Comment Spam, Trolls in Comments, Servers Crashing, Personal Attacks in Posts, Getting Hacked, Public Critique….
While there’s a lot of positive things to be said for blogging – there are also days where blogging can all get a little too much and get even the most positive of bloggers down.
So how does a blogger protect themselves from becoming a grump (or at the very least depressed)?
As a blogger who has had his fair share of the above blogging downers here are five ways that I’m learning to preserve my emotional well being:
1. Your Personal Worth Is Not Tied to Your Blog’s Performance
One of the most helpful lessons that I’ve ever learned was to think about where my personal worth comes from.
We live in a world where Personal Worth often is seen as a result of two things. It can be put as an equation:
Personal Worth = What You Achieve + What Others Think of You
The problem with this equation is that in every sphere of life (especially blogging) it is very difficult to live up to this equation. There are times in all of our lives where we fail or fall short of what we set out to achieve and where other people’s opinion of us are not high.
Rating our worth as a person in this way can be a trap and as bloggers it can be an easy one to fall into.
On a good day where traffic is up, people are saying nice things, all the blog ranking tools rate us highly and we’re getting good press it’s easy to be on top of the world – but when it all falls in a heap the lows can be very low if we tie our personal worth to how our blog performs.
Personal worth comes from something deeper than what you do (or fail to do) and what others think of you. I won’t push my own opinions of where this worth comes from (for me it’s tied to my spirituality) – however I encourage bloggers to do some realigning and gaining of perspective in this area.
2. Don’t Believe Your Own Press
I’ve quoted Elizabeth Taylor before on this (believe it or not). When asked whether she reads what people write about her she says:
“If you listen to the good things people say about you might just start believing them. If you listen to the bad things people say about you might just start believing them”
While I do think it’s important as a blogger to monitor what people are saying about you and the things you write (the great thing about blogging is the conversations that emerge from it) I think there’s a difference between ‘reading’ what others are saying about you and ‘believing’ what others say about you.
One of the skills I’m attempting to develop is to read what others write and say about me without owning it or allowing myself to be sucked into it.
Over the last few years people have said some pretty outrageous things about me (both positive things and negative things). When you see this type of stuff it’s easy to be sucked into and be carried away by it – however if you do you’re setting yourself up for a roller coaster ride.
3. Work Life Balance
If I was to track and graph my ‘grumpiness’ I suspect it would look something like this.
Work/Life Balance is so important – particularly in an area of your life where you’re needing to be creative, fresh and relational (and particularly when you’re an introvert like I am).
Time away from blogging, the web and related activities become crucial for maintaining your emotional well being as a blogger.
4. Be a Relational Blogger
While I’ve always talked about being relational in blogging I’m increasingly convinced that its vital not only as a way to promote your blog and improve your content but in terms of your ability to withstand the tough times that might come your way.
The relationships that I’ve built in my own blogging have:
- helped me with balancing the gaps in my own skill set
- encouraged me to keep going on those days when I just feel like throwing it in
- kept me accountable to my own goals
- been a sounding board for helping me to respond to critique
- provided me with a few home truths on those days when it was me who was out of line not others.
- given me perspective when in my mind the world is coming crashing down (when in reality I’m just having a bad hair day)
- helped me keep balance by injecting humor and friendship into my life
5. Get Thick Skin
I come from a family which is incredibly encouraging, forgiving, caring, loving and diplomatic (we always see both sides of every situation).
While this is a fantastic environment to grow up in (and I’m incredibly grateful for it) one of the few negatives with it is that I grew up to be a little sheltered from some of the harsh realities of life. As a result when I first got into blogging and experienced my first troll, personal attack and comment flame war I was really taken aback and somewhat shaken.
In lots of ways blogging has helped me get in touch with reality in this way and I’m grateful for it – however I’ve also had to toughen up a little to survive it.
While I don’t want to toughen up too much (I want to be someone who is in touch with my emotions, who feels, who connects on a heart level etc) I think there’s something to be said for thickening one’s skin a little if they want to survive the rough and tumble of the blogosphere.
Find the balance between blogging at a ‘heart’ level while maintaining an arms length from it and I suspect you’ll be a much healthier blogger who is able to sustain themselves for the long haul.
Bonus Tips - Don’t forget the lesson a Buddhist Monk once taught me about blogging and dealing with negative people. Also posts that might be helpful include Communications Skills for Bloggers and 10 Steps to Conflict Resolution.
What do you Think
How do you sustain yourself despite the negative things that sometimes come your way in the blogosphere?
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