How to Succeed as a Blogger – But This May Not Work For You, Part 1

This is one post I did not see coming. When a reader recently asked how I built my “vibrant community in such a short time” and solicited a how-to, I thought of the reasons I’m not the ideal blogger to be offering advice. While I’ve been blessed with a dynamic readership, my numbers are not something power bloggers would dignify with a sneeze. I also was as clueless as they come to the blogging world, and got off to a fairly slow start. I didn’t understand what the Reader was, took weeks to learn how to manage my dashboard, did not know to tag my posts (correct, I did not tag them), reparably broke my Follow me widget, had no idea bloggers reached out to one another. Precisely because my learning curve had nothing to do but shoot up, I decided I do have something to say after all. I will share in Part 1 the choices I have made in the blogging and talk more in Part 2 about how this responsive community grew.

Define Yourself
I’ve done network marketing, and appreciate the importance of goal-setting and positive thinking. But I’m just not one to determine I will have X number of followers by such and such time. A part of me remains in awe of people, both in and outside the virtual realm, who will their aspirations into being. Here are a few reasons I don’t dream to the moon as a blogger:

1) My cautiousness against presuming upon my life circumstances
2) Realism. The simple math in my weekly allowance of blogging hours. After Day 5 of not being able to put out my next post, I’m one ornery wife as it is.
3) A different purpose. In what I like to speak of as an organic process, I discovered my blog would be an art gallery – at least an attempt at one. Not of paintings or photographs, but words. And so the way I give birth to my posts fits that vision. If I had to choose between searching for the perfect word and befriending 20 new bloggers in a given window of time, there would be no competition. Because my goal isn’t to bust the roof on my stats. My art will always trump the blogging. This is the act that disqualifies me from any chance at power bloggerdom. Not to say the celebrities among us don’t write well because you obviously can’t attract and sustain a massive following without good content. But those rocketing through the virtual stratosphere will not get hung up over a word. Most people won’t because it isn’t smart to. It’s the romantic in me. The Starving Artist Syndrome. I believe the readers will come, as they have – those who will think with me, drink words with me. Would Hemingway have spent his time marketing himself before perfecting a story? Just heard the man turn over in his grave, swearing at the comparison to a ten-month-old blogger. My writing isn’t perfect, and I continue to go back and touch up old posts. My husband withholds the “like” where his wife falls short of his expectation. Now, of course like any of us I would love to speak to an audience ten times larger. But numbers will not woo me from my beloved word, a writer’s dream and duty to self.

One of the first rules of Blogging 101 is to identify a clear motif for what we want to share along with our target audience. In my earliest days, I read plenty of warnings against keeping my topics as broad as I have. I took a chance and look back, grateful I got away with it. I managed to because while my blog was open-ended, I was not aimless. The intensity I had to pack up and ship back to New York when I settled in the easy West I was able to reroute to cyberspace and put to work for me. I could go all out on my blog, simply be the woman who would much rather sit in on a college lecture than a baby shower.

I’m speaking of what’s consistent with my ability, nature, and temperament. It will be a different story for most of you. Many bloggers are and want to be more carefree and freewheeling. We need four of you for every one of me. Make the fun spirit and fluid energy work for you. As hard as I dig my heels in on some issues, I haven’t built this blog upon rants because I don’t want you coming near only to hear me yell all the time. I want to stay more measured. A philippic of a post that’s been sitting in my drafts pile will be a rational appeal as much as an emotional one when it’s published. I don’t bother sharing what new gizmo my husband got and don’t put up photos of breathtaking places in CA. I screen post possibilities through the grid of my goal, which is to elicit as much mileage out of the limitless potential we enjoy to sharpen one another, provoke thought, examine truth, celebrate beauty. The purpose might sound good to you but you may want to achieve this through a medium other than words.

But Don’t Just Be Yourself
I’ll be talking about the social aspect of blogging in the next segment but once people happen to swing by your site, you need content that impels visitors to become readers, right? Else, they will drop in and drop right back out. I never set out to capture followers in the writing. I don’t think you can decide you’re going to produce a post that will make others want to read and stay. I just write. Like my life depends on it. What gets you up in the morning, inspires you during the day, keeps you up at night? If what you want to share with the world does not light your eyes, you can’t expect it to strike anyone else’s gut or funny bone. Why should people follow your chronicle of pain, emotional or physical? How does your photography or drawing stand out? I am not speaking from the angle of competition. You are already unique as a person. How does your blogging bear your thumbprint? Don’t just be yourself. Be yourself in the fullest. For me, this means the 20th draft. I’m sorry that the bloggers who have collaborated with me know this is no exaggeration. Take the compulsion for the best word, every post signed in blood; and the desire to encourage others along the examined life, and what you have is A Holistic Journey. What are the defining characteristics of your blog and why do they matter?

How can anyone really tell you how to prosper out here when there are over 74 million WordPressers, each sui generis? Be who you are – but I mean, at your best. Find your best. This is what I ask of myself both to please the mirror and make it worthwhile for my readers. Locate your mission and be all you.

Continued in Part Two.


194 thoughts on “How to Succeed as a Blogger – But This May Not Work For You, Part 1

  1. Question: is this just a coincidence? – or are you doing Your Own Thing rather than taking part in Zero to Hero? I wouldn’t blame you for not participating, and CERTAINLY don’t intend to criticise; I suppose I’m wondering if you’re aware of WordPress’ latest monthly … thinggy? ๐Ÿ™‚

      • THANK you for sharing it with me. It looks like it’s part of a leg up they’re giving new bloggers to help them gain ground following the prompts for a month. I appreciate your time and support.

      • For when you wake up … That’s exactly what it is: but I felt you might want to be aware of it, so as not to appear to be setting up in opposition! [grin] And btw, many of we bloggers of some weeks/months are taking part, in the hope of ending up with real quality.

