What’s it take to get an “A”?

Interesting question posed on the WordPress Daily Prompt last weekend:  “What would it take for you to consider yourself a successful blogger?  Is that gold starssomething you strive for?”

I guess, until you answer the second part of the question, there’s no point in answering the first.  So.  When you decided to blog, did you have a goal?  An objective?  A desired outcome?  Do you want your blog to provide you with some income at some point?

Here’s what I wanted; and still want, for that matter.  And, also, what I’m not expecting:

Right off the top I never, not even for a moment, thought of my blog as a way to earn money.  At least not directly, through ads.   If, on the other hand, a client, or even a prospective client, was to read my blog and like my writing enough to give me an assignment, I’d be delighted.  If my blog opens a door to my writing articles for either on-or-offline publications, it would be amazing.

That would certainly result in a gold star.

It’s not the only reason I began blogging, though.

In the early days, when I first started to blog (before 365), I blogged for very different reasons I do now.  In one of my first attempts I vented — about bad ads, bad service, bad attitudes etc.  In another I talked about films.  I am a real movie lover and I blogged from TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival).  In another I shared my thoughts on advertising in general.  Brands, strategic thinking, innovation, customer-centric companies and the like.

To be completely honest with you, I don’t think I had much in the way of expectations back then.  I just wanted a platform.  I think I was simply testing my voice and trying to figure out what I could write about, other than ads and commercials and direct mail packages and web sites, plus plus, plus.  I think I was trying to find myself, as a writer, as opposed to the copywriter I’ve always been.  I was looking for a niche.

This blog has been a real departure for me.

With 365 my primary goal was to commit myself to writing every, single day.  Without fail.  It may have been because like so many other bloggers, I succumbed to inertia with my first few blogs.  Started off like a house on fire and slowly dwindled and dwindled and dwindled.  Until I stopped.  This time I was determined it wouldn’t happen.  And to me, the best way to ensure I showed up here 7 days a week, was to promise to do so.  In writing.  To commit, publicly.

As you all know, it worked.  As promised (to you and, also, to myself) I wrote a new blog every day for three hundred and sixty-five consecutive days.  A full year.  (tick).  Mission accomplished.

Why’d I do it?  For a few reasons:

Absolutely to prove to myself I could.  But also, because I’ve exercised enough to know the more often you do it, the greater the benefits.  The easier it gets.  The better you get.   The healthier you become.  The more you enjoy it.

Didn’t seem like much of a stretch (pun not intended) to assume it would be the same with writing.

Yes, I was proved right.

Another reason was to see how versatile I could be.  How many different subjects and topics I could write about.  To really put myself through a grinder.  Because I think one of the keys to being a successful freelance writer is having the ability to write about anything.  And to be able to change your voice to suit the subject matter, the audience and, in the case of advertising, the brand.  I also wanted to see if I could be serious.  And funny.  And provocative.  And controversial.  And sensitive.  And whimsical.  And critical.  And complimentary.  And compassionate.  And tough.  And, and, and.  (tick).  (tick).  (tick).  Another mission accomplished.

Naive as this must sound, at first I didn’t think of the numbers.  It was all about the personal challenge.  Wasn’t long, though, before I became completely addicted to the stats.

Seeing the number of readers grow constantly was, and still is, a major turn on.  And yes it is, at least to me, a sign of success.  Same with followers.  What greater compliment is there, than knowing people enjoy reading what you write.  And like it enough to recommend you to others and commit to ‘follow’ you.  To make time for you, in their busy lives, everyday, or however often you blog.

Comments are another key barometer I think.  When your subject matter is relevant and when you engage people enough they feel compelled to let you know, well, that’s a sure sign you’re doing something right.  What do you think?  Do you agree?

Do you think geography has anything to do with success?  Personally I find it fascinating.  When I think of all the countries where I’m read I have to pinch myself.  Think about it.  It means what you are saying transcends borders … cultural, social and religious differences … and even language barriers.  If that’s not successful writing I don’t know what is.

So what do I think?  Do I consider myself to be a successful blogger?  Yes.  Beyond my wildest dreams, actually.  But there’s still lots of room for improvement.  My mantra is, I can always do better.  That’s my adrenaline.  It’s what ‘fuels’ me.


29 thoughts on “What’s it take to get an “A”?

  1. You are most definitely a successful blogger! I struggle to know what I need in order to think that I am. Sometimes one comment is enough, sometimes I think I would need thousands of followers to feel successful!

    • I think it’s about having a series of realistic, achievable goals. Every reader is a success. Every follower is a success. Every comment is a success. Every time you don’t procrastinate and, instead, you write and post a blog is a success. If you’ve always wanted to write poetry and finally you write and post one that’s success. If you even just wanted to have a blog and you start one, that’s success. One achievement at a time. Cross one off the list and add another, maybe a more challenging one, maybe just more of the same. Sticking to it is a major success.

  2. My son encouraged me to start my own blog after i received several rejection letters from magazines. I had been published several times in the Metropolitan Diary of the NYTimes, and thought getting published was easy. But with newspapers dwindling in size and magazines folding it is more difficult to get accepted by editors. I like the freedom to write whatever resonates with me at the time and not be judged. I also love the experience of meeting so many friends from blogging: people I will never meet, but who I respect and enjoy.

    Those are pretty good reasons to me.

  3. I needed a website, I was told, if I was going to publish my book. But a website is a dead thing unless you have something to offer, beside your book (which isn’t even published yet!). So I started a blog. I started writing about my writing process and other subjects as they came up, but soon discovered I am not much of a blogger. It takes writing skills I don’t possess, have cultivated yet, who knows, but I find I’m a better blog-editor than blogger. Plus it began to drain my fiction-writing energy. So there you have it. Guest bloggers welcomed! 🙂

  4. Fransi, as I’ve said before, you are my inspiration. I remember asking you once, hesitantly, if it is odd that I check my stats frequently and you just smiled knowingly…

    I agree with you on geographic reach – that is what I find most fascinating and tell people most about when asked about the blogging experience…being read / followed by people in distant countries without knowing who they are and how they found my blog confounds and delights me.

    I miss your daily posts so it was lovely to see this one today!

  5. Only we can decide whether we are successful or not. My blog failed in its initial intention (promoting my CafePress store), but has succeeded beyond my expectations on being an outlet for my creativity and warped sense of humor. But since I want to keep striving to be better, I’ll only give myself an A-minus for now… 😉

  6. It’s the wonderful things we gain that were never part of the reason for doing it that are the real gems for me, the worldwide connections and wonderful humanity that comes with interaction and appreciation. It’s like a daily injection of vital energy and you now have enough to achieve almost anything!

    • I agree with you. It is such a surprise when it happens. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I got a comment from someone in India and then France and on and on; and suddenly that map was being ‘lit up’. And the ‘regulars’ with whom you develop a closeness I certainly never expected. It is just amazing and wonderful.

    • Thank you so much! I love your blog, so I am happy to follow it. Congratulations on your award. I have already been given the family award (lucky me), so I hope you will pass it on to another deserving blogger. Thanks again!

  7. You most certainly are a successful blogger! I have so enjoyed witnessing your success and look forward to reading many more of your terrific posts.
    I must also thank you for being a wonderful blog follower. I always appreciate that you take the time to read my posts and check in on me with your kind and thoughtful comments. I am grateful to “know” you!

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