Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

Guest Post: 5 Ways to be a Happier Blogger in 2012

One of the undeniable joys I get by scribbling something online from time-to-time is the chance at meeting other bloggers out there in the ether that share a love of film. Of course, when they have the ability to express themselves in ways beyond me, it frankly makes me a bit jealous. Beyond my pettiness though, such a person is the blogger and editor Ronan Wright of the site Filmplicity. It is a Belfast based film blog with the deft and capable mission of:

“Entertain. Challenge. Try to take over the world!”

It is my honor to welcome him in his first, and I certainly hope not last, guest post. You can follow Filmplicity on Twitter and/or subscribe to his site via RSS or Email.


5 ways to be a happier blogger in 2012

Before we start getting happier, there’s something we should get out of the way first. Just between us. This list is in no way exhaustive or definitive. It is neither authoritative nor conclusive (at least not intentionally). At best I can hope that it is reflective. Being that time of year when resolutions are being made, broken, re-jigged, remade and broken again, perhaps it is appropriate or maybe even (dare I say) practical, to list some ways in which we might be happier bloggers during this new year.

I should re-emphasise that these are some ways that have occurred to me, as possible routes to an enriched and altogether more conscientious chapter in my own personal blogging story for 2012. You no doubt have already established your own tried and tested list and it is, I am sure, much more insightful than my own meagre effort. However, should you (by some happy accident) happen to find any of the following points in the least bit useful, or even if you don’t (especially if you don’t), I’d be delighted to hear about it. After all, it’s always encouraging to compare notes at this time year, when our good intentions burn brightly within us and the harsh chill of winter’s bone has not yet choked the last remaining gasps of optimism and ambition from our feeble bodies (I’m expecting the Pulitzer any day now).

And as we hunch, frazzled yet determined, over our dimly lit work stations and suck down the last remaining dregs of our lukewarm earl grey tea, straining desperately to remember why we ever got into this blogging game in the first place. Let us remember this. ‘No man is a failure who has friends’.

It is with warm appreciation that we march confidently toward the dawn of a new year with the words of Casablanca’s Rick Blaine ringing hopefully in our ears… ‘I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship’. As hope for a blog-brighter 2012 is kindled once again by the regenerative spark of another new year, I count myself truly blessed to have friends such as you, dear reader. But I digress. To the list!

Disclaimer: Inspiration for this post must be placed humbly at the door of problogger.net which hosted a fantastically helpful guest post by Gregory Ciotti of Sparring Mind entitled 12 essential tips for revitalising your blog in 2012 (http://www.problogger.net/archives/2012/01/01/12-essential-tips-for-revitalising-your-blog-in-2012/) A must read for anyone determined to develop their blog and blogging skills. Gregory says, “I wanted to present readers a list of actionable tips that they could act on right now to improve their blog for the New Year”. And that’s exactly what he’s done. Do yourself a favour, check it out!

1. Read: We are what we read. My first resolution points inexorably to the golden goose upon which any, even a tiny degree of blogging success is and must be founded on. Community! What gives me the authority to make such an authoritative claim? Well, I learned this lesson the hard way. Blogging is, after all, first and foremost about communicating with like-minded souls. Sending our thoughts courageously into ether in the vain hope that someone, somewhere might just connect with it. And respond! Anyone who is in the blog-game to try to score all the points on their own is ultimately foolish, as far as commonly accepted wisdom is concerned, and forgets one simple thing. We’re a team! And what’s the best way to show our concern to our teammates? To encourage them, to let them know that ‘hey, we get it’! We’ve been there. We’re here, right now and we care enough to keep on reading. So why not follow our buddy’s blogs in the way we hope they’ll follow ours?

