Ignoring the Blogging "Rules"


A person sitting cross legged in bed with pink pjs and pink nails, a coffee in hand, and an open laptop in their lap

Hi there, 

I want to thank those who reached out by email, blog comment, or Instagram comment/message with encouraging words. It was wonderful to hear from you. Sadly, I wasn't surprised to read that many of you had a rough year or so also. If this was the case for you, I hope 2024 has started out much better so far.

I have spent the past week or so quietly observing how I’ve felt about re-emerging in the online world. I’ve also spent some time pondering on how I want to show up and how I might like to do things differently this time.

In this post, I thought I'd share what I've settled on for now. If you write, blog, create, and/or do online business, perhaps you would like to join me with some of these items too. (Although by the time you get to the end of this post, you'll see that this might not be a wise choice.)

📊 I’m giving myself permission to NOT be consistent.

I noticed myself falling into an old familiar pattern of feeling like I should post on social media regularly and consistently. I should send a weekly newsletter. And I should write a weekly blog post. (Notice all those shoulds?)

I started to write lots of content so I would have posts scheduled ahead of time to take the pressure off week by week. I therefore already have a number of unpublished blogs, newsletters and social media posts in drafts.

And then I realised that I was falling into the same patterns as before, already, after just one week or so of being back online.

Although it might work for others (and has worked for me at times in the past), I don't currently want to feel like I need to be consistent. I don't want to be scheduling content for the sake of scheduling content.

I want to share when it feels right to share. I want to share when I have the capacity. I want to share when I feel called to write about something, rather than when my schedule tells me to do so. And I want to share however frequently or infrequently these events might be.

Bye bye to posting when I *should* post. Hello to posting when I *want* to post.

🏆 I'm ditching a focus on BOTH quantity and quality.

After writing the above point about freeing myself from the inner contract that requires me to be consistently producing content, I almost wrote that I wanted to focus on quality not quantity.

And then I realised that didn't feel true either.

A focus on quantity felt like it would require the consistent and regular production of content, which doesn't feel aligned with my goal to write for the joy of it again.

A focus on quality felt like it would (re)trigger an unhealthy need for perfectionism, would lead to me questioning myself about whether what I had written was good enough, and would put another barrier up to me sharing my writing again.

I don't want to use either of these measures to determine whether I feel moved to share something or not. I want to share simply because I feel moved to share.

Bye bye to focusing on the quantity or quality of my posts. Bye bye to the constant striving for production, productivity and perfectionism. Hello to simply sharing when I feel moved to share.

📝 I'm reminding myself to be selective about what, where and (to some degree) with whom I share my writing.

Over the past year or so, I've been writing poetry and short musings in my journal. I feel called to share some of these creations with folks who might resonate with them. 

But for a number of reasons, including how personal they feel, I've realised after looking through my list of unpublished blogs and social media posts, that I feel uncomfortable about sharing some of them publicly on my blog or on social media

Some of these writings, I know, will always be for my eyes only. But others, I would like to share in some capacity.

When pondering on this, I realised that in my personal life, there are some things that I tell close friends or my support team (e.g., therapist, support worker, etc) only. I might not choose to tell a new friend, or an acquaintance, or a colleague these things.

Why should writing be any different?

To me, there is a difference between what feels safe or personally okay to share on a public social media account (where everyone and anyone can easily and quickly access the content) versus on a blog (where everyone and anyone can navigate to the website and access the content) versus in a book (where people have to buy the content before accessing it) versus emailing newsletter subscribers (where people opt in to receive the content and where I have a little more control, or choice, over who accesses it).

Being a private and extremely shy person, this is something that I'm going to keep in mind moving forward.

In the short term, this means most of my writing will likely be shared with newsletter subscribers only. But I plan to continue sharing on this blog and on social media when it feels right. You can subscribe to the newsletter here or via the box in the side bar.

Bye bye to forcing myself to share all the things everywhere. I get to choose where, what and (to some degree) with whom I share my writing.

🐌 It's okay to move slowly.

One thing I've come to realise about myself since learning I was Autistic, is that I need space to process before taking action.

I need pondering time.

I need time to notice any building anxiety or stress in my body.

I need time to feel into whether something I've written feels okay to actually publish and share.

I need time to edit, change direction, or simply choose to not publish a post or an email, blog or offering.

The second I recognise that I'm beginning to feel overwhelmed or busy or like I'm juggling too much, I'm going to focus on slowing down and doing less, rather than (my old default of) pushing through and getting shit done anyway.

Bye bye to feeling busy and rushed. Hello to slowing down, processing, respecting my capacity and prioritising my needs.

🗂 I'm rejecting the call to focus on a niche.

I know, I know, ask anyone who has anything to say about blogging or online business and they'll generally tell you how important it is niche.

Honestly, for me personally right now, this sounds... umm... snnnnoooozzzzzzeeeeee.

Thankfully, I'm not here to be strategic, I'm here to write for the joy of it again. So right now, I refuse to niche, and look forward to seeing what randomness comes from that.

Bye bye to the pressure of settling on a niche. Hello to just writing about what moves me to write in the moment.

✂️ I'm ignoring the blogging rules.

As I was writing this post, curiousity got the better of me and I asked Chat GBT what the top 5 rules were for blogging.

Here is what it said:

  • Know Your Niche: Identifying a specific topic or theme for your blog helps attract a targeted audience and establishes your expertise in that area. Oops, I just said I refuse to niche right now and would simply focus on writing about what moves me in that moment.
  • Focus on Quality Content: Quality content is the cornerstone of a successful blog. Ensure your posts are well-researched, informative and valuable to your audience. Use compelling headlines, engaging visuals and clear writing to captivate readers. Oops, I just said I wasn't going to focus on quality, would take my focus off any end goal or end product, and instead focus on the process of writing for the joy of it again.
  • Engage with Your Audience: Interacting with your audience through comments, social media and email newsletters fosters a sense of community and loyalty. Oops, even though I still want to engage and interact with folks, I just said I wasn't going to engage in all the places and would be selective about what I shared and where.
  • Consistency is Key: Consistently publishing high-quality content keeps your audience engaged and encourages them to return to your blog. Establish a regular posting schedule and stick to it to maintain reader interest and build trust. Oops, I literally said I was ditching a focus on consistency and instead planned to focus on writing in alignment with my fluctuating capacity.
  • Optimise for Search Engines: Implementing basic search engine optimisation (SEO) practices can help your blog rank higher in search engine results, driving organic traffic to your site. Use relevant keywords, optimise meta tags, and create valuable content that addresses popular search engines. Oops, I haven't done this yet. I used to do this on my old blog and it sounds very smart and strategic... which aren't priorities of mine at the moment. Just to feel like I'm following one 'rule' , however, perhaps I'll at least look into SEO and my current website platform blogger.com. ;-)
Bye bye to following the so-called rules. Hello to making my own rules (and probably rebelling against them too).
So here's is to ignoring the so-called blogging rules. Wanna follow along anyway? You can subscribe to receive my newsletters (where I currently plan to share the most content including my poems and excerpts of future books) here.

Finally, I'd love to hear in the comments below, if you're open to sharing: what "rules" to "success" do you ignore or break in your industry or passion area?

[Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash]


xo, Nai