Warning: The practice of blogging may be killing your creativity

by Craig McBreen · 75 comments · Social media


Blogging is a medium that is continually evolving.

A device. A channel. Another arrow in your quiver.

A single platform in an ever-growing swiss army knife of tools now found anywhere and everywhere.

Part of a system in your plan to conquer the universe. A step on the way to something else.

And who knows what’s around the corner.

Think about it.

As a entrepreneur, it’s another mechanism to get your message out. You want to create buzz, test, sell.

If you’re a budding blogger, you might want to craft products, promote a podcast, sell services, or simply be epic, kick-ass, and extraordinary.

As a writer, you don’t want to blog forever, right? You have larger goals, whether it’s writing for Inc. Magazine or authoring a New York Times bestseller.

You might accomplish one or all of the above.

Or you might just love people and hanging out online.

Whatever your reasons, just remember this …

Blogging is a brilliant platform, but almost always a springboard to something else. A dynamite way to discover, experiment, network and grow. But it’s still just a cog in the machine of an ever-growing arsenal of tools and technologies.

If you simply want to blog forever, that’s all fine and dandy and more power to you, but how long’s that gonna last, really?

Which gets to the heart of my argument.

Blogging is the current medium of choice for getting your message out for just about everyone reading this. For that, it’s bang on, shitznits and killer fresh.

But a blogging obsession can soon lead to that big, fat, unproductive loop of producing and consuming. An endless ring which often brings about a painful social media hangover and no results.

So, if you are a blogger who doesn’t have this all figured out yet, stop spiraling. Sit down and think about your reasons for being here.

Is it to blog or to do something else?

Is it to advance your business? Sell a product? Become a better writer? Or maybe you simply want to meet the smart peeps of planet social and expand your network and your mind.

Regardless, I think it is extremely important to stop focusing on The Medium and The Practices, and instead put your blood, sweat and tears into The Message. The Core. The Mission.

With the medium we get stuck on gossip and the latest and greatest. Bright, shiny, time-sucking and oftentimes, downright worthless.

We might also crank out content for no good reason. I know, pot meet kettle, but I am refocusing constantly and I don’t think it would hurt for you to do the same.

Listen, I think blogging is the greatest thing since deep fried twinkles, but it can also be the biggest time-suck on planet earth. And we humans ARE obsessive creatures.

When it comes to the practice of blogging, the best advice I’ve ever read is short, sweet and brain-dead simple.

It comes from Leo Babauta and he states something like this in just about every interview I’ve read: “I’ve learned to focus my energy on the things that matter — creating content that people want, rather than focusing on stats, SEO, social media … “

Focus on the craft, the art, the content.

Ease up on the bright and shiny and fight that swirling vortex daily.

And if you hear that familiar siren song. Stop and refocus.

Avoid the suck, stop wasting your time, and get creative.

Center on Your Reasons and put your heart and soul into the message, not the medium.

That, my friend, is the best way forward.

See that light at the end of the tunnel?

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Is blogging simply another medium for the message, or more?

And how do you manage your social media consumption?

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{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Ameena Falchetto August 27, 2012 at 7:22 am

Amen Craig – I keep telling people they need to go analog to get their creative juices flowing. A blog is a tool and the more your consume the less you can create. It’s impossible to simultaneously create and consume. Blackout – log off regularly and give it all a time and place!
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Craig McBreen August 27, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Hi Ameena,
” … go analog to get their creative juices flowing.”
–I like that! :)

Giving it all a time and a place is the way I’m operating at the moment!

Thanks for stopping in!

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Josh August 27, 2012 at 8:02 am

How do I manage my social media consumption?

I use a crack team of trained monkeys who roam the blogosphere leaving comments like “Great post” and “wish I would have thought of that” on as many blogs as possible.

In between I have another team that parrots the Howard Stern fan formula of calling up other radio shows to promote Howard instead of whomever they are listening to.

In other words I don’t take a lot of this too seriously. Every so often I remind myself that it is not about the numbers and I just write.

My social media consumption varies based upon the day and how much time I have. Some days I spend more time commenting and tweeting than others but it is always based upon what feels right/good.

I don’t let it prevent me from taking care of the things that pay the bills but I also treat it with respect. This is a great space for meeting people and learning which means that it offers opportunity.

