Hey blogger: Please don’t quit

by Craig McBreen · 50 comments · Social media


Do not give upThis post is an appeal.

And I implore you to reconsider.

But first, a vision …

Last night I had a dream where I was seeing off fellow blogger John Magnet Bell. It was one of those, “see you later, dude … good luck,” moments. I shook his hand and then, off he went in a white Volvo station wagon full of sales DVDs.

Dreams are funny like that. You’re dropped into a scene. No explanation. No resolution. And I’m always like, “where’s the fucking ending?”

Anyway, I don’t see John peddling Sales DVDs by the box, or going to a local chamber meeting to hawk his wares.

John, if you beg to differ, please chime in.

But maybe the dream was my subconscious at work. “Craig, it’s time to start selling stuff on your blog.”

Interpretation: Mr. Bell represented the social web (sorry, John) and the DVDs represented the crossroads.

Well, I might choose to sell stuff on my blog, but digging a little bit, my interpretation of the dream is about the rather bumpy ride of blogging. Whether you’re a woman selling hemlock flutes, a guy giving sage marketing advice, or a small business trying to please the god we call Google, it’s all the same …

It’s hard. Really, really hard.

There is no finish line and you need to kick you own ass every day.

Decision after decision, and there are a lot of people yelling rather loudly, telling YOU what to do.

You might feel like you’re at a crossroads. Or that you’ve simply had enough and think it’s time to say bye bye.

And that’s where we get back to the title of this piece. The appeal.

I beseech you …

Before you give up.

While you’re thinking about the “overwhelm.”

As you drag yourself, kicking and screaming to write another post, record another video, write another email, think …

Think about the thousands of hours spent writing.

Add up the time you spent networking on social media.

The days and weeks that went into crafting your site.

Try and remember why you started in the first place.

THEN visualize yourself seeing something through. It doesn’t have to be an extraordinary task. No! Just think of one major goal accomplished.

One goal. That’s it.

Now, write down that one goal again. Embed it in your noodle. Think big, but act small.

In fact, teeny, tiny baby steps are the only way to make “it” happen. Trust me, I’ve been around the block.

But PLEASE. Do. Not. Give. Up.

I’ve been reading post after post lately from many fine peeps in our kingly blogdom. Posts about throwing in the towel, saying “Sayonara,” “Adios,” “Auf Wiedersehen.”

I DON’T LIKE reading these posts.

I hate them. Not because I’m disgusted with the authors, no! I just think so many are sick of the race and so overwhelmed. But that’s the problem – many see this blogging thing as a race, a competition, where the only way up is to be on every list, consume ever email, every webinar, and spend bookoo bucks attending yet another conference.

This is not a race and you do not, should not, under any condition try to emulate someone else you see as super successful. Trust me, there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors in this realm and not everyone is being 100% honest. Plus you can’t just emulate success and expect it to work.

Jamie wrote a great post about telling the world to shut up. It’s an uplifting piece because it’s about finding YOUR way, something I preach ad nauseam.

And, that’s what I’m doing today. Preaching, because I feel rather preachy today.

Forget the noisy world around you.

Get out of the social media bubble for a few days.

Stop following. Stop consuming. Start doing.

Do it your way.

But don’t give up. K?

That’s all I have to say.

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe February 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Feel like putting on a Sinatra disc – ….”and I did it my way….”

Thanks again for the heads up on Jamie’s post. One of the best I’ve read in a while.
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Craig McBreen February 20, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Joe,

How did you know what I was listening to? ;)

And, yes, that was a solid post!

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Lisa February 20, 2013 at 4:46 pm

You are so right, it sure is a bumpy road of blogging here. The work is never done but as long as you enjoy the ride it’s like going to the amusement park.

Thanks for sharing Jamie’s post, loved it! I try now to just compete with myself and stress less. Didn’t the tortoise win the race in the end?
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Craig McBreen February 20, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Hey Lisa,

Great to see you here. Yes, the amusement park analogy works ;) Yes, that was a great post she wrote.

The slow and steady tortoise always wins in the end :)

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Josh February 20, 2013 at 9:04 pm

One step at a time, one post at a time, one day at a time.
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Craig McBreen February 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Hey Josh,

I like that methodology :)

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Carolyn February 21, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Josh, You had a great line this week that I thought of when reading Craig’s article:

” I blog at the speed of me.”
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Craig McBreen February 21, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Leave it to Josh! That is a great line :)

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Bell February 21, 2013 at 2:55 am

Curiously enough, my first car was a second-hand Volvo. It had so many miles on it, it could have made it to the moon and back.

