If you’re about to start a blog you’ve probably read the inspirational stories of some of the bloggers who have hit the headlines. They seem to have the perfect life and massive wealth. But hidden behind the exceptional stories of the stratospheric bloggers are tens of thousands of others working hard to carve out a name for themselves in very crowded niches. The truth for most people is that blogging is hard work!
But that shouldn’t put you off.
My intent today is to acknowledge the reality of blogging for most people. Aside from all the wonderful and true things you hear about blogging, of which there are many, there are a few downsides too.
So let’s not kid ourselves! Blogging can be a very hard and, at times, frustrating pursuit.
For me marathon running is a great analogy for blogging because they both require commitment, practise and stamina to reach the finish line. Perhaps the difference is the blogging finish line is more nebulous.
Blogging Isn’t as Hard as a Marathon… Physically Speaking
Of course physically, the comparison doesn’t work well. Running a marathon is an enormous physical undertaking, and not one that everyone is capable of. In contrast, almost anyone can start a blog.
But there ARE many similarities between long distance running and blogging.
At the start of a marathon you’re excited, energized and ready for what’s coming. It’s all in front of you and you can’t wait to reach to the destination. You’re focused on the end goal and full of determination.
When the starting klaxon sounds, you begin running, get into a rhythm and feel good when you hit your stride.
Quarter of the way through you’re sweating with the effort, your legs feel the strain and your chest feels tight.
A little further along you might have a blisters on your feet, your calves are cramping and you’re tired. You really want to see the finish line soon.
Further down the road, your blisters have blisters, your clothing is giving you a rash and you feel like you can’t go on much further.
Later still, you’re in a lot of pain and the finish line appears further than you can bear to imagine. You might be feeling like it’s not worth the effort to continue and thoughts of quitting might arise. It feels like it would be an easy decision to stop because you can always try to run another marathon at another time.
Or perhaps you think running marathons is not actually worth the effort and actually you’re not cut out to be a runner after all?
The physical toll is obviously different for marathon runners than it is for bloggers, but your thought processes when things get tough are very similar.
Why is Blogging So Hard?
Getting started isn’t hard for most people, although you can hold yourself back sometimes. I talk about this in this post: Don’t wait to Start a Blog… Do It Now!
When most people start a blog they are excited about their new project and highly motivated. The stories of the mega-bloggers might ring in the ears and to be honest it’s seductive.
This can soon give way to frustration and self-doubt after a few months when you see you’re not getting many visitors. This is especially true if you’re working hard and with consistency to beef up your blog with lots of content.
Successful Blogs Take Time
It’s hard to stomach this… I know from experience, believe me. Check out my monthly reports to see what I mean and what your experience might look like.
It takes dedication and mental strength to pass through the initial months when you’re the only visitor to your blog! During this period you may feel it’s not worth the effort to carry on. That’s why it’s so important to set your expectations correctly right from the start.
There are many reasons why blogs fail, but quitting through frustration within the first 6 to 12 months is one of the biggies! Just like a marathon runner, you have to prepare for distance rather than pace… so pace yourself and expect a long game.
Blogging is hard for sure. There are no quick routes to success for the average Joe or Joanna! It’s more about building up your blog over time with commitment and consistency. This means committing to a regular blogging schedule and sticking to it.
You also have to work hard on developing your writing: high quality content is vitally important if you want a chance to rank in search engines. It takes a lot of practise to get to the point where your posts ooze quality. Additionally it takes a lot of time to actually write each post, even when you’re good at it.
But things do get better as time passes!
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Blogger
Some people feel that blogging is a lonely affair… and it can be. Hours of plugging away, researching, learning and writing is something we spend most of our time doing alone.
It can also feel a very lonely place when you work hard and only see very small signs that your efforts are paying off. It’s right at these times you might start to question what you’re doing.
But the truth is you’re not completely alone. There are many other bloggers in the same position as you and it’s easy to connect with them. You can join forums and social media groups and connect with people who will help you get through the hard blogging times.
If Blogging is So Hard… What’s the Point of Starting a Blog?
Yes blogging is hard, but the rewards are worth the time and effort you put in.
- Over time you’ll connect with lots of people and start to build a network of friends.
- You may start to build a side income or even generate an income that supports you full-time.
- When your blog takes off you’ll feel rewarded by people reaching out for your advice.
- You’ll feel a great sense of satisfaction in what you’ve achieved.
- If you can create a successful blog, you’ll be able to work to your own time schedule wherever you’d like.
- You will need help and likely create work for people, be it on a freelance or employee basis.
The rewards are there waiting. You just need to put in the hours and open yourself up to the idea of distance to get to the finish line.
To finish up with the idea of marathon running…
No-one can finish a marathon for you, because you have to run it yourself… but you needn’t feel you’re running it on your own, because other people are running with you. Of course not everyone who starts a marathon is able to finish it… but don’t forget that many people do!
If you need help to get through the hard blogging phases, drop me a comment below and I’ll do as much as I can to help you out. If nothing else, a problem shared is a problem halved!
Ryan K Biddulph says
Paul, super points all around, buddy. Blogging is a nice long marathon. The more you slow down, calm down, trust in the process and keep going, you gain momentum for this long, rewarding journey.
I’m Sorry but I missed this comment, so haven’t replied until now! I think what you say about trusting in the process is so true. We know from others who have taken this journey ahead of us (yourself included!) that what matters most is to confront fear, overcome doubt and keep going as you say.
Thanks for your comment… it’s much appreciated!