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Weddings, Blogging, Intentionality and one Whopping Big Tangent

Warning: Tangent Ahead

I have a secret life.

Actually it’s not really a ‘secret’ because I’ve not hidden the fact and I have spoken of it a few times at ProBlogger – maybe I should refer to it as my ‘other life’.

It might surprise a few newer readers but for the ten years before I went full time as a blogger I was a paid Minister of Religion (Pastor).

In fact while today I’m not paid as a Minister I still perform the tasks of one in a little church that I run in a voluntary capacity called LivingRoom (which is what my LivingRoom blog is about – among other things). It’s a roll that I am passionate about and enjoy thoroughly.

As part of that job I’m a marriage celebrant. Every now and again someone form LivingRoom (or one of their friends) gives me a call and asks me to marry them – something that I love to do (although it can be a bit nerve wracking).

Weddings tend to happen over our summer – and this year I have six weddings to perform (including taking part in my little sister’s) between now and March. It’s going to be a busy season. Tomorrow is wedding number 1.

Over the past few days I’ve been putting a bit of time into the preparation of tomorrow’s ceremony – getting all the forms together, working on the order of service and preparing a short talk – my ‘words of encouragement’ for the bride and groom – something I include in all my weddings.

Tomorrow in my words of encouragement I’ve decided to talk about ‘intentionality’.

I know the effort that goes into the pulling together of a wedding both as someone who has been married but also as someone who has married many couples and been the photographer at many more (another ‘other life’…). Weddings don’t just happen – there is a lot of thought put into where to get married, what to wear, who to invite, what to eat and drink, who will do speeches, what the flowers are going to be like, who will be the bridesmaids etc etc etc. The day of a wedding takes a lot of time, energy and effort.

My encouragement to the couple tomorrow will be to take the same intentionality, the same time and effort, into the rest of their relationship. Good relationships don’t just happen – they take effort – sometimes they ‘feel’ easy – but in most cases there comes times when one has to choose to put the effort in and love the other person – to make it work….

So what does this have to do with making money from a blog? Have I finally gone to far with my tangents?



Here’s what I found myself reflecting on today as I drove home from the wedding rehearsal….

In a similar way that a relationship with a partner takes intentionality – so too does building a successful blog.

This week I’ve had a number of people approach me in IM conversations asking me to tell them how to make a blog that makes them lots of money without much effort. One person (I hope they’ll forgive me for sharing it) told me that they need an ATM like money making system.

The reality is that profitable blogs don’t just happen any more than great lifelong relationships do. They take a significant investment of time, energy, effort and often money before they become anything approaching sustainable – and even then there are no guarantees.

I think some new bloggers fall into the trap of getting their launch just right with a wonderful design and a few excellent posts but then after the initial buzz dies down they wonder why things are not working – where is the mountain of cash they’d dreamt about?

That’d be like the couple I marry tomorrow putting everything into their big day and then expecting everything in their marriage to work just because it was the ‘perfect day’. Life doesn’t work that way and neither does blogging.

I hope I’m not being a complete grump when new bloggers approach me asking for the ATM blog secret – but I’m increasingly finding myself responding to their enquiries with a few hard questions about how hard they are willing to work before I even begin to talk about some of the ‘how to’ stuff. If I don’t do this I suspect I’m just wasting both their and my time.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Kevin Bedell says:

    Thanks Darren for another wonderful and insightful post.

  2. I agree with Kevin; great post. I am getting married next summer (which is opposite you aussie folk), and it is a lot work already in planning in despite having 10 months (9 now) to prepare. It will be worth it though. At least we have a location nailed down, and who is going to perform the ceremony. One of our teammates (my fiancé and I are runners) got married in the same place 15 years ago and is going to perform the ceremony for us.

  3. It’s funny that you consider weddings from now through March to be summer weddings…

  4. Great post! A successful marriage requires 100% effort on the part of both spouses. It can’t be a “I’m going to get something out of this” proposition. You have to think how you can help the partnership. The same is true with blogging. You have to give something to your readers in order for it to be a successful relationship.

    I like how you tied marriage into blogging. I would never have thought about it like that.

    I’ve run into those blogs that are slapped together just to make money. I’ve also run out of them as fast as I could type in a new URL.

    You can tell when someone is really into blogging and loves it. You can also tell when someone is just blogging in the hopes that an ad or two will be clicked.

    There is no passion in the slapped together blogs. As in a marriage, passion in blogging is one part of the puzzle to being successful. Even if you don’t make a million dollars, if you love your spouse or your blogging effort, it will show throughout your work.

    If you are marrying or blogging to get rich, your efforts will be more of a chore than something that reflects love.

  5. Dave Starr says:

    I don’t think your tangent is too far off at all, Darren. In fact, the basics ought to be repeated again and again. The ‘how do I make an always full ATM’ moan is endemic in today’s world were (certainly in the US if not in other countries) ‘work’ is regarded as the activity of the loser or the disenfranchised.

    Whenever I read anything about a blogger or other entrepreneur having various degrees of on line success I can almost always be sure that someone will jump in with ‘oh _why_ couldn’t your success have been mine, poor me’, etc.

