Blogging Isn’t All Sunsets and Tailwinds

by Chris Palmer

Recently I’ve been going through a pretty stressful time with my blog. I’ll be the first to admit that there are some issues, and most of them are the results of feeling fear, lack of motivation, carelessness and so on.

These things include the integration of social media to drive traffic and build the conversation, getting highly targeted word-of-mouth traffic, SEO, design, content, post ideas, community building, and more.

Sound like something you could relate to as well?

I’m not just a blogger that writes like a human. I’m a human that writes a blog. I am not perfect, and guess what? Neither are you!

Across the vast interwebs you’ll find article after article about how to create a successful blog. There is a ton of great information out there for you to partake. Blogussion is certainly one of those blogs (shameless plug). You’ll find others like ProBlogger, QuickSprout, Seth Godin, just to name a few.

But let me be very clear:

It isn’t all sunsets and tailwinds

These guys will be the first ones to tell you that, too.

As a pilot, I wish I could be flying into the sunset the whole flight, and I wish there was a tailwind taking me to that ‘point B’ faster. The truth is, I go through my share of scary takeoffs and landings, hefty headwinds that seem to make the flight drag on, and plenty of vectors from Air Traffic Control taking me away from my destination.

Blogging has been the same exact kind of experience for me.

I don’t profess to be a blogging king (if I was though, I’d definetely get a king suit like the Burger King mascot), I’m actually a lot like you I’ll bet.

If there is one thing I know, it’s that I know I don’t have it all figured out. With that being said, we’re all working towards a “greater goal” if we are on a site like Blogussion looking to improve our internet authorship. You and I, my friend, are moving in the right direction.

So how do you make it through all the “scary takeoffs and landings, hefty headwinds, and vectors from Air Traffic Control”?

Two words that your mother would be happy to repeat:

Don’t complain.

Here is what happens when you complain:

  • You will kill all the great ideas and positive thoughts you have
  • You are focusing on things that don’t matter – things you can’t change
  • A baby gets punched in Switzerland, one of the most peaceful countries (proven fact)
  • When the sunset comes, you’re too grumpy to enjoy it
  • You miss great opportunities in the blogosphere

Be very clear. You’re not going to make money blogging as fast as your most hated rival, or have a blog look as good as that guy who spends hours tweaking every pixel…at first. The sooner you face that reality, that everything comes in time, the sooner you can use the pieces you have.

But you know what? If you’re loving what you’re doing, and you’re getting great interaction – why fret about the intangibles that you can’t control?

A blog is an evolution. It’s a flight path, just like a real airway laid out in front of you. But you have no idea what is going to happen. You can steer the aircraft where you would like to go, and fly at an altitude where you are pretty sure the winds will be safe. But at the end of the day, you and I have no idea what the actual path will be like.

There is one quote from The Matrix that is perhaps one of the best quotes I’ve heard, movie or not:

“There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path”

Speaking for myself, if I knew the path laid out in front of me with all the details and the end result, I can’t say I’d actually do it.

Part of the beauty of life is embracing the fact that in the dark of night or the hot midday, where there isn’t a beautiful sunset, you and I can still push through these headwinds, make it happen, not complain, and get on with it.

Make your blog live for TODAY and THIS moment. Find the positive in what is happening now. Don’t worry about the rest.

Besides, in these moments when you’re feeling frustrated, gloomy or fearful, it means you’re on the brink of making a major breakthrough.

Now, 3 things to do, TODAY -

  1. Just for today (do it tomorrow to even) don’t complain or have a thought of a complaint about your blog. If you try, just shutup.
  2. Think of ONE easy thing you can get done – and do it. Write a blog post, come up with a few post ideas, I don’t care. Something.
  3. Report back in the comments section here and tell us what you did.

I will be doing the same thing. I’m eager to hear your reports!

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Mike Tiojanco March 16, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Good stuff Chris.

Negative thinking can really affect your persistence. About 2 weeks ago, I noticed that my subscriber count went down. That really hit me harder than it should have. “People are actually unsubscribing from my blog.” It made me question everything I was doing and whether it was worthwhile.

Now it might not sound like a big deal, but I’m relatively new and was around 40 subscribers at that point. So losing 20% of them – 8 – was a real blow to my drive.