There is no single path to success. Our task is to figure out what works for us so that we can recognize opportunity when it comes and or find ways to make it happen.
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Craig McBreen August 28, 2012 at 2:56 am

Hi Josh,

We could all use those monkeys. And I’ll know I’ve hit the big time when someone slips “BabaBooey” into the comments … ;) I’ll just respond with “Ma ma monkey”

It’s good not to take this all too seriously. And I think if you get hung up on numbers, they’ll never be good enough, regardless of how “popular” you are. Talk about soul sucking.

My consumption varies too. And it’s been lower lately do to client work, vacation time and projects related to this blog. I honestly wish I could comment more, but sometimes it’s just not possible. Difference is, now I don’t get hung up on that worry.

So right, Josh. We need to do what works for us. Sounds like you certainly have everything under control. And it is still the best place to network and grow, no doubt.

Thanks for stopping in, Sir!

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Matthew Stock August 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Hi Craig-
Couldn’t agree with you more! Blogging by itself is not a business model. One thing that has really helped me was hiring a Chief Content Officer. He now handles all my writing for my basement waterproofing company (www.seepage.com) and is also helping me with my inbound marketing company. This frees me up to network, comment on blogs, go to conferences, etc. That’s what really pays the bills!
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Craig McBreen August 28, 2012 at 3:09 am

Hi Matthew,

Blogging might just be one of the worst ways to make money, really. It may be the very best storefront in the world though, huh? :)

Great idea hiring someone to take care of content, but that’s the one thing I like doing more than anything ;) I’ll never let that go. But in you’re situation, you are making all the right moves and it’s great it frees you up to really grow the business!

You’re right about the networking. So very important, online and off! Cheers to success!

Thanks for stopping by, Sir!

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Judy Lee Dunn August 27, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Okay, my friend. On seeing your title, I was all set to respectfully disagree. That blogging is NOT killing my creativity. The more fresh new ideas I come up with, the more easy it is to come up with fresh new ideas. Yada, yada, yada.

Until I read your post and discovered that, at its core, it’s a good reminder of the importance of establishing your blog’s goal. Each one of us probably has very different goals—and they change as our life focus does. My blog started out as a tool for cultivating prospects and clients for our copywriting and design business. Now that I am knee deep in writing my first book and moving completely to being an author, it’s becoming more of a tool to build my author brand and platform. Actually, it is how I garnered the interest of an agent. So, yes, I totally agree. When you shake out your goal(s), everything else will fall into place and your content focus will be much more clear.

Most people don’t give a lot of thought to their blog’s goal. They just start blogging to see where it will take them. Lots of good stuff to chew on here. : )
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Craig McBreen August 28, 2012 at 3:19 am

Hi Judy,

That’s why I squeezed “practice” in there, ’cause my past practices were killing my creativity and keeping me from reaching my goals ;)

You’re so right though. It’s amazing how quickly your goals can shift as we progress and there is always that curve that life might throw at ya.

Well, I’m glad you’re so deep into your first book and making that big move. Congratulations! That is so very cool to hear. The social web is a wonderful way to bypass the gatekeepers, or in your case maybe attract them ;)

Daily writing is a truly amazing way to flesh out plans and solidify goals. It is amazing how clear things become, then you tighten your focus even more.

Great comments, Thanks!

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Ryan Hanley August 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Craig,

Awesome bud… If you create content that people love and adore and relate to and are energized by or pisses them off or whatever…

If you create great content all the other crap (i.e. stats, SEO, social media love) it all just happens.

Be inspiring… Just Be Awesome… and all you’re on your way my friend!

Hanley
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Craig McBreen August 27, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Hi Ryan,

Social media love is fun, SEO can certainly help, and you might want to pay attention to states, but where are ya without the content? ;) Righto, Sir!

“Be inspiring… Just Be Awesome… and all you’re on your way my friend!”
–Hey, I rather like that!

Thanks for stopping in!

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Bill Dorman August 27, 2012 at 4:32 pm

You said quiver…………

For me, social is networking; some of my efforts are more purposeful than others, but networking I can do and for now I’m ok being ‘that guy.’

I love to write, I love to engage, I love for people to tell me how great and wonderful I am…………oops, was I supposed to say that? It is addictive, but it has allowed me to meet and learn from some of the best. Even though I can’t tie a dollar amount to it, it has not been wasted time.

Could I exist without my blog? Absolutely, but do I want to? I don’t think so…..

Is it going to affect my income one way or the other? Probably not, so if I like doing it and have the time; get off my damn back then. Quit trying to make me find a reason.

Good post sir; all kidding aside, too many are chasing a pipe dream in here and really need to focus and make sure a reality check is in order.

