Today, I spoke at Marywood University about using social media to find a job. The topic is one that I’m passionate about, and it was cool to get my first speaking gig. Standing in front of these students who have their entire careers ahead of them made me reflect upon my own career as a freelance writer, which has really evolved into working as a blogger, both for myself and for other people. I started blogging in 2006, so it’s been over five years now.
And yes, the blogging lifestyle is still a fairy tale. All the time, things happen to me because I’m a blogger that make me want to pinch myself. I’ve met the most amazing people, had the most amazing opportunities, and seen the most amazing things, all because I’m a blogger. I’ve gotten to travel, try new products, and connect with people I never would have met without blogging. Blogging has been good to me.
But there’s a flip side. Every fairy tale has a dark part, the evil queen or the horrible curse or the crooked witch that lures you to her house with candy. Blogging is a fairy tale…but don’t make the mistake in thinking that it’s all about the happily ever after. If you’re thinking about starting a blog, there are a few challenges you need to be prepared to face.
It takes a while for Prince Charming to find you.
Prince Charming is a recurring character in most fairy tales, and let me tell ya – that man needs a freaking GPS. It takes the entire story for him to find and/or rescue the Princess. In blogging, “Prince Charming” is that elusive level of success where people, especially other bloggers in your industry, begin to recognize your name. Work hard, be patient, and most importantly, be persistent. You will get there if you do good work. Prince Charming just needs some time.
Without some sidekicks, you won’t get anywhere.
One of the biggest challenges as a new blogger is to find others who share your beliefs and want to get to know you. But it’s necessary. Find these people. Connect with them. Build a tribe together and help one another. Just like Snow White had the dwarves and Cinderella had her fairy god mother, you need people on your side to help you succeed. When you have people in your corner, becoming a successful blogger is much easier.
Evil is sometimes disguised as good.
Who knew an apple could be so dangerous? Who would ever think the a rose help the secret of a cursed beast? In a fairy tale, seemingly innocent items and people are often very evil – and the same thing is true in blogging. On any blog about blogging (including this one) you’ll read tons of advice about how to be a better blogger, but you need to question everything. Sometimes well-meaning people give horrible advice, but what is even more common is that the advice is great for some, but awful for you. Always question whether or not a piece of advice is right for your blog and your situation. Not everything applies to every person.
Lastly, the final point of advice is this: Happily ever after is rarely the end of the story. Lots of fairy tales have sequels or epilogues that tell you about how the perfect life of the princess and her prince wasn’t that great after all. Blogging is kind of like that. You can get your happily ever after, but things will never be perfect. It’s like a marriage – you have to constant work on it to stay on your a-game. Complacency has killed great blogs in the past, and you definitely don’t want to join that graveyard after all the hard work you put into building your blog.