It was only after a day or two of stewing that I talked myself out of the funk – realizing that this is a long term plan and that these setbacks are bound to happen. Got back at the blog and moved on. It was a really important lesson on having the right attitude…

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Chris Palmer March 16, 2010 at 5:49 pm

I actually really like those lessons when they come up. I think that kind of feedback is serious for feedback to what I am doing, especially on a scale like that.

At the same time, I think it’s important to not be all things to all people. Therefore, losing subs temporarily could be a good sign as well.

I’m glad you pulled yourself out of the funk, man. Keep trucking on.

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Dennis Edell March 18, 2010 at 11:34 am

When that happens, be sure to check if it’s a feedburner glitch…the numbers fluctuate often and radically.
.-= Dennis Edell´s last blog ..UPDATED: Theme Customization Part 3 – Banner Advertising NOT for Sale! =-.

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Chuck Miller March 16, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Great post, Chris!

It’s encouraging to hear that others struggle with the same questions and lament over similar issues in getting a blog off the ground, so to speak, and keeping it flying straight. Discouragement gains a foothold much easier than encouragement lifts us up over life’s obstacles. Thanks for the reminders!
.-= Chuck Miller´s last blog ..Apple’s ‘Meet iPad’ Commercial Debuts =-.

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Chris Palmer March 16, 2010 at 6:09 pm

You’re welcome, Man!

It’s super easy to get down, but I like to focus on the fact that I’m building a great culture and making raving fans.

It’s better to have 1000 AWESOME fans than 10,000 uncommitted readers.

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Ajay March 16, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Nice post Chris!

Dwelling on the disadvantages of a blog (or anything really) takes us away from the awesomeness in it. Doing something to better the blog takes our mind off the unpleasantness. Even if I feel kind of down, I tend to forget all that when I start of with something. I don’t blog much, but I encounter the same problems in designing. Maybe this is something that all creatives suffer from?

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Chris Palmer March 17, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I think you’re totally right there. It’s a rut that anyone pursuing an idea or creating something can get into.

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Julius March 16, 2010 at 11:40 pm

Hard work and sincere love for our tasks are still the key factors that would help us make it through the headwinds of our lives. Part of my goal this week is to find interesting things to write about, and I’ll work hard and search high and low for them, and this usually isn’t a problem since I love what I do.
.-= Julius´s last blog ..>When Sound is not an Option: A review of Vibrating Devices for Deaf People =-.

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Chris Palmer March 18, 2010 at 1:06 pm

That is an awesome idea! Get in a creative mode and just go with it. Don’t think about it too much.

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Hesham @ FamousBloggers March 17, 2010 at 1:43 am

It’s nice black post Chris, cheer up man.. blogging is like life, one day up one day down, so what’s the big deal ;)

No body is perfect and there will never be a perfect man in this life!

I don’t know, but some times I feel Blogussion guys are blogging all the time and interacting only with their community, why don’t you go out? why don’t you find some people and help them on their blogs? on their land?
.-= Hesham @ FamousBloggers´s last blog ..ComLuv new Theme, Traffic and more Exposure for CommentLuv Enabled Blogs =-.

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Chris Palmer March 17, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Yeah, I see what you’re saying. That’s a great idea. Unfortunately I have to be quite selfish with my time at times in order to deliver on what I say I am going to do on my blog and others.

It would be nice to get to a place where I can just assist others all the time, and not have to worry about money. That would be a great place.

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Swapnil March 17, 2010 at 5:34 am

This is the first time I read your post on Blogussion, and it is really amazing. It is very true that complaining just makes it worse. It actually is about all the time and effort you put in. If you religiously do it like it is your job, you will see that things are happening the way you want them too. However, there are many more things to it and you guys can always share it with us.
.-= Swapnil´s last blog ..Mozilla Firefox to have Account Manager. =-.

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Chris Palmer March 18, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Thanks Swapnil. Glad to have you around and contributing. We certainly will keep posting great content. I can’t really speak for Alex, but I know he is one of the best with content on this subject.

Rock on!