      • I’m a little unsure as to why my post would be at odds with the prompt project. Numbers are most definitely part of success, built into the blogging. It’s just that I don’t have the hours in the day as my son’s principal and teacher (and chauffeur and cook and…) to pursue those numbers with the attention they require. I hope you have fun with it! =)

      • Being me definitely also includes being myself while blogging. I, therefore don’t obsess too much about the numbers of followers, likes and comments I get. I watch them but don’t worry too much about them.

        For me, blogging is definitely a necessity for promoting my visual art but I don’t havea lot of time to blog. There are other aspects of my business that are important, and there’s family life that I absolutely cannot forsake. I try to restrict the amount of time I dedicate to writing posts, actually posting them, reading other’s posts and other wise interracting with the blogoshere.

        I also just write mainly about what interests me, and what may be of use to others who are trying to journey down a similar path.

  2. So I was wondering if you had a link to Promise’s post so I could read it. A nice write up, I am not sure I would classify myself as anything out of the ordinary though. Like you said, we all blog for different reasons, mine are just normally numbered. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks for the nice mention Diana, as always. -OM

  3. Thank you very much, Iโ€™am really glad that Iโ€™m following you. Iโ€™m still figuring out. Just wanted to say that you are an awesome blogger. greetings from Gede Prama ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • So glad to hear from you, GP. I’m honored. I sense the FEELings behind your response. I’d love to know more specifically which aspect of your blogging I may have gotten you thinking about. I appreciate your audience.

  4. Diana, you are an original, like a lost Rembrandt that no one knew anything about until it appeared, and they treasured it always! I did a lot in the business world, in a few areas, modest success but I never had nothing to prove, I was always successful because I found it easy to share. I never wanted anything from anyone maybe a smile, or a thank you, I was always just happy to help another and share, and success came easy because of that I was just real to others seeking to make them better . When I visit your blog I see you share, motivate, teach and touch minds! Some successful traits there but oh so natural. You are being yourself, and that means you will always be genuine and real. Thanks for sharing tonight its easy to sit and listen so attentively to you because you are that Rembrandt and one of a kind, and I appreciate you my sister, and just thought I would let you know…God bless you and your family!

    • You really are too much, Wendell. You tempt me to blush — but could you tell, it’s not my nature to? LOL!! I wish I had the time and energy (and brain cells this late hour) to write back more but thank you for the high praise. Your attentive, faithful reading is praise enough. And I found it very interesting that you talked of your business background. I allude to that in the upcoming segment. Blessings. And I look fwd, as always, to my revisit.

      Xxxx Diana

    • And I was not surprised to learn you did so well in business, WB. You reveal something I was thinking while writing this. Life is relationship. Business and blogging, too, relationships. Simple.

      • You are so very right Diana, and more than anything else relationships, genuine selfless relationships make one spiritually prosperous and then one gets the cherry on top of the pie without asking…joy in doing their job the right way! One always becomes recognized without trying! You are a very wise spirit my sister…God bless you and your family always!

  5. I’ve been blogging from the time Time presented a feature article on this “new” craze sweeping the world. lol. It all sounded exciting back then so I searched around to find out more and eventually found a host site on Yahoo. My objective after seeing what the new fad was all about was to use it to store stories and poems so my family would have perpetual access to them. But the medium evolved and as I didn’t like what Yahoo evolved into I went to Multiply which site became so loaded with people it started to crack at the seams. Then I went to All Poetry which became a little too technical for what I was wanting out of the blogging experience. So now I’m on WordPress and not looking for a mass of followers as I’d not be able to keep up with visits to my friends sites. It amazes me how people search the internet and somehow drop onto my site by accident. The internet is a marvellous tool for finding interesting things. I’m not sure Facebook would be counted as a serious blog site. Quite a lot of froth and bubble on that site but I’m on there to keep up with all those friends I’ve made as I’ve tripped around the world and I avoid all those silly little games that numb the brain on that site. lol. Looking back I’d say blogging is an important step in getting to know and communicate ideas. It’s where creativity reigns.

    • Yep, we all landed here, pushed by winds of different reasons, Ian. Glad to know your story, and I like your closing thoughts on communication and creativity. Part 2 will be touching on the way the former nurtures the latter, at least as it’s happened for me here.

    • Ian, were you the one who pointed out to me that part of the reason Korea might be insular (I said S Koreans are not, at least were not, very open to foreigners) could be all the invasions she has endured?

      • No that was not me. Koreans have endured much over the thousands of years of their culture though. But they always come through the experiences strong. I suspect that even though North Koreans are kept in virtual slavery now, when their release eventually comes, and history proves it will, within a short time they will be back on the leading edge of the world as they are in South Korea today. I worked under a Korean who had fled the north during the war of the 1950s. The family was split between north and south but this man had risen above all his troubles and was a corporate leader as so many others in the south have done.

      • Such a generous hope you have for N Koreans, Ian. Amazing. And yes, many like that man whose family was split, who never saw loved ones again.

        Thanks for the rich reply!!

  6. Priceless tips and experiences. To me, being ourselves, opening our hearts, consistency and being supportive to our blogging community makes a huge difference. Positivity and great pictures that people relate also are plus points. Wishing you all the best for 2014.

    • I agree with the point on great pictures. The description “great” can be unpacked. =) I was so preoccupied with the writing the first few months, it did not even occur to me to decorate my place until a reader suggested it. I almost shared what I’m telling you in the post. This blog was as spare as they come, with a simple lined notebk page theme. Actually, it was the theme I had when you started following. Spare like my wedding dress and cake. I slowly added to it and was pleased with the touch here and touch there. In fact, I wished I had a good picture for this 2-part series. I’ve just not had the TiMe to figure it out. It was all I could do, eyeing the chance to get the post out. If you happen to have an image I could use, let me know and I’ll credit it back to your site. Your photos are rich and inviting.

