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November 7, 2007

Survival Tips for Network Bloggers

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Back from lunch and listening to some kickass Evanescence in the session room. I’m rocking out. You guys are totally missing it. Anyway, it’s time for some more blogging. Blogging is delicious. So are Oreos. I wish I had some Oreos.

This time around our panelists are Leora Zellman and Mary Jo Manzanares. Not that I’m keeping track but it’s the first time all day we’ve seen women on the panel. It’s about time.

Mary Jo asks: Why do we blog? In order to thrive as a blogger you have to know what your motivation is.

Leora blogs for a living. It’s her main source of income. She’s supporting her husband and their two bunny rabbits. It’s something she loves to do. It was a hobby but now she’s getting paid for it.

Mary Jo says she has a day job so she has stability and benefits. She does it because its fun and because it helps establish her and gives her credibility. She says it’s important to identify why you blog so that you can set your own goals.

A Day In The Life Of A Blogger

Both panelists describe what it’s like to be a full-time blogger.

Mary Joe outlines a typical day and says the biggest struggle for her is not to become a recluse when she’s at home. She can sit in front of the computer, have her coffee and never get out of her sweats. She looks the same at 5am as she does at 5pm. Being a recluse sounds fun but it’s really not. You have to find the balance between your day job and doing nothing but sitting at the computer. That balance is vital. Her blogging is more fact-based than opinion-based so she has to do a lot of research at home. She carries a notebook and file folder wherever she goes. She picks up guidebooks at hotels, rips things out of magazines, takes flyers, etc. She picks out information when she travels that she can use at home.

She recommends keeping an editorial calendar. Plan out your week/month so that you’re writing about a variety of different topics. Schedule your blog posts and what you’ll publish and when.

She says also spends a fair amount of time Stumbling, reading blogs and doing that kind of stuff. She also leaves event posts on Craigslist that send her a lot of traffic.

Now it’s Leora’s turn. She says that she, too, blogs in her pajamas. She encourages bloggers to get out of their houses and write in coffee shops so that they’re interacting with other people.

What do you do when your hobby becomes your job? When Leora was little, she told her parents she wanted to watch TV today and they laughed at her. Now she’s an entertainment blogger so that’s all she does — watch TV all day. She needed to find a new way to unwind. You still need to have your relaxation time. You need outside hobbies. She started volunteering at an animal shelter. It’s relaxing to her because it has nothing to do with blogging.

The Interpersonal Stuff

Set dedicated work hours. It’s easy when you work at home to work constantly. Set hours and stick to them. Do not blog from bed. Have an office or a desk that is dedicated to your work. It will help keep you organized.

Leora has Skype buddies that she can virtually poke over the cubicle because it’s very difficult to be by yourself every day.

Hold on to your offline friends, as well! Don’t let those relationships dwindle away.

Blogging is emotional. You have to have people who you can call and talk to and who will agree with you and tell you that you’re wonderful and perfect to help you through the bad times. (This is why I keep Susan around. She lies to me and tells me that I’m pretty.)

Alex Hillman is in the audience and talks about Coworking, calling it the next evolution of the work place. It’s like a café that doesn’t kick you out. It’s a hybrid between a café and a desk. Coworking Wiki may help you find a Coworking group in your area. It helps to put your around other people. It’s a neat idea for creative people who are often stuck working alone.

Question: If blogging isn’t your full time job, how do set limits for yourself?

You have to set boundaries. A lot of it is trial and error. For Mary Jo, it is a maturing process. She’s become more selective about her time and what she says yes to. But she realizes that’s not easy. Therapists make thousands of dollars simply because people can’t set boundaries for themselves. You just have to work at it.

Hee! Greatest way to end a session ever.

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One response to “Survival Tips for Network Bloggers”

  1. Leora writes:

    Hey Lisa, too bad I didn’t get to meet you at BWE but am glad you came to my talk! Thanks for blogging it!



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