Seven Mental Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers

1. Think big.
I really have to start living the the way I’ve come to blog. On unsure terrain in those early days, I put out safe posts, ones within my interests. On homeschooling, for example. I felt assured I was “doing the right thing” looking like other bloggers. But gradually, I began to tap deeper into the ideas that really grabbed me. Last year, blogging stopped being a train of posts I shot out one at a time wondering what I’d write about next. Rather than post linearly, I started architecting this blog, figuring out how many floors (that is, topics) I would erect in the next six months, going backward to furnish the rooms (the posts for each topic). The blueprinting gave me direction, control, and purpose. But I didn’t stay bound to these plans. Plenty of posts arose from whimsy and those moments where life happen.

2. Stay flexible.
Stay tuned to your hot topics and see what you can do with them. Moving into 2014, I watched the post on Black Santa generate enthusiastic discussion and was reminded that everyone has something to say about race. It is, after all, as close to home as you can get. So I bit the bullet and launched the ambitious Race Around the World. The cultural tapestry we pieced together those 80 days gave way to more series. On class, identity, belonging, guilt, shame, money, opportunity, hope.

3. Stay happily discontent whether it’s wanting more out of your content or your subscriber base.
We never arrive, do we? And success, especially in cyberland, is an endless stretch of horizon. A word on unfollows. I’ve seen funny posts with bloggers screeching that they lost three followers. I value every reader, especially the active supporters, but feel dependent on none. You will get unfollows. It’s the ease and democracy of blogosphere where people come and go. Don’t pin desperate hopes on anyone. Set your sights higher, and higher still. I tend not to reach out to readers who seemed to have stepped away. I don’t want to obligate them to visit if they’ve moved on, though I often discover life pulled them away for a season. Or WordPress wiped me off their radar, an unfortunate glitch in our system.

4. Don’t play it safe.
The empty post page is a blank check I write myself. Create opportunity, for yourself as well as others, which can birth more opportunities. Twenty-two months ago I never imagined I’d host a forum where a worldwide community of artists and thinkers could share their history, fears, and dreams. Blogs are a safe place to test the boundaries that in life you may not be able to play with. Experiment, try new projects. You’re limited only by fear and imagination. Staying static is like painting your whole blog one color and keeping it that way.

5. Remember how small you are in blogging and in life.
There’s always someone with more readers, someone faster, smarter, more talented and savvy. You’re not all that, and neither am I. That’s why I try to keep it real. For all the rewriting I do here, I don’t want to end up editing my image when you’re coming to me with a level of trust in my honesty.

6. Know how big you can be.
Not only are quantity and quality not mutually exclusive, they can feed one another. Have you thought about why it is you want to grow your readership? The answer can be more meaningful and fulfilling than your own popularity, your ego. There is a satisfaction that comes from resonating with a larger crowd, degrees of insight and perspective a larger following can offer. You expand possibilities for yourself, viewers, and your community.

7. Know why you’re here.
I got chills watching him carve in the sky the triple somersault and half-twist before slipping clean into the water. Last summer, the commentator said of Gary Hunt who was known for his inventive cliff diving, “He knows exactly why he’s in the air.” The power, the grace. The hours and hours Hunt devoted in the search for his best self. In the writing, dreaming, collaborating, I’m exploring my capacity as an artist and a community builder. I create something bigger than me, something that extends beyond the bounds of my own life. The extraordinary discussions, synergy, stats were not my goals but the unexpected payoff of one simple purpose: excellence. I’ll never be a medalist but my blog is where I test my reach, and enjoy visible and lasting rewards for the time I put in. Know why you’re in the air and why you want to get there. Doesn’t have to be serious or profound but if you don’t know why you’re here, we don’t either.


367 thoughts on “Seven Mental Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers

  1. I think this post hit home on many levels for me. I’m glad you posted this and my favourite part was number seven. I started my blog with a specific purpose, and amongst the noise of the world, sometimes I forget and sometimes doubt that my site will do anything to anyone! Your posts have inspired me and some have made me laugh (very important) and I hope I can do the same with mine site ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Such thoughtful feedback, Jenny. It is neat hearing the back story of bloggers. I enjoy every visit, it’s just this wee obstacle called time. You know I learn a lot over there. Stay on course. =) (Been thinking of you.)


  2. Why DO we have that glitch where people follow off your Reader? It happens all the time to me and seems like it’s an easy fix for WordPress? Putting that aside, — this post is like prime rib at a buffet — so satisfying & filling but yet you continue to go back for seconds. I will definitely reread this many times because there’s so much here. But your closing line is my dessert for tonight. “…if you donโ€™t know why youโ€™re here, we donโ€™t either.” Perfect. No whip cream or sprinkles necessary.

  3. Love it…… those mental habits are expandable to achieving your goals, reaching your full potential, becoming successful in life. Know how big you can be…. is my favourite

  4. Sometimes I post , then another follower takes my idea and use for something else or changes the meaning around. I feel like they are trying to bring the follow. But, still it’s almost like they stealing the limelight.
    Thanks for your insight in advance.