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Palabuzz March 17, 2010 at 7:29 am

There was a time when I do felt like I would want to stop but I didn’t. I just take some time off from that certain blog and move on with another project of mine.
.-= Palabuzz´s last blog ..Watch Telephone by Lady Gaga and Beyonce =-.

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Chris Palmer March 17, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Glad you didn’t stop!

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Chris Peterson March 17, 2010 at 8:18 am

Thanks for your complement. Generally it’s happen in every sector. Visitors, business or subscriber up and down. It will be good for us to analyze our fault and according to that you have to find out the solution.

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Chris Palmer March 17, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Totally true. Thanks, Chris.

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Jewelry Secrets March 17, 2010 at 9:43 pm

I think all blogging gets stressful every now and then. But then again, all jobs get stressful. It’s because we get stuck in a routine. I think the key is to spice things up. Blog in the middle of the night. Blog about something fun. Blog on the beach. Add humor into the mix. Make a quiz for people. I add tests into my blogs everynow and then, along with games and silly stories. It just breaks things up and takes the edge off.

I so agree with the complaining. No one listens. No one wants to. Everyone’s got their own set of problems. It’s just time to suck it up and move on. Push forward. Get things done.

As a side note, I love that advice about coming up with new post ideas. Brainstorming is the best way for me to get myself on track. If I can come up with another 20 blog ideas, then I can get through the next month pretty easy. :)

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Chris Palmer March 18, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Hey there,
Thanks for the great comment! It just so happens that I wrote his blog post in the middle of the night as well. And instead of complain about it, I just ‘did it’.

When Alex posted the article I said to myself, ‘Did I really write that?!’ I honestly couldn’t remember because I just got in the zone and did it. Works really well.

Hope you get some great blog post ideas!

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Andi | WebMarketerDepot March 18, 2010 at 4:04 am

I always believe you have to “love” what you blog. If not, the significant time investment that you’ve to put in initially, before earning any money, will be too much to bear.

But, sometimes, “love” is just not enough. And that’s when you’ve to accept that it’s not all sunsets and tailwinds, just like what your article said. Well written. And thanks for the enlightening post, Chis.
.-= Andi | WebMarketerDepot´s last blog ..Maybe I Should Shut Up: How to Be Heard in Twitter =-.

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Chris Palmer March 18, 2010 at 1:11 pm

You’re very welcome, Andy. You are spot on in your assessment. Sometimes it just isn’t the right time to write a post or do what you say you’re going to do, but you’ve got to do it anyway (with the rare exception, of course).

Keep rockin’ it!

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Ann @ Top Home Business March 18, 2010 at 5:51 am

Great, thought-provoking article. I agree totally, it takes a lot of self-discipline and self-motivation to keep a blog going. And it’s very easy to become paralysed by indecision with the vast array of social media tactics to choose from. And end up doing nothing. I’m sure that’s what happens to most people.
.-= Ann @ Top Home Business´s last blog ..Great Entrepreneurs Don’t Just Talk The Talk =-.

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Chris Palmer March 19, 2010 at 3:30 pm

I know it happens for me, Ann!

I just read your recent blog post and I totally agree with what you said. I also loved the mechanic analogy. For people with a simple mind like mine, an analogy works wonders!

As you said, in your own way, was that walking the walk is more important than talking the talk. Same deal with blogging.

I either keep my post schedule or I don’t
I either write good content or I don’t
I monetize or I don’t

Baby steps still counts as walking. As bloggers, we’ve got to start somewhere and make it happen.

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Dennis Edell March 18, 2010 at 11:38 am

I have so much I could complain about in real life, my business is what saves me; so yea, I do my darnedest to keep things positive here. ;)
.-= Dennis Edell´s last blog ..UPDATED: Theme Customization Part 3 – Banner Advertising NOT for Sale! =-.

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Chris Palmer March 19, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Business has become a hobby for me. I just love it. In a way it is much more relaxing than it is difficult. I can’t imagine retirement! Maybe mini retirements, but not full on retirement.

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Chris | best blogging sites March 18, 2010 at 11:39 am

Great thought! It isn’t always sunshine and tailwinds. You just gotta keep fighting though and work hard. It’s always best if you are doing something rather than nothing.
.-= Chris | best blogging sites´s last blog ..Five tips to avoid writer’s block for bloggers =-.