    • *Smile* Can I turn each smile I earn into a voucher….for sOmething? I’m just so pleased to be able to make you laugh or smile – not because you’re a grinch but bc it’s an honor to be able to “play” with a man of your military distinction. And I rarely, if ever, exaggerate. Ornery is

      the word.

      • Then I shall conduct myself accordingly, Madam Wayfarer, as I cannot defend against these smiles! And I do thank you for your kind words. It is a pleasure to engage in our delightful blogging dialectic. (That’s one of my special reserve “big” words. Hopefully I haven’t started a vocabulary war.)

  7. You are unique!

    I will leave the enterprise portion of blogging to others. Mine is just a place to sort of type out what I’m doing/feeling. Can’t be completely honest of course, as friends read mine. Am suprised anyone else even follows.

    There are many blogs which are a cut above, and yours is definitely one. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. “I discovered my blog would be an art gallery โ€“ at least an attempt at one.”

    That’s a beautiful concept.

    When I started, I wasn’t trying to attract a readership at all. As a woman who left the STEM field to raise my daughters, I needed a place for myself to express myself, particularly since I left all the intellectual stimulation I had when I decided to stay home.

    I went through a very long period of darkness, but I wanted to write to find the silver lining. I wanted to write for myself, too. Like Mark Twain, I processed my life through writing. In the absence of intellectual peers in my little slice of suburbia, I wrote about my favorite ideas about philosophy and literature. I tried to weave my love of certain ideas into my own life. And, inevitably, as life would have it, my husband and I and children experienced some difficult struggles (and a lot of deaths). My writing evolved to include my thoughts on grief and trauma, existential depression and reuniting the life of the mind with the life of the body and deepening the connections that we have with other human beings.

    For me, instead of merely being a chronicle of pain, my blogging journey has been a deeply personal and spiritual one. I’m autodidactic by nature, and so I set my skills to research what it means to be fully human. And I’ve wanted to share some of my lessons with others (all the while knowing each of us must find their own unique path). As Nietzsche stated so long ago, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”; however, rather than being a reason to toughen my heart, I used my experiences to break it open, to soften it, to nurture a compassion for myself and others.

    I’ve picked up some wisdom along the way from other spiritual teachers. One of my favorites is Osho, who said:

    “A really spiritual person will live life as an art, will create a deep harmony between the body and the consciousness. And this is the greatest art there is. His life will be a joy to see. And he will be fragrant, for the sheer reason that there is no split in his being. The very unity makes him organic; the wound of division is healed.”

    That’s the ultimate goal for me. I don’t wish to attract an audience as much as I want to leave a trail where others struggling with splits in their beings may heal. If I attract an audience along with it, that’s nice, but not imperative.

    I just want others to know peace and be able to find the harmony that makes life worth living.

    And that being said, I think this is a lovely post and I do wish my blog to evolve to a have a better focus, so thank you so much for the ideas.


    • Casey, I appreciate this glimpse into your journey and dreams. Just love this and the Osho quote: “I used my experiences to break it open, to soften it, to nurture a compassion for myself and others.” I’m also glad you have a working compass in your blogging, esp one beyond your personal outworking of struggles, as invaluable as that is. Your comment will be of tremendous help to the many bloggers who write to make better sense of their pains.

      We have so many similar strands of thought. I have explored what it means to be human (in response to an essay written by a man in solitary confinement):

      PROGRESS When change propels us forward, it is one for the better – to higher consciousness and goals, a broader base of knowledge and achievement. I think of my husband who is ever pushing the frontiers of his own learning, creating the next place to get to…One of the most tragic sights is the rich, talented, and beautiful executing their own ruin, squandering faculty and resources on addictions. When, on perfectly good legs, they turn and walk away from the horizon of promise…Human energy can carry a powerfully constructive, creative momentum.

      COMMUNICATION Even if you don’t believe we bear the image of God in a way plants and animals do not, you have to listen to what our communicative capacity says about personhood. We certainly can talk to ourself, but communication is at its most meaningful when it happens in a social context, with someone who gives us audience. The fact that we can speak is its own witness that we are born into a world where we can expect others to tune into us..Not only speech, but also art, allow us to mark our personal identity and broad humanness. I express myself through the writing and my music. Others paint, dance. God is known as the Living Word by which He spoke all things into life. We bear this divine image in the ways we speak our verbal, visual, physical art. In the artistic procreation, we do more than transmit energy, breathe, even learn. We birth something of beauty.

      You also brought this to mind. Thoughts on why we write (from the reference point of why we read in the first place):

      • “One of the most tragic sights is the rich, talented, and beautiful executing their own ruin, squandering faculty and resources on addictions. When, on perfectly good legs, they turn and walk away from the horizon of promiseโ€ฆHuman energy can carry a powerfully constructive, creative momentum. ”

        Oh, wow…you’ve said it more eloquently than I ever could, but yes, I’ve observed this on a personal level.

        I’ve thought this before and I am thinking it again, I’m so glad I’ve “met’ you. You’ve impressed me greatly. I know the resonance is remarkable and while I have a whole lot of books on how to write, they lack a great deal of what I’m looking for. I’ve also seen a great deal of different bloggers’ style, but I have to say, the quality of your thoughts and writing are the only ones I’ve wanted to really emulate. I hope I can be as good as you someday. I have to say, I had to learn how to stop sounding like a scientific textbook and learn how to write more like a poet.

        I’m finding the way you write inspires and influences my thinking a great deal.