  5. Please don’t take this the wrong way or anything, but I forgot how I stumbled upon your blog and I just started to read this post. It was interesting, strong and bold. I loved every point I read and your experiences about each one. This post is inspiring to me and should be to all bloggers. So, I wanted to say thank you for writing this up and letting me read this ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you have a great day.

  6. “Youโ€™re limited only by fear and your imagination”. You hit the nail on the head. It’s so true. When we are fearful, we limit ourselves to what we can do. We really don’t know what we are capable of unless we get out of our comfort zone. Thanks for sharing these great tips. Have a lovely weekend.

      • I think all of what you listed spoke to me. It took me a while to leave a comment because they left me speechless and they’re thought provoking. It’s not easy to leave your comfort zone, especially if you once experienced bullying. I get choked up just mentioning the word. It took so much courage to finally do what I love. I started blogging and interact with people even though I am fearful because my writing is not that great. The bullying is always in the back of my head. It’s something I need to get over with. Anyway, thanks for the response and for visiting my blog and liking my post. I wish you well.

      • Oh Anna, how terrible. Goodness…cyberbullying, huh? Though my experience on WPress has for the most part been breathtakingly wonderful, I hAve come across a few bloggers who don’t know what it means to disagree respectfully. They name-call and will say anything to feel they are right. The saddest thing. Do NOT give that person the power he wanted over you. That is done and over with. You will meet whatever challenges lie ahead (and the chances on the bullying really are slim) but as long as the sun shines on you today, you live and write and don’t let anyone take a piece of your breath this day. Own your writing.

      • The bullying happened a long time ago. But, I believe it will never end. I think some people are just ignorant and refused to accept that they are not the only people in this planet. If only people will treat others the way they want to be treated, this world will be a much better place. I was called an idiot and all kinds of names and told to go back to my country etc…I think it is sad that you are judged by the color of your skin and how smart you are. For sure, try speaking my language and see if you can utter a sentence or two. The English language is so complex. One word has different meanings. In blogging world, if you don’t write well, it’s pretty much telling you to forget about blogging. I love Albert Einstein’s quote, ‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.’ Now that’s inspiring! Thank you for all the great advice. It’s very much appreciated. Best wishes to you, Diana.

      • Remember, people like that have a very fragile ego to protect. They have to bash others to be able to feel good about themselves. I bet that person’s forgotten about you – in the lineup of other victims since. Move on. Seize the gift of each new day, Anna.


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  8. I’m new to blogging, so posts like this are so helpful! Thanks for posting your blogging wisom!

  9. Pingback: Seven Mental Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers | Morning Journal

  10. I’ve been writing for several years just to get things off my mind, and to be able to remember what life has been like, but your #1 think big item makes me think it’s time for more of a plan. Thanks for stimulating thought and suggesting a direction.

  11. Thanks for stopping by my blog and sharing this post link with me!! I have days where I layout a blue print and then I completely go off track. I certainly have a lot of rooms to furnish as I tend to jump from topic to topic depending on where my thoughts are at for the day. I think that long term (after some serious furnishing attempts) it might all pay off.

    • I haven’t worried about keeping to a topic. I think that while defining a niche could be helpful, it could on the flip side be limiting. What is more important is the value of each post and the way it is written. I appreciate the follow, SA. =) And I have more posts on successful blogging – see sidebar – if they interest any.

      Diana =)

  12. “Staying static is like painting your blog one colour and keeping it that way.” That’s a really nice thought you’ve put out there, inspired me, it did! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for writing this.

  13. These guides to successful blogging are worth revisiting, especially when the “well” of ideas seems to be (temporarily) dry. Thank you for liking my blog post. I appreciate it when not only the newest posts receive attention and that past experiences are “like”worthy!

  14. It’s exhilarating to write something like this and having the certainty in your heart, as you go about it, that you are not only serving as a guide, instructor for others, but also reasserting acclimations. Solidifying the progression of learning and direction. Great work, thanks again.

  15. Very pragmatic and yet leaving the mastery of writing to be coherently heard. Blog writing is very therapeutic for me. I am not bothered what I write and to whom I write ….I try to defy my cultured self and also desecrate the voice of language into self expressive creation. Your article is very encouraging and informative. Anand Bose from Kerala.

  16. One of the bloggers’ perks is to come across such post full of substance! I’m so encouraged. I’m seriously pondering on Points 1 & 7. A nudge of reminder for me as well as a boost of confidence.
    Thanks for your comments on ‘The Book Shelter’ post. it always humbles me when gifted writers and bloggers stumble upon my blog ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’ll visit you again soon!

  17. This is super beautiful, thank you. Perfect timing … as I’m at a point in my life of taking a step up and opening to what’s next for me. Many blessings … and good to connect with you! โค

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