2. Comment: We all benefit from being comment-happy. I don’t know about you, but for me it’s essential that I set myself realistic and achievable comment goals every day of the week. It’s my bread and butter. It’s every blogger’s bread and butter. Again, how do I know this? I’ve been a bad commenter. I’ve been a greedy commenter. Every blogger worth his salted popcorn knows the unrepeatable bliss of that very first blog comment. It’s what starts the ball rolling. And, if we’re honest, it’s what keeps our momentum going, even when we hit an uphill section and have to struggle for a while. It’s a kind comment from our fellow bloggers that keeps us going. I don’t mind telling you there have been more than a few occasions during my short blogging career (2 years this March) when I have seriously considered hanging up the old word press. But I didn’t. The main reason I didn’t was my faithful readers and generous commenters (you know who you are). Tip: Let’s start out small. Sometimes our eyes can be bigger than our belly. Let’s not try to do too much too soon. Let’s be realistic. We’re all busy. We’ve all got demands on our time. Family, friends, work, whatever. Why not set an achievable goal and work toward achieving it? Remember: ‘There’s always a bigger fish!’

3. Make your bed: An illustrious poet was once was asked by a young, fresh faced scholar for advice on becoming a writer. Apparently the poet, after looking shrewdly at the young man before him, replied: ‘Do you make your bed in the morning?’ ‘What?’ the young man said confused. ‘Do you make your bed in the morning?’ repeated the poet. ‘Um, yes… I suppose I do. Why?’ ‘Good’, said the poet, ‘You’ll never be a writer if you can’t discipline yourself to make your bed in the morning!’ Discipline is indeed a strict mistress (as I am still discovering daily); however, once we order our efforts to her wise ways, we’ll never look back.

4. Enjoy it: Let’s face it, if blogging isn’t enjoyable, it’s just not worth doing, is it? We’ve much more important things to be doing with our time than banging away at something that doesn’t provide even the most fleeting moments of pleasure. If movies offer the hope of escapism then the movie blog provides the means to make a clean get away. As Andy Dufresne rightly affirms in The Shawshank Redemption, ‘Hope is a good thing… perhaps the best of things. And no good thing ever dies’. So as tempting as it can sometimes be to succumb to the dark cloud of discouragement that hovers ominously, more often than we would like, over our keyboards. We won’t. As we sit with our fingers poised, the spectre of another failed idea or unenthusiastically received post haunting our tentative keystrokes. Never fear. Relax. Let’s enjoy it!

5. Keep at it: It has been said that success, is 1% talent and 99% hard work. The same could be said of happiness. In our case, blog-happiness. The surest way for us to be and to remain blog-happy is quite simply to keep at it. I know, it can sometimes feel like we’re blogging a dead horse (forgive me), but experience dictates that if we persevere, we’ll be glad we listened to that subtle yet persistent gnawing in the depth of our being, urging us not to quit. I know I was. As a keener mind than mine once observed, ‘Patience obtains all things’. So let’s be patient. And keep at it!

And so we come to the end of our little heart to heart. We’ve discussed the pitfalls of pessimism that blight our passage on the way to blogging success. We’ve heard words of wisdom from the violently optimistic Andy DuFresne. We’ve even made a few resolutions. Before we part ways and go off to have our best blogging year yet, I want to leave you with a scene from Terminator 2: Judgement Day. As twilight fades into night, Sarah Connor sits at a picnic table etching into the wood something we might all do well to bear in mind. “No fate but what we make”. That’s damn right.

Happy New Year folks!

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76 Responses to “Guest Post: 5 Ways to be a Happier Blogger in 2012”

  1. Scott Lawlor

    A brilliant list of tips Ronan and Michael. As you know I follow those rules GREATLY and have done for most of 2011. I am happy that FRC is on the cusp of it’s first Anniversary and it is still going… which is major.

    This is a great post that will serve many well!

    Thanks for sharing

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    • Ronan

      Thanks Scott, it’s bloggers like you, Michael, Ruth, Castor, Novia, Julian and all of my readers who inspired me to do this little list. As much for my own benefit as for anyone else’s. It’s been quite cathartic compiling this list. Thanks for taking the time to read it Scott.

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    • le0pard13

      Thank you, Scott. I’m in agreement with Ronan with his point on bloggers like you, Ruth, Castor, Novia, Julian, Ed Copeland, J.D., JKM, et al., who really gender a community through their writing and sharing of content.

