Freedom Is Blogging In Your Underwear When You ...
1. Can't Wait to Wake Up at 5 AM to Write. It's your moment of zen. It's your time to express what you love, hate, makes you laugh, admire, respect, wish you could be, and continue striving to become. It's SACRED TIME.
2. Know You're Steering the Ship. Sitting behind a keyboard means complete control. The published words on your personal blog are yours (not somebody else's spin). No watered-down mess requiring corporate approval or a committee's sign-off.
3. Pick Yourself. You didn't seek the approval of Random House or another member of the New York City publishing dynasty. You write. You publish. You promote. The daily, weekly, and monthly results are there to measure and interpret. And, the immediate audience feedback (or lack thereof) is a constant lesson in humility.
4. Press "Publish" Even When You Fear Your Content Sucks. Blogging teaches you how to address and deal with personal fear. Notice, I didn't say overcome it. The "F" in Freedom Is Blogging In Your Underwear stands for "Fear."
Rejection looms close by when you're a blogger. But, so does opportunity.
You learn over time that subscribers and readers who believe in your art stick with you. These audience members who vote with their precious time know you won't hit a home run with every-at-bat.
But, they expect you to consistently publish. Your subscribers expect you to show up. That's part of the deal. That's part of the mutual bond.
It's why I can't wait to repeat Reason #1 for as long as I humanly can.
5. Want To Hug Your Blog Subscribers (But, Not Necessarily in My Underwear, Or Theirs). The Social Media ReInvention Blog Community and subscriber base continues growing. I want to hug you and thank you for teaching and reinforcing how trust is earned one-person-at-a-time.
You've sent me emails with praise (especially at times when I really needed it), tweeted my posts on Twitter, "liked" them on Facebook, shared them on LinkedIn, and linked my posts to your respective blogs. It means so much to me -- Thank You From the Bottom of My Heart!
6. Can Continuously Iterate and Experiment. 21st century self-publishing means everything is "a working draft." You can keep shaping, condensing, adding, or deleting. It's taken me three years to realize perfection is not the goal.
It's about continuously building, measuring, and learning with a minimal viable product (MVP). It's about permanent beta. Even though you don't live in Silicon Valley, you can practice the principles of the Reid Hoffman's, the Ben Casnocha's, the Mark Zuckerberg's, the Amazon's, and the Google's. It's not life or death (although it feels like it at times -- see Reason #4).
That's an invaluable life lesson.
7. Trust Yourself to Write With Your Heart (Versus Type With Your Brain). Writing doesn't come naturally to me. I work at it every day (which I was I love it). I'm still learning when/how to write and structure my position in traditional, MBA-analysis mode (and when to just let'er rip and flow).
This is what the blogging community refers to as "finding your voice." I'm still searching. And, this self-discovery journey is empowering.
8. Realize There Are No Rules -- There Are Only Guidelines. Great blog posts can be less than 140 characters or as long as 4,000+ words. You can use text, audio, video, and images (or a combination of all four). What makes a blog post great is in the eye of the beholder. It's art. Coloring outside-the-lines is encouraged.
9. Love Something So Much You Do It for Free (Sort of). I receive zero financial compensation for blogging. But, I consider blogging a valuable and significant time investment
It's not about getting paid. It's the joy and challenge of telling a story. It's about sharing. It's about saying thank you. It's about reminding yourself why you love it so much even on the days when you're struggling personally and/or professionally. It's about Reasons #1 through Reasons #10.
10. See and Embrace The Like-Minded. Google the phrase "blogging is dead" (without the quotation marks). You'll receive close to 57 million search results.
When I see that number and the different search headlines, here's what I see:
* I see opportunity.
* I see people who give didn't give up on their blogging / writing in the first six or seven months of launch.
* I see people who voraciously read books, periodicals, blog posts, newsletters, and all content in-between to learn ideas and insights they can deliver to and share with their subscribers.
* I see people who acknowledge this is a difficult and long-term endeavor.
* I see people proudly displaying, reading, and investing in this book: