent quiet time in my head. I got to know me a little better, and learned about things beyond technology. It was amazing – and while I was terrified to be separated from my beloved web – not long enough.
Maybe all you need to get you back on the blogging track is a change of pace, switch of perspective, and to just get a life.