      Early congrats on your upcoming anniversary and thanks for adding your thoughts here, Scott.

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  2. Ronan

    Thank you for the kind introduction Michael. It Rains… You Get Wet is one of the blogs on the web which inspires me to keep banging away at my little blog. Thanks for all your encouragement and support Michael, last year and in what we’ve of 2012. I’ve loved guesting on here and I’d be honoured to do it again. Cheers, R.

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    • le0pard13

      It is I that should be thanking you for coming up with the idea, Ronan. A first for this blog and your guest post couldn’t been more timely and spot-on. Thanks for giving all of us a guide toward a better 2012.

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      • Ronan

        It’s my honour to have a prime spot on your blog Michael, a great start to 2012 for me and my blog. Thank you!

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  3. Kaye Barley

    What a delight this post is! And oh man, do I wish I could write this well. Good rules, every one. I would elucidate, but I have to go make my bed now . . . .

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    • Ronan

      Haha! Every time you make someone laugh with that line you owe me 10%! You know that right? 😉 Thanks for the comment Kaye!

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  4. rtm

    Woo hoo Ronan, brilliant post my friend! LOVE it. These are all great tips, so thank you. And thanks to Michael for inviting you to contribute to his wonderful blog!

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    • Ronan

      Thanks Ruth! It is such a fantastic encouragement to be able to rely on the support of great people and bloggers like yourself and Michael. Without your example, this post would be meaningless. So thank YOU Ruth!

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    • le0pard13

      Yes, I will accept any credit by way of Ronan’s writing here ;-). It was a great post. I couldn’t asked for a better one, Ruth. Thanks so much.

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  5. Eric

    This is a terrific post, and words to live by for all bloggers out there. Being part of a blogging community is so much fun, and I love giving/receiving comments and discussing film, games or whatever else is on topic. Waking up to new comments/responses is a great way to start every day. Thanks for sharing this list!

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  6. Nostra

    Great tips and ones I have been trying to follow, although it’s sometimes hard with all the blogs I’m subscribed to and all the mail I get 😉

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    • Ronan

      Tell me about it. That’s why a separate email address for blog traffic comes in handy. Not that check mine that often. At the last count I had 1,113 unread emails eek! Talk about unlucky 13! I think I’m well overdue a New Year pre-spring clean. Or I could just start reading my emails. 🙂

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    • le0pard13

      You right, Nostra. It can be overwhelming at times. It’s worth it, though. And what exactly is wrong with the number 13, Ronan? Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

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      • Ronan

        Oh nothing, but as I said at the time you originally published that post. Thank you for putting a ‘thoughtful complexion’ on my Thursday reading. ‘Thursday’s child has far to go!’ You always know just what to say to keep my feet on the ground Michael 😉 Thanks.

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  7. ponchopadilla

    I think it’s one of those times when one (as in I) knows the info, but somehow still questions oneself how to do it. I love how simple the “rules of blogging” are, and yet one (as in me, again) rarely follows them. I gotta thank Ronan for solving the question of how was I gonna fulfill that New Year resolution.

    And thanks, cousin. As always, you’re one of those bloggers which makes me feel jealous.

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    • Ronan

      I’m glad to be of service Poncho. I’m really just passing on the good habits I’ve picked up from your cousin and the like. Nothing like a good blogging community to keep you on your toes! Thanks for the kind comment Poncho.

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    • le0pard13

      Ronan did offer up an elegant solution to this blogging question, huh? So glad we all could read and enjoy his article. I second the thanks for the kind and generous comment, Poncho.

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    • Ronan

      Nothing like the New Year to inspire a few resolutions. First resolution: must keep new year’s resolutions! Thanks for the comment Chris.

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  8. Max

    While a lot of this is common knowledge it’s nice to hear it every now and then. I might even start making my bed! I try to make an active effort that if you post on my blog expect to get one back. Let’s bring in 2012 together.

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    • Ronan

      That sounds like a good place to start Max. Confused now as to whether to take the ‘make your bed’ suggestion as a metaphor or to actually make my bed. I guess I could try both. Thanks for the comment Max!

