Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

Losing My Guest Post Virginity

This guest post comes to you from Manitoba author and blogger Daria Salamon. She's a riot, and you should know her. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
I started writing this post for my blog… but it reads more like a love letter to Schmutzie (I like writing the word Schmutzie almost as much as I love saying it), so I asked her if I could post this on her blog. To my surprise, she wasn’t totally creeped out and didn’t report me! She said yes.

Daria Salamon

I’m a novelist by trade, so I tend to spend years in my office, or worse, in my head writing about shit that is not real. This is the quickest route to insanity that I can fathom!

Five years (about how long it takes me to bang out a book) oozed by with no feedback, no interaction, no readers. And because I’m particularly partial to self-torture, I’m also writing the film adaptation for my novel — another exercise in spending years, mostly alone, producing draft after draft of a movie that has a 50% chance of shooting this decade!

Enter, or in my case, stumble, trip, and face plant into the World of Blogging…

When I signed up for the MBlog Blogging Conference over a year ago I was totally mesmerized. This is where I was first introduced to Schmutzie; she was one of the conference speakers.

She explained that making money and garnering advertising should never be the primary purpose for writing a blog. Interesting ideas and voice are the cornerstones of great blogs.

I liked this Schmutzie character! I am a storyteller; I don’t care about advertising. Maybe I could do this blogging thing?

But wait, people like Schmutzie and Catherine Conners (speakers at the MBlog 2012 conference) or Jenny Lawson (speaker at the upcoming 2014 MBlog conference) have been at this for a decade, and they are so good. Why didn’t I start blogging back in the late 90s? (Too busy speaker dancing to Bon Jovi.) Do I really want to break in so late in the game?

That is the most sadsack reason on the planet to not do something. With that logic, no one would ever do anything. Never once did I think, hey, I’m not going to write a novel because Jodi Picoult has already done it.

I get a lot of my news and inspiration from blogs. It’s exploding! (see 5 Reasons Why Blogs Are Not Dead or Dying) . I’m a writer and this is a writing community that I wanted to participate in.

I hired Schmutzie to design a (gorgeous) author website, making the blog a major part of it. Shit, now I really had to do this!

Here’s why I immediately fell in love with blogging:
  • I’m forced to engage with the world — probe, think about, and find humour in the everyday. No more lollygagging around in my pyjamas for years on end because I’m “working on a book”. Newsflash: you can do both!
  • I’m writing fresh content every week — which is HUGE for someone who complains about writers’ block or not having a publisher for her newest book — all the while pulling the cork out of another bottle of wine.
  • Readership and feedback are immediate. When people start to subscribe and share what you’ve written it’s exhilarating!
  • As an artist, I’m fortunate enough to make (some) money from books and screenwriting. It’s so freeing and valuable to produce and share content without the express purpose of trying to make money from it.
  • Blogging forces me to take risks and say fuck it to the possibility of failure. That’s probably my favourite thing about blogging. Some posts that you love more than your first born child will bomb; others that you rattled off because you had to get some content up fast will explode — like the overfilled diaper of that first born kid.
After a few months, I felt like quitting because, woe is me, I didn’t have instant readership. Let’s be honest… if you go to the trouble of writing you want someone other than your mom and her Red Hat club to see it.

As Schmutzie says in the post How’s Your Blog Doing?, you measure where you are against where you were and you look at how your work grows.

And so you keep blogging.

And you realize those early posts helped you to find your stride and establish your voice.

And so you keep blogging.

And then you run into someone and they tell you they got a much-needed laugh on a bad day, and people start sharing your posts. And so on…

Nine months later, my blogging principles can be pared down to a few simple things:
  • Be authentic, be consistent, be patient, (and hopefully be a little funny).
  • Whether you’re a business owner, a mom, a gardener or a lover of unicorns, if you are even moderately tempted to mess around with a blog — DO IT!
This is my first guest blog post ever! My own blog is extremely pissed at me. It’s accused me of cheating and being a whore because I’m writing on Schmutzie’s blog! (You can see our very public fight here.) Blogging is all about growth and taking risks, even if it does make me a writing whore!

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