Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Blogger's Guide to (Un)happiness

Thank you and welcome to all my new followers who came over and commented, followed, and thought I might be worth reading as a result of Roni's awesome guest post on author brands Monday (I am hugely flattered!). Today I have another great guest post from my friend Meghan Ward, who blogs over at Writerland. Meghan and I met in our in-person critique group, so she knows all my writing skeletons. We've had great discussions on blogging and how to grow one's blog, so today's post from Meghan is a great cap on that subject. And now, Meghan!

The Blogger's Guide to (Un)happiness

With all the holiday cheer that's been going on lately, there's been little room for unhappiness. But for all your Scrooges out there, I can help. Today I present you with The Blogger's Guide to Unhappiness: How to Feel Miserable When Things Are Going Great.

1. Make it your goal to blog every day. Keep that up for several weeks. Then miss a day or two. You'll feel terrible. Repeat until you're missing three or four days at a time. You'll hate yourself and want to give up blogging. Don't. Keep trying to blog every day, missing weeks now and then, maybe even a whole month. Before long, you'll be one of the unhappiest bloggers in

2. After you write your daily post, visit every blog in your Google reader. Read all 500, and comment on every one. Try to come up with clever comments that will generate discussion and maybe send readers back to your blog. Do this every day, never taking time to eat or work or sleep or write. You'll be unhappy in no time.

3. Feeling happy, rested, and satisfied with your blog productivity? Start a second blog. And a third. Then see numbers 1-3.

4. Sign up for Google Analytics and read your stats every day. Obsess over them. Make lists of reasons your blog isn't as popular as you would like it to be. Remind yourself how successful so many other bloggers out there are. Not feeling that awful yet? Then maybe you should:

5. Add Google Friend Connect to your blog. Obsess over how many followers you have. Host blog follower contests, and when you get just five or ten new followers, write in your journal about what a loser you are compared to all those bloggers who have 500+ followers. Ask yourself why you're not as funny or clever or informative or disciplined as those other bloggers. Compare yourself constantly. You'll be unhappy in no time.

6. Assess how much you can realistically take on and still put the majority of your time into your WIP. Is blogging once a week a realistic goal? Now triple that. Blog three times a week, or more. And beat yourself up when you can't keep up. Make blogging a priority over working on your WIP because, after all, what is a published book without a blog?

7. Focus on your failures, not your successes. You've reached 100 followers? Chastise yourself for not reaching them faster, for not reaching 200 followers, for not being the-super-most-amazing-blogger-on-the-planet.

8. Blog about what makes you unhappy. Writing about what makes you unhappy will make you unhappier. Focusing on the negative and never being grateful for the good things in your life will contribute to your misery, too. Start an Ungrateful Journal. Every day, write five things that you feel ungrateful for‹the bad weather, how overworked you are, how broke you are, and all the friends who didn't return calls this week. Once a week, share your Ungrateful Journal with your readers.

9. Never respond to comments on your blog, and never comment on other people's blogs. That will make them happy. And then they will comment on your blog. Which will make you happy.

10. Redesign your blog every three months. Put all your energy into making it look really cool. Better yet, spend thousands of dollars on a cutting edge web designer. Then write long-winded, meandering, unfocused blog posts. You'll soon discover that the best blogs aren't necessarily the coolest looking blogs, but the ones with the best content. And that will make you feel like shit.

What about you? What advice do you have for happy bloggers seeking to be unhappy?

Meghan is a writer and editor working on a memoir titled, PARIS ON LESS THAN $10,000 A DAY, a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of the Paris modeling industry in the late 80s/early 90s. Meghan worked as a high-fashion model in Europe and Japan from 1988 to 1994 before returning to the U.S. to pursue a career as a journalist. She has written for dozens of publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Examiner, and 7x7 Magazine. She holds a BA in English from UCLA and an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. She writes out of her office at the San Francisco Writer¹s Grotto and lives in Berkeley with her husband, two children, and fluffy new kitten.

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