Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 2, 2016
Sometimes it takes me a while to get to things I’ve downloaded to my computer. That’s the case with what’s lead to the topic of today’s post.
I often download podcasts and interviews but don’t always find the time to listen to them. I’d loaded a bunch of them onto my phone, but I could never find them. I finally figured out about 3 weeks ago how to access those files, and once I finished a couple of the recorded books I had I decided to listen to a couple of them.
I got to one by Darren Rowse, Problogger to some of you (the guy credited with being the 1st million dollar blogger), which was titled How One Humiliating Experience Gave Me a Wake Up Call That Helped Me Build a More Profitable Blog. That I’m 8 months late getting to it is intriguing, yet I’m glad that I did get to it.
Just so you know, there’s about to be some storytelling coming up, some truths about my life and business and such. If you decide you’d rather skip right to the blogging part just click on that highlighted B and it’ll drop you way down to where I start specifically talking about that.
He talks about how he felt like he’d been going through the motions with his blogs and businesses, feeling almost burned out and not believing he was giving his best effort. He came to an epiphany that most of us go through life greeting people by saying something like “how are you” and moving on because we really don’t care, we’re just being polite.
One day he decided to sit down and think about how he’d answer that question if he were to be honest. As he looked at himself in his mind he realized that there were a lot of things going on, both positive and negative, but a lot of the negative things were holding him back, especially those related to health. He also realized that he’d gotten out of the habit of reading other blogs, something he used to do a lot of, and reading other types of articles, to the extent that he felt he was just churning out things he figured he knew based on his experience but was bored by that, and wondered if his readers might be bored by it as well.
At the end of the podcast he challenged those of us who listened to it to do the same for ourselves. If y’all know anything about me I’m always up to some kind of challenge, so I figured I’d start off talking about this one for a bit; I hope you stick with me but if you didn’t, I hope you remember that, once again, you can click on the first letter of blogging and drop down below to see what I have to say about that.
I figure there are 3 things all of us really need to deal with: health, finances and mindset. As Darren said, anything you identify as a negative gives you time to try to correct it so you can improve yourself and potentially improve your life and blogging; hey, he’s Problogger after all! lol Something that immediately separates me from him is that I’m always thinking about all 3 of these things, every single day. Sometimes I write things down, sometimes I don’t, sometimes I’m on point and sometimes I’m floundering. So there’s not tons of backstory for me in that regard. Instead, I’ll mention what’s going on in general and whether it’s good or bad.
I’ll start with health. In general I’m going along pretty well. If I had to rank myself on a 10-point scale I’d give myself a 7. The best thing is that I’m right now averaging 20,000 steps a day, which is close to 10 miles of walking a day; ouch! 🙂 I thank Fitbit for getting me to do it It’s going to be coming down within the next few weeks, but I’ll be coming back to that one. One more thing to mention about the walking is that this leg issue I had, where there was this vein that throbbed from my left hip to around my knee, seems to have calmed down some; that was some serious pain but for now it’s gone away.
My weight has been steady, and I thank Myfitnesspal for helping me with that one. I know a lot of folks think tracking food and such is a major pain but I can tell you that it’s not only helped me lose some weight but it’s helped me gain control of my diabetes.
Those are the good things. The bad things are all centered around my lack of sleep. I average just over 3 hours of sleep a night, while my goal is 5 hours. Even though I have a CPAP which helps me sleep better, it doesn’t help people sleep more. So far in 2016 I’ve hit my 5 hour goal 7 times from just sleeping overnight. I can bring that number up to 11 if I count those times when I’ve taken a nap and been able to get over 5 hours for the day. That sounds pretty bad doesn’t it?
What happens with that is it affects my concentration, at least during the day. I find it hard to get a lot of things done because I can only focus about 30 minutes at a time, if that. It’s one reason why I walk so much, because when I can’t concentrate I can only do two things, and being on the computer isn’t enough to keep my interest as much so I walk for my health. The strange thing is that when it gets to around 7PM I’m suddenly pretty alert, so I do most of my writing and other work from then until 2AM, only breaking to eat and walk some more.
I’m trying some things to hopefully sleep longer. Every once in a while I try to get to bed earlier, and when I awaken I force myself to stay in bed until at least 8:30. Those days get me close to 5 hours but have you ever realized how tired you get trying to sleep when you can’t sleep? I’m trying some meditation but it only helps me fall asleep and not stay asleep, and falling asleep isn’t my problem. I’ve tried the Sleepy Time tea and some other things, and I’m always changing how I physically go to sleep, but with a CPAP there aren’t a lot of options.
Still, I recognize this is the hardest thing to overcome if I want to push forward with my career and my blogging. I also realize how it affects the next two things.