        “…communication is at its most meaningful when it happens in a social context, with someone who gives us audience.”

        Synergy. We can’t achieve that in isolation. And I’ve been sorely lacking in this for a long time…

        I’m looking very forward to absorbing what you have written.

        I appreciate you so much and the opportunity to comment. I turned this comment into my blog’s “about page”, as I realized it helped me crystallize my vision for my blog and my life.

        Thank you so, so much.

        I’ll keep reading if you keep writing. ๐Ÿ˜‰


      • THIS chemistry between us is what I’ll be talking about in Part 2, Casey. =) I have felt like we’ll all go kaBOOM together sometimes, like we’re lighting TNT in our discussions.

        “I turned this comment into my blog’s “about page”, as I realized it helped me crystallize my vision for my blog and my life.”

        LOVE IT!! Makes all the work on this post worthwhile. That kind of carryover into readers’ blogs was the point.

        “I’ll keep reading if you keep writing. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ”

        LOL Sounds like a plan.

        Love, Diana

      • That is interesting that you went ahead and literally turned your comment into a post. Because a good many comments that arise in the back-and-forth here are awesome in content and presentation that I have said they’re good enough to be posts of their own.

        What pleases me most about your last comment is the excitement I hear in you. It’s a very different tone with which you’ve been blogging and talking with me. You almost sound zapped awake – not that you were asleep.

      • I’m smiling at your last two comments. Just wait til you read what I wrote on The Writing Process II, Part 4….

        Zapped awake is right…kaBoom! ๐Ÿ˜‰

        I’m not sleeping exactly…but I have been a little sleepy…

        There is definitely some fire kindled in me through our dialogue. Thoughtful writing inspires my own. Knowing the quality of the audience, in this case, you, is exceptional, the bar is set high and good stuff spills out trying to reach that same level.

        My time on the computer is up for the moment, I’ll be back later to visit.



  9. Pingback: New year, new clarity, new goal | The Sprightly Writer

  10. Hi-

    I’ve always wondered how some bloggers get so many followers. And now here you are answering that question so eloquently. I do believe that content is queen. That what you post reflects who you are and that you have to have some guiding light. That it’s not good enough to just be yourself but to be your best self. I am always happy when a new blogger comes to my site and likes one of my posts. It is not my mother, nor my friends but strangers, other writers and that means a lot to me. I look forward to reading more about your blogging experience and sound advice.

    • Hi Carol, thanks for the wonderful feedback. Even now I feel a bit sheepish about handling this topic. There really are others better qualified to. After completing the post with Part 2, I’ll be getting back to the Greatness series. I was just riding the New Year wave as we tend to take stock of where we’ve been and want to go this time of year. I appreciate the follow, and am glad to get to know you.


  11. Happy New Year, Diana. Thank you for your insightful, articulate and generous piece. How lovely that you have shared so honestly and thoughtfully your wisdom and advice for others’ benefit and rumination. As happy as I am for you personally about the success of your blog, I am equally so for the notions of success like high quality and discernment. Is it “romantic” to search and search for just the right word? I call that craft, or artistry. I am on a similar quest, pretty routinely, over here. But, ahhhhh! Nothing so satisfying as lassoing that word or phrase, yes? Shine on, my friend.

    • I appreciate hearing what you valued about this piece, Chloe. Your desire to express yourself not only through dance but also with words is evident on your beautiful blog. Thank you for the affirming support. Love, Diana

    • OK, Diana, so this just came to me and perhaps you’d prefer to ignore, given your full plate. But I wonder if you have considered offering your (paid) services as an editor/adviser? Not sure of the market–nor, of your interest–but I just read yet another post that was so strongโ€ฆtill it ran on too long. I know you’ve written about self-editing, and continue to preach it, but some folks may not have the skill, objectivity, tenacity. Given the dearth of free time you have, perhaps you’d rather focus on your own work at this point. But you have a terrific eye and are a straight-shooter, so I thought I’d at least make the point. No need to respond. xoxo, baby

      • *Smile* So sweet. I’ve done some editing – and it is plainly my passion, as is every other aspect of writing. My husband and friends would just love to turn whatever abilities I have into $$$. But correct, I’m in a losing battle for time and it’s all I can do to put out my next post within a week. Esp bc sustaining friendships with readers who give me their time on the comment board is a priority (Part 2).

        As to length, I’ve always kept an eye on it here. A post will run long only if I decided that in its organic development, it asked not to be cut. I planned to revisit – as time allows.

        You rock. Thank you so much for thinking of me, C. Xxxxxxxxxxxxx Diana

  12. Diana, sounds to me that you have chosen to create your blog from a place of your own authenticity and in a way that feeds you and who you are— sounds like a beautiful way to organically grow not just your content/art but also your following. And such a fulfilling way to succeed!

    • You managed to capture the essence of this piece – in a most gracious way, Diahann. “to create your blog…in a way that feeds you and who you are.” Actually, I’ll be elaborating on the way the blogging, and the readers in particular, eh hem, have done this. I was rushing out today and submitted my comment on your board without adding how happy I am for you with your book on the horizon.

  13. Hi Diana, thanks for addressing my question! It seems to have served you and your readers well. I appreciate your honest and thorough perspective. I love how you aim to create an art gallery with words. I hope mine is art with words and pics.

