Nowadays there is so much information about how to write a blog and establish a personal brand, do’s and don’ts and clever tips and tricks. Much of the advice is focused on technique: how to optimize your posts with keywords for search engines, how to use RTs on Twitter, how to improve your Google PageRank, and so on. But there’s less attention given to what it is that blogging is and can be: a life practice of love in action.
The truth about blogging is that unless you do it professionally it’s going to be largely a labor of love. Don’t do it because you think it’s an easy road to riches or fame. And be careful what you wish for: many successful bloggers find themselves “chained to a beast” that must constantly be fed with human blood.
So let the guidelines of love itself be principles upon which you establish your writing practice. How would you feel if you were in an intimate relationship with someone who was present only inconsistently, someone who was just “too much” to be around for very long, someone who was bitter and cynical, or lost and confused all the time? When you’re writing a blog or reading a blog, you’re in a relationship for better or worse.
Because you bring the pitfalls and rewards of relationship into the game with you, you best bring your best and fullest self forward. Here are six ideas for starters:
1. Blog consistently
Find a routine that works for you, just so long as it helps you to establish a pattern of expectations for your readers. Most of the time, the more is better. If consistency is difficult for you — as it inevitably will be from time to time — let the blogging be a practice of love. Show up, even when it isn’t pretty.
2. Stop blogging when it gets in the way
If you’re on a creative streak and find it difficult to stop writing, remember the first rule about consistency. Don’t overwhelm your readers with more than they can chew. Don’t send out a deluge of tweets right in a row (space them out over time). Post or publish just enough to keep to a consistent level, and hold on to the rest. You can publish it later, and giving yourself time to reflect on it further will probably improve your writing.
3. It’s okay to take time off
If you’ve got more important things to do than write, by all means take a break. You might discover that you need a break if your writing gets crass, cranky, or crappy. But not if you’re just making excuses to avoid writing through a creative blockage (then the situation will probably not get any better). If you’ve got a blog with regular readers, tell them what you’re up to. They’ll understand.
4. Keep your highest purpose in mind
It’s easy to get distracted by the minutiae of building a personal brand or professional identity: blogs, Facebook, Twitter, commenting on other blogs, speaking engagements, networking meeetings, and so on. It can feel overwhelming at times unless you remember that you’re not doing something artificial. Everything you do ought to flow naturally from your core purpose and established identity at the highest level of your awareness.
5. Learn from how you’ve evolved
I’ve been spending time every day going through the archives of this blog to tag and categorize posts. When the work isn’t a librarian’s nightmare, it’s genuinely therapeutic. Seeing your diary entries from 3, 5, or 7 years ago is rough! Sometimes I’ve laughed and sometimes I’ve cried. Mostly I’ve just taken a deep breath, accepted my path of evolution as a masterpiece in its own way, and moved on. I can take what I’ve learned about my past to make my future work more dynamic, interesting, and original.
6. It’s about relationships
Nobody is interested in people who are constantly promoting themselves and selling something. The point of paying attention to personal branding is in communicating authentically and allowing the magic of love and compassion and the mysterious forces of the universe do their thing. Give away as much as you can, help as many people as you can, show interest in others and pay favors forward, because that’s an expression of who you are.
What is blogging integrally?
Blogging integrally is about more than marketing your products, expressing your feelings, or ranting about things you hate. It’s about more than sharing links and excerpts from bloggers and journalists who you project to be more brilliant than you. It’s about being yourself together with others, and bringing more of yourself into your writing all the time.
“Integral” means “whole” and “complete.” It’s about not leaving integral parts of yourself out of the picture. It’s about not leaving integral parts of the world out of sight. And it’s about bringing a perspective that’s a bit wider and more comprehensive than you’re comfortable with, because that’s how you stay at your personal edge.
This is what I think an integral approach to blogging looks like, and how I’ll be guiding Awake, Alive & Aware once it gets fully off the ground. I’m learning more all the time. What do you think integral blogging is?