You’re absolutely right: Thinking of blogging as a race, or a competition, leads to delusional thoughts about losing. The mind makes things real when it wants to, and if you believe yourself part of a race, then that’s happening to you. In your mind.

When in fact you’re not “losing,” you’re just tired.

Do you know what makes life good? Continuity. Sticking with commitments, with friendships, relationships, hobbies and creative pursuits. I’m a devout follower of Saint Continuity now, regardless of the peaks and troughs.
Bell recently posted..And You Call Yourself a MachineMy Profile

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Craig McBreen February 21, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Well, that’s pretty amazing. Funny that a white Volvo station wagon was one of the details I remembered. I do think there is one guy who has over 2 million miles on his Volvo, so I wonder how far out in space he could go? All true regarding the dream.

That’s a great way to lay it out, and it makes it so clear people need to avoid thinking of this as a competition or a numbers game.

I like your mention of Saint Continuity and I would say I’m fully on board with that.

Thanks for stopping in and good luck selling those DVDs ;)

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Carolyn February 21, 2013 at 7:57 pm

I should never have read this right before going to sleep. Guaranteed nightmares about Bell quitting blogging. I had no idea this was a horror story! ;-0
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Craig McBreen February 21, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Ha ha. I don’t think Bell is going anywhere. Now if he’d just trade in that old Volvo ;)

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Bell February 22, 2013 at 11:11 am

I’m too attached to it. I took it to the scrapyard ages ago, but it still haunts my dreams. And yours too now, apparently. ;)
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Craig McBreen February 22, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Ha ha, yes! Probably because I am in Seattle, land of Volvos. I see so many.

Bell February 22, 2013 at 11:08 am

I’m flattered, Carolyn. Thank you.
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Julie Barrett February 21, 2013 at 3:57 am

And what an excellent moment to say it. Your timing is impeccable, it’s like the hand of God :)
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Craig McBreen February 21, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Hey Julie,

Sometimes people need a wee boost, right? Just been reading a lot of discouraging posts lately, so I just wanted to throw in my glass half full outlook :)

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Tim Bonner February 21, 2013 at 4:34 am

Slow and steady is the way forward for me Craig.

I’ve tried to keep up with everything going on and it’s too much. I’m going to do it my way.

If I don’t get so many visitors, so many Tweets or likes etc, does that really matter to me at the moment? No

As you said to me recently, “keep grinding away” and that’s what I intend to do, just a bit more slowly than I was trying to do before!

I think both you and Mr Dorman are in my head this week :-).
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Craig McBreen February 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Hi Tim,

Slow and steady makes for a good run and a happy camper in the end.

Blogging is a discovery process and it’s easy to get sidetracked, daily. Continually whittling things down so you really can figure out your way is when a bit of joy sets in, at least I think so.

Yes, keep grinding away. Doesn’t sound so romantic, but most of the folks who are really making things happen in this space have been at it for 5-10 years at least.

Thanks, Sir!

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Mark February 21, 2013 at 8:15 am

Hey Craig, you do have a way with words, sir!

I’m going to have borrow (steal) some of your terms, as my ‘noodle’ is always impressed and inspired when I visit here.

Thank you, sir!
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Craig McBreen February 21, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Hey Mark,

Thanks, man! I was hoping people wouldn’t think of this post as the ramblings of some lunatic.

Borrow away, you can use all my silly terms if you’d like. I won’t charge royalties ;)

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Ryan Hanley February 21, 2013 at 10:04 am

Craig,

This is a great post my friend… because anyone that actually listens to you will have chosen their own success.

That will be the moment. When we want to quit. When we think no one is listening. When we feel like Google has forsaken us. It’s that moment that you choose your own success and things start to change.

It’s easy to choose yourself when things are going good.

But it’s the tough moments that actually matter.

Appreciate your work,

Hanley
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Craig McBreen February 21, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Hey Ryan,

Thanks and cheers to choosing your own success!

I like the tone here and I think you are correct. It is often when we feel that we’ve given it everything we’ve got and we are ready to give up when things actually do change for the better. That’s the essence of this post. Don’t stop. Keep pushing.

“But it’s the tough moments that actually matter.”
– This is so true and goes along with those little steps. Some want things too fast, but life just doesn’t work that way.