Finances are an interesting one. My wife and I split the bills and I make enough to pay my share and still have a little bit left. Because I was on a long term consulting gig before that I have some money in reserve. That’s an important business lesson for anyone who works for themselves; when the gravy train is running well be sure to put some away for when it runs out of gas. The thing is, because my mind is often foggy from lack of sleep it’s hard to think out of the box and even harder to do what needs to be done to really be successful. Sometimes I feel like I need more pats on the back for the things I actually do get finished like my book from last year.
Mindset… that’s a big one. I’ll admit that I vacillate between feeling very positive and just “meh”. I’m glad that it’s rare I’m really down, but when I am I can usually get rid of it by taking a nap… which means it’s tied in to the lack of sleep thing.
My mindset will be improving in about 3 1/2 weeks when my wife finally comes home from San Antonio, where she’s been since September. Some of you might remember my story about the ladder back in January but if you don’t, or you didn’t read it, check it out. I’m an only child, so I can entertain and take care of myself. Yet it’s always nice having at least one person who cares about you (besides your mother; I’ll talk more about her in a moment), will go out to eat with you, walk at the lake with you… well, you get it.
I’m also working on my latest book which is on the topic of motivation, and based on an article I wrote some years ago titled 46 Ways To Reach Your Own Super Bowl. If writing a book on motivation doesn’t improve your mood nothing will.
There is one bad thing occurring though, something that a lot of us have to deal with at some point. My mother’s memory is slipping a bit, and she lives alone about 90 minutes away from me. Luckily she can take care of herself but it’s something I have to keep an eye on since it’s just me and her. Sometimes she says things that scare me, and late last year she had a car accident and… well, let’s just say that she didn’t hurt herself but she totaled the car by doing something so inconceivable that I’m stunned she got away with it.
Hey, no one ever said we’re supposed to get through life without challenges right? Anyway, that’s all I’m going to touch upon as it regards my life; anything more and I might as well film a documentary. By the way, if you listen to the podcast I linked to above you’ll hear Darren talking about the same sort of things in his life.
One major thing that separates Darren and myself is that I’m constantly reading a lot of other blogs, mainly because I still follow feeds via my feedreader program. For a while a couple of years ago I was missing out on reading a lot of other things online that had to do with blogging or business because the only news source I had besides local news was CNN. I’m not a Huffington Post kind of person and I had no idea how to find new content.
Thank goodness for Twitter lists and Flipboard, both of which allowed me to set up categories so I could follow people and topics I like so I could not only find entertainment but learn about things I could talk about and share with others, even here on this blog.
Because of those two things I’ve been able to write posts about things like Blab, making your website mobile friendly, how to sculpt your Facebook feed so you see what you want to see, talk about YouTube monetization, the Samsung Galaxy 5 birthdays and calendar issue, and of course my post sharing 31 blogging and social media mistakes.
In essence, you can’t even think about being a successful blogger if you’re not taking in at least a portion of what’s going on “now”. I mean, I could probably write a year’s worth of posts (writing only once a week mind you) on blogging, writing and social media without consuming a single new thing, but within months I’d probably be writing about obsolete things. Change is consistent, as well as ideas, and if I didn’t read things like this monster post on how to get more traffic to my website by Nat Eliason or this truly epic post by Neil Patel on things that could kill your blog posts I might not have newer things to write about, even if I was beating up what I was reading like I did when I wrote this post about a blog whose misleading title drove me nuts because the content didn’t live up to expectations.
Let’s close this post with 7 things you can do to be a better blogger:
You don’t have to do a research project like I did when testing lots of blog content & whether you increase visits but if you did it would give you something to write about. It will also give you insight and knowledge that you can share with others and that knowledge never goes away.
Although I’ve linked to a lot of my own posts in this blog I’ve also linked out to 3 other people. Hopefully y’all will not only visit them but let those folk know that I shared their links on this blog, and then think about sharing links to other blogs and sources on your blog.
4. Internal linking
Why did I do all that internal linking? Because it not only helps people find more content that’s related to something I talked about but because it keeps people reading and learning and hopefully commenting and sharing and having a reason to come back for more to see what I’ll say next time. Oh yeah, it’s also great for SEO!
I hope you checked out that link above when I talked about misleading titles. My biggest gripe was the writer didn’t write anything original. There are lots of subjects that we all talk about but if we can’t find our own voice in writing about it then why should anyone care to stop by?
6. Make it easy for “people” to participate
Stop making people create accounts to comment on your blog. Stop making people log in to comment on your blog. Make sure people are receiving email telling them when you respond to their comments (which seems to be happening for me less and less these days) and of course respond to comments. I know so many of you are worried about spam, but getting comments, real comments, is worth it; Heck, even Copyblogger brought them back this past January!
Care about your audience. Care about your language. Care about your grammar. Care about yourself. Care about your topic. Care about your neighborhood, family and friends. Care… just care… 😀
Did I miss anything? Let me know, leave a comment, share this with your friends and family… and think about how you are.