For two years now, Planet Michelle has been in orbit here at ChicagoNow.
It's been an interesting, fun and humbling ride. A place where no me had gone before!
First, lessons learned:
- Hoping to "Go viral" is the blogger's wet-dream equivalent of hoping to win the lottery. It rarely happens and you can't make it happen. It's a capricious, random occurrence. Ignore your Likes and Shares and ReTweets and Pins. Just write posts of which you are proud.
- Your work will piss off people at some point. Sometimes, when you don't expect it; more often, when you've either written something insensitive or didn't edit properly. If you can take the heat, fine. If not, regroup and be more careful in what you spew. Don't rush to publish and learn to better-edit.
- While we're at it, did I mention, EDIT? A sculpture isn't done until all excess alabaster is removed. Writing = rewriting. You don't have to go nuts, but NO first drafts are perfect. Hone, honey (and YES, this includes speling and the gramur)!
- Don't just "phone in" a post. It will tell. Be passionate and committed to your subject.
- Same truth as in last year's anniversary - the post you suffer like Michelangelo will tank; the post you outline on a piece of junk mail and compose on the toilet will wow. Go fig.
- There are 8 zillion bloggers out there. You likely won't become well-known. Just entertain and respect the audience you do have and be your own best fan. Learn contentment regardless of popularity and reader input.
- Corollary: Don't get derailed by lack of readership. If I do, I look at my Google demographics and realized that while I may not have thousands of readers, I'm being read by people from all over the world. ChicagoNow is a great and supportive platform. It's baaad - it's (multi)nation-wide! You never know who'll be reading you next.
- If you are hard-bitten by ambition, confidence and persistence are key. Gone With The Wind was rejected 38 times before it got published. Think creatively. Don't give up.
- Post consistently. I know it's hard to do. We all have lives and glitches and bills to avoid and sex to seek. But there are 92 million topics out there, just awaiting your special spin!
Now, lessons spurned:
- Don't be jealous of better writers (guilty!) - learn from them. It's free education.
- Don't fight in your own blog-orhood. I've done it, and I feel like abject shit having done it. (You know who you are. And I'm sorry, man. I really am.)
- Quell verbosity. (Still a problem for me.) It can test your readers' patience.
- Don't give up on a topic just because everyone else is writing about it. (Guilty!) Remember that your take is unique.
- Be supportive of your blogging community. I've really tried to improve at this. I get myopic when I write, and sometimes even envious of or intimidated by others' posts. But I'm trying to be more like Patsy Cline was to Opry newcomers - secure enough in my own talent to champion others.
- Ask for technical help. Still learning this one, too. I've wasted a lot of time trying to figure out shit in WordPress, or on (the dreaded) Facebook, before asking for help. Don't do dat! ChicagoNow, for example, is a fucking brain-trust.
- Be grateful - for your talent, for your writing community, for what audience you do have. I have a hard time being grateful when problems are afoot. (But I'm working on it - or at least getting better at seeing the martini glass half-full.)
So blog on, my fellow cyber-wordsmiths! And to those readers enjoying your orbit around "Planet Michelle" - my sincere thanks. Keep your jones going - make sure you subscribe, OK? If you keep coming back, I promise to always have something here to amuse/engage/titillate you.
(And I believe you know which one of those is my favorite!)
Thank you for reading! Now come orbit me! Just type in your e-mail address, over to the right and up, and you'll receive each post I squeeze from my brain. Never any spam or name-selling. My magnetic field awaits you!
Also, like me on Facebook if you're so-inclined. It's over there, to the right & up. OOO - that's it! Right there. Yeah!
I dig E-mails, too: planetMichelle4u@gmail.com