“The decision is your own voice, an opinion is the echo of someone else’s voice.”
― Amit Kalantri, Wealth of Words
There are people all over the world who will laugh at you when you say “I run X Blog.”
They will laugh and tell you that what you are doing is unimportant while they secretly wish they had been the one to take your experiences, and capitalize on them in a way that pushes you forward, and propels you into the kind of future YOU want to have.
THEN there are the people who will see what you are capable of, and stand by and watch as you are burned, knowing you can save yourself, because it’s much easier than trying to help you, while you are LITERALLY right there beside them. They will abuse your very good nature, and blame their crimes on someone else in order to make you think that you’re crazy.
When you sit down to start deciding what it is you want from your future, what you need to take with you from your past, so that you can build the foundations of your future, you will remember EVERY damned thing, and some of it is going to be awful, evil, confusing, bullshit, filled with lies DESIGNED to make you distrust all the good things coming your way.
This is not a blog. This is a building block. It’s a seed, it’s the beginnings of something great, and I know this because I’ve waited my entire life to write this post. In past posts I’ve talked about why I started this blog, and I’ve talked about some of the things you should do to keep pushing yourself forward, and I’ve realized I haven’t really come up with a full like “legit” list, of reminders that EVERY true Blogger should have, to keep them from giving up. So here goes.
- If you aren’t entirely sure where your focus is going to be, that’s okay, you aren’t going to know exactly who your audience is, until you know the kind of writer that you want to be, so be patient, and take the time to do it RIGHT, instead of forcing yourself to get it perfect every time.
- If you’re going to develop a style of how you create your posts, make it your style. This style will change over time, sometimes you’ll include pictures or quotes, and other times it will JUST be about the words.
- As your blog develops, as you discover your niche, your style of posting will grow and evolve and yes, you WILL forget that you wrote THAT, that’s okay. You aren’t the same person that you were when you started, you’re a totally new version of yourself with each part of your journey that you decide to share.
When I started blogging, I wasn’t really doing it to get attention on my work, I was doing it to keep a record of how I was feeling, because I had stopped talking out loud to myself, I had stopped processing what i was going through in a fundamental way, and it was costing me parts of myself that I didn’t realize that I was losing.
When I started Radio Free Voice back in the day as my first podcast I did it because I had lost my voice. LITTERALLY. I couldn’t stand up for myself anymore, I couldn’t say “no” when I wanted to, I often found myself saying “yes” and then being completely disgusted with myself because other people told me that I SHOULD feel disgusted. I did things to survive that I never, ever, ever, told people about, and I saw parts of myself that were seriously and forever damaged.
Things that I had created, or wanted to create, were stolen from me before I had the chance to fully actualize those dreams into a real reality that was tangible, and in all honestly I was lost. Those earlier blogs were about a young woman trying to discover what was wrong with herself, not understanding that what was wrong, was that I wasn’t really being true to myself.
When I started RFV I was doing great, and I had really high numbers, and I was feeling confident, and then I let the men through the door, and as soon as I did, they destroyed everything that I had worked so hard to create, under the guise of trying to help me make it “better,” that was a dream project, and I learned a lot, but sadly it’s gone now, and I’ll never be able to capture the majick that “I” created, before I let white men take over what a Creole Brown, Black, and White woman, had created.
With LMBG I am being a lot more discerning about who I let inside the sacred doors of this sanctuary, lots of people have said they WANT to write for this site, but then when the time comes, and the challenge is there for them to accept, they back away while simultaniously talking about how they work for LMBG. Naw.
I have put so many hours into building this website, and learning to build a network in various projects that I am working on, that the only one who gets to take credit for this work, is me, moi, and I.
No matter how many people claim they can live in my skin, the truth is, that the only one who can do that is me. The only person who can live in YOUR skin, is you, and that’s the part of the blogging that I want to talk about today.
When you think about starting a blog, what you’re really thinking about is:
- Whose going to be reading my blog?
- What if I don’t get enough views?
- What if no one comments?
- What if no one cares?
- What if no one gets what I am trying to do?
- What if I’m too tired?
- Do I want this to be an actual JOB?
- Or do I just want to share my feelings?
