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The Great Blogging Strike of 2016

Posted by Kelley Bren Burke on

Suffering from writer's block? How I overcame blogger's block with a practice of daily writing.

I could not believe my website stats. They revealed that 13 people read my April blog post. Let’s break that down. Thirteen people read a blog that took hours of my life to write. That 13-Reader stat inspired The Great Blogging Strike of 2016. 

I was pissed! Irrationally pissed, but pissed nonetheless. My thought process went a little like this: I’ll show them, those . . . non readers of my blog. I’m not gonna write another blog for a while! THAT will show them. THEN they’ll be sorry. Except, shit, no, they won’t be sorry. Cuz they wouldn’t even read it in the first place! SHIT!

I’m a new blogger. I've written about 12 blogs so far. My 2016 goal was to write two blogs every month. I’m a dutiful girl, so that’s exactly what I did. That is, until The Great Blogging Strike of 2016. 

In April, I only posted the one 13-reader blog. For much of April and May, I stewed silently. Not writing. My desire not to write was reinforced every time that 13-Reader stat popped up on my dashboard. 

But I kept getting other prods from the universe to write. I heard the message on podcasts, and I read it on blogs. Essentially, all bloggers want to write a post that will strike a chord in others and be widely read. Absolutely no one can predict which post, if any, will resonate with others. Maybe the answer is not to go on strike, but simply to write.

OVERCOMING WRITER'S BLOCK  

Author Gretchen Rubin is an expert on habits. I recently read her book Better Than Before. She says if a habit is difficult to adopt, one strategy is to commit to doing the habit every day. I committed to writing for 15 minutes every day. I’ve been writing daily since May 22, 2016.

The iffy habits are the the hardest for me. Without clear expectations for myself, I vacillate endlessly, wondering whether I really have to do the dreaded habit today. Do I have to write for 15 minutes today? I wrote for 30 minutes yesterday, AND I created a blog graphic on Canva. Maybe I should skip today. Or: It’s a national holiday! It’s Memorial Day! Let’s have cocktails INSTEAD of writing! Wheee! It’s easier for me to commit to daily writing, no matter what. 

After beginning daily writing, I wrote a blog called “Four Daily Habits That Boost Happiness”. I had my head screwed on right for this one. I was just going to write, regardless of whether I had 13 readers or not. 

The phrase “tend to the causes” popped into my head during my pouty writing strike. That phrase is from one of my favorite books, Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time It’s written by psychologist and author Rick Hanson. 

Rick Hanson writes a story about trying to grow an apple tree. You can buy the best sapling, plant the tree in the best place, with the best dirt, water it and tend to it faithfully. You know, do whatever it is you do to an apple tree. I’m just paraphrasing here. 

Despite the best effort, the most powerful person in the world can’t make that apple tree grow. All you can do is tend to the causes. He writes:

 “You are responsible for the causes you can tend to. If you are not getting the results you want in your life, ask yourself: Am I truly doing everything I reasonably can to promote the causes of those results? Paradoxically, focusing less on results and more on causes improves the odds of getting the results you want: you zero in on creating the factors (i.e., causes and conditions) that naturally lead to success, and you aren’t worn down by stressing over the outcome.”

Yes! Thank you, Rick Hanson. I’m right there with you. I’m tending to the causes. I’m developing my Buddha Brain. I’m all zen and shit. I’m feeling super evolved. I hit post on my May blog. With that keystroke, I broke The Great Blogging Strike of 2016. 

You know what happened? 588 people read my May blog within the first six days. Significantly more readers than my other blogs. See those teeny tiny words at the bottom of the graph? That’s where all my other blog posts were hanging out after their first six days in the universe. 

shopify blog post stat on dashboard

I even received a notification from my web host, Shopify. They told me that my blog post ranked in the top 10% of all recent Shopify blogs.

your blog post is in the top 10% of all recent shopify blogs

 Well, Hello, New Mindfuck! Now my ego kicks in. I’m refreshing stats constantly, reading comments, and feeling like I just might be hot shit. 

Until doubt pops up. Maybe it was just a good graphic? Maybe 588 people clicked on my blog post, and then they clicked away, disappointed. 588 readers is not that big of a deal anyway. Millions of people read the really good blogs. 

This is the cycle of my creative life.

Work > Response or Lack Thereof > Doubt > Work > Learning and Brief Moments of Zen > Work > Mindfuck

Rinse and repeat. 

graph of the creative cycle

How many people will read this blog? Probably somewhere between 13 to 588 people in the first six days. I don’t know. And I’m trying not to care. I’m just writing. I’m tending to the causes.  


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2 comments

  • Thanks for reading, Sami! Starting a blog is tough, right? I’m just going to keep on keepin’ on. And you should, too :)

    Kelley Bren Burke on
  • This rang really true to me. I’m still at the stage where, if I get six or seven views on a blog post, it’s a success. I still feel like I’m shouting into the ether, and there are days I ask myself ‘Why am I even still writing?’ This was very, very comforting - thank you for sharing!

    Sami on

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