    It won’t happen without work. The beauty of the on line environment is that the work doesn’t involve a pick and shovel, but it’s work, none the less. I’ve been tinkering around the periphery of the ‘for pay’ blogging world for a couple weeks now and I can clearly see the writing on the wall that the single thing I am lacking most is posting .. got to get on a regular schedule .. and that takes time .. and work.

    Been married for many years now and throughly enjoy that, but guess what .. it takes work too. I hope a few people who read your thoughts get on the work bandwagon ..and also, work at the marriage before the blog .. got to have priorities straight,

  6. Ignat says:

    Interesting comparison.

    I am a collegiate rower and I see the same connection between rowing and blogging. I wake up everyday only to hurt and sweat for 3 hours and then head off to work, but everytime I think of how hard it is to push myself away from the comfort zone, I think of all the gold medals ahead.

    Same thing goes for blogging or anything else that is effor-dependant. I blog with a vision which keeps me going.

  7. It is refreshing from time to time to actually see a blogger act human and not always blog business. Thanks for the post and I had no idea you were trained as a “pastor”. Great concept, the Livingroom. Wonderful idea to see a group of believers come together in someone’s livingroom, have a cup of coffee and hold church.

  8. khurrum says:

    Cool :D I guess we need to get married to our blogs.

  9. Dmitry says:

    There’s no easy way to earn money at all, I think.

  10. vivek says:

    I must agree with Dmitry

    Work hard + Be honest + Little luck = Good money :)

  11. Great connection!

    I love the concept of intention as it relates to blogging. It is so easy to start a blog these days, but keeping one going really takes some focus and intention. You’re right, the same is true of a marriage.

    Thank YOU for keeping your intentions clear and sharing such great information about how to be a professional blogger.

  12. Kamemada says:

    Darren, can you marry me and my blog? I’m proposing tonite.

  13. Gloria says:

    Great post Darren! In both ways insightful. I felt there’s more to you than problogging! I was right. :-))

  14. pcunix says:

    My wife and I have been married 38 years, and she’s still my best friend and closest confidante.

    I’ve been doing web pages for eight years now. Your comments are on the mark: both marriage and blogging take work that many just won’t put into it.

  15. Jen says:

    This business of people wanting “happily ever after” to happen automatically, or for the world to supply them with an “ATM-like” money-making formula… sheesh!

    Chris and Dave, above, have said what I’m thinking and have done so infinitely better. So let me just add my thanks for another thought-provoking post, Darren — and this comment:

    I have just celebrated 14 years of marriage to my business partner — double-barrelled intentionality? — and one thing I know for sure: that so-unattractive sense of gimme-gimme entitlement that travels with Sloth and Greed would have killed our partnership years back. An on-going effort at communication, with a focus on giving value for value, has to be the foundation of any on-going relationship — whether that’s beween blogger and visitors, or shopkeeper and customers, or Socrates and his students gathered beneath the tree to explore and learn through spirited debate…

    Intentionality, yeah. Another little Post-it note goes up on the edge of my monitor, right now…

  16. Miho says:

    Hello, Darren.
    I really like your post. Sounds like you really enjoy with your blog, not just for money and search engine. I think it’s very important. I agree building blog and marriage are similar. My husband and I have been married 4 years. We were international married and we needed to do alot of things to get together.

    I started my e-business through my interest since a year ago, and I’m still new to blog. Your blog is very informative. Thanks for your great post.

  17. pcunix says:

    I can’t speak for Darren, but I can tell you that I enjoy writing for my blogs – I couldn’t work this hard at it if I didn’t!

    It’s very hard for me to determine the monetary value of my blogging work because I get consulting income in addition to advertising, and I don’t know how much of the consulting is only because of blogging – I do know it is a significant amount, but the point is that it doesn’t really matter: I was doing it when it wasn’t earning me a dime and I’ll keep doing it after I retire from consulting.

  18. anthony says:

    great post from a problogger. I have been blogging for just over a month and it’s been frustrating and enjoyable at the same time.

    frustrating because i have been trying to up my traffic but it is not happening easily.

    enjoyable because I really like writing and my blog gives me an opportunity to do that.

    you saying that it takes a lot of time and effort before my blog becomes successful gives me something to hold on to.

    thanks man.

  19. Brad says:

    Darren,I fin your post in depth, well thought out and very helpful! Thanks for all the information you are providing. I really do appreciate it!

  20. jayvee f. says:

    im not yet married but i do see the point that getting into a relationship isn’t always about the good times. i guess investing time for understanding each other and paying attention to one another will eventually pay off :-)

  21. Perhaps you’d be interested in knowing that my husband and I were married via blogging -the first people in history!

    The state of Texas has a little known law governing “informal marriage”. For a marriage to be legal, we must publicly declare that we consider each other as spouses and this fact be known to other residents of the state of Texas. We got our certificate, announced the marriage via our blogs and have now fulfilled the requirements. We used the comments feature so people could “witness” our marriage.

    http://www.fashion-incubator.com/mt/archives/marriage_by_movable_type.html
    http://www.zianet.com/ehusman/weblog/2005/08/vows-by-trackback.html

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