There are many reasons why I challenge dreamers to work on their own blogs for showcasing their big dream, but mostly, I enjoy being a pain-in-the-ass.
Kidding. OK … sort-of.
I am a pain about this because dreamers don’t understand how the world participates in their success.
Here on 8 Women Dream I write about making money and being a success online, but there are other tangible benefits to working out your art on the Internet besides the making-money part. The “other benefits” is the reason why I may be a pain-in-the-ass about dreamers posting content on their own blog and contributing to the online conversation by commenting.
Technology is (and continues to be) a game-changer in the world we inhabit — like it or not.
It impacts everything we touch — from handling our banking to donating to charities, from sharing art to reading books. Being a part of the digital world is the same as buying a car in the early 1900s. Suddenly, a bigger world is opened up to you. You have more options for expanding your life and you quickly realize that you can’t afford be left behind by the rest of the world.
What I value most about putting a dream online is that it forces you to work out your dream in a public way.
You become accountable to an audience (no matter how small it may be at the start). Your “working it out” in the open exposes you to instant feedback, which very well may hurt your feelings. But it should make you want to try harder, thus improving your skills because you now practice more.
And, the better you become because of your practicing, the more exposure you receive and the more chances for success.
Frankly, I am tired of hearing people complain about the hassles of learning and participating in new technology — especially writers. Like technology is going away any time soon? The days of writing on paper and submitting queries are going away. Eventually you will make samples of your work available online and you’ll point people toward your “collection.”
They will hire or buy from you based on what you showcase.
You dreamers (especially the writers, photographers and public speakers) need to be posting your work online, regardless of whether you get paid for it or not.
Period. End of story. Can we stop talking about this now?
If you are a writer, or a photographer, or a public speaker you should want to be a part of the online conversation. Isn’t this is the reason you do what you do?
Writers have an insatiable need to control the conversation. Photographers want everyone to see the world how they picture it. Public speakers what to explain to everyone how to do everything. Come on. Just admit this to yourself and participating online will become a lot easier.
Now, to be considered a professional you have to embrace technology. If you want the public to take your work (and you) seriously then you need to be online. You need a place to share your work, your accomplishments, and a way to learn how to engage with the public.
You must grasp how the Internet works. No excuses.
Look, I went back to school to learn this stuff sixteen years ago because I could see that college students were going to be kicking my successful butt in the job market if I didn’t climb aboard the technology train leaving the station.
And, I continue to read, learn and expose myself to new technology every single day.
Besides, nothing helps you stay current with your dream like working it online. You learn to read comments, engage in social media and run reports to study what your audience enjoys about your work.
Being part of technology also includes reading a variety of websites and commenting on the articles you find as well as engaging in your own comments.
Commenting and reading through comments on websites teaches you what people like and don’t like about a niche and what you are attempting to accomplish. Comments offer feedback and open your mind to new ways of looking at your work.
Your own comments can be read by a variety of people online and you’d be surprised at who can discover your work based on a comment you’ve left behind on another site.
What I love most about comments and commenting is their ability to teach.
Read the same type of comments over and over on a variety of websites and you suddenly have a front seat to what your audience dislikes and where your creative project is probably falling flat.
Over the past ten years I have read multiple versions of gripes regarding bloggers and online content. I’d like to share some of them so you can see what I am talking about.
I Dare you to Read the Comments —
“I usually quit reading once the blogger starts blogging about other things rather than what the damn blog focus is supposed to be about.” ~ @Amy @getoffmyinternets
“I stop reading when bloggers’ lives seem a little too perfect. I don’t want to read about how everything is wonderful all the time and how the wallpaper matches your shoes and your baby’s hat. I want to be inspired by someone else’s reality – including all of its imperfections.” ~ J Kahn @lifeofbon
“When the focus of the blogger turns more inward than outward. In other words, the minute he or she spends more time talking about themselves than the topic which drew you to the blog in the first place.” ~ Jm @gomi
“[The best blogs] build and treat a blog like a start-up. Even if you don’t plan to make any money with it, treating it like a business right from the start forces you to really think about the stuff that can make it or break it.” ~ JLiikala @jetsetcitizen
“You can take the “diary” style route [with blogging] but nobody will care unless you’re already remarkable and popular. There isn’t a drip of novelty left in this medium. For everyone else, it’s either A) start putting out remarkable content and get the word out about it or B) recognize that your stuff isn’t interesting to anyone other than you and your immediate family.” -MTek @outspokenmedia
“For ages writers, essayists, columnists, etc. have struggled with the balance of genuine expression and demands of making it a profession. Every great writer has a dud book or seven out there. Daily columnists regularly submit pieces they don’t love and that could use serious work –- because [of] deadlines. But very few bloggers are also truly good writers. A really good writer could make a any post relevant [to their niche], or could quit their day job and still manage to write about a day of sitting around blogging [about their niche] in an illuminating way.” ~TOB @gomi
“First: write 2500 blog posts, then ask again how to do it right.” ~ Six @menwithpens
“I’m a big fan of [the blog] How to Save the World, written by Dave Pollard. He’s been at it since 2002, and he has many insightful posts, along with visual graphics that explain his blog posts for those who are visual learners. He puts a lot of time into most of his blog posts, and writes at a level that is unseen in 99% of the blogging world. He is a deep thinker, and knows so much about what it means to be human, and how this pesky civilization has gotten us off track… the posts he does make are … fresh, impactful, and relevant … a voice of reason in an otherwise insane world.” ~ ABrunelle @AndrewBrunelle
“Why I stop reading [a blog] is if I’m not sure what the point is. I don’t have a lot of time to be online and read, so it’s important that they get to the point, that the information entertains me and helps me personally.” ~Lewis @michaelhyatt
Do you still believe that being online with your dream has nothing to offer? This is the era of engagement whether we like this, or not. Being online offers a rich education in humility and how much work a dreamer has ahead of them. It teaches everyone to become more of who they are in order to make their dreams come true.
Commenting and reading comments can help.
Are you up to the challenge? Are you willing to be more active online? How much have you commented or read comments this week?
Catherine Hughes is the founder, content director and editor-at-large of 8WomenDream. She is passionate about helping women step out of their own way and strike out into a world waiting for their special talents. She’s a published author and a former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine has helped companies both large and small create engaging web content, social media narratives, and unique blogging platforms. She claims to be a redhead, but don’t hold that against her.
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