This guest post is by Dan Meyers of Your Life, Their Life.
You push the Submit button to introduce your next great thought to the world. Finally, this might be the one that pulls in some real traffic. Up until this point, the majority of your visits have come from you and your parents.
Your bubble bursts when you check your web traffic and realize this wasn’t the one. If you could only get your Facebook friends to like your blog page, then you’d have some legit numbers! However, you’ve asked time and time again and most of them don’t come through. Your subscriber count remains the same.
Life as an amateur blogger isn’t fun, but it reminds me of my experience as an amateur golfer. I say aloud that my sub-par abilities (pun intended) aren’t worthy of my anger. But that doesn’t prevent me from getting ticked off with every ball that bounces belligerently into the brush. Check out the picture: I’m that bad!
I’ve only blogged on my current site for a few months. Of course I shouldn’t expect great traffic or a large subscriber base. However, that doesn’t numb the pain of a harsh reality!
Are you embarrassed to admit that you’re an amateur at something? Admitting so can make you feel worthless. Our culture teaches us it’s better to lie than admit you’re not good at something.
My name is Dan, and I’m an amateur blogger.
I started blogging in 2007, but it was one of those one month blogs. You know the kind: you get all fired up, pay for a website or sign up for a blog account, write three blog posts, and quickly become discouraged when you don’t get any visits. That’s what mine was, but I appreciate my parents, brother, and friend Ryan for clicking on it!
I’m back at it again and now I’m not afraid to admit I’m an amateur blogger. It’s easy to start a blog, but it’s not easy to make a blog successful.
I’m now convincing myself that life as an amateur blogger should be relished. Here are the reasons why.
1. Death to my best ideas!
Life as an amateur gives me room to grow, and the humility to accept that my first ideas probably won’t be my best . It will allow me to kill some of my ideas without feeling like I’m killing part of myself.
This is relevant for more than blogging. Charlie Munger said, “If Berkshire Hathaway had made a modest progress, a good deal of it is because Warren [Buffett] and I are very good at destroying our own best-loved ideas. Any year that you don’t destroy one of your best-loved ideas is probably a wasted year.”
I’m an amateur. Of course I’m going to have some bad ideas! Ben Graham made an investing observation that is analogous to real life when he said, “Good ideas cause more investment mischief than bad ideas.” Are your good blogging ideas causing you more pain than your bad ideas?
2. Standards? What standards?
Acknowledgement of my life as an amateur allows me to not hold myself to the high standards of a professional. However, I am forced to know I must strive relentlessly to get to that point.
Professionals got to where they are because of many years of hard work. As I mentioned in my previous problogger.net guest post, Malcolm Gladwell puts that amount of practice at 10,000 hours in his book Outliers. If you attempt to instantly match the professionals, you will become frustrated quickly, which might lead to an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy.
However, you must realize that it is possible to get to that point just as they did. If you are unwilling to put a lot of time into it, you’ll probably join the death of my first blog. As they say, problogger.net wasn’t built in a day.
3. I love something enough to do it even though I’m not a pro!
This is my favorite part of life as an amateur. I’m passionate about helping others get out of debt and take control of their life. I do it even though I’m not a professional; I don’t currently make money doing it and it’s a lot of hard work.
In his book, The Call, Os Guinness explains it as the following, “To our shame we moderns have taken the word amateur, opposed it to professionalism and excellence, and turned it into a matter of tepid motives and shoddy results.
“But amateur, as G.K. Chesterson never tired of saying, means “love.” Man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.”
This doesn’t give you a free pass to do sub-par work and shouldn’t cap your ambition to strive towards excellence. However, it should prevent you from not doing something just because you’re not a professional. Your message is important because you can help others, and because it’s worth doing. G.K. Chesterson also said, “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly!”
I can guarantee you one thing: if you doing something badly long enough, but you try to improve and are passionate about it, soon it won’t be bad anymore!
These are three reasons that I’m proud of my amateur title, but it doesn’t mean I want to continue with it any longer than I must! I’m so passionate about my subject that I know I can become a professional; it just takes time. If I continue to work hard and not get discouraged, then I can make it and help many people.
Are you willing to live life as an amateur in hopes of one day becoming a professional? You have a voice, don’t be afraid to use it!
Dan Meyers started Your Life, Their Life to help you take control of your life. Read how he paid off $50,000 of debt in two years and how his strategies can help you.