Blogging is easy, they say. It’ll be fun, they say.
They didn’t lie. But then again, they did. Because when you embark on becoming a blogger, you sign a liability agreement surrendering your rights to complain about the scrapes and bruises that come with entering the blogosphere. People forget to mention that it’s scheduled posts and intense promotion. It’s long days and even longer nights. It’s strategic movements, seo, and key search phrases. It’s featured blog posts and internet networking. It’s competitions you didn’t realize you were competing in. It’s facing reality one blog post at a time with matching critical blows from family, friends, and strangers. It’s unraveling in the public eye in the name of art, passion, and healing.
You see, my pretty, the blogosphere does come with a shopping cart full of goodies, smiles, and opportunities, but you have to be able to suffer the dark and the ditches that come along with it. The game is hard out there for a blogger / writer. It’s even harder if you’re niche is personal.
But with a few truths upfront, it can be weathered. With a few rules and guidelines, it can be purposeful. And with a group of dope individuals, it can be more than just therapy at your fingertips, it can be a sisterhood.
the Sisterhood of Writing
Please read thoroughly before signing at the bottom.
— ONE —
Tough skin is the only way you’ll make it out here.
The comment section is where inspiration and praises are shared. It’s also where fuckboys come to attack your character from top to bottom. It’s where one can hold onto their anonymity and tear you apart, bully you, and shit all over your work. It’ll happen. Maybe not at first, but it will happen. The first time you will cry. The second and third time, you’ll cry and bitch some more. By the ninth time you will get angry. After that though, if you do not learn to laugh at the shade, use the shade for think-pieces, and harlem shake that shit off, this here blogosphere ain’t for you.
Tough skin is the only way you’ll make it out here.
— TWO —
Wait. I lied. Having an unbreakable outer layer is a must, but knowing when to shed it makes you the ultimate superwoman. Us personal bloggers need to feel in order to produce. So have your tough skin against the bullshit, but always remember to feel.
Feel your feelings. Then write out.
— THREE —
Write with purpose. Write because you have to something to share. Write because you’re angry and the world needs to be educated. Write because you’re crying, and your heart needs these words to hold it together. Cry it out on a post. Let your feelings seep through on a post. Be vulnerable on a post. Don’t fear the emotions. They make for timeless pieces. Or “I feel that way, too,” pieces. Or “Thank God she said it” pieces. Your here to story-tell, to share lessons learned, to uncover your bruises, to bitch and whine, and sometimes to provide a map of how to avoid the same casualties. So write from you heart, or from the ache, or from the anger. Just do it.
— FOUR —
We take that back, also. Don’t do it if it’s garbage. Don’t add to the list of blogs about nothing. Please. For the love of God. The blogging game is already oversaturated, we need more writers with substance and less writers made up of laundry lint and cheap cotton.
Repeat after me: We hate laundry lint and cheap ass cotton.
— FIVE —
Make friends. Lots of them. Some will stick around as you grow. Some will move from blogger friends to real life friends and that my lovely, is a pretty dope friendship. But then there will be some who will make you a target. It’s all a part of the territory, no one is exempt. Blogging unwillingly enters you into the Sorority of Undeniably Talented Creatives. It’s the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pens. But don’t get it twisted, it’s also the high school cafeteria where the mean girls are more than simply mean. They’re destructive, competitive, and they’re out to muddy your name.
— SIX —
Don’t do that “keep your friends close, enemies closer” crap either. We’re personal bloggers. We sense energy. We feel all the feels. We know what you’re doing, and it will not work. We warned you.
— SEVEN —
Please do not ignore those red and green squiggly lines in your drafted post. Spellcheck your baby. Proofread your baby. Then you may publish your baby.
— EIGHT —
Don’t become a slave to numbers. Numbers will swallow you whole if you let them. Follower counts, likes, retweets, page views, click through rates. Numbers. Those big, bad, addictive numbers.
— NINE —
Speaking about numbers, don’t get to caught up in social media. It has a tendency to run folks ragged. Network, yes. Share your thoughts, yes. Make yourself available to your supporters and readers, yes. Share gems and encourage the sisterhood, yes, yes, and more yes. Compare and despair? Absolutely fucking not. We have no idea what’s going on in someone’s life no matter how often they tweet, or how often they snap a selfie. Your lane is just that- yours. Focus on your own mission. Keep your eyes on your own work. Don’t drive yourself crazy by watching what everyone else is doing. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the rhythm of another person’s success. It’s so easy to get caught up on making sure the momentum of your own success continues and matches that of others. But it’s equally just as easy to drown in the “competition”, and to hit your self-developed rock bottom. We don’t want that for you.
— TEN —
Remember to practice self-care. If that means you slow down your blog post schedule. Do it. If that means you hop off of social media. Do it. If that means you log out of WordPress for 36 days, motherfucking do it. Because no one here in the blogosphere is going to protect you from the dreaded crash and burn. No one here is going to put you first the way you ought to. So for your sanity, your diminishing sleep schedule, you life balance… take care of you first. The blog will always be there.
— ELEVEN —
Don’t do this simply for the money.
Money from personal blogging? That’s cute. No really, it was a cute thought.
Money from other opportunities brought upon from the blogging? Now you’re talking. It’s hard to get there, but it happens.
— TWELVE —
Read. Reading makes for a better writer. Like actual books. Read them.
— THIRTEEN —
Don’t . Ever . Confuse . Personal . Blogging . With . Lifestyle . Blogging .
— FOURTEEN —
Feel like you shouldn’t address something on the blog? Does it hit home and make you anxious? Do it anyway. Don’t argue with me. Do it. Be uncomfortable. Push yourself and do it. You’ll thank me later. Or maybe not. But that’s what we call growth in writing. And if you do not grow within your craft, you become laundry lint and cheap ass cotton.
You’re a part of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pens now. Rule number three is to hate laundry lint and cheap cotton. I rest my case.
— FIFTEEN —
If we’re working towards the same goal of inspiring other women, there is no reason for us to be competing so aggressively against each other. Everyone has their own path. Do not snub another blogger because her post title is similar to yours. Take a grasp of your insecurities and show them to do the door. That is not welcome here. Here, we reach back and lend a hand. Here, we show up and show out in the celebration of others. Here, we become the annoying family at the back of the college graduation that ignores the request to hold our applauses to the end. Rule #15 is to not disrespect the sisterhood of writing, because this sisterhood is why you are here in the very first place.
— SIXTEEN —
But as you show your insecurities to the door, welcome in authentic creativity. Be original and authentic about your shit. Replication is not the best form of flattery, the idiot that made that up is a filthy fucking liar. Blatantly stealing an idea, and implementing it exactly the same is the quickest way to war. And we don’t wage war against each other here in this sisterhood. We like our manicures and dignity in tact.
— SEVENTEEN —
Remember why you embarked on this hobby, this journey, THIS WAY OF LIFE.
Sorry, got a little carried away. Let’s do that one over.
Remember why you began your blogging experience. It wasn’t for the fame. It wasn’t for the likes or opportunities.
It was because you had a voice and it needed to be heard. Never forget why you started.