Thanks for the great comments!

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Suddenly Jamie February 21, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Hello, Craig!
Love your post (as always), and tickled that you enjoyed my post enough to share it. Thank you.

I wanted to draw a little extra attention to something you said above because I think it is an important reality check that would help a lot of people get past the fear of putting themselves out there and the need to keep up with the Joneses, so to speak.

You said, “Trust me, there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors in this realm and not everyone is being 100% honest. Plus you can’t just emulate success and expect it to work.”

Okay, technically, that’s TWO things.

1. Smoke & mirrors: You said it. It is so easy to create illusions online. Hell, forget businesses, people create whole lives that are nothing but pixels and words. Unfortunately, if you take every digital transmission at face value, it’s easy to feel intimidated. Feeling intimidated leads to feeling inferior which leads to analysis paralysis which leads nowhere. Remember, that person behind the curtain – s/he is just a person, like you.
2. Another man’s success … : This is another great caution, Craig. There is no silver bullet. There is no bulletproof plan. Too often, the alchemy behind someone’s success is something that cannot be replicated. There are too many variables. It burns me when I see someone touting their way as The Way and trying to make a living off encouraging others to follow exactly in their footsteps for guaranteed fame and fortune. If the world worked that way, we’d all be rich and famous. But, it doesn’t. Each of us has to find our own way. That’s kind of the point. Sure, there are some strategies and techniques that will be helpful to many, but there’s no, single, proven path to a happy ending. If someone is promising that, run away. Fast. ;)

Love the post. Love the fire in your belly. Thanks for sharing and helping me stoke my own creative fires! :)
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Craig McBreen February 21, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Hi Jamie,

Yes, that was a great post you wrote.

About the smoke and mirrors thing …

I think a very large chunk in our realm do indeed create grand illusions. Pixels and words, indeed! How about some background investigations ;)

“Feeling intimidated leads to feeling inferior which leads to analysis paralysis which leads nowhere. Remember, that person behind the curtain – s/he is just a person, like you.”
– This about sums up my post ;) Or maybe, stop trying to keep up with the Joneses, and it is so easy to get caught up in that mentality.

And there is definitely no single path to a perfect ending. Promises, promises, right?

Thank you! I am just glad to know some very smart, talented, creative people (like you) and I know we’ll be plugging away, our way, slowly but surely, um, without making any false promises of course.

Cheers to finding our own way.

Thanks for the great comments!

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Suddenly Jamie February 22, 2013 at 10:46 am

Cheers, indeed!
I’ll raise a toast to that this evening at the pub.
;)
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Craig McBreen February 22, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Hey, I’ll be doing the same!

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Carolyn February 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Craig, You are right, and I hope you change some minds. I’ve only been at this for two years, but I am amazed at how many fallen soldiers have dropped out along the way. It’s like losing a friend when they stop blogging. Sometimes they come back, but often they don’t.

I love this blogging stuff so much I can’t imagine quitting. You’re right, so much work is put into it, you don’t want to give up on that investment.

Hopefully people can find their own speed and enjoy blogging again without it feeling like a strain.
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Craig McBreen February 21, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Hey Carolyn,

I sure hope I do. Many, many talented people out there who drop in, go to town then poof! They are gone.

Yeah, and that’s what I want people to reflect on. All those hours. Many put their heart and soul into this practice, but don’t have the patience to see it through and experience that first breakthrough.

Thanks!

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Ralph February 22, 2013 at 4:17 am

Craig,

First question is WHY are you blogging?
There is a simple answer to that question, right?

What you described here are likely the growing pains 99% of people go through in any business venture. Eventually they settle in and all the “gurus” lose their shine. The truly intelligent, practical, business oriented folks shine through and each one of us finds the resources that work for us.

I might even venture out far enough to call that evolution.I bet there are millions just starting on that initial journey. Sense this post, I assume.

I agree whole heartedly with your thoughts here. Makes perfect sense in more than just blogging, right?

Cheers bud.
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Craig McBreen February 22, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Hi Ralph,

I depends who you ask, but I think it’s a continual sorting out process, even if you have a specific niche. Unless you’re here just for fun, that is.

I’ve been at this for almost 1.5 years and certain “gurus” have indeed lost their lustre. Over time, I’ve been way more attracted to two camps: 1. The creative folks who are doing something different or are amazing, inspirational writers and 2. As you’ve written: truly intelligent, practical, business oriented peeps – the no bullshit crowd.