    Maybe I need to clarify my purpose and audience. Or maybe just accept my growth as OK. If you’re a pipsqueak in the blogosphere, then I’m a dust speck! And yet, I have a nice audience, a couple hundred followers, a few likes and comments, but not the kind of engagement you clearly have. Maybe it’s the relationship part. More and more I see the lone wolf in me and my approach to life. And yet I crave connection and even have ‘connection’ as one of the tag line purposes for my blog!

    thanks for sharing and being you clearly. Brad

    • Well Brad, all I can do is hope to stimulate self-assessment and fresh thoughts about your blog. I really appreciate your own honesty. You’re not the only one to crave connection. It is simply human nature. And blogging is one neat set-up for it. The potential, as I’ve said, ad infinitum. We just have to find our way. I’m not sure about the just accepting our status quo. This is what I’ve been exploring in the greatness series, right? Those who achieve are always restless. For more. They ask more of themselves than they gave and got today. But are they happy? (Another post….!)

      I’m afraid that apart from Part 2, which will look at the engagement you speak of, I can offer more questions than answers.


    • Wanted to clarify that the opening paragraph in Part 2 was not aimed at you (while this miniseries was very much a gift to you), Brad. I see small numbers of likes on many blogs. Just didn’t want you to take it personally, as you had shared some of your stats with me.

    • *Chuckle* Soon after you wrote back, a reader who found this series helpful asked if I’d had HIM in mind in Part 2 (I believe he meant my passing reference to those who’d like to improve their stats). No, it was a gen’l observation.

  14. You write with honesty, Diana. And from a love of writing/communicating. It’s obvious in each post and its obvious in the thoughtful comments you receive.

    I have spent my whole life following the adage: do what you love. Life is far too short and too precious to do anything else. I’ve faltered at times, made the wrong decisions, but none have evolved from doing things I really like to do. Most have resulted from trying to be someone I am not.

    My approach to blogging is I enjoy wandering and learning new things. I like photography. And I like sharing. So I blog. I also believe in giving back… even if it’s as simple as helping people smile, or possibly giving them a belly laugh. if I can occasionally slip in a more serious thought, all the better.

    Keep doing what you do. We will keep following you.


  15. Your words are always written with flair and finesse. I love your page and posts and the explanations here about how you reference what each blogger wants to get out of their posts. I believe we all want to share our words and be read but time restrictions for some sometimes doesn’t allow us to put in full dedication. I know as a writer and newly published author, working on my next 2 books and working on marketing and promoting my current book as well as daily life and trying to keep in tune with my readers on my blog is a handful and a constant juggling act because we don’t want to short change on any of those aspects. When time is against me sometimes I wish to put that time to my book writing and so sacrifices seem to be a continuing decision on which project is going to get the most of my attention on a given day. Bravo to you.

    • Thanks for the warm, understanding feedback, D.G. I have really appreciated your time here, knowing the time you continue to put into your book; it’s never-ending. It’s a daily struggle for me, eyeing the chance to get on the computer while taming dishes and teaching son (not to mention the chauffeuring to extracurriculars, etc). I am grateful for the feedback on my blogging. Cheerleading your way. Diana

      • Thanks so much Diana, I can fully appreciate our busy schedules and also knowing that anticipation to get done daily what we must so we can get back to our passion. I don’t think anyone can fully appreciate a writer’s angst except another writer.:) I look forward to your pages!

  16. Thanks for this great piece. As I read what you you wrote, I thought of many of my contemporaries in church-land who speak of our need to attend to our faithfulness rather than our success. On the whole, I think that wise, but am not altogether opposed to language of success. All the same, i am mindful that it can mean radically different things to different people. But above all, I think that writing that energizes the writer is a gift for both writer and reader. Perhaps that is why I find writing rather like exercise: all uphill at the beginning, but incredibly life-giving once it gets going.

    • You really have blessed me with the rich dialogue. I did talk through faithfulness vs success in A Biblical Perspective of Achievement in Nov. I love your closing thoughts on writing that “energizes” the writer. And it really is often uphill for me at the start of my more serious posts. Thought-intensive. Allowing the right words in the right order to break open for you what I see in my head is an unparalleled exhilaration. You are dead-on about writing and exercise. Very simply, the brain is a muscle. Which is why it is so important for people who sit and work their mind all day to balance themselves by exercising the rest of themselves in some way. I am so pleased and grateful for your attentive audience and support.

  17. Nothing brings out the bloggers than when the topic of blogging comes up. It’s a wellspring of shared experiences, the proverbial watercooler where everyone reveals pieces of their inner landscapes, of their ways, of their own internal mechanisms. It’s a sort of guied tour to the interior of our spirits and creative minds. You do a fantastic job, and as demonstrated in the comments so far, it’s just one fashion of approaching this thing we do. The common denominator is passion. Pasison for stats, hit and connections, or passion for craft, deeper meaning or exquisite expression…it’s still there.

    I know of a few mega-bloggers, and they have a wonderful balance of writing, keeping connections with readers and in commenting. Perhaps that is that sort of mathematicl proportion alluded to in another comment. The suggestion of thirds – one third time reading other blogs, one third time writing, one third time commenting. A fairly balanced equation, depending on the intended outcome. But for many, it comes down to the writing first and foremost. Like you shared, when I haven’t written for a few days, I feel a shift in my spirit. I get off centered and find myself wavering in a sort ill mannered way. I need to express and since I can’t do much of anything other than write (ok, cook I can), it’s through that expression that I find my center. It’s through the give and take with others that I can also find an even deeper connection to what is written and and what is read. This is not about seeking validation from the external, but of sharing.

    Like energies will find like energies. And this is why I feel compelled to read and comment here. It’s the reason why others are compelled to read and write where they read and write. There is an energy that is often more than the sum of the parts. But it all starts with the craft, the need to expel and breathe out something that nudges us to move from us.

    Wonderful, this thing we do, isn’t it?

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience…invaluable.


    • Paul, I am gratified you allowed the run of your own wellspring to refresh us here. I did not chase this topic as I do my other ones; didn’t want to bother talking about myself when you (plural) would come graciously giving of your time. But as I always try to do, I hoped to hold up a mirror for bloggers, in this case to look at their own work – esp the ones who were asking to borrow from the lessons I’ve learned. And no, I have not sought validation. But it has flooded in. This I will elaborate on in Part 2.

