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He’s a Rogue … that’s Why He Blogs so Well

This guest post is by Graham Phoenix of Male eXperience.

Okay, let’s be clear about this: I am a man and I am a blogger. In fact I’ve turned it back on itself—I blog about men!

Now, some men are rogues. We all know rogues: they are focused, calculating, dedicated, and only want one thing. These are the qualities of a real rogue—and the qualities of a successful blogger.

Look at what Chris Guillebeau, at Art of Non-Conformity, said:

“The reality that I need to work more than I thought has required some sacrifices I did not expect in the beginning, and it took me a while to become comfortable with this.”

I’m not surprised! Surely we all came into blogging because it was an easy source of income that we could work at from home.

Corbett Barr, at Think Traffic, really blew the whistle when he said:

“I’m saying you have to look fear in the eye, realize that fear is hiding some of your richest potential material, punch fear in the face and take whatever it was hiding from you and put that in your writing.”

What a rogue! Where are his good manners?

Darren Rowse, here at ProBlogger, really made it sound easy when he said:

“I’ve had my fair share of luck, I worked insane hours, and I started out at a time that was a lot less competitive than it is now—all of these things have contributed to any success I might have had.”

There it is in black and white: they are all men, and had to be rogues to succeed as bloggers. None of them had an easy ride—or not one they will admit to, anyway! So they took every chance they could get, and stomped on the competition, as they strove to make their harsh journey to the top that little bit easier.

What is the secret to blogging well? Why do you need to be a rogue?

You need to be focused

Any successful blog dominates a niche. Most blogs fail because they wander around the mind of the writer. They often start as musings and end as a no-show. We all have a few good posts in us, but we need to sustain that over a significant period of time.

“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.”
—Tony Robbins

You need to be mad

Really: why else would you do it? As a blogger, you expose yourself, day after day, to an unforgiving world only to have people knock you down in the comments. You spend all your time on it and earn precious little.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
—Albert Einstein

You need to kill the competition

At the very least, you need to kill them with kindness. Supporting your competition is a great way to get noticed out there. You do, nevertheless, need to dominate: readers need to see yours as the blog to read, the one that’s hot.

“Kill the competition is the only way to think about your business and especially your competition. Most people do not desire competition in business but then do little or nothing to eliminate it.”
—Grant Cardone

You need to be opinionated

How many blogs have you read, and returned to, that don’t have anything to say? Blogs are about opinion. In the world of men’s issues, the blogs that stand out are the ones that are most outrageous, such as Citizen Renegade. They may not be the best, but they get the visitors.

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.”
—Albert Einstein

You need to be like a man

You need the qualities of a man. You need to dominate, be tough, and be true to yourself and what you believe. Being compassionate, open, and receptive are great qualities but in blogging, like in business, you need to shine and stand above the rest.

“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.”
—John F. Kennedy

In talking to men about men, as I do, I’ve realized that I need to hit them between the eyes to get them to listen. I think the same applies to all blogging niches.

What do you think?

Graham Phoenix writes about the Male eXperience of Men, Women, and Relationships. He has created a sizeable following in the area of men’s issues and men’s groups and while doing so has learned a lot about the art of blogging. Get his feed here.

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Comments

  1. A great post, and tons of Tweets, but why aren’t all the other rogues posting their opinions and telling it like it is?? They’re just way too roguish, perhaps?? Whatever you say, lucky or not, good timing is bedsides the point, ‘early adopters’ are brave and have forethought. Regardless of conditions, Blogging is no walk in the park. Dedication doesn’t comes easy, whatever road you take. There are some very profound words here and it takes a certain amount of thought and dedication to have put all that together. Only a real Blogger would have thought of it. The world is full of cut and paste merchants.

    There’s nothing quite as daunting as a blank page and a self imposed deadline: Peter L Masters

  2. there is a certain amount of luck involved with blogging and making a decent living from blogging. But with hard work and consistent effort you can turn the tables and put the likelihood of success in your favor.

    Luck smiles on the bold

    Brandon

    • Luck is involved, as it is in life, but consistent effort on top of clear intention is critical. The bold get away with it because they smile on themselves too.

      • well said and I totally agree.

        if you tell a successful person he is lucky because he is a success, he would reply back that he is lucky because he has worked hard and was laser focused on his goal and intention.

