Don’t Blog About How Your Blog Sucks

No, really. Don’t.

I see this from time to time, mostly with younger bloggers. People write things like, “I know my posts have been crap lately,” or “It doesn’t matter, nobody’s reading this anyway.” They trash what they’re doing while they’re doing it.

Think about the message this sends to your readers. They came to your website for no other reason than to read your words, which is a remarkable thing. They came because they expected to find something valuable. Are you really going to tell them they’re wrong?

I understand the temptation. I know what it’s like to feel that your writing isn’t any good, that your readers are wasting their time, that you don’t have “enough” readers, or followers, or commenters, or people linking to you (whatever “enough” means). I know these feelings very, very well. And your blog is an expression of self, so I get that you want to put those feelings out there.

But don’t.

If you want people to listen to you, you have to project confidence. If you expect yourself to keep writing, you have to have confidence. Nobody wants to board a sinking ship. Even if you only have three readers, write like you have a thousand. Make them feel they’re part of something special, something worth their time. Fake it till you make it.

This idea may not sit well with some of you. My generation is very open with its feelings. If we’re upset or depressed or excited, we want to share it with the world, and some people confuse over-sharing with honesty. But honesty isn’t about broadcasting your raw, unfiltered emotions. It’s about honoring a contract of trust. You can be honest with your readers without drowning them in angst.

With that in mind, I suggest two possible approaches for handling your self-doubt.

First, don’t blog about it at all. You can still talk about it, to your friends or your family or whoever, just don’t do it on your blog. Let your readers remain blissfully unaware.

Second, blog about it professionally. Choose your words with care. Write about your feelings without trashing yourself, the work you’ve created, or (God help you) the people kind enough to read it.

You can say “I struggle with these kinds of thoughts” without saying you’re worthless. You can say “I probably should’ve researched that last post more carefully” without saying it was crap. You can say “By this time next year I hope to have 100 followers” without saying your website’s a ghost town.

If this sounds like soulless corporate business-speak, well, it is – just a touch of it. But there’s a reason businesspeople talk that way. It’s because business is about getting shit done. A little veneer of professionalism won’t squelch your primal artistic bird-spirit, trust me. It might even get a few more people to read about it.

Do you notice many bloggers doing this sort of thing? How does it make you feel as a reader?

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8 responses to “Don’t Blog About How Your Blog Sucks

  1. Heh. If I wasn’t worried that I’ve been a bit too emotional in my latest posts before (though I was), I definitely am worried now.

    (In fact, a tiny part of me wonders if this post was inspired by my own blog and the post I made yesterday).

    Of course you’re right. I had a very horrible blog back on livejournal.com and blogger and I when I created a wordpress blog, I wanted to get as far away from that as possible.

    But it’s more motivating to write something that’s on your chest and desperately want to share to the world than to write the perfect, educational and entertaining article for your blog. Well, at least its been that way for me.

    I find myself going back to that emotional blogging cause it’s easier and more satisfying. But yeah, it’s not so great for readers or a growing business.

    It’s a matter of self-restraint, which is hard. Well, harder for some, easier for others. It’s a learning curve/process I think. As a blog or the author gets older and wiser, it’ll get easier.

    • Nah, don’t worry, I wasn’t writing about you. Your latest post focuses on a single specific issue with the post before, and builds on it constructively. I think that’s an example of Doing It Right™.

      When you talk about wanting to “write something that’s on your chest and desperately want to share to the world,” I should emphasize that passion and emotion are both good things for a blog. If you have something you desperately want to share, that’s a great place to be, and you can probably find a way to channel that effectively. All I’m saying is that, in my opinion, it’s best not to trash yourself or your work in front of the people who like both. (And I don’t think you did that.)

      Thanks for commenting, Amber!

  2. I’ve seen it often. Mostly my friends, who email me the link to their bright-pink main page whose text would be large enough be able to read a mile away, except for the fact that it’s lime-green and in the ugliest, more indecipherable font imaginable.

    Sometimes people can do it well. Often they can’t.

    Me, I like to use my feelings in a piece of writing or artwork and share that. Then at least it feels like I’ve put some effort into it. And people can usually enjoy that more.

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