Writing a blog is kind of like going on a first date. Or going on a job interview.
You need to be focused on the task ahead.
And yes, as an aficionado of first dates and job interviews, I will say that both of them are tasks. For some people, going on a first date is just as terrifying as going on a job interview or writing a blog. There’s a huge risk of failure with each of these tasks.
If a first date: What if he/she doesn’t like me? What if my sister/brother/best friend who set us up has great expectations which you know from the very first moment are not going to be realized? If, in fact, you want to run screaming from the restaurant/bar/coffee shop the minute you see the person. If a job interview: What if my resume is crap? What if I practiced the wrong stories? What if I say, God forbid, the wrong thing? What if I’ve worn the wrong clothes?
Going on a first date or a job interview, writing a blog, are all tasks. Many people hate them, fear them, dread the day they have to get up in the morning and do one of these things. They know they have to be done, but they’re a feared task, rather than a joy.
So here’s the thing – for me, all three things are a joy. I love going on first dates and job interviews. I have a very high success rate with both of them. I’ve very seldom (and I’d put the odds at 99% success) gone on a first date or a job interview, when I didn’t get asked for a second date or offered the job. For me, there’s not much fear of failure. I like the getting to know you phase of both – I’m good at it. I have often gone on a first date, and gone no further with the possible relationship. I have often gone on job interviews just because someone asked me to, and not taken the offered job.
But blogs are a different thing. At least they are for me.
It’s hard to tell if you’re successful at blogs. With first dates and job interviews, there’s an immediate reward – you get another date, you get the job. With blogs, the success isn’t measurable in the same immediate way.
I understand that it’s all about focus – that’s what the experts say, the bloggers who have huge lists, the bloggers who everybody talks about. But the everybody those bloggers talk about are people in the publishing industry. By this, I take them to mean that you have a topic that you write about consistently, a focus that people who are also interested in that central theme of your blog can find and read and comment and join.
And I read some of those blogs and I understand their appeal.
And it’s perhaps because I’m good at first dates and job interviews that I don’t blog that way. I love new things, am fascinated by them. I am easily bored so the new and shiny is always a lure for me. So my blog – my personal blog and my blogs on Black Ink, White Paper – is often scattered, picking pieces of my life and writing about them, pieces that reflect that shiny thing I’m interested in on that day or that week.
But I’ll tell you this, one thing I’ve learned over the past few weeks is that blogs with the word SEX in the title are very, very popular. And what I take from that is that everyone is fascinated by sex.
And here’s the caution, to me and to other bloggers – my guess is that you can lure people in with the word SEX in your title, but you probably can’t keep them with just a good title.
Relationships, jobs and blogs have this in common – you need to be consistent, you need to have focus, and it’s not just about the new and shiny thing – although I think I’ll always be fascinated by those new and shiny shoes!