        • Mukesh says:

          You just added another point on concentration. As Ayn Rand said, Motion and Motive compliment each other. There is no place for one without other. Consistency is the motion here and sticking to a niche is the motive. With that a blog is guaranteed to get better MoM.

          Regards,
          Mukesh Singhal

          • The Oneness University in India talks about three things that are needed to succeed at anything in life, Intention, effort and divine grace. We have covered the first two above. The luck we are talking about is the divine grace. It’s that something that comes from beyond us.

  3. Peter

    Thank for your insight and support. People think the early adopters had it easy because there were not so many people, but you’re right, they were brave and forged a new path. The blank page is only terrifying when it stays blank. I believe in filling it and being original. Thought and dedication are just for openers, sheer awesomeness is essential.

  4. “Being compassionate, open, and receptive are great qualities but in blogging, like in business, you need to shine and stand above the rest.”

    OK, I just reread that. I thought at first you were saying that compassion and openness were negatives in blogging. And I was just about to say, “Woah, what about Leo Babauta?” Leo is compassionate, open, and receptive and he’s one of the top 25 bloggers. Sure he shines and stands above the rest, but that is because of the quality of his thinking, writing, sharing, and compassion.

    I don’t think you need to be a rogue (at least in the bad boy sense) to succeed in blogging, but you certainly need persistence and focus, as well as intelligence, and having something unique to offer.

    • I”m not saying they’re negatives, just they are not sufficient on their own. Leo is a great case in point. people love him because he is compassionate, open and receptive but he succeeded because he worked to shine and stand above the rest. He is a dedicated blogger who put everything on the line to make it work. On his site he says, “Guest posts: I’m not taking guest posts at the moment. Promoting you: Please don’t ask me to promote your product, book, website, service, or blog post, or I will karate chop you.” Might that be about killing the competition in his site? :-))

      • No, I don’t think it’s about killing the competition. It’s about doing what feels true to him and about having a life outside of blogging. At least those are my thoughts on where he is coming from (I’ve not asked Leo directly so I’m reading between the lines). I already get several solicitations a week regarding guest posts, ads etc. for my blog. I can only imagine how numerous and distracting the emails are when you’re a top 25 blogger.

  5. Great post. It seems that many of the most sucessful bloggers are those who bucked the system. They did what they didn’t think could be done or what others didn’t dare try but because they dared to try, they are being rewarded.

  6. really nice post. I agree with the statement that you need to be man. And you should also write for people insted of writing for Google :)

    • I see so much stuff about how to please Goole, it puts me off working online. there are so many ‘market stalls’ online that just sell cheap rubbish (google adsense and the like) that it’s in danger of crowding out the rest of us. There are people out there hungry for original ideas well presented, they deserve to paid attention to.

  7. Justin says:

    I remember the quote by Tony Robbins in his Personal Power 2 Program. It is better to master one thing, than to be mediocre at a dozen things.

    • When I started blogging I started off a number of sites thinking that is one didn’t succeed then another might. I was so wrong — none of them succeeded. My effort was to diffuse, I had no focus. I see so many people still make the same mistake.

  8. LAjuice says:

    I’m such a rogue, I am a chick… One who lives by most of these very tenants. In other words, the crux of your message in this blog is equally as important to all genders.

    peas out,

    Juice

    • Juice, of course, you’ve spotted it. The message is important to all, it’s the qualities that make the difference. Often women, and men, fail because they don’t see what it takes to succeed not because they are a particular gender.

  9. “You need to be opinionated” is something I liked most. Information is everywhere on the web but the blogger must say what is appropriate for the user…in a convincing way.

  10. v1dz says:

    Perfect niche and Luck is what matters.
    Everyone has a knack to write, one should know how to use it the better way.

    • I would still say that the level of effort and dedication is important, as is talent. You only need to read around the internet to see that the standard of writing is not the same between blogs, that is a major reason why some blogs succeed and some fail. Perfect niche, however, is very important.

  11. Freon says:

    I am new to the blogging world and i’m really trying hard to make it as a blogger.
    This was very helpful for me.
    Great Job!
    Nice! Especially the quotes!

  12. Pamela says:

    Do you have to have a wife to be a rogue? Because that’s one thing I ask myself when I read yet another post by a male blogger kicking ass by working hard until he succeeds.

    Not to take anything away from anyone’s hard work, but who’s doing the laundry? Who’s paying the bills? Who’s buying the groceries and cooking the meals? All three of your example bloggers are married. Would they be able to do what they’ve done without a whole lot of back up at home?