There is a difference between creating a blog because you want it to be your CAREER, and because you want it to be your HOBBY. I am not a hobby Blogger anymore, I used to be, and that hobby served it’s purpose, if it’s purpose was to teach me that finding the RIGHT niche for me,
There are all kinds of different blogs out there:
- Mental Health / Sobriety / Self-Love
- Photography Art
- Sex, and Sexuality
Eventually this blog will have various aspects of the above listed, but for me I settled on mental health because I knew that I wanted to write about something, but I wasn’t sure what. I decided on Mental Health, because I wanted to track my progress. I wanted to say to the world “this is who I am, this is what I have learned, and this is proof that I am not dead yet.“
When you start your blog you may not know WHAT you want to talk about, you may have a bunch of different topics in mind, you might have a bunch of different ideas, you might even be completely confused about all the back-end stuff, that doesn’t make sense to someone who doesn’t have hands on experience.
Do not let that scare you.
The following advice is for those who want to make Blogging a CAREER, instead of a hobby:
- Take it seriously and treat it like work.
- You’re going to want to take days off, and you might not have a blog post prepared for several days, take the fucking break your audience will understand and be there when you come back.
- If you decide to be gone for months, be prepared for the fact that you are going to have to rebuild your audience the longer you are gone, that’s on you, not on them.
- Your stats will go up, and they will go down, if that’s what you’re focusing on during the first 3-4 years, then you are wasting your time.
- First and foremost your blog, your writing, and your creativity should be about what feeds YOUR soul, because that’s how you become the most authentic version of yourself. Helping others should ALWAYS be secondary, to helping yourself – and helping yourself does NOT mean stepping on or burning others so that you can get ahead. Karen.
- I don’t do this personally, but yes, you CAN recycle old posts. Writer a new post about how you’ve changed since writing the old post, and go back as far as you possibly can, because it can be cool to look back and see how much further ahead you are as opposed to where you used to be.
- You are the only one in the entire world who has seen YOUR experience with YOUR perception, and YOU are the ONLY person in all the worlds and dimensions that can translate those experiences, so that other people can comprehend why being a Writer a Blogger, and a Content Creator, is so important to you.
- Have a side hustle.
To that end for me, my “side hustle,” is actually healing from the years of trauma, my “side hustle,” is doing what I have to do so that I can look at this blog and post something that matters to other people as much as it matters to me. In the future that Side Hustle will grow towards Certified Cannabis Education, and after that who knows? (I know, but no one else does :P)
It’s easy to get frustrated when you first start out because you aren’t getting many hits, or because you don’t have many comments, but the comments that you do get mean the absolute world to you, because it means you affected someone enough that they cared enough to say “hey thanks yo,” or “let’s discuss this further.”
When you can’t “decide” what to write about, go for a walk, paint something, draw something, use Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as different journals, instead of writing it in notebooks, burying it in a bin under a bunch of laundry, and never looking at it again because you LITERALLY lost it under those clothes. (I am talking to you Devon J Hall jr.)
Take your time, and enjoy the process of creating, so that you can show off what you created. Turn your blog into your art gallery, and turn the digital platform your paint brush. This is your blogging journey and only you can decide what it’s going to look like at the end of the day.
Let’s talk about the CONTENT of what you create: Now my MAIN focus is Mental Health, but sometimes on occasion I talk about politics, opinions I have on the world, and even when I am REALLY feeling confident fashion, (clearly its not a topic I am super comfortable with.) But whatever content you decide to provide, stick with it.
Most of the content on this site is about mental health, and that’s because that is what “I” am dealing with, on occasion, especially recently, I’ll write a “Majikally Realistic” piece about what I want the future to be like, or which dreams I hope will come true, because I LOVE the idea of having fun with this blog. I don’t want it to be serious all the damned time, I want people to come here and laugh, and I haven’t been so great with the laughter recently. That’s because soo many corners of my life have been filled with abusers.
But since I AM writing this from the future, I can HONESTLY say that since there is MUCH more laughter in my life, I can add much more humor to the blog. Ignore what other people think you should write about, and write every single day if you are able, but at the very least once a week, twice if you can handle it.
Don’t focus on your BLOG growth, focus on your PERSONAL growth, as you evolve and grow and become stronger, more powerful, more wise, and more secure in who YOU want to be, and who you CAN be, the blog will grow with you and it’s fan fucking tastic to witness.
Be your own fan first and foremost, and when everyone around you is telling you that you are COMPLETELY insane, please, do us ALL a favor and prove them the fuck wrong.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall
P.S. It’s Renner. Always.