9 Things We've Learned in 8 Months of Blogging
I had resisted the idea of publishing a year-end post. –It is SUCH a cliché. –But the more I read other folks’ posts, the more I realized that we actually have something that I want to share on this topic. So, voila! Here it is.
While our goal is constant creation, this past year we decided to actively blog our experiences to share with and attract other like-minded creative individuals. The result was formally creating our online zine, Blooming Prejippie. Even though this is not our first time publishing a zine, this is our first time doing it online and having a more robust schedule. So, after about 2/3 of a year vigorously doing this thing, these are the things we have learned: Have both short- and long-term goals. It pays to have both short term and long term goals: For us, knowing what our long-term goals are help keep us centered and thinking from 1 to 3 years out—like speaking at conferences and regular music placements—but I know for a fact that I underestimated the need for achievable, monthly goals (see planning post). In fact, there was a time recently that I was floundering and couldn’t get motivated to get going until I remembered what our next immediate goal was. Remembering what we had discussed about executing a simple reach out campaign shook me out of my malaise. —No, I am serious, it was like someone snapped their finger and I instantly had my mojo again. I was able to get back to the daily dance of promotion and creation, after seeing a more immediate use for doing it. Bruce had warned me how important this seemingly simple planning can be, but I had never been hit by this realization until that very moment.
Have more than one goal in mind. Keeping a variety of goals in mind is critical. Though I eluded to this above, it bears repeating that just like exercise without goals seems more difficult than having that long term vision of why you are doing it in mind. (With exercise, being able to look good in rockstar clothes and feeling continually limber and energetic are mid-range goals that keep us motivated, though long-term health still continues to be before us. The shorter term goals—looking good in clothes and feeling that daily boost in energy are daily benefits—while working on longer term advantages of good health fuel the whole process. In other words, we have needed all three to keep the wheels of business cranking.
Understand how one goal feeds into other goals.
Continue learning. Following that idea of stretching our people skills, learning of all kind has been paramount. In blogging, we had to learn SEO and using social media more effectively. Learning new platforms—Insta-what?—and don’t get me started on email marketing! And even though we thought we understood the music business, we have realized how much it has changed because of the internet and have had to learn the new ways. —The point is that if we want to feel like masters of our own destiny this means that we must be continually open to learning new things. Yes, we have really had to bloom, if this thing is to have a life of its own.
Invest in yourself. In an effort to commit to our learning, as well as to expand our circle, we have sought out online classes on topics that help build that knowledge-base that we need and real-world classes that help us interact with people who doing interesting and creative things. We realized that in all our years of creating, we always assumed that simply being emotive was enough, but now can appreciate how much investing in learning specific to your creative goals help enrich our final creative products.
Always be authentic. I know that there is a lot being written today about being your authentic self, but ours is the cautionary tale. We have spent far too many years doing things that we didn’t want to do in an effort to make people feel comfortable with us. As hard as it is to believe, we are lovers and not fighters, so sometimes instead of fighting for our difference, we have simply let people see the version of us that they are most comfortable with. This alleviated the immediate awkwardness, but made us miserable. Further, eventually once we finally shared how we REALLY felt or really dressed, etc., folks felt betrayed and would lash out. In the end, it has not been worth it. It is much easier to fight in the beginning and then settle into those around you conforming to fit who we naturally are. Therefore, we continue to resist the urge to be People Pleasers, even in this brave new blogging world. (People keep telling us to pick a niche, but our “niche” is being this evolving potpourri of topics…. –You see where I’m going with this….)
You’ve heard the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, band photos REALLY are, since they determine if someone is going to say “Hell, yeah!” or “Hell, no!” to listening to your kick-ass music. Don’t forget to take heed to these important tips, in order to “get it right.” Check out this checklist of 15 valuable tips. http://www.bloomingprejippie.com/betterbandphotos
Understand that marketing is natural. Don’t separate the creative from the marketing. Part of being authentic is sharing the whole person, which bleeds into how you present what you do. What we mean is that marketing is not a separate activity from creating; it is simply shaping what happens in the creative space and not trying to create something separate to represent it. In fact, it has been through this rebirth of sorts that we are going through that I realized that “marketing” and “branding” and “fashion” are not bad, corporate, commercial, fake things, but that it is simply sharing what you do with the folks most likely to like you. It is as simple as that, this is marketing. Therefore, sharing the authentic us, fully, is the way to find people who genuinely like you for who you are.
Appreciate the opportunity to collaborate. We’ve truly learned to collaborate. When we met, we were our own individual artists with our own unique voices. While that was truly important, so that we could respect each other’s art, it has made it nearly impossible to actually meld our ideas together as one expression. —Many Times, our collaborative expression has ended up being a compromised expression—“half-happy,” is how Stranger Things 2 termed it. Of course, that is not what either of us has wanted and I don’t think we’ve always gotten the best of each other with this method. However, this time out—realizing that both of us realizing our dreams is possible if we pool our resources, has caused to be authentic and passionate with each other in fighting for our ideas, but actually contributing fully (and not in half-happiness). Once we saw the true beauty of a mottled melding of ideas, we’ve been hooked and have dug deeply to nurture this newfound beautiful thing. It is what we birthed together that has made us most happy in this 8 months.
Fitness is our daily barometer. Because fitness is a daily pursuit for both of us—it is the cornerstone of our day—we judge our mental fitness for our blog activity by whether we are meeting our fitness goals. This has never been the case before, but we are in sync now, knowing that if we get that first win for the day, then we are mentally fit to take on new blogging and music business challenges, while enjoying our journey. Having the physical energy, gained from the exercise, along with the mental readiness, gained from taking on and maintaining our fitness goals, helps us know that we can crush it and find the success that truly makes our hearts sing. Yes, it’s only been 8 months, but we have learned a lifetime’s worth of lessons. Every day is exciting and challenging, but each day we feel just a little closer to living the life that we dreamed of when we met and partnered up.
How about you?
What have you learned in the past year
that were aha moments for you?
--Well, cheers to the new year! As always, love, peace, and chicken grease!
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