      I just love your thoughts on energy. This is a post I’ve considered a long time. Energy is all around us. As long as there is life, it transmits it. And the energy between people is something fascinating. I skirt too close to my next post so I’ll save the rest. =)

      I hope this post confirmed or helped you think about your own blogging in a fresh way.

      Thx so much for your time here! Diana

  18. Hi Diana, it is easy to see that you really do give your all and do your best through your blog. I appreciate that. Your blog is probably my favorite. I enjoy your writing style and topics and one can tell that you are a deep and passionate individual. Have you ever heard of the latin expression, “Coram Deo”? It means, ‘before the face of God’. There is no separation between the secular and sacred. All that I do is sacred. All that I do is before the face of God. All that I do ought to be done to its fullest; giving it my all. Through the little I’ve gotten to know you through your posts and our brief conversations, I believe you to be one that lives “Coram Deo”. Blessings. =)

    • Hi Staci,

      You’re really something. I am grateful for the detailed feedback and praise. Gee, who would not want to hear they’re someone’s fav?! I believe I did mention that I know Coram Deo from my college days and RC Sproul who loves his Latin. =) His contemporary Mike Horton and the rest have been zealous to undo the myth that only certain work is sacred. I have to admit that I wish I deserve the credit. If only you (plural) saw me yell at my son, fail my family everyday. :/ I also did want to hold up a mirror for my wonderful readers to think about their own blogging if/as they wish.

      Thanks so much for making my hard work here entirely worthwhile.

      Blessed because you bless me. Diana

      • Oh Diana, you’re so welcome. And I wouldn’t get too hard on yourself for yelling at your son and failing your family. You can be sure that my faults are much greater. Believe me. Just ask my hubby and kids (eek). I’ve had to apologize one too many times to my kids for my attitudes and actions.

        Yes, it is very upsetting to see how, not only Mike Horton, but so many ‘Christians’ or ‘Christ-followers’ make this separation. Not just the whole profession thing, but also in daily living. Sunday is the day that I worship God. Going to church is sacred. Giving my tithe is sacred. Singing praise and worship songs is sacred. And the list goes on. What happened to washing the dishes, or putting my kids to bed, or tickling them, or when I’m all alone and no one else see me? It’s all about the way we live our lives. Even though we may fail (like yelling at our kids), we recognize it, ask for forgiveness, pick ourselves up and dust off the dirt; then try to do better.

        Many blessings =)

      • Love the examples you named — all sacred. And I meant that Mike Horton clarifies, undoes (denounces) the myth of the secular vs sacred. The Reformers believed dearly in the priesthood of all believers and that all callings are sacred. =)


  19. Thank you for the great post! I really enjoyed it and learned a lot! One thing I’ve been contemplating upon is the voice I use in my writing. I wanted my blog to be inspirational as yours is so I wrote in all seriousness, but I kinda wanted to add a bit of humor from time to time. But I don’t know if that would defy or disrupt defining who I am as a writer. To me, changing the voice in my writing seems unsteady, and I am just worried that that would impede me as a writer and won’t help the readers empathize with my writings. Any suggestions?

  20. “Locate your mission and be all you.” I could not agree more with this statement. Blogging has been so much fun for me, and I’d hate to ruin it for myself by being anyone but who I am.

    Blessings ~ Wendy

    • =) A reader shared this quote with me (author I don’t recall). “Be yourself because everyone else is taken.”

      I just had to encourage us to be our BEST self, best artist in the moment. Not to come out in bathrobe and slippers.

      • I know that I feel better having reduced down to one post a week on my main blog for this very reason. I wanted time to mull over a post and to try and visit back most of my followers; the social aspect is so rewarding.

      • You’re sliding into Part 2 =) but that’s something interesting you share about your blogging, Wendy. I am not sure I will go ahead and touch on this but I try to keep connected to those who support me rather than just plow ahead to meet & greet new bloggers. And though I’d lamented having to post less frequently when homeschooling picked up last fall, it hasn’t hurt my growth.

        It was nice to hear how much fun you were having putting together such beautiful, artistic posts.


  21. Great post, I am new to blogging so this information is fantastic! I started to blogging to keep me writing each week, I do one post a week and that is plenty for me!
    Thanks for giving me a little more insight into this world…BTW the fact that you had no idea about the dashboard really resonates with me! Still learning!

    • I really appreciate the affirmation, B Joy. I almost added – to the post – that my approach is like that of an artisan who labors over custom pieces than that of a chain store owner. Thanks for your time. Diana

  22. Here I am reading your post, and many of your words have already got me wondering of how I could improve my blog. Thanks for all the tips shared, yes, I appreciate that you agree with me that quality matters more than stats going through the roof! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • So pleased we’ve connected – beyond the visits. =) I’m so glad you’re thinking of ways to improve your blogging. We are all works in progress (at least should be). Thanks so much for the follow. Keep up the beautiful work.

  23. My own blog is a bit eclectic as well, but doing well. Like you say, it’s really about being true to myself. I try to write on topics other people will relate to, but the main through-line is my own personality coming through – my humor and nerdness are really the two main consistencies. I’m glad you’re enjoying blogging it can be a fun world.

  24. I really enjoyed reading this as you are extraordinarily eloquent with words. I am happy you visited my blog so I could retrace the breadcrumbs back to this blog and peruse your breadth of knowledge. Okay, the bread thing not working for me at all – – I should just stay away from carbs altogether!’ I suppose I’ll just sign-off with the ever graceful, “You rock.”


