I had a lot of trouble writing an article this week.
I made a promise to myself in December of 2014 that I would post every week to Boodaism and so far I’ve kept that promise (aside from a planned Sabbatical in February). But I knew this week was going to be a bitch.
In fact, here I am on the day I’m supposed to publish, just now starting this article, when I should be putting the finishing touches on something I’ve been working on for weeks.
One of the hardest things to do is follow up a smash hit. The post from last week “I Promise, It’s Not Lame To Ask A Woman For Permission” was really popular (and still is). Over 1,000 people shared it on Facebook and over 10,000 read it. For some sites that’s not much, but for me that’s a smash hit. The result has meant lots of amazing feedback and lots of new readers.
And therein lies the problem, when something goes well I put expectations on myself to continue doing well. I can’t help but want to re-create that kind of success even though it’s totally ridiculous to think that way.
I even wrote an entire article about this called Create, Ship, Repeat. Hey, I’m human.
So here I am, writing at the last minute and struggling to get this done, but I’ve decided to be a professional blogger, and I’d like to talk a little about what that means to me.
Blogging vs Professional Blogging
On a very basic level, being a professional means getting paid to do something. I don’t currently get paid to write this blog, although it’s my intention to have this be my main source of income in the future. For that to happen, I need to continue growing my audience, my email list and then decide how I’d like to monetize that audience.
Until then, what being a professional means to me is being committed to something bigger than my feelings. My commitment is to publish an article every week that I’m proud of, and do that no matter what. Some weeks that’s easier than others. For example, last week I had the article done four days in advance and sent it to friends for edits and revisions. This week I’m writing it at the last minute and I won’t have time to give it the proper amount of editing.
I love and hate deadlines. If I didn’t commit to writing once a week, I simply wouldn’t do it. In Darken the Page, a podcast I host where I speak to people about their creative process, I have one very clear criteria when it comes to guests. I want guests who are professionals, and by professional I mean they routinely overcome their feelings to produce their work.
Why is that a requirement? I’ve found that people who are forced to publish on a schedule have way more interesting stories, because they have to struggle with resistance. Someone who publishes whenever they want is a hobbyist, and while they may produce some amazing work, their creative process is one where they get to simply give up if things get too hard.
I want to be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a hobbyist. Since 2012 I’ve been a hobbyist with music. I used to have a serious music career where I was a professional, and I decided to stop and make it a hobby. It was a great decision, and maybe someday I’ll take music back out of the hobby box, but for now it works well for me.
So here I am, I managed to finish this article and keep my commitment for this week. Hooray! Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read what I write, it means a lot to me, and your feedback, encouragement and comments make it a lot easier for me to want to write every week, especially on the weeks that it’s hard.