Recently, I took time off from blogging. Life had gotten loud, and I’d lost my way. I forgot one of the cardinal rules of blogging: it’s not about me. It’s about you–the readers.
What do I mean?
Here are three things I learned during my time away:
1) “It’s not my blog.” Sure, my name is on it, and I produce the content, but if it’s going to have any appreciable readership it can’t be all about me. You have to see yourself in the mirror I’m holding up to you.
2) “No dirty laundry” I learned the hard way that a blog is not the place to air one’s dirty laundry. Yes, it can be a place to get personal–to be real–but not at the expense of common sense and discretion. There are some things that need to be kept sacred. A blog, as tempting as it might be, is not a place for self-therapy (that is what a journal is for). A little self-deprecation goes a long way, but mockery never wins the day.
3) “Be yourself” What this means is: your writing gains resonance via “relatability.” And we can only be relatable when we’re being ourselves. In other words, don’t pander–don’t try to be someone other than you. You couldn’t if you tried–so stop. Besides your audience is quite adept at sniffing out phonies–they know when you’re “selling out.” They know the difference between trying to be viral, versus writing that’s vital.
This is what I’ve learned during my break, and indeed it’s what I plan on applying as I return to posting regularly here.
How about you? What rules do you write by?