Rules Shmules

{i originally posted this on After Nine to Five as my regular contributor post. however, it got such a good reception i wanted to get the discussion started over here as well. hope you enjoy it! and be sure to check out my new contributor post for today :)}


I don't know if I've just been noticing it more or if it's just become more common to talk about, but it seems like so many bloggers that I follow have been talking about "THE RULES OF BLOGGING" lately.

How to title posts, how to leave proper comments, the dos and don'ts of following and networking, what kind of posts you should be writing about, how to set up your blog design, how to reply to comments, and the list goes on and on and on and on....

I see these posts and I get a little concerned {and frustrated} of the influence they may be having on new bloggers {like myself, I still consider myself a newbie :)}

::: Let me take the time to make one thing clear before I move on. I'm not talking about "Tips & Tricks" types of posts. I'm talking about "If you don't do this then you are a terrible/unprofessional blogger" type of posts. If you have blogging tips, please by all mean share! It's the hardcore "RULES" that I am  referencing. :::

The reason why I get concerned is because these so called "rules" are not fair, they are mostly untrue, they are not the case for lots of bloggers, and instead of helping I think they can make bloggers feel bad that they are not following such rigid commandments.

I have read these posts numerous times and every time I hear a new "rule" I think to myself, "Well, this very very successful blogger ALWAYS titles her posts like that. Or she doesn't always have pictures with her posts. Or she doesn't keep a rigid 'post every single day' schedule and yet she has thousands of followers and is featured in magazines. So how are these rules if she seems to always break them?"

The argument for this can obviously be, "Well, she was the exception." But I honestly don't think that is the case.

I think the reason why lots of bloggers can break these so-called "rules" is because they have learned early on that the three main {real} rules to always follow about blogging are: 1. Be yourself 2. Be kind 3. Be humble

It doesn't matter if you introduce your sponsors as "Sponsor Highlight" or call a giveaway a giveaway or decide to only post 3 days a week instead of 7 or  don't participate in every single giveaway that comes your way or participate in blog hops. It doesn't matter!

Because at the end of the day, all you need to worry about is if you have stayed true to yourself and the mission of your blog. And that you have remembered to be kind & considerate to those you come in contact with. And that you understand that no matter the numbers you are no better than anyone else.

If you do those three things, then you will be successful.

Not everyone will be featured in magazines. Or on the local news station. But by staying humble, kind, and honest, you will gain all the respect that you deserve. And will be successful by being known as a great friend & influencer to others.

I can talk about these things because I have been on the other side of it. I have spent days feeling so guilty because I broke some made up, cardinal rule to blogging and feeling like a failure. I have worked so long and so hard some nights trying to make sure I had a post {sometimes twice a day!}, no matter how terrible of quality the post was. I have chosen not to post about things I really want to write about because I would hear somewhere that that was wrong. I have neglected real life relationships for a virtual, intangible, slippery success that seemed impossible to achieve by certain definitions. {I have since changed my definition of success :: see above.}

I have done all these things and instead of being happy I have felt miserable. It was miserable!!

I have since realized that I AM DIFFERENT. My blog is different. What I want is different. And not every "rule" is going to apply to me because I am not like everyone else. Nor are you.

So throw out the rules! Make your own rules to follow for yourself.  Make a mission statement to help you not lose sight of your dream.

::: Again, tips are different than "rules" in my book ::: And by all means ask for tips & advice!! I do it all the time!

But don't let the rules get you down. Because there are none. And it's about time we focus on the personal joy & happiness that comes from blogging when we do it our own way! 


Danni Baird @ Silo Hill Farm said...

THANK YOU! I feel the same way. I made a comment on one of the bigger blogger posts about rules. Basically saying that my blog was my blog and I would do it how I wanted. I was called a "Hobby Blogger" and a "Tinkerer" and then she compared my stats to hers. (I haven't even been at this a year!) This was a big blogger and she was really nasty about it. Needless to say....I am not one of her followers. I love to create stuff and write about it as well as write about whatever else I feel like...including Seasonal Beer, which I had to think about if there would be fallout..but I decided to do it anyway! It is my blog after all. I like your blog and I'm glad you are true to yourself! You go girl!

April S. said...

THANK YOU! I so needed to hear this. As a newbie I have worried and worried about what is the "right" thing - but who here decides what's right? What some people may find offensive or incorrect, others may find spot-on. While I like to blog about the recipes and crafts, I also think it is important to be vocal about social issues and parenting issues and the other struggles we as women go through. Take or leave it but I am who I am. Thanks for a great post!

Mary said...

Such a wonderful boost of self-esteem! This made me feel so much better as I start my journey in the blogging world and it is so real! Thank you for the thoughts and honesty!

Pamela said...

This is fantastic, and I can't agree with you more!!! Blogging has been such an outlet for me. I do it because it keeps me sane and gives me a way to document that which is most important to me: my family. I never want to lose sight of that and that it was the reason I started blogging in the first place. When people start focusing on the numbers and these imaginary rules, a lot of blogs start looking the same:( and what I've enjoyed is finding people from different backgrounds who show off something different and unique, because they're true to themselves. That's the beauty of blogging, you have the opportunity to be YOU and that's it. Really enjoyed this, it was uplifting and a great reminder to many, including myself. Hugs to you, Megan:)

Anonymous said...

This is a great post! I know I don't have tens of thousands of views, or hundreds or thousands of followers, but like you said I do have specific goals for both my blogs and they're just personal to me. I have to admit, it is exciting when people read my posts and way more exciting when they enjoy them. It's great to have people read what I've said and relate to it, or gain something from reading it. That and just being able to share my passions are my rewards. Honestly my favorite blogs are a little bit more personal and less business. But, there's a place for both. :) Love your blog.

Tranae said...

Amen to that :) I blog for fun not to follow some made-up rules.

Vivian said...

I LOVE this. I started blogging for a particular reazon and kept blogging for that same reason. I never even knew there were rules to it. I am lucky to have true followers who sense that.

CAS said...

I guess I'm one of those "Hobby Bloggers," like one of your commenters mentioned, but I'm okay with that. I don't have sponsors or do the ads. I blog strictly for fun. I love blogging, love chatting with other bloggers, love seeing so many wonderful projects, & I could go on and on. I do truly try to be myself, be polite & comment as much and as often as I can, but I try very hard not to compare myself to any other blogger. I also try not to pay much attention to who is following, who stopped or who never started. All that stuff can drive you crazy. So just keep on doing what you do and doing it the best you can.

Hopefully, these AZ temps will go down soon!


TabiDee said...

Hi Five, Megan! I couldn't have said this better myself.

Alexis Kaye said...

I so agree!!! I actually don't LIKE when bloggers follow the rules and I rarely follow those blogs. I just want to read real, relatable posts. You do that!!

Allie said...

Amen!! I am so glad I found you over at BBN!! There is so much drama in blog world...I just blog about what I love, when I want! It's so much easier that way! I am so excited to start following you, you and your family are ADORABLE!!

A Proverbs 31 Wife said...

It seems like this has all started recently. I don't really know why either.
However, I agree with you, we all need to do what is best for our own blogs. Just like you do ;)