Me? Do I want to be the next big thing? I guess we’ll have to wait and see, huh?

How about you, are you still a man on a mission? What did you do today to further that cause?
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Craig McBreen August 28, 2012 at 3:29 am

Hi Bill,

Did Beavis just drop in? … ;)

You’re networking and growing as a writer. And even though not every soul who lands on your says states how great you are, it’s all good right? ;) Now when it comes to networking and commenting you might have a better handle on that practice than most, plus it’s obvious you’re loving every minute of it and not an average bear in the networking department.

I don’t have to make you find a reason, you’ve already stated them ;)

I think for many it is a pipe dream. A blog itself is obviously not a business model, but it’s a great place to do all of the above.

Me? It’s completely changed my business direction. New clients, potential speaking opp’s, etc. Once I became more clear regarding mission, well things started to fall into place. I’d love to help others make it click too. And like you, I love the writing.

You’re already a big deal, Danny Brown told me so :)

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Kaarina Dillabough August 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm

I started my blog to write: to stop the self-editor in me. Mission accomplished. I’m now somewhat in “spin cycle”…mulling ’round and ’round what my next steps will be. Although not yet formalized and crystallized, things are changing, and will continue to do so as I complete this chapter and move onto the next. Cheers! Kaarina
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Craig McBreen August 28, 2012 at 3:40 am

Hi Kaarina,

Congratulations to you for a mission accomplished!

I think everyone who blogs goes through this “spin cycle,” eh? ;) Set, recalibrate, roll. Multiple cycles, sometimes confusion, then back to clarity.

About your plans. When things are formalized I certainly look forward to hearing about them.

Now I’m wondering if all you “northerners” came away from Social Mix with a fresh perspective on all things blogging? Or maybe Gary Vee just amped everybody up … ;)

Seriously … love the flavor of your posts lately.

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Craig McBreen August 28, 2012 at 3:41 am

Ooops! I meant “flavour” ;)

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Kaarina Dillabough August 30, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Like that spelling my friend:)
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Ralph August 27, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Focus is good dude. I agree implicitly.

I have been struggling with the idea of refocussing my blog for a while now and I have come to the conclusion that I am heading in the right direction with it whether anyone else thinks that or not.

The whole idea that I have a long term plan to grow and test and try is what is so much fun about this platform. I am starting to focus in on areas that now interest me more and dropping ones that don’t seem to be offering anything concrete. This is helping me to take a hard look at what I am doing. So, continuing to experiment is where it’s at for me.

Video is something that I am starting to find enticing. Just another way to stand up, talk, get a message across and develop content. Video tests you. It’s all still too new to not try different things. Maybe that seems like I lack focus but I don’t think so.

The serious side of my career is IRL and tying back to blogging and video is a fun way to augment that to hopefully see and offer some value.
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Craig McBreen August 28, 2012 at 3:50 am

Hi Ralph,

Hell, as long as you think you’re heading in the right direction. That’s what counts, right?

This is an amazing space for experimentation, but even with that it’s easy to get hypnotized by the bright and shiny, isn’t it? But it sure looks like you have a handle on things and are doing a great job of networking and getting out your view from “The View From Here”!

I love the video you have on your site, so looking forward to more. I agree re: video and will be hitting it hard in the coming months. I’ll look to you for inspiration.

Yes, me too. IRL that is :)

Thank you, Sir!

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Ralph August 28, 2012 at 11:06 am

Yeah, bright and shiny. There’s lots of that, for sure. I am going with dull and dented……..easy way out, huh? So, if you want to see my next video {warning-self promo} my link is included. Thank you commentluv and thank you Mr. McBreen.
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Craig McBreen August 28, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Thank YOU for the link :)

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Annie Andre August 27, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Craig love your message. I admitt, i was one o those people who was focussing on the medium rather than to what end my blog was serving.

Now i still spend way too much time on my blog but i see my blog for what it is and once i saw that I’ve really noticed a huge change in how i use my time. And ironically, my traffic has doubled too at the same time. I’m not sure if it’s because i decided to focus less on my stats and more on trying to provide content that helps and empowers other people.

On a side note, my blog has helped my writing a lot. I’m a terrible writer, terrible speller and having my blog has given me a lot of satisfaction in just the writing process. I’m no Hemingway but I can dream right?
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Craig McBreen August 28, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Hi Annie,

Thanks. Well, me too. It’s so easy to be sucked in, isn’t it?

