I’m a small blogger. And I know that like all other social media platforms, the blogging community consists of a majority of small bloggers, with the ‘big-shot’ influencers being the exception rather than the norm. And if you’re like me, you started out blogging with the goal of making it a big part of your life. Maybe not your full time job, but you definitely aim to have your blog become a key component of your schedule and your brand.
After a few months in (where I am at right now), reality kicks in. You– we– are showing up, putting in all that effort, producing all that free content, for little or no returns. I am not merely referring to revenue here, but to all the other things a blogger hopes for as well: readership, traffic, appreciation, acknowledgment that your blog exists.
So here’s a post to all the small bloggers out there. To those, who like myself, are at the few-months mark, and still pushing on. Here are some tips and lessons I have been learning along this journey as well as some motivational, helpful resources that I use.
NONE of this content is sponsored (small blogger problems lol). But in all seriousness , I know how hard it can get some days, and if I can help just one person out there, it will be worth it.
Tips For Staying Motivated to Blog
1) Remember Why You Started Your Blog- Main Reason(s)
As your blog grows, it will have more and more reasons to exist. But at the start, there were only one or two reasons why you began it in the first place.
For me, I started this blog simply because I love writing, and I wanted a new, more challenging outlet to write. The possibility of readers gives me a new dimension of ownership. It also grows me as a writer- I constantly have to think of ideas for posts, and make sure that those posts are high quality in both content and form.
Secondly, I wanted to learn about managing a website. What better way to do so than to build my own WordPress blog website: the learning curve is challenging enough to ensure growth, I get to make all the decisions, and get to make mistakes I can learn from
What was your reason(s) for starting your blog? Maybe write those down, and on those days where the going gets tough, remember why you are doing this. I think it’s a lot easier to sustain something long term if you are doing it for reasons that matter enough to you to keep you going.
2) Learn To Be a ‘Middler’
If you’ve already started a blog, congratulations! Like anything else, starting takes courage. It’s putting yourself out there, risking being in the public eye and creating a new platform that is going to take time, energy and possibly money to maintain. It means you’re a starter. Starters are great. You’re already a lot further than those still unwilling to take such a risk in the first place.
Starters, like me, tend to have an end goal in mind. For bloggers it’s usually those listed above: turning it into a substantial ‘job’, making it a part of your career, your brand, your schedule. And maybe, to make a difference with it. And these things require having a ‘grown’ blog, one with substantial traffic and recognition.
But then, here we are at the middle, between setting up your blog and before all the blogging dreams come true. What I’m really learning in this, is either I give up here, or I learn to be a middler. I learn to be really good at thriving in the in-between. I have to accept that in the middle, it’s going to be a lot of hard work without the excitement of the start, or the reward of the goal. In the middle is a good place to allow yourself to grow in perseverance and patience. To grow in grit. Qualities that will bode you well for other things in life as well. You got this. Don’t be a quitter, be a middler.
3) Change Your Mindset
Sure, some creators get lucky breaks. But hard work is still the way to go. One thing I sometimes struggle with is wanting to take the easy way. I want a ton of results really quickly, and the world just does not work that way.
Now I am beginning to accept that if I want to become a creator, I have to be willing to work REALLY hard for little or no results for at least the first few years. This journey is teaching me to think long term. Slow and steady does it. Think ‘sustainable’ instead of ‘one-hit-wonder’.
4) Take Ownership of Motivating Yourself
Find outlets that motivate you. That speak to you. That remind you of the value of hard work. Outlets that celebrate creators. Find inspiration.
Sure, on good days it is easy to find that motivation within yourself. But there is nothing wrong with a little help. For me, I have figures of inspiration as well as sources that keep me going, and I make sure to keep myself exposed to those outlets. You can’t just sit around and wait for motivation to come, you have to go find it and make time for it.
Also, change the way you talk to yourself. I’m not talking about the law of attraction or whatever, although, sure you could link this to that. But I’m talking about being your biggest cheerleader. The reality is you’re a small blogger, and being a small blogger is hard. So be kind to yourself. Cheer yourself on. Create mottos, if those kinds of things help you.
My Personal Motivations right now? I mainly use figures of inspiration, testimonials, talks, podcasts, books.
Youtubers Casey Neistat and Shay Carl really inspire me. They are my main sources of motivation as a creator who is just starting out. They have worked hard for years, even when they did not have a fraction of the audiences they have now, to get to where they are. I love how their lives, their success testify to the value of sheer hard work, of being willing to show up again and again, to try as hard as you can, to be willing to experiment in different ways, until you get results. To the willingness to believe in their vision. Find people, lives, that speak to you and your journey, to your way of thinking. There are so many inspirational figures out there!
Also, I listen to podcasts and talks on a multitude of topics– spiritual, business, self care, finances etc. My favourites at the moment that I can remember at the top of my head include the Havilah Cunnington podcast, the life-changing magic of tidying up by Mari Kondo, and just any articles online about areas that I need help with on any given day.
5) Keep Learning and Growing as a Blogger
Beyond motivation, don’t be afraid of continuous learning. As small bloggers, we have a long way to go and a lot of learning and unlearning to do, before we attain ‘success’.
Take ownership of your growth- find something to do/listen to that helps you strategise in growing your blog. Learn about web design and development, SEOs and analytics. Attend courses and workshops that help you improve on your content, whether it’s writing book reviews like me, or whatever your topics and goals for your blog. Perhaps even find like-minded communities that you can learn from. For example, I blog about books, writing and poetry. I am considering attending writing workshops around my area.
My favourite learning platforms at the moment: The Financial Diet on YouTube, Listen Money Matters Podcast, Skillshare (an online community of courses on just about anything), YouTube tutorials on just about anything.
6) Up the Blogging Challenge
Sometimes, blogging can get a little boring. And I hate boring. Therefore, I constantly find ways to challenge myself. Brainstorm new angles or ideas to blog about. Find ways to grow your niche. Create a blogging schedule and challenge yourself to stick to it, eg. Once a week, once every three days. Don’t allow yourself to get lazy. Remember: hard work and perseverance.
7) Remember to Rest From Blogging
While finding ways to grow your website and motivate yourself, you don’t wanna end up hating blogging. Something that helps me is taking the effort to carve out space to rest completely from blogging– chunks of time where I do not think about it at all. It can be going out with friends, working on my other hobbies, etc.
These spaces of time away from your blog make sure that you are balanced and not obsessing about it all the time. It reminds you that your blog is not the only important thing in your life. Space is also a great way to help you think clearer, and sometimes it is during rest where the best ideas come to you naturally.
Lastly, here are a few resources that are really motivating me this season:
2) This great article that helps me see the bigger, long-run picture about growing a blog.
3) The video by Havilah Cunnington about perseverance.
I really hope that this post helps you, as a small blogger, to not give up on your blog. If this reaches out to even one person, it would be great. Succeeding as a creator is hard work, but we will get there. Just keep growing, pushing hard, and don’t give up. Remember, you got this.