Learning from Failure
I recently took on a challenge to write a blog a day for 30 days. If you are unaware of this challenge you can see my declaration here.
Spoiler Alert, I failed.
Now you may think that something like this was an overall negative experience. But in all honesty, it wasn’t. It actually led me to think about my blog more than I have in months. I was just like many bloggers who start, dreaming of pumping out amazing content that the world would instantly love.
Then I realized that I Iive in the real world and it was going to take some direction and a whole lot of work for that to happen. There was an important lesson to learn, so I put together a list of 3 things that were positive and came from the experience of failing.
1) What is my focus?
When I started this blogging experiment, my message was all over the place, just like my interests. I didn’t know whether to write about the Solar System or Comics. Then again, maybe I should scrap all of that and just write about a topic that I know I can make money with, even though I didn’t have a deep interest. After I issued the challenge to myself I realized that sort of scatterbrained game plan wasn’t going to allow me to create a story for this blog. After all, all good blogs are really a story or a set of stories that draw people in.
“All good blogs are really a story or a set of stories that draw people in”
They can be fact or fiction, but as long as they are compelling you will have an audience. By forcing myself to take this seriously, in a challenge format, I was forced to look my blog in the eyes and decipher exactly what it would be about. I decided on History with goal of linking it to contemporary events. Easier then you think, as history often repeats itself whether for good or ill. With that in hand I will be able to work towards the type of informative and engaging blog that I seek to create.
2) How often should I publish?
A key facet of the challenge that I issued to myself was the concept of creating content consistently and quickly, with a goal of 1 blog post a day.
Seems easy, right?
Well, with a full time job and a family, I found it anything but. I have been writing freelance on the side as well, so that was another consumer of time. If there is one thing that is valuable when it comes to creating a blog, it’s time. If you are actually focusing on delivering information-laden, well written content, then you need the time to make sure that content is such.
By challenging myself to write every day, I realized the potential gains of this on web traffic to my site, but also the inherent limitations that I had related to time. After realizing these limitations, I also came to the realistic conclusion of 3 blog posts a week. An achievable and consistent goal that I never would have come to if I didn’t fail at my challenge.
3) Where do I want this all to lead?
“A vision of the future is a necessary part of creating your blog”
Another valuable realization that came out of failing the blog challenge was to focus on the actual scope of the project that I am undertaking. A vision for the future is a necessary part of creating your blog. When I was faced with the realities of modern life, I needed to see if the life that I wanted was even achievable. So here it is.
I would like to create a blog related to history that adds value.
In such, I would incorporate other means of communication to enhance this goal. These would include a podcast where I read off a blog post and expanded on it in a talking head manner. Along with this I would be able to create a video series of historical snippets for You Tube. All of these things would reach a diverse audience and allow me to make money doing something that I enjoy. This would in turn maximize my ability to spend time with my family and have an income that comfortably supports us.
It’s just that easy, right?
Not really, but it is worth the means if it leads to the end that you desire. So now I have that vision in mind and will work towards it. As I work towards it I continue to read and learn. Here are a couple of articles that have helped me on the way;
Become an SEO freelancer in 48 hours – A great article by Sean Ogle of Location Rebel and A comprehensive guide to all the necessary web resources you need to learn SEO. Helpful when trying to understand how search engines actually compile the date to guide your search.
Seven Secrets of a Successful Freelance Writer – A general article about how to become a writer but I find these inspirational when needed. Freelance Writing has been a great source for a long time.
Problogger Podcast – Darren Rowse provides great information on exactly how to get your blog moving. He literally covers ever single aspect of blogging and keeps putting out great podcasts. I find his work and the work of Sean Ogle to be the most relevant when it comes to blog work and also maintaining a positive outlook.
Until next time,