Jennifer Rice over at What’s Your Brand Mantra? posts a good article on her Link Policy and Building Traffic that is worth a read. The phrase that got my attention though was this – ‘Maintaining a blog is a lot like having a child’. She qualifies it by stating that she doesn’t have one (a child guess – cause she definitely has a blog – sorry, I couldn’t resist). Its an interesting analogy and one that has triggered a whole thought process for me!
A whole number of images came to my mind when letting my brain get a little creative with her statement. Here are a few (this could get ugly):
– ‘It takes a lot of time, nurturing and care.’ This was Jennifer’s one but I concur! Building a blog takes time, energy, sweat, tears and dedication. I’ve heard all that helps with children too. You don’t just suddenly have a fully developed child who can speak, walk, pay its own way and live as an adult – all of these things take time. Don’t expect your new blog to suddenly be everything you dream it to be – let it evolve and grow up in its own time. Sure you can encourage it along the way – but give it space to grow. I see it like gardening – Gardeners don’t actually make plants grow – they create an environment that is conducive to growth. No matter what you do you can’t make your blog grow – but you can create an environment that gives it every chance possible for it to happen. I guess in many ways thats what this blog is about – I’m hoping to provide bloggers with some techniques that help create futile blogging ground.
– Pregnancy – before I start a new blog I often feel like I’ve got something growing inside of me that just wants to get out. It can all happen very quickly or it can take quite a bit of time – but the ideas percolate away, developing and growing til that day when the time comes to actually do something with them.
– Childbirth – (I told you it could get ugly). Not that I’ve been through it but there seems to be a general consensus out there that it can be a pretty painful experience. Sometimes starting (birthing) a blog can hurt a bit. You write your guts out and no one links up, comments or even seems to be reading. Your stats show you 20 readers per day – but then you realize its just tracking you logging on 16 times a day to check your stats and your mother who logs in to see what you’re doing today. Ouch – pain – depression – disillusionment – is it worth it all?
– The joy of the Newborn – I’ve got friends who’ve just had a baby in the last month. I was talking to the new dad the other night and asked how it feels. He told me about his new favorite past time – watching his daughter sleep. He used to spend his evenings in front of the TV getting his nightly dose of Crime Shows and Reality TV – how he spends hours just watching his flesh and blood in dreamland. He does it partly out of concern (parents of first borns do tend to worry a bit) but mainly out of love and wonder of this bundle of joy he’s created. Reminds me (and I’m drawing the bow long now) of some first time bloggers I know (and once was) who spend every waking hour logging onto their site to just see it, tweak it a little, worrying if others are reading – but mainly just to watch it and admire their little creation.
– Toddler Tantrums - Whilst I don’t have kids of my own I have played a pretty major part in one’s life for a number of years. Something happened one day to this little cute, friendly, cuddly girl one day that I’ll never forget. She was two and seemingly over night she became a monster. Some might consider it demon possession, others might say it was too much coloring in her food, others call it the ‘terrible twos’. Part of growing up is that you push boundaries and test the limits of your parents. Unfortunately whilst child rearing can be a pretty amazing and joyful experience – there comes a time when it all seems to fall a part and you wonder if you can keep going on. The server crashes, you forget to reregister your domain, you wake up to find 4783 spam comments (all from different IP addresses), you get your first troll who attacks every single thing you say, all your images mysteriously disappear, you accidentally post your credit card details, you forget your log in password doesn’t seem to work any more or someone else guesses your password and starts posting nude pictures of Britney Spears on your blog. Of course this all happens in a 24 hour period – its the ‘terrible twos’.
– And the Bills Roll in - Kids can be a really expensive hobby. They may not look like it when they are born, how could something so small cost too much? Talk to any parent and you know that the day they had their child was the day they started cutting back on the luxuries of life. Nappies, clothes, food, school fees, broken window repairs, tooth fairy money, birthday parties, hair cuts – the list goes on and it doesn’t stop. Whilst blogging can be free – its amazing how much it can cost if you get into it seriously and want to add features, generate big traffic and make it look professional. Hosting, Domain names, Design, Servers, Blog Services – serious blogging can actually cost quite a bit. Of course it can be done for free or very little cost – but if you want to make a living from it be prepared to fork out some dollars at some point.
– And they get a life of their own – My baby sister left home a year ago and my parents were left at home alone. Kids grow up – they get a life of their own and evolve in all kinds of directions. Blogs have a habit of taking on a life of their own too. I would never have imagined when I started my first personal blog two and a half years ago that I’d end up as a full time blogger, owning and editing 17 diverse blogs today. Somewhere along the line my little blog got up and got a life. I’m just hanging on for dear life and hoping it all takes me along for the ride before one day bucking me off!
– Parents need Grown Up Time – I’m sure a lot more could be said and perhaps you’d like to add your own reasons why blogging is like having a child below in comments. However I’m going to do something that my parents always did which I think is part of good parenting – they spend time alone, away from the kids being themselves from time to time. Being a parent also means you have to lead your own life, have your own interests and maintain your own health and sanity. I think this is a good thing to keep in mind as a blogger also – especially one who makes a living from it. There comes a time when bloggers need to ‘get a life’ and look after themselves also. Your blogging (and parenting) will actually improve if you are healthy, well balanced and interacting with real people from time to time also.