I’ve been blogging regularly for about a year now, and I’ve gone through a few stages along the way.
When I decided to blog consistently, I started digging into the blogging world and community of writers online. It was exciting, but overwhelming. I had no idea there were so many other writers-who-blog out there trying to do the same thing I was. The great part about it was I had a wealth of information to draw from. The unfortunate thing was…I had a wealth of information to draw from.
What I discovered time after time was there are all these “rules” for blogging if you want to increase traffic:
Make your content skimmable.
Narrow your subject area.
Bold topic sentences.
Number your ideas.
Be an expert on one thing.
Use some form of the headline “5 ways to…” or “10 things you…”
But you know what? I don’t write well in bullets. I like words, and I ramble (clearly). My e-mail replies are often three paragraphs longer than the original sender’s. I use parentheses in abundance. I like to use big words when talking about trivial things. I don’t have topic sentences, because often my writing is just my own unsolicited commentary, which I would do in real life but people would probably walk away from me.
That’s just who I am. I’m not an expert on anything or living a particularly unusual story, I just like pop culture and writing. And after a few months of trying to figure out what my area of expertise is and struggling to fit lists into my posts, I decided to stick with what I know: rambling commentary about Lindsay Lohan and how I don’t like Pumpkin Spice Lattes.
All that to say to you, if you don’t fit the “rules,” I think it’s okay.
Because really, there are no rules.
This is the Internet. This is blogging. We are literally writing words and putting them on a website for people to read. There’s no governing body of blogging. The same is true with social media. It’s always changing, and it can be whatever you want it to be. People are constantly trying to define it and put parameters on it, but I don’t think it ever really works.
Your writing, your blog, your social media accounts–they’re expressions of who you are. People value different. Don’t feel pressured to title your post “6 things I learned on a flight to Timbuktu” if you really just want to write about the beautiful mountains you saw out the window or the smelly guy who sat next to you.
You want people to read your blog who enjoy your writing anyway, not someone else’s idea of what your writing should be, right?
Have you ever felt pressured to follow “rules” when you write or follow your dream?