    That’s the post I want to read.

    • Yes, I think they would be able to do it because it’s about who they are not who’s doing the cooking, laundry etc., being a rogue is a mindset. In their case I have no idea about their domestic arrangements but I can’t imagine that whether they or their wife did the chores was central to their success.

      • Scrollwork says:

        Pamela, I hear what you’re saying, and Graham, unfortunately, did not. You put it in real perspective. Blogging is a full-time career (whether you’re making money or not yet). Women have traditionally carried both the housework and the outside-home work, and if they blog, too, well, that’s yet another factor that demands focus, energy and creativity. For Graham to say, “I can’t imagine that whether they or their wife did the chores was central to their success” is SUCH a lack of imagination. Even Oscar winners manage to acknowledge the stability and grounding that their families and significant others provide.

        There, I am opinionated. Also I have no problem self-promoting, which gives most women pause. I’ve been diminished by employers for too many years to take it anymore.

        I am able to blog during the day and work just a few hours in the evening (teaching dance) because my husband supports us both. I credit him for the luxury I have of being focused. I gladly and gratefully do all the chores, considering that a fair trade for not having to commute 100 miles a day anymore. I plan to dominate my niche now that I’ve finally figured out what it is (female boomer expat with a quirky take on life). I’ve studied my competitors and I can write circles around them.

        • I did hear but I chose not to rise to it, I chose not to indulge in the insincerity of Oscar winners. I have a partner who works as hard as I do, we share the chores, I do the cooking, she does the laundry, we shop together etc. We each support the other financially and emotionally. But in the end our individual success is based on our individual talent and dedication.

          It’s great to be opinionated but don’t turn a post of sane advice on success as a blogger into a place to hang out your prejudices on gender.

          I love that you’re a woman kicking butt in the world of blogging, but I don’t see why that means you have to do all the chores just because your husband brings in the money. If you choose to be dominated like that at home, will you do the same in the blogging world?

          There, I can be as opinionated as you!

          • Scrollwork says:

            I’m enjoying our exchange, Graham. You missed a little something again, I’m afraid. I’m not dominated at home because I CHOOSE to take on the chores as a FAIR TRADE for not having to work outside the home. In other words, I give value to housework as a legitimate contribution to an equitable arrangement — equitable as defined by the partners within this marriage. I am my own boss, having chucked the bosses who, male and female, tended to be self-serving.

            My opinion has nothing to do with gender, because there are partnerships in which the woman works outside the home and the man stays home and takes care of it and their children, if any. Hardly prejudice, contrary to your label.

            Might I offer a bit of advice to an advice giver? Treat your commenters with equal respect, regardless of gender and whether or not you agree with their opinion. THAT earns my respect.

          • Scrollwork, I apologise. I meant no disrespect either to you as a woman or as someone who has a different opinion to me. Quite the contrary I was trying to pay you great respect, I am sorry I didn’t communicate that well enough.

            I genuinely think it’s great that in your relationship you are able to trade and choose your contribution, mant couples are not and that’s a shame.

            Your point, if I can summarise, is that success usually rely’s on two people, regardless of gender. You are saying support is essential. I see that point and I agree it can sometimes make the difference but I feel that individual talent and dedication is more important.

            Thank you for the discussion, this is how we fine tune and understand what we think, thank you for helping me do that.

    • Lauren says:

      you go sister! I agree!

      I did enjoy the post very much though, i like the quality links you included as well – very helpful, a snapshot view of amazing bloggers.

      The only part i didn’t really understand was to be a great blogger to be man. Don’t get me wrong, i love men, and i see Graham you are very supportive of women – a great blogger needn’t determined by gender, as you clearly say. But women are women, not men, and certainly don’t need to act like a man to get things done.

      The best bloggers i see are disciplined, tough, determined, balanced, compassionate, open and receptive. They are fearless at confronting change, and don’t need to dominate – they are just too good to be ignored. but they don’t need to ‘act like a man’ – the best outshine the others because readers / users relate to them, their story, their opinions…

  13. What a punch on the face Graham. You have said it very right. The rogue theory works. Can it be the other way? No, because you will be lost in the sea of like people. Blogging success needs uniqueness and only a rogue can display that boldly.

    Jane.

  14. Here in India it is not like that…

    We want to easy lives because we have been taught by birth to work hard… so motivation to rise and win comes from birth in our families.

