11 things you don't have to do to be a good blogger

I've been blogging for over 5 years and in that time I've probably seen at least 1000 advice posts about what to do to be a great blogger, and I'm here to be the antithesis of all that advice.

Contrary to popular belief, being a good blogger is writing how you want to write, when you want to write, about the things you like. 

Everything else is just noise. So here are some things you definitely DON'T have to do to be a good blogger.

  1. You don't have to have thousands of readers. A small tribe of loyal supporters is much more manageable than a social media presence so busy you're drowning.
  2. You don't have to have dozens of comments on each post. If  you have 5 people who comment on your blog regularly you're luckier than some. And if you look at some of the most popular bloggers with regards to social media presence, they hardly have any blog comments at all. Don't sweat the comments.
  3. You don't have to courtesy follow back anyone you don't want to follow. If people REALLY want to follow you they'll follow you regardless. Don't feel you have to follow thousands of people unless you want to - it's very time consuming. Don't caught up in the numbers game for the sake of it - it's a very empty existence.
  4. You don't have to spread yourself thin to be on every social media platform. Don't feel you HAVE to be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr etc, for your blog. Choose 2-3 platforms you enjoy using and stick to them. If you're offering up quality posts your readers will share them elsewhere for you anyway.
  5. You don't have to be best buds with absolutely every blogger in your niche. It's impossible for a start, unless you're a automaton who never needs to sleep. I count the good friends I've made from blogging on my two hands - people I could trust with my life. The rest are acquaintances - many of them lovely acquaintances - but don't forget who your real friends are away from blogging. I've seen bloggers come and go and friendships dissolve into thin air, so maintain your other friendships because they'll be there for you after blogging.
  6. You don't have to want to make a career out of it. Writing is so much more fun when you do it because you want to, not because you HAVE to.
  7. You don't have to make money from it. It's OK if it's your hobby. Hobbies are enjoyable, jobs usually aren't!
  8. You don't have to be drowning in PR samples to be a cool blogger. Believe me, they're a lot of work. You have to photograph them and write about them to a deadline, which can be a real pain when life gets in the way. 
  9. Don't rate your worth in social media likes. Please don't get caught up in thinking that if you're having a slow social media week your importance is waning. Blogging can be summed up as people sitting at home with holes in their knickers talking about Gucci. Don't forget there's a reality beyond what you're reading. 
  10. Don't get caught up in doing what everyone else is doing. It's really hard to keep hold of your identity when you become part of a collective, especially a close-knit collective like blogging often is. Don't lose sight of who YOU are, because if you spend all your time following what everyone else does, you'll end up miserable. 
  11. Perhaps most importantly of all - don't compare yourself to others. You don't know other people's path, their struggle, or how much work they put in behind the scenes. Focus on driving in your lane, and let other people drive in theirs. This is the biggest piece of advice I would go back and give myself 5 years ago if I could. Comparisons will destroy you if you're not careful.
The main point to take away from this blog post is only YOU are the boss of you. Do what makes you happy, and then you are a success. It's that simple. If you're not happy, no level of success will be enough. In many ways when I was writing to an audience of 3 people I was happier, as there were no expectations of me. I felt freer, like I could write about whatever I liked. And that's so stupid, because I still CAN.

Goals and aims are great, but make sure they're your goals. It's very easy to get caught up in other people's goals when a lot of people want the same thing. Check in with yourself once in a while to make sure you're still following YOUR path, not the most well trodden one. I avoid blogging advice posts, unless they're anti-advice posts like this one, as I only want once voice in my head telling me what to do - mine. I've also stopped reading a lot of blogs because there's only so much media I can take in daily, and I need time for my brain to work on my own content. Be gently selfish - give yourself room to think.

Please don't overwhelm yourself thinking you have to do everything, be everything. Just be you. Managing to do that in a world which will constantly try to change you is an achievement in itself. You are enough.

Thanks for reading,
Leah xoxo

Currently watching - HTGAWM series 2.
Just finished watching - Bloodline series 2.
Listening to - The Defiled

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