So glad your traffic has doubled! And yes I think you nailed it > “… trying to provide content that helps and empowers other people.”

I feel the same way about writing. And the writing / fleshing out process really helps you gain clarity as you go. Maybe we’ll never write a New York Times bestseller, but yes, we can dream … ;)

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Mark August 27, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Hey Craig, blogging and social media for me has always been about learning, sharing, collaborating and building relationships with other like-minded people I could grow with…

Everything in business and life revolves around and is driven by the quality of relationships and quality of people you surround yourself with on a daily basis – whether online, or off…

What happens next is determined by your vision and actions you take to with those you’re in relationship with.

I can’t say where all this will inevitably end up; but I can say I’m enjoying the ride and it has lead to many fulfilling and profitable relationships :)

Cheers Mate!
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Craig McBreen August 28, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Hi Mark,

It really is the best place for everything you’ve listed. I completely agree, but I really have to be better about managing my time here, and of course as you become more successful as a result of blogging, it’s harder to find the time to do everything. Managing that clock can be an art form.

I agree about the relationshiops, both online and off, for sure. Just make sure you have a plan, right?

“I can’t say where all this will inevitably end up; but I can say I’m enjoying the ride and it has lead to many fulfilling and profitable relationships.”
–Me too, and now working much more on the profitable part ;)

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Jack Bruce August 27, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Some truly good thoughts. As a fairly novice blogger I can’t wait to discover the real purpose and mission of my blogging…all I know is that I like doing it. -Jack
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Craig McBreen August 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Hi Jack,

Thanks! Well you certainly need to enjoy the trip!

We are all discovering as we go. My plan is always evolving … part of the fun really.

Thank you for dropping in.

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Srinivas August 28, 2012 at 2:33 am

Funny I was jus t thinking about this. I was wondering just how much reading blogs and nothing but blogs is actually hurting our creativity. I’m wondering if writers are losing their voices by doing nothing but reading the same type of content over and over. I got a great piece of advice from a show guest today. Read some of the great writers of our time. So I decided buy a copy of On the Road by Jack Kerouac, which was one of my favorite books I read in high school.

The very technology which fueled our creativity is now turning is into robots… scary.
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Craig McBreen August 28, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Hi Srini,

You do become absorbed in this bubble, reading nothing but blogs. At a certain point that does hurt productivity and creativity. Thing is you have a really tough balancing act as you need to research for your show.

Great advice! I’ve recently gotten back to that too as I was reading nothing but business books and frankly became bored with it. We certainly need to change it up every now and then.

On the Road, huh? Man, I loved that one too and it’s been a while for me as well.

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Melanie Kissell August 28, 2012 at 3:02 am

Two thumbs up, Craig!

Your message grabbed me by the collar and made me stop to consider the number of years I’ve spent blogging, entering blogging challenges, encouraging others to blog, teaching mompreneurs how to blog, and the big truckload of blogs I’ve consumed and posted comments on.

At the moment, I’m ALL BLOGGED OUT. It’s high time to concentrate on creative endeavors.

Where did this passionate and glorious blogging journey lead me? Certainly NOT to the bank. LOL! It did, however, lead me to a treasure trove of fellow bloggers whom I respect and adore … and a lot more email. :)

The “message” is far more critical than the “medium”. Heck, a yard sign is a medium and so is a bumper sticker, a sandwich board, and word of mouth. Blogging can be tossed in with all the rest of the tools in the box.

Back to the main point …
“Center on Your Reasons” — Bingo!!
I’ve got to bun up, buckle down, and stop blogging for all those “other” reasons that don’t do a doggone thing to boost my bottom line. Like Ameena said (Don’t ya just love her?!), ” … the more you consume the less you can create. It’s impossible to simultaneously create and consume.”
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Craig McBreen August 28, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Hi Melanie,

Thank you!

I think we all get All Blogged Out. It’s hard not to really.

About the journey. Yeah, that’s the fun part for sure, but you soon realize how many hundred of hours your putting in, and without a business plan, it’s all for nothing, unless you truly are in just for fun.

“Blogging can be tossed in with all the rest of the tools in the box.”
–Yep :)

Yes, Ameena’s great and her words are so true. ” … the more you consume the less you can create.” Fo sho. Indeed. Correctamundo!

Glad you are buckling down. Let us know how it goes!

Thanks for coming by.

