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!”
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!