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      • le0pard13

        Wait… who is making whose bed? And now that you’ve mentioned it, will my wife now expect this of me? This blogging thing can be tough ;-).

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        • Ronan

          Hahaha, I know right? When I threw that reference in, I thought I was just being poetic. I din’t think I might actually have to start making my bed. Hmmmm… maybe this post wasn’t such a good idea after all. Just kidding. 🙂

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  9. Ronan

    @Poncho I’m glad to be of service Poncho. I’m really just passing on the good habits I’ve picked up from your cousin and the like. Nothing like a good blogging community to keep you on your toes! Thanks for the kind comment Poncho.

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  10. Castor

    Five excellent tips Ronan that we need to be reminded of every now and then. We should all head these wise advices and enjoy 2012 in blogging even more than we did in 2011 😀

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    • le0pard13

      Ronan’s article certainly makes for a prestigious start of the year, Castor. Your point only adds to that value, Castor. Thanks for the comment and your thoughts.

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    • Ronan

      Thanks for that Castor, you are another of the bloggers in our little community who is a continual inspiration. I might even call you a beacon! But don’t hold it against me 🙂

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  11. le0pard13

    Let me jot this down before I comment… [Make sure to book Ronan again and soon… and figure out a way to get credit for his work.] There, I’m ready ;-).

    Fantastic post, my friend. After I read your contribution, I knew it was best to get this online as soon as possible. Perfect for the start of this still young year for bloggers and for readers. Kudos, Ronan :-).

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    • Ronan

      A lot of the credit for this is yours already Michael! You and the others in our little community and helped to create an atmosphere in which bloggers like myself can have the confidence to post freely, without fear. Thanks for that. I’d be honoured to feature again, the pleasure is all mine my friend. 🙂

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  12. Novroz

    Great list Ronan 🙂
    I agree to all of those mentioned above. For the read and comment part…I always manage my time to do them both…remember I have to blogs and both are active. But for me, it’s a bliss when someone stopped by and read what I have written.and for that I would try to do the same. Although I admit that sometime some blogs are not my kind of read and I ended up leaving without reading (so sorry for them).

    Enjoy it is the most important thing in blogging,otherwise we might end up abandoning the blog

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    • le0pard13

      I still find it amazing when I hear people have more than one blog — I can barely keep up with one ;-). But, you are one amazing person, Novroz. I’m always glad to see a comment here, or a post on your blog, my friend. Many thanks.

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        • Novroz

          hehehe I think you guys overpraised me 😉

          @Michael > Have you seen my other blog Mike? It has more photo than written words, so I can handle 2 blogs quite well. Beside that other one is way easier to write than my blog.

          @Ronan Is it work ethic or internet-addict? lol 😀

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  13. Ronan

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there Novia. It’s meeting other bloggers, committed and generous bloggers, like yourself and Michael, which helps to make the whole thing enjoyable! So thank you Novia, and thank you for reading and commenting!

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  14. Dan

    Fantastic tips guys. The key has to be enjoyment – if you’re not enjoying it you’re not going to put the hard work in. But blogging is rewarding – both for the mind and the pocket.

    …with my Google Reader getting ever bigger, I’m looking forward to seeing what so many great blogs – including this one – have in store for 2012.

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  15. haskellch

    Thank you for this post. It’s just the pick-me-up and reassurance that I needed. Glad to know I’m not the only one struggling through these bloggers-block spells.

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    • le0pard13

      Welcome, haskellch. Ronan’s piece is proving to be quite the pick-me-up, alright. I’m glad to know it’s giving others a boost. Thanks for reading and your comment.

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  16. Filmplicity » Blog Archive » GUEST POST: IT RAINS YOU GET WET EDITOR le0pard13 SHARES SOME OF HIS ‘LAZY THOUGHTS’ ON THEIR ‘A THEATRE… A MOVIE… AND A TIME’ SERIES AND REVEALS VALUABLE TRICKS OF THE TRADE. NO

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