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Carolien Geurtsen August 28, 2012 at 4:18 am

Great post and so true! I started blogging to practise and improve my writing, and it did, started daily blogging to kill my inner writer block and perfectionism which worked out very well. In the mean time not giving up on daily free writing which proved me more of the truth if the above. And while traveling through Turkey this summer I decided in a whim to also take holiday of daily blogging as well and instead focused on diary style journal. Which slowly brought and brings me to my point. I love blogging And a found out I should kill the automated pilot frequently or my book about Living in Turkey Now and Than, can’t be born and won’t be written. So yes, Amin to unblocking creatively!
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Craig McBreen August 28, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Hi Carolien,

Thank you.

“I started blogging to practise and improve my writing.”
–Me too. To improve Toastmaster speeches actually.

Taking a holiday from daily blogging and focusing on the journal is a great idea. I think one of the best things we can do for creativity and productivity is to get away from the computer. Sometimes it feels as if I’m tethered to it.

Cheers to you for breaking away a bit and I hope you make great progress on the book!

Thank you for stopping in!

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Carolien Geuyrtsen August 29, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Hi Craig, Thanks for your answer here and for your tweet as well. Appreciate it!
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Craig McBreen August 30, 2012 at 12:53 am

You’re welcome. Thanks for contributing to the conversation!

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Carolien Geurtsen August 28, 2012 at 4:25 am

And yes, I am soo familiar with being hooked on the screen, the interactivity and boundlessnes of the medium, and that has been proven addictive of the worst kind, and lack of focus, loss of energy and waste if loads of time was imminent, although there is no worst in the area of addictions ofcourse. Only losers no winners in addictions.
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Craig McBreen August 28, 2012 at 8:02 pm

The screen is addictive, no doubt. And just like TV, if you don’t manage it, well you can’t get that time back ;)

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Jens P. Berget August 28, 2012 at 4:31 am

This is very interesting Craig. I believe that, like you said, blogging is a springboard to something else. But like me, it seems that a lot of people doesn’t have a clear goal to why they’re blogging and what they want it to lead to.

I had no idea when I got started either, but now I have a goal.

And like Ameena said, when I need to be creative, I turn off my computer :)
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Craig McBreen August 28, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Hi Jens,

I do think it’s a springboard and the medium will change. Who knows what’s around the corner and how quickly the changes will come, so best not to treat it as the only thing in town, right?

Jumping in without some type of goal could mean a lot of fun and a lot of lost time. But of course, it all depends on the individual and why you’re here.

I had goals when I started, but they’ve changed quite a bit and will continue to, I’m sure.

Yes, cheers to turning that screen off and getting away!

Thanks for stopping in!

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Joe D. August 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm

There is a book to be written within the blogging journey. If I stated a purpose for it, the blog is an outline for a book! As far as social media, I’ve cut waaaayyy back on involvement there (you may have noticed). 10 minutes here and there on Twitter, even less on Facebook, and just a handful of blogs in my reader, yours included. That’s all I have time for, and it’s not a priority anyway. Creation instead of consumption is always the right message, and this is a nice reminder, Craig!
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Craig McBreen August 28, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Hi Joe,

Blogging is a journey, that is for sure!

I’ve cut back quite a bit as well, because all this activity can eat up your day very quickly, right? I think limiting your time on social media is probably the best step. Hanging out there all day is a certainl productivity and creativity killer. Good for you!

Thanks for keeping me in your reader! And you’re welcome for the reminder, thanks for stopping in.

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Deone Higgs August 28, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Brilliant post, Craig!

You’re absolutely right. In the world of blogging, it’s important to have a clear, detailed, well thought out planned path to the destination you seek to take. I know with great certainty that I don’t want blogging to be an ongoing thing for me. It’s strictly a catalyst to authorship. With the completion of my first published book on the horizon, I planned to use RMT for exposure. It has really helped me in refining my message and clarifying what I want that message to be as an author.

When I first started out as a blogger my message was literally all over the place. I was still coping with the death of my mother and the family drama that ensued behind it, so it was a very angry message. RMT has helped me cope and move past that, and I want to encourage and empower others to release life’s hiccups to reach their potential.

I was totally hooked to the mirage of blogging when I first started, as well. Now, I’m a lot more selective of where I place my energy, as well as my brand. I want to be constantly mindful of my goal and purpose of my online usage. Not spending effortless amount of time doing things that aren’t getting me closer to where I desire to one day be.

Great message, Craig! This will really benefit many other new bloggers, and a lot of seasoned ones as well. Great job!
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Craig McBreen August 28, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Hi Deone,

Thanks! Good for you and so glad you have such a clearly defined set of goals. Just the fact that you treat blogging as a platform, “a catalyst to authorship” is proof that you have clear vision. First published book sounds awesome to me and I’m looking forward to hearing more about that!