    • You certainly put yourself on my radar, Stephanie. Chuckle. Love the breadcrumbs trail. Hope you find other forms of nourishmt here. Some protein for the brain and poetry to sweeten your way? Gotta run. Grateful for the feedback – and the follow.

      Bear hug,

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  26. Amazing post! I wish I could write like this. The ‘Different purpose’ thing just gets me. I appreciate that view and even I have similar thoughts. A blog has to be about you and not for you. Its a medium to express and I am happy that there are people like you who have strong ideas to think on. Kudos! ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Pingback: Why Should We Follow You? | HarsH ReaLiTy

  28. Thanks for the wisdom. I’m new at this and am presently experiencing writer’s block which I never thought I’d have, but I’m sure it will pass. I’m a little unsettled presently, so I’m pretty sure that’s why.

    I was glad to hear about being yourself and that sometimes that means there’s a “20th draft” before it goes out. There are times when I wonder about the wisdom of reading and re-reading before I hit send, so it’s good to know that somebody else does it.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    • Yep. I blog very differently from most. And bc we’re all unique, in a way we all do. Interesting connection

      “Iโ€™m a little unsettled presently, so Iโ€™m pretty sure thatโ€™s why.”

      I agree.

      Cheerleading your way. =)


  29. … so thankful to have found you here! Such an insightful, rich, complex and plain ole generous bit of advice-giving-sharing. Utterly amazing… thank you once again…


  30. “My husband withholds the โ€œlikeโ€ where his wife falls short of his expectation,” that’s something I recently learned the value of doing. Imagine, after 250 posts you would think I managed to get grip on that much earlier, both when writing & reading. I love your resolve to perfect writing to the best of your abilities. Nowadays my heart has to confirm whether or not I truly “like” a post. In a way (strange as it may seem) I identify best with you as a scriptwriter. The first draft can never be produced (or published) until all the pieces of the story (or the post) come together. I write all this in response to something you wrote a few weeks ago about saving spit. You cross-referenced me here and I have clearer picture of what you were talking about. Being yourself, having a clear goal and target audience as you take them through your journey.

    • “I identify best with you as a scriptwriter. ”


      =) Love this thoughtful feedback. Thanks so much, I’m glad my posts get you thinking about your response to other blogs — and to your own writing.


    • Huh, I appreciate the feedback, Charles, from someone who’s been here longer than I have. I never imagined I’d end up dispensing blogging advice. But virtually all my blogging posts make my top 10. Go figure. Can’t wrap my head around that one.

  31. “Donโ€™t just be yourself. Be yourself in the fullest.” Very true. There are slack, slothful parts of me. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  33. I nodded at every sentence. It all made perfect sense. Much of it resonated with me because I also have the same idea behind writing. Like where you said: ` I donโ€™t bother sharing what new gizmo my husband got and donโ€™t put up photos of breathtaking places in CA. I screen post possibilities through the grid of my goal, which is to elicit as much mileage out of the limitless potential we enjoy to sharpen one another, provoke thought, examine truth, celebrate beauty.`

    I have a long way to go. But reading this gives me strength and a fuzzy warm feeling that I am on the right track:)

  34. Let me take three of your quotes and see if I understand:
    1. As hard as I dig my heels in on some issues, I havenโ€™t built this blog upon rants because I donโ€™t want you coming near only to hear me yell all the time.

    2. Iโ€™ll be talking about the social aspect of blogging in the next segment but once people happen to swing by your site, you need content that impels visitors to become readers, right? Else, they will drop in and drop right back out.

    3. How can anyone really tell you how to prosper out here when there are over 74 million WordPressers, each sui generis? Be who you are โ€“ but I mean, at your best. Find your best. This is what I ask of myself both to please the mirror and make it worthwhile for my readers. Locate your mission and be all you.

    Beth here again:
    I probably am guilty of breaking any or all of the 3 rules, but I give my blogs all I’ve got with the hopes of finding those who want to read what I have written. The things I write are seldom from me–but from research. They are not my opinion. I pray they are truth. Life is short. My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and I want to be the town crier to get out the good news.

    • Well, Beth, as I said, “how can anyone really tell you how to prosper out here?” You raise important issues, blog thoughtfully, and your articulate passion is sure to reach hearts. I do know (esp when my readership was smaller) I did bear in mind the matter of resonance (another old post). Yes, I wrote what lit my eyes and that did catch fire in other hearts but that didn’t happen just because I was passionate. I chose topics that my readers would care about or see themselves in. I say this only because you set up your comment with the disclaimer that you probably have broken the “rules”. =)

      I’m not sure how it is with other bloggers but I feel that as many have gotten to know me, I have more leeway with what I post, that I can get away with more and still hold interest. It’s in fact the permission I might (have been considering) give (ing) myself to say, have more fun now and again here. But I blog differently from many, am stricter with myself. Most people just post whatever they want to. My two small cents. May or may not speak to you.

      • Diana,
        There is no doubt you are right about blogging subjects people are looking for. I know in a skinny minute I could have a dozen or more hits with commentary on MENDING WALL, LORD OF THE FLIES, HAMLET or BEOWULF, but I have fulfilled my duty to that work in the classroom.

        After I retired, I taught a one-day-a-week group of 175 kids (the school called it tutoring), and stayed in touch with each one by email. I gave assignments and then proceeded to search the www for relevant content they could use to answer my questions or write. Even today the bookmarked links on my old computer reflect this process. I checked two drafts for each of the students each week–burning midnight oil way into the morning hours day after day. I was teacher of the year at one school and felt my sleepless nights had been worth the trouble.

        Already well passed the end of four score and 10, my interest has taken a totally different turn. I am done with what used to motivate me, but the unfortunate truth is that not many in the world want what I have to offer these days. If I only reach one thirsty soul with the living water, it will be worth all the isolation I feel because of the subject matter.

