How to give blogging rules (and rulers) the finger and start having some freaking fun!
Confession from an avid writer and author: I was allergic to blogging for a very long time. A loooonnnggg time.
Like many business owners, writers, and therapists, I was juggling a ton of moving parts, projects, and deadlines, and the thought of having to tend to a blog each week felt like a big fat burden.
I read all the friggin' blog do's and don'ts, the golden rules and blah, blah, blah, and thought, "Blech, no thanks, not for me, nope!"
I also did not like the idea of having to be on a set social media calendar, produce assembly line blog posts, or deal with possible snarky comments from visitors.
I disliked "THE RULES", and all the BS that seemed to go with blogging. Like most of us, I'd heard and read about, "Short sentences only", "Numbered lists are the best", "No more than 3 paragraphs", "Never curse or use slang", "Typos are the 7th deadly sin", "Write several blogs in one day", etc. and so forth.
"Oh ho hum", thought I. Yawn. I dislike having other people's rules applied to my creative muse. So I turned my writer's nose up at blogging for-ev-er.
Or so I thought.
This year I decided to try something different. Instead of saying fuck it to blogging, what if I just tossed out the stupid rules for-ev-er. No matter what those self proclaimed nit picky "blog experts" had to say, I wasn't buying what they were selling. Yep, it was time to step out of the herd mentality and create my own blog that felt true to me. To that end, I reminded myself of my most important "rule" when it comes to writing, "This above all: To Thine Own Self Be True" (thanks Will!). So I went ahead and let my bad ass blogger's flag fly.
And, low and behold I have fallen in love with the process! It is now one of the most enjoyable parts of my business practice.
Unexpected bonus: I have met other wonderful professionals, clinicians, and folks from all over the world through my blog posts. And the blog topics have fostered great conversation, good belly laughs, and heart felt connections.
On the very rare occasion when there is a negative Nellie comment, or a disturbing message where someone thinks I am writing directly to them or about them, well...not gonna lie, it doesn't feel great. The good news is this hardly happens at all, but when it does, I have learned not to get wrapped up in that kind of energy. I let that stuff belong to the person it is intended for. Which is not me. After all, anyone who knows me personally or professionally (or clinically for that matter) knows I'm as kind, clear, and direct as they come - my nickname is the "Velvet Brick" after all - a compassionate straight shooter.
All of this to say, if you have also felt resistant or bound up by the blogging "rules", and haven't felt inclined to jump on the blog band wagon, then I hope this honest admission inspires you to lean into blogging as well and see what connections, relationships and open doors come your way.
The minute I gave the finger to the blogging herd, all of their BS rules, and said "Later!" to the know-it-all talking heads, my creative muse put on her dancing shoes (the tall kind, with sparkles, 'cause I am all about a snazzy, sassy shoe), got really freaking happy, and got down to some authentic blogging business...Mari style!
Another added bonus, my non-blog writing is taking flight as a result of writing a blog or two each week. People in places I never expected to meet started to take notice, connect and get in touch. Doors open WIDELY when we are true to self. Test it out! I promise you won't be disappointed....and I'm not one to make many promises.
To Blog or Not to Blog?
I believe it is wise for a business owner to blog regularly for the following reasons:
1. Putting your unique blog voice into the world allows you to connect with others who are interested in what you have to say. And yes, as a matter of fact, you do have something important to share on your blog that other folks want to read about. (Yes, I am talking to you, right there, reading this right now). Is it easy to get started? No, not always. Some days the content flows from my heart, mind and fingers tips on to my coaching blog. Other days, not so much. Some days you feel like an echo in a social media canyon, "hello hello helllooooo anybody out there?" Other days, the comments come in and the connections happen which is big, big joy for a blogger and writer (now, don't leave me hanging here without at least introducing yourself below!).
2. The most valuable thing I have learned in this blogging adventure is to allow the process to be organic. And, equally important, not to allow my inner healing perfectionist to take over and worry about every single sentence structure, punctuation mark, typo, or every single person that I might somehow unintentionally offend or upset. I try hard to create supportive and helpful information, and then read it through, edit, correct typos if I see them. I do my very best to offer fresh perspectives, practical information, freebie tips, and a little humor along the way. I have learned (with a fair amount of internal wrestling) to allow the blog to be what it is. Hopefully a blog that inspires and offers supportive information. Imperfectly!
3. Blogging weekly allows your client and reader to connect with the heart and soul of who you are as a professional. They may love you, hate you, agree with you, disagree with you, scroll through your blog, jump up and down for joy, roll their eyes at your point of view, criticize a typo, or share your words of wisdom on their social media. They may hire you, trust your products and support, or not. They may silently follow all of your blogs and never introduce themselves, or they may interact and have some fun. They may personalize the shit out of every single word you write, or they may learn something new. Their choice. Not under your control so let it go and keep your chin up butter cup!
Your job is to honor your inner muse, and allow the reader to have whatever experience they choose to have (key word: choose..it is their choice on how they receive and respond to your words). Easy? Nope. Possible, heck yeah!
4. Don't be shy about sharing. If you have a workshop, event or book you are proud of and feel it would be of support to others, then don't be afraid to share that on your blog! Every now and then my coaching clients tell me that they are worried that sharing will sound like they are boastful or being too pushy. My response: Some people may label you as a bragger, however, many others will be very grateful for the information.
Listen, you can't please all of the people all of the time (and who would want to anyway?). We are all adults and if a person isn't interested in your project or materials, they don't have to click on the link to view them. Simple as that. If they are offended by your information, well they can just go find someone else to be annoyed with. And they will, I promise. If you do decide to share (and I hope you will, in fact, share what you are doing below in the comments if you like, I'm all for supporting others) the best way to do this is to weave it in naturally and give plenty of kind free support too.
For example, I like to give a lot of helpful information to the clinical community through my blogs. And, I always let therapists know that I have client clinical forms packets, individual client exercises, and group therapy materials, and freebies on my therapist tool box page. This can be very helpful for clinicians who are not interested in reinventing the wheel and prefer to simply purchase the materials. The feedback and kind affirmations that I have received from colleagues on how my materials have been of support is something I treasure. It means so much to me to know that these contributions are helping other private practice therapists.
5. Above all, let your unique light shine! Don't allow the internal or external thought bullies, bullshitters, sour grape folks, or know it all experts tell you who you are as a writer. Screw that noise! I mean serious yuck factor. Instead, jettison perfectionism gentle writer. Just keep putting your voice out there one post at a time, honor your writer's soul, and watch what happens.
As I wrap this up, lemme' ask you something, oh savvy reader of this little blog o' mine:
Did your attention span flip out from having to read more than three paragraphs? Did your eyes fall out due to a little cursing? Did the inevitable typo here or there make your lip curl in disgust? Did my brief share about the materials available in the therapist toolbox make you run for the hills? No? Well hell yes and hurrah for you! Welcome fellow tribes person - glad you are here!
I'd love to hear about your blogging journey, where you have felt stuck, or where you have broken from the herd as well. Feel free to share below...
Kindly and in support,
Mari A. Lee, LMFT, CSAT-S