I like what you’ve written about blogging. Yes, the daily writing can be an incredible release. It’s amazing for that and honestly that is all some people need … a platform to write, that is all. But the more you flesh out the writing, the more you discover about yourself, your hidden potential … all that good stuff, then its off to the races. Daily writing can lead to big things ;)

I was hooked as well, but I think anyone in for the long-haul soon learns it’s a platform, you need a plan AND you need to master the clock!

Thanks for the great comments and for stopping in!

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PJ Jonas August 28, 2012 at 8:56 pm

I loved this post. When I initially started blogging, it was just for me. I was recording memories and my thoughts and having fun with my blog. It was ok if I was sporadic with my posting, because it was simply my blog.

Then I started selling my goat milk soap, and the blog was intended to build customer loyalty.

Then my husband joined the business full time and the blog was intended to help generate sales. But it became a burden and a chore. It was something I needed to check off my to-do list daily, and if I didn’t complete a post, I felt guilty.

Now our business has grown to the point that we are supporting our family and a few employees, and I’m trying to decide what purpose my blog should now serve. Your statement, “Focus on the craft, the art, the content” was very affirming in that I’ve stopped paying attention to my stats and to a self-imposed schedule. I’m writing what I feel moved to write when I feel moved to write it. And I’m not going to enjoy that and not feel guilty about it!

Thanks,
PJ
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Craig McBreen August 29, 2012 at 3:00 am

Hi PJ,

Thanks and glad you enjoyed the post. Love the name of your blog, by the way ;) That is some niche you have there. Very cool and great to see such success with your products!

Well, it’s just great that you’ve reached a point where you are supporting your family and have employees. Cheers to that!

With an expanded product line and a global market it’s great that you can now take the time to refocus the blog. A more relaxed posting schedule and a focus on the writing again, well, who knows where that will lead, right? So glad you are thinking about focusing on the craft and it will be very interesting to see where you take it. I’d love to know.

Thanks so much for stopping in!

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Davina K. Brewer August 28, 2012 at 10:40 pm

I hear you on the deep fried twinkies (never had one) and the time suck that is blogging. And it’s had an impact on my creativity as I second guess – not my writing quality but the content. Is it: Readable? Shareable? Will it attract the right readers, clients, employers? I both over and under-think it all; SEO and stats and keywords, ponder what to write that hasn’t been written 392 times already and spend a lot of time reading elsewhere.

I’ve learned a lot from blogging, met so many people this way and clearly, am in love with the sound of my own typing. ;-) (TM – me, I write that a lot.) One reason for my blog recalibration (posting less often with hopefully better content) is because it’s but one cog in the content creation machine, one tool in a social communicator’s arsenal. I’m learning – still – what all this means, to what I wish to springboard, what the ‘magic’ combo of tools is for me and my career. FWIW.
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Craig McBreen August 29, 2012 at 3:11 am

Hi Davina,

Nothing wrong with a little deep fried goodness every once in a while ;) But it is strange what people will toss into the fryer these days. It’s obvious I think it’s most important to focus on the craft, and the most important question might be … Am I helping anyone with this post? The more I write, the more feedback I receive, the more I realize that and the love of the craft usually make a great (or at least fun) post.

Funny I’m always writing about uniqueness and Davina, you’re typing is about the most unique I’ve seen ;) Well, if we didn’t have names and avatars your comments would be the easiest to spot and that is a compliment for sure!

Posting schedule. Ah, that’s one I’ll be toying with too and of course working with the magic combo of tools you describe :)

Thanks for stopping in!

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Bell August 29, 2012 at 9:37 am

To be honest, I think Twitter, not blogging, is the biggest time-suck on the planet, but yeah, I hear you. Blogging’s at least a close second.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and reexamining my motivation to be in social media in the first place. The other day, I came across an article by Porter Anderson where he asked the question, ‘Might not an author fall into empha­siz­ing plat­form­ing over writ­ing, thus slip­ping into a “shadow career?”’

This article helped me realize I was worrying too much about building a following; too little about building substance. I’ll come right out and admit that I’m not a marketer. I don’t have the time or energy to be creative and promote myself simultaneously and I may not be the only person facing this kid of difficulty. You need time and tranquility to do your best work, something like a protective space-time bubble. (I often call it “sacred space.”)

