It's a new year — time for a fresh start. Welcome to our 15-day series on how to fall (back) in love with your blog. The series is all about stepping back, re-evaluating things and making sure you're still connecting with your blog. Here's what you won't find in this series: articles on analytics, plug-ins, sponsored content, ad networks and the like. What you will find is tips and strategies to stay inspired, motivated and pushing your own boundaries, all while loving what you do.
In Day 3 of our 15 day challenge to fall (back) in love with your blog, we talked about working your way through fear. For a lot of us, a big part of working our way through fear as bloggers is the fact that when we take leaps, big or small, they're out there on the internet for the world to see
Putting yourself out there can bring many, many good things: new friends, new ideas, opportunities to grow and develop as a person and a professional, and, of course, the opportunity to earn a living.
But it also opens us up to criticism and to disappointment. Nothing can derail your love for blogging and your willingness to take risks faster than a nasty comment, an unwarranted criticism, somebody outright copying you or using your work without permission, or disappointment at not being chosen for an opportunity you really wanted.
There's no two ways around it — you can't put yourself out there without opening yourself up to criticism and disappointment.
So how can you minimize it?
1. Don't Feed The Trolls
Unfortunately, the internet is full of trolls: people who have nothing better to do than make nasty comments with no basis other than to be nasty. The anonymity of the internet gives people a false sense of bravery. Ignore, delete and move on. They're not worth your energy and you'll never win if you drop into a war of words with them. Ignoring them will drive them far crazier than engaging, so just move on!
2. You Don't Know The Back Story
There are so many things that go on behind the scenes that bloggers aren't privy to. It can be very disheartening not to get an invite to a PR event that your other blogging friends have been asked to or to be overlooked for a brand campaign. But, don't let it get you down. PR lists can be out of date. And we've seen very talented bloggers be rejected for campaigns they've applied to for a myriad of reasons they never could have predicted. The reasons are rarely a reflection of the quality of their work.
Remind yourself again why you started blogging (see Day 1) and why you love it. You can't and won't be a right fit for everyone — brands or readers. Remember that when brands choose to work with a blogger it's a business decision, not a personal decision. Focus on the people who you are the right fit for and give them the best of yourself!
3. Watch Your Language!
Hey, a good curse can expel a lot of pent up negative energy and clear your psyche but that's not what we mean.
We're often our own worst critic and it's crazy how often we pepper our speech (and thoughts) with negative words, thoughts and feelings without even realizing it! For one day, try eliminating anything negative from your speech. Once you start paying attention you'll be shocked at how often it happens! Start making a conscious decision to turn those negative words into positive words or seeing the positive side of a situation (hint: turn this into a learning opportunity instead of beating yourself up about it).
4. Don't Tie Your Self-Worth Up In Social Media
Life does not revolve around likes, hearts or comments. Real life is not curated, social media is. So don't tie your self-worth to it. Just like we said on Day 2, stop trying to keep up. Take a day off from social media once a week (or more!) and schedule some multi-day breaks throughout the year. Then go play outside. Preferably with people you love — that's real life and means more than a click of a heart button.
5. Learn to Recognize and Accept Constructive Criticism.
There are times where criticism is warranted, although not necessarily welcome. Nobody likes being criticized but sometimes it can be a huge gift if it's constructive. Learn to spot constructive criticism, evaluate it, and decide whether or not to implement it. Usually it offers up solutions or suggestions alongside of the actual criticism. Don't let your ego or fragile emotions get in the way of a chance to learn and improve.
6. Channel your energies into creating, not complaining
Stop looking for disappointment. We see this all the time. Bloggers who go out looking for their photos being used without permission. Bloggers stalking other bloggers to see if they got invited to this, or that or were chosen for Campaign XYZ. Or worst of all, bloggers seeing another blogger execute an idea they had but never did anything about.
Instead, channel all that negative energy (and time wasting) into something positive: creating. The more you create, the better you get at what you do. It also flexes your creative muscles, meaning you'll come up with more inventive ideas. And if you have an idea, execute it. Ideas are nothing if they never come to fruition.
Plus, nobody wants to listen to you complain. Really.