    Education is ranked above a million dollars in our country… even if a billionaire sponsors our lives and lives of our coming generation, our parents never let us lose our potency to create a world for ourselves.

    Hard Work is one thing but deciding to be independent and live a respectful life in society is worth more than world’s money put together.

    • I have met many people in India who believe in education and hard work. They are impressive but sometimes they lack that killer instinct. There is nothing, however, wrong with that. I honour those who want to lead a respectful life, because money is not what it’s about. It’s about contribution and adding to the sum of knowledge and experience in this world. It’s about giving not taking.

  15. Lea Sadler says:

    I like the quote from Kennedy. That we should not pray for an easy life; but rather, pray to be stronger men.
    Strive as we may, whether our life is “easy” or not is pretty much out of our control, except when it comes to making smart choices. And we all TRY to make smart choices–whether our first go-around turns out to be smart or not is a matter of luck, and thus out of our control.

    What we can control is how we choose to look at life. Whether we curl up and become a victim, or become a fighter with a purpose.

    And as far as I’m concerned, the first of these two choices is no choice at all–it’s choosing to die while the body still breathes.

    • “What we can control is how we choose to look at life.” I absolutely agree. We should all remember what we can control and what we can’t. How we live life is our business.

      It is also important to understand the extent to which the life we experience is a mirror of our view of life. What I mean is that people who experience life as ‘not easy’ usually start by seeing it that way. they create the life they lead.

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  17. Guy Hogan says:

    You have put into words what I do try to do. I can honestly say I am a rogue. My blog proves it. It is the most dynamic flash fiction blog on the Internet. But I still have a lot to do and a lot to learn.

  18. Great post! I feel like a psychopath now. Nothing’s going to get in my way.

  19. Huh? None of that makes sense!

    JK! Yea.. you definitely have to deal with bad comments, I’ve been realizing that lately. Luckily, this post rocked!

    I agree on many levels, particularly with the fact that you need to be opinionated. I’ve found that your opinions, are (in many cases) what connect readers with your work permanently because they align with what the heck you’re talking about.

    Further (yes, I just said further!), totally aligned with being about what you believe. The people that align with you will latch on and follow your work. Focus on the people who get it, not the trolls.

    Great post Graham,

    Ryan

    • Hey, thank you, Ryan. The interesting thing about bad comments, though, is understanding the writer’s model of the world. It helps in expanding your awareness of what motivates people.

      My focus is always on those who get it. When I get unsubscribes from my email list because of a letter I send out I celebrate the fact that my list is focusing on those who enjoy and support what I say. I am clear in my writing that this what I think and I love it when it resonates with people.

    • Renee Martin says:

      I honestly cannot believe that people are congratulating you on this erasure filled post. The assumptions that you make in your so-called advice, are so laced with unacknowledged privilege, I cannot take a word of what you have written seriously. Just in case you are interested in challenging your privilege, and admitting that this post erased so many marginalized people here is a link for you to consider. Now you can no longer say, that you’ve never been told.

      • Renee you will see that I found your link on my own and have, in fact, left a comment there.

        For a post that you can’t take seriously you are spending a lot of time on it. I thank you for that, I thank you for your thoughts. I don’t agree with them, but, because of my privilege, I don’t see the world from your point of view.

        What I find difficult, though, is the anger with which you express your words. You may have good reason to be angry with the world, but I don’t feel that I deserve it.

  20. Steve M Nash says:

    Hi

    Interesting points, which I have some sympathy with. When it comes to being a man, though, I think the most important thing here is “TO BE YOUR OWN MAN”. If you copy others – their voice, or what they write about – then I think you’re not going anywhere fast!

    I must say, on the man theme, I think it’s a shame that being a man is deemed to be such a single-minded hostile place to occupy. Masculinity is so much more than this, I believe.

    Thanks, though, and I will check out your Male eXperience blog Graham to learn more of your philosophies and viewpoints…

    Steve

    PS It’s probably sacrilegious so mention this, here, on Darren’s famous blog, but I do seriously wonder about the virtues of blogging versus a content-based website philosophy that *doesn’t* rely on a constant diet of ‘always new’ and ‘always relevant’ and ‘always timely’ content. For the average punter at least. “Phew!” is all I can say to that kind of ‘success regime’. I think I’d rather get back in the car and join the commuters! :-O

    • Thanks Steve and have fun reading my writings. Masculinity is certainly a big subject and this post only scratched the surface. As you will see I feel it is a lot more than that, but this is probably not the place to go into it.