The fast-consumption cycle of social media, especially the rapid-fire platforms like Twitter, Pinterest and such, hardly leads to concentration and outstanding work. It doesn’t lead to much of anything at all if you turn social media into your “shadow career.”

Blogging is not just a time sink, it’s also rewarding — the way candy is rewarding. But it’s rather similar to an MMO and at one point you need to stop grinding for better weapons or gold, and begin work on some actual quests. That’s how you forge ahead.
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Craig McBreen August 30, 2012 at 12:50 am

Hi John,

We can agree on Twitter. I’ll be honest, when I first started I lost hours on that platform. Kinda scary how you can get sucked in.

Shadow career, huh? That’s an interesting phrase and I like the word, platforming. I’ll have to check out that post.

I’m sure no social media or blogging vet, but I do think if you focus on the real work – based on whatever reason you have for being here in the first place – you’ll develop the best kind of following.

Self promotion is obviously needed and is something we all practice every day, but you might get too caught up in that pursuit and where are you without the craft, whatever that is?

I seek that “sacred space” every day and don’t know what I would do without it. Funny that it took me until my 40s to discover how much I love writing, plus it might be the best therapy on earth. But you’re so right, the frenetic pace of Twitter can kind of kill your creative spirit if you don’t manage it correctly.

Blogging for pats on the back, shares, whatever is fun and rewarding on some level, but can also be and empty grind, yes. Love your comments and the gaming analogy.

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Bell August 30, 2012 at 9:49 am

Here, let me point you straight to the source. On social media as a shadow career:
http://writerunboxed.com/2012/07/28/social-media-your-shadow-career/
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Craig McBreen August 31, 2012 at 3:08 am

Ah, thank you Sir!

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Chris August 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Hi Craig,
great post, I totally agree with you. Blogging only to “blog” isn’t very popular – in most cases blog is another way to promote own product, service or even own “brand”. Of course if you have time for it – you can blog without a goal. But behind almost every blog is a goal (and real human being) – we want to sell something, make relationships, meet another bloggers…
Chris
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Craig McBreen August 30, 2012 at 12:52 am

Hi Chris,

Thanks, Sir!

Yes, without some kind of end-goal it’s the most giant time suck. It is still rewarding on some level, but it sure ends up being a drain of you’re not achieving something, at least for me.

Thank you for stopping in.

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Jeevan Jacob John August 30, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I simply don’t know how to answer this question.

Previously, I would have said that I blog for experience (I still do, but right now, I am a lot confused with my life).

I know what I want to do.

But, why (why is a confusing question, right?). Why all this, why all that. Why blog.

Why conform to this world.

Ah, all the questions that pop to my mind.

In this state of mine, I would define blogging as much more than a method of getting your message out.

It is an art. It is communication. It is writing.

It is perhaps many of the fields that cannot be described easily (can any field described easily?).

I see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I ask.

Where is that light from?

Why is there light? And why should I follow it.

Human curiosity.

Philosophical curiosity maybe. Sometimes, I say to myself, leave all this behind, live like a normal guy, just do things you want to achieve (but, there are questions there too – why do I want to achieve the things I want to? And do I have to do it?)
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Craig McBreen August 31, 2012 at 3:25 am

Hi Jeevan,

Blogging can be an incredible exploratory process in so many ways. And yes, it can certainly be a platform that is about way more than simply getting your message out. But even if you don’t have a specific plan it is so very easy to get hung up in a loop that is not only unproductive, it can also be unfulfilling, and that’s bad for anyone.

Questioning. That’s what I’m challenging people to do. Sit down and think about your reasons for being here and even if it’s to learn and explore or just for intellectual curiosity, I still think it’s a good idea to constantly refocus and try and avoid all the time-sucking worthlessness out there, because it pops up at every turn ;)

I do think it’s a great place to explore and I’m sure the more you write the more things will come into focus.

Thanks for visiting, Jeevan. Really appreciate the comments.

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Adrienne August 31, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Oh, excellent message Craig and it’s true…

People have to ask themselves why are they really blogging. Some like to just share their views, others are here to make some money, I’m here to connect with others that will lead to growing my business. Will I blog forever? Probably not because my poor fingers won’t be able to take it. I’m not getting any younger ya know.

But in all seriousness, we all have to decide what kind of message we want to bring to the online world and don’t lose sight of why you’re really here.

As always, wonderful post today Craig. Always a pleasure to stop by your place. Enjoy your weekend okay.

