So you want to start a blog? And you want to be successful? Good luck. There are more than 600 million blogs on the internet today (out of around 1.7 billion websites). There are hundreds of thousands of blogs on any given topic. There are blogs about blogging, for crying out loud.
Who are you—who am I—to garner any kind of attention or following?
And yet, where there’s a will, there’s a way . . . Right?
The key word is “will.” To become a successful blogger (or writer of any kind), you must visualize success and want it enough to make it a top priority. Part of this is finding your niche and target audience. The other part is being consistent, even when you don’t feel like it.
I'll be honest: The not feeling like it has been a huge block for me recently.
In the past, I’ve had students email me to apologize for being behind on homework, explaining that they’ve been going through a lot in their personal lives recently. These students often mention breakups with their significant other. Oh-I-can-so-relate! I tell them. It’s hard to focus on something as seemingly insignificant as writing a paper when your emotional life is in turmoil. And yet, life goes on. I can’t extend a deadline for a paper on account of a breakup any more than I can dodge writing a blog post or finishing a work assignment because my “just heart isn’t in it.” After all, as Winston Churchill famously said,
"If you’re going through hell, keep going.” — Churchill
(Oddly enough, Churchill’s quote was the one I chose to include in my yearbook my senior year of high school. I’d recently gone through a breakup with the man I thought I was going to marry. We still loved each other, but he felt called down a path I couldn't follow: he was going to to become a Dominican priest . . .
Love is pain. I felt that then, and twenty years later, I feel it now.)
But the human spirit is resilient. As Khalil Gibran pointed out:
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
I am an empath, and it hasn’t gotten me into trouble more times than I would like to admit. My then-boyfriend used to get onto me for being too lenient with students in situations like the above. By ruling with my heart instead of my head, I was creating more work for myself and setting an unfair precedent for them—not all teachers or bosses are empaths like me. In addition, by assuming that others feel towards others the way that I do (I can’t even watch violence in movies without getting squeamish), I have set myself up for heartbreak time and time again.
I don’t learn.
And yet, despite my pain, I wouldn't change a thing. Yes, I have started this blog. And yes, I want to be successful. As such, I will set an example for my students by writing when I don’t feel like it. I will be consistent to prove to myself that I can. And I will continue to believe that there is good in the world and seek it out despite the enormity of the evidence to the contrary. After all,
"What we seek, we shall find." — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Someday I know my heart will be appreciated, and in the meantime, I will continue to be kind and seek out that which is positive and good. (Honestly, I don't know how to do anything else.) To that end, I've decided to start posting twice per week. In addition to my weekly Saturday posts, I’m going to start posting a photo of something I’m grateful for every Wednesday.