  35. *** If what you want to share with the world does not light your eyes, you canโ€™t expect it to strike anyone elseโ€™s gut or funny bone. ***

    This. This is why I write, and how I live. I’ve found that when I write what speaks to me, fills me, drives me, breaks me wide open – then I write powerfully, and those who come to read might stay long enough to be moved.

    People who are moved might share why – and then there’s room for discussion, and learning, and seeing a little bit into someone else’s life, something that’s been a passion for me since I was six.

    You lit my eyes, my soul, and my mind with that line. Pondering and percolating! =D

  36. As I read this, tears are welling up…. Unless I’m reading it wrong, I guess I’m doing it right, or at least, to me. I have never put it out there so much, I didn’t get to finish college like I would have liked to because I was a young mom and also divorced young. Everything you’ve just said is EXACTLY where I think I’m at and how I feel about my “art”, in so many aspects of your points. I wanted to highlight and post so many parts of this post to remind myself, and still may–

    I would love to do this full time and keep my part time job at the church I work at… but not at the cost of the growth and learning I’m getting. I was kind of proud of the fact that when I named my “15” Lovely Blogger award noms I can say why and know who they are, and that they’ve touched me and bettered my life since I really opened up on here and really mean that.

    I’m sooo anxious to devour part 2. The only question I have for you is, why do you have your links not set to open in a new window? I ask, because I look at it like this.. if you reference something during an article, you want to see what they are talking about, but not have to go back to the article you were in the middle of reading. Or, you might want to go back and forth.At first I thought maybe that’s a vain thing to do, but no I think its more conveinent to the reader… but I’m so curious as to why you do that.. ah that learning and growing, its a beautiful thing. Thank you so much chickie.

    • I love how meaningful it was for you to nominate the bloggers in the award post. If you mean why didn’t I link the related posts, you’re RIGHT! I should’ve! And I had just finished telling a reader this morning we need to save readers two seconds of search time if we at all can. I will fix it when I can. Thanks for the reminder. =)

      Here’s part 2, to save you the time:

      • Actually Part 3 I was having trouble finding.. and oh btw.. I figured out how to get around it quick, right clicking and selecting new tab does it just the same too.

      • No Part 3. =) Just a “miniseries” because Parts 1 and 2 came on the heels of 20 Things We Learned Blogging This Year. You can word-search or ask me for link but no obligation – just didn’t want to bother you. =)

      • You are a muse.. to me anyways. No bother. You have no idea what your tiny bit of inspiration has done for me. I guess I got confused with that and another one you have parts with… lolol… my issues. My head is spinning with info. But seriously though.. I see it all like that. Your thoughts on the world, photography and how I now look at things now and want/have to snap them cause I see beauty where I didn’t before. I’ve been wanted to do this gushy post about all this wonderful world.. and you’ve said exactly how I would of (not to say that I won’t) but my point is that I’m on the right track I guess, my instincts are. I bow to your humble awesomeness.

      • I’m just glad you are inspired and so excited about your blogging. I must say you will probably enjoy the rest of the posts here on blogging. (Under My Topics in the sidebar)

        I’m sorry navigating was a bit tricky. A reader was just saying how easy it was to navigate my blog. :/ Feel free to let me know/ask how else I can make things easier for you to find. And I hope you plug away happily at the ideas you may have gotten for more posts on your blog.


      • Thanks, I read in one of your posts that compliments are nice but please comment. I so get that, cause I want to better it for the reader and learn, so thanks for validating that, and the offer.. I don’t want to say to much either like I’m some know it all, cause far from it. I still haven’t categorized my posts correctly and my tags are crazy too. Funny I compare to what I do in the real world, an office manager– my office is totally organized but my house is far from it. Sometimes I’ve got to feel it I can’t make it, so I’m going with that. Also I think I need to just print out every post I’ve written and stack them in sections and that might help. I like though how you don’t have a menu, just Home, About and.. was it Awards? Thanks again, I’ll try not to take up your time to much either. I was a mommy once, lol. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m just a mom now, and a totally awesome granny.

      • I believe you, yeah, awesome granny. =) Not sure what you mean in saying I don’t have a menu. When you tap any title, you open up not only the post but the sidebar with my categories which I call MY TOPICS. I quickly stopped accepting awards – the No Thanks in on the sidebar.

      • Yes, I hesitated when saying that.. I meant under your title.. you have only three choices.. but yes you have topics that helped me guide my way to where I needed to be, I just got confused by the part 2, 3, etc. of the different topics on blogging. That was my error, cause I was literally drinking your posts up and opening new tabs as I read to the point that my screen was about ready to blow. So sorry for miscommunicating. I will often say I loved your blog and catch myself and change it too post. Again, still new and learning.

      • Apologies not accepted because none called for. =) Who wouldn’t accept such support? =)

        I also didn’t worry about linking Parts 1 and 2 to each other bc right under the post WPress points you to related posts and posts with similar titles. But that was a helpful pointer and I’ve added the links. =)

    • I remember now. There was a lot of activity (discussion) over this miniseries and I have this thing about bothering my readers. I hate to trouble them in any way so I didn’t want “waste” time pointing out Part 1 when I had JUST put it out. Except now you reminded me that these posts still get views and so I should bridge them for the benefit of the new readers.

  37. So hey could you post the link for part 3 I’ve opened so many pages but I don’t think I found it. Plus, you have numerous “series blogs” and in my haste I’m a bit lost. But ya glad I can actually give you some help too.

    • It’s a bit tricky locating series because blogs flip backward in time. :/

      But it helps that I’ve broken them down into parts.
      Greatness: …The Art of War, Part 1
      Greatness: In the Mouth of Slavery, Part 6 I think, etc

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