      It’s great to get exposure here but it turns round so quickly that you can’t blink. Phew indeed.

  21. Marie says:

    The discussion about luck reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

    “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” For people that say they have no luck, it’s usually because they are not prepared, and they do not recognize the opportunities that come their way.

    Now, on a different aspect of this post, I have to take issue with this statement:

    “You need the qualities of a man. You need to dominate, be tough, and be true to yourself and what you believe.”

    I agree that we need these qualities, and I realize that stereotypically we associate these qualities with men, but by saying you have to be like a man to have these qualities is, well, chauvinistic. I know plenty of women who are dominant, tough, and true to themselves. And I don’t think they are that way because they were thinking about being like a man.

    I know that your point was not to create a debate about male vs. female qualities, but I think it’s these type of subtle words that women read and hear, from a young age and throughout their life, that create a sense of not being good enough – not being as good as a man. That you have to be like a man to succeed. Talk about a punch in the face. And then we wonder why women act “weak”. It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy. I am old enough to recognize this but with my young daughter I am very aware of raising her to have strength, integrity, independence, and to believe in herself – without associating those qualities as male or female. We are all entitled to dominate, be tough, and be true to ourselves. Period.

    Anyway, just my two cents….

    • Marie

      “We are all entitled to dominate, be tough, and be true to ourselves.” Yes, absolutely, and as you say the intention was not create a debate. I see the influence this has on young women, an influence which is subtle. But for me it’s not whether these qualities should be associated with being male, they just are. Men and women are different and we do both genders a disservice if we try to suppress the differences and pretend we are the same. You should raise your daughter to have “strength, integrity, independence, and to believe in herself” these are not necessarily male qualities, these are not about dominance. While doing this you must, however, raise your daughter as a woman, tough or not.

      Thank you for your thoughts.

      • Marie says:

        Graham,
        Thanks for clarifying. I think we are generally on the same page. And I do absolutely agree that there are distinct differences between the typical man and the typical woman. And these differences can and should be celebrated. In addition to my daughter, I also have a son, so I am fully aware of this. I am raising each of my kids to appreciate and embrace both “traditionally male” and “traditionally female” qualities, while trying not to constrain them by traditional labels. Anyway, thanks again – and I really enjoyed reading your blog (which is probably a better place for this discussion…lol!)

  22. lol Pamela…In this house I’m the one who’s doing the laundry,paying the bills and buying the groceries.

    And also cooking the meals and blogging and coaching…..

    Sorry, boys :-)

  23. Renee Martin says:

    So let me get this straight, when we congratulate the blogger a comment is suitable to be published, but if we point out that he didn’t consider things like race, class, disability and sexism in his how to definition of blogging the comment is problematic? Just because he is writing in a specific niche does not give him the right to erase entire communities. It’s called unacknowledged privilege. This blog may not be about that topic in particular, but to ignore a legitimate criticism, because it means dealing with an issue that makes people uncomfortable, is silencing.

    • Hi Renee, thanks for your comment, and no, I don’t find your comment problematic. I understand that you feel I have ignored whole communities. As I said in response to your post, I acknowledge my privileged position and I don’t ignore legitimate criticism. No the post wasn’t about race, class, disability or sexism but I recognise you see the silencing of those issues. I apologise for not taking your concerns into account in my writing. I thank you for your analysis and I assure you I take what you say seriously

    • Oh, and despite what you think, it doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable.

  24. Clarabela says:

    I love this quote: Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.”
    —John F. Kennedy

  25. Oh yes, if you don’t have a bit of ego that wants to be stroked, you’re not going to be able to stick to blogging for the long haul. :)

  26. “Being compassionate, open, and receptive are great qualities but in blogging, like in business, you need to shine and stand above the rest.”
    One can be all of the above and also be directed, focused and strong-I think that would describe most moms!

    • There are many Mom Bloggers who are successful because of that. I think the culture in the US is far more accepting of women who are directed, focused and strong. In Europe this is far less true. Society encourages women not to go that far.

      Thanks for your comment.

  27. Jerrick Yeoh says:

    That why people do said that you need to have your own characteristic to write a blog. You need to have your opinion as well even you write about others topic. There is a place that people will read your blog and start giving you comment and argue with you. Sometime if your blog make it too formal and professional, will scare away people comment of you. If it too formal, why not you start a website rather than a blog.