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Chris Palmer March 19, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Hey Chris,
I really like your recent blog posts. Some awesome ideas there. Ones that have worked for me, although, I haven’t really put it together. Cool stuff!

I can tell with your content that you ‘walk the walk’. Keep it up man. And keep pushing through, as you call it.

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Stavros Georgiadis March 18, 2010 at 12:03 pm

If only we could buy a domain,start a blog post something and make lots of money out of it, it would be ideal.But wait I am not complaining!I am just blogging and interact with you.
.-= Stavros Georgiadis´s last blog ..Lazy Internet Marketing Home Business Study Course. =-.

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Chris Palmer March 19, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Yeah.

For me, making money isn’t enough. I suppose if my passion was to collect rare beanie babies and it costs a lot of money, and I made that money through blogging, that’s one thing.

But I take a huge amount of personal pride in the content I put out there. I couldn’t just make something to simply make money.

But hey, getting paid is nice ;)

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Jeffrey March 19, 2010 at 6:58 am

Hi Chris,
I’m kinda bummed for time to time on all the positive thinking and cheer-leading without any guidelines or thoughts to work with to make positive change. You have provide several above. That makes for a killer post. Well done sir!
.-= Jeffrey´s last blog ..Happy Birthday Bloggers Market! =-.

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Chris Palmer March 19, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Thanks man! I appreciate that.

Small victories are super important. That is why I believe in doing 1 thing a day to improve a blog. Just 1! Really easy.

Glad you enjoyed the post.

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Srinivas Rao March 19, 2010 at 11:10 am

@Chris: Great stuff in this post. It’s really easy to get caught up in things that we don’t have a ton of control over. We may not be able to control how many people subscribe to our blogs, but we do have the ability to control what kind of content we produce. The day you really start hating your blog is the day it’s pretty much over. You’ll never be successful doing something you hate.
.-= Srinivas Rao´s last blog ..A Chat with a Mom Blogger whos’ site gets 8-10 Thousand Visits a Month =-.

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Chris Palmer March 19, 2010 at 3:38 pm

You are 100% correct.

Low followers is a sign you are doing something wrong, or could do something better.

Few comments means something isn’t right.

We get these signs and it is up to us to let go of our own egos and improve.

On a larger scale, if our company/blog is dragging and it’s not fun/exciting/challenging anymore, it is time to get rid of it or take a radical different direction.

I figure that beating my head against a wall, so to speak, isn’t going to move the wall. I’ve either got to jump over that wall, go steal a bulldozer, or go around the wall.

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marcelino March 19, 2010 at 5:02 pm

My father taught me something as a young man with a quote that I have carried for 20yrs about frustration, heartache and business failures; “your just passing through”.

Get over it, keep it moving.
.-= marcelino´s last blog ..Crack hoes, slashing prices and the iPad =-.

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Joseph March 20, 2010 at 3:14 am

Wow, Great stuff you’ve put together here..I guess sometimes its not always as easy as it seems…
.-= Joseph´s last blog ..University student at birmingham city Dave Scotford on how he started his own record label =-.

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Christine March 20, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Good points on leaving the negativity behind. Being negative puts you at a standstill then nothing gets accomplished. I have a little plague right by my computer that says, “Never, never, never give up”. I tell myself that each morning before I ever even turn the computer on. I may not know all I need to know yet to make it in this blogging world but everyday I strive to learn something new that will help me along the way. I love your statement about a blog being an evolution. I agree and I am evolving with my blog daily learning and growing. Finding this site is a great resource for a fairly new blogger like myself.

Here’s to keep on keeping on where ever the path may take you.
.-= Christine´s last blog ..Why Do I Talk So Much About Learning Phonics =-.

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Digital Audio March 21, 2010 at 5:57 pm

I can’t say I agree, blogging has been pretty painless for me. Though perhaps I haven’t dug deep enough yet. We will see soon enough I suppose!

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iWoodpecker March 29, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Chris,

Very actual post for me and for my blog today.

Though I can’t agree with you that we shouldn’t complain about our failures or something we’re not happy with.. We, actually, need that – but for ourselves only, not for public.
.-= iWoodpecker´s last blog ..7 Reasons of My Most Popular Blog Posts =-.

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