Someone should put together a highly stylized “evolution of the blogger” graphic. If done right that would spread like wildfire throughout the interwebs.

And yes, I usually write these things party for myself. As a small business owner I’m always kicking myself in the ass (unless my wife beats me to it ;))

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Ralph February 24, 2013 at 5:02 am

Yeah, ass kickin’ Know those well.

I love the idea of the “evolution of a blogger” info-graphic. That would be funny. If I only has the graphics chops I would do it.

I could certainly write it but it would contain a little snark (in there somewhere). It would likely be an evolving story over a long period but I guess you could say that about pretty much any venture, right?
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Craig McBreen February 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Ralph,

I can’t imagine crafting an info-graphic or written piece like this without a wee bit of snark ;)

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Matt Southern February 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Thanks for this post. I love blogging and I’ve never once considered giving up, but sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to keep writing consistently. But what separates the successful bloggers from the unsuccessful is how consistently they produce good content. I just have to keep in mind that if I keep doing what I’m doing good things will come from it.
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Craig McBreen February 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Hi Matt,

Glad you liked my preachy post ;) It is very hard and you do have to kick your butt into gear daily.

The great majority of people who are rather successful in this realm have been at it for 5-10 years. So yes, keep slogging forward.

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Destiny Allison February 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Thank you. Great post and true. Also appreciated the links to other bloggers. I just followed you.
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Craig McBreen February 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Hi Destiny,

So glad it resonated with you! Thanks for coming by and the follow :)

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Destiny Allison February 22, 2013 at 4:06 pm

My pleasure.

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Mary Stephenson February 22, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Hi Craig

And how we all dreamed of the magic bullet! Darn and it never showed up. Does that mean we actually have to work and create! lol I suppose that is why so many throw in the towel after religiously trying to follow some guru’s formula. I think they forgot to tell everyone that they had a huge list to start with and that they did a lot of PPC , etc. to get the list. Or that they paid a lot of bucks to make those lot of bucks…how much does that really add up to profit?

Did a lot of unfollowing lately and baby steps in the right direction, staying focused on the journey.

Went over and read Jamie’s post. I can see why you included it.

Mary
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Craig McBreen February 23, 2013 at 9:06 am

Hi Mary,

Ah, yes, the magic bullet. I think you’re right, many follow some model to a tee and then wonder why no traction? Why don’t I have 10K followers like so and so? Many who are looked up to have either been in the game for a long time or they’ve moved from some other very successful endeavor. Anyone can do what they’ve done of course, but it’s a long slog and a crap ton of work.

Keep up with those baby steps, Mary! Great to hear. :)

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Sheila Bergquist February 26, 2013 at 1:16 am

This post came at the perfect time for me…I’ve been very overwhelmed and discouraged lately. Thanks for the inspiration and just the right words to get me out of my funk!
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Craig McBreen February 26, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Hi Sheila,

So glad it did. I’m trying to include some other practices in my routine that help beat the blues and ramp up productivity. Will be writing about them soon.

Kick that funk to the curb!

Thanks for visiting :)

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Rudee February 26, 2013 at 9:14 pm

There has been many times in my life I would like to have thrown in the towel. Never give up. I started a business at 50 and everyone thought I was too old to start. You are never too old unless you are on the other side of the grass. As long as you are looking at the grass, take life by the horns and make it work. Everyone has something to bring to the table. Just listen and you will find the thoughts in your brain will not quit. Craig I find your blogs very interesting as you beat to your own drum

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Craig McBreen February 27, 2013 at 11:02 am

Hi Rudee,

Me too ;) But I practice “never give up” as well! People get so hung up on age and that you should be at a certain station in life at a certain age.

“You are never too old unless you are on the other side of the grass. ”
– So true.

Thanks for the kind words!

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Sarah Li Cain March 16, 2013 at 9:17 am

I agree, there is more smoke and mirrors all around the web than what we realize. Of course people are going try and sell you a success story so they can sell YOU stuff. Sadly it appeals to the lazy people who want success right away. I know when I am at my best, I look back and realize it took YEARS to get to that point. I remind myself everyday of that now, when I beginning on another new venture.
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Craig McBreen March 16, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Hi Sarah Li,

Yes, smoke an mirrors abound! And you and I both know success doesn’t come easy.

So, cheers to sticking with it and making big things happen. Thanks so much for stopping by.

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