~Adrienne
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Craig McBreen September 3, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Adrienne,

Thank you! So glad you came by, because I think you’re one of the best out there when it comes to two things: Teaching and building community. I think you’ve kind of mastered the space in your own way. Somehow you manage to write often, offer actionable advice, comment everywhere, handle a ton of comments at your place, build a great community, and make money in the process. Man, Lady! But many couldn’t copy your model and make it work. I don’t think I could.

So, yes, make a plan and make it your own. Thank you for stopping by and hope you’ve enjoyed the weekend. I imagine you’re really looking forward to cooler temps in the fall.

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William Veasley September 2, 2012 at 8:49 am

Craig: You are absolutely right about how blogging can take over my life. In the past, blogging has most certainly done that! The first time I started blogging I was so focused on making content just to have new stuff that I could have gave myself grey hairs! Now though, I had to take the date off my posts so that it would help take my focus off time. I post no where as much as I used to, but I believe my content is a million times more meaningful. Besides, when I first started blogging it was about things I knew nothing about.
Personally, I do not want to center my life around my blog. My focus is meeting people face to face in real life. I want the people who visit my site to actually know me or at least feel like they know me.
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Craig McBreen September 3, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Hi William,

There are plenty of arguments out there on what works best: Posting twice a week or more vs. posting pillar content less often. I think it really depends on the individual, but getting lost in practices can kill creativity.

Glad you found a method that works for you!

Thanks for stopping in.

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Jackie September 5, 2012 at 1:26 am

Hi Craig

Ask 100 bloggers why they blog and I reckon 90% wouldn’t know, they’re just following the monkey see monkey do principal. Does that mean that they don’t have a kick ass message, or aren’t a fabulous writer. Absolutely not.

It’s just they haven’t honed in on the strategy for why they do it. Focusing far to heavily on the tool, and not the results of what the tool will do for them.
I’ve been guilty of the same thing in the past.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my self imposed hiatus from all things online, its that creativity, clarity and congruency are the mainstay’s of building something that matters, and I really don’t think you can acheive that in an online vaccum.

Unplug and see what a difference it makes!
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Craig McBreen September 6, 2012 at 1:46 am

Hi Jackie,

I think you have that one right! Monkey see monkey do for sure.

I’ve been guiltly of it as well. It’s so easy to get sucked in.

I love this:
“Creativity, clarity and congruency are the mainstay’s of building something that matters, and I really don’t think you can acheive that in an online vaccum.”
–Brilliantly stated. Is that 140 characters? ;)

Nice message. Thanks!

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Jayme Soulati September 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm

What’s so challenging, though, is to keep pushing yourself to the next level. First you reach 12 months, then another 12 go by and pretty soon you’ve been singing the same song for a long time.

Not only does it take creativity and inspiration to keep it going, you also have to spiff up the house…change a few things, delete this and add that, change your clothes, and then you breathe deeply and feel refreshed.
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Craig McBreen September 14, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Hi Jayme,

Yes indeed! I now do kind of a little planning session with my old self each and every day. Got to, to keep moving.

You’re so right and you do have a way with words. Thanks for the thoughts and for juicin’ up the comments :)

Have a great weekend!

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Virginia October 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm

What are you doing in my mind? You have voiced a concern that’s been gnawing on my conscience lately. My eight month old blog is a happy-go-lucky slant on whatever experience or thought strikes me as expandable for the week’s entry. I’ve built up a very small band of faithful followers and find joy in anticipating how they will receive the post awaiting them each Wednesday. But between the blog and my full time job as a content marketer (blogging for work – oy!) I have not one moment to spare for the novel I used to be working on.
Firtunately I’m becoming more efficient in getting the blog out. Proud as I am of it, it is just a blog and doesn’t need to be a literary masterpiece. Thanks for your views. They come as a well-needed nudge for me to be up and about my real business!

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Craig McBreen October 18, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Hi Virginia,

I sense this from a lot of people. You really can become so immersed in that hamster wheel of content creation that nothing else gets done. You do need to come up for air every once in a while or better yet, learn to manage it.

Glad you’re becoming more efficient with your blog!

You’re welcome and thank you for coming by and sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate that!

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Jemma Taylor February 1, 2013 at 6:57 am

I have come back to read this article a number of times. It’s a great reminder to give yourself space to create, not matter what it is you’re creating! Thanks a lot !

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Craig McBreen February 3, 2013 at 4:04 am

Hi Jemma,

Glad you enjoyed and thanks for commenting!

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