Guest Post By Joanna McClanahan of Ramblin’ Mama
I have only been blogging for a year but it has made me stronger in so many ways. I’ve learned a lot about my writing, but mostly about myself.
Here are just some of the ways that blogging has taught me to be a badass:
1. I’m not afraid of rejection anymore
I used to be so terrified of rejection, I rarely sent out anything. If I did, I spent at least a month editing it. When I received a rejection letter (or a series of them), I couldn’t help but take it personally. I would wonder if my writing was any good at all. At some point I had to make a decision: 1) Give up, 2) Continue to take rejection personally and live in a pit of darkness and despair, or 3) See it as a learning opportunity and let it go.
At this point I’ve received so many rejections that I’m just happy to hear back from a publication at all. Now when I get rejected I ask myself
- Could this piece be improved?
- Would it be a good fit for another publication?
- Does it need an angle that is more unique/personal?
I try not to stress about what I should have done differently and instead focus on what can be improved moving forward.[bctt tweet=”‘I’ve received so many rejections that I’m just happy to hear back from a publication at all’ @ramblinma”]
2. I’ve developed thicker skin
It’s not easy to pour your heart and soul onto a page. It’s especially difficult to press the “Submit” button and expose those feelings to the world, only for them to be picked apart by strangers. There’s a dark side to online anonymity. Go to any comments section or any social media site and you will find people being gravely offended by something. Insults are common and threats are unfortunately not much less common.
I’ve learned not to take any of it personally. There is no point in letting myself get dragged into it, mostly because there’s no way to win. If someone thinks I’m judgmental or that my article is the dumbest thing they’ve ever read; nothing that I do or say is going to convince them otherwise.
3. I know that success isn’t about numbers
Bloggers basically swim in numbers all day, every day. Views, likes, followers, comments, tweets, shares, reach: it’s enough to make anyone crazy. It’s so easy to become obsessed with the next milestone, that next thousand. The problem is there’s always a bigger number waiting around the corner.[bctt tweet=”‘Bloggers swim in numbers every day. Views, likes, followers, comments, tweets, shares, reach’ @ramblinma”]
So what does success look like? A few loyal followers who are actually interested and engaged in what you have to say. And it doesn’t matter if there are three, or thirty, or three hundred of them. As long as they love reading your words, that’s about as successful as any writer could hope to be.
4. It helped me find my tribe
I’ve been lucky that some of the people who enjoy reading my words also write words that I love to read. By being honest, open, and kind (and hilarious never hurts) I’ve met other writers who appreciate me for who I am. To find friendships with other writers who understand you is truly a magical thing. My tribe inspires me, encourages me, and makes me feel like a stronger person all around.
5. I’m not afraid to say “NO” anymore
I try to pick my battles wisely. I like to think of myself as low maintenance, patient, and polite. But I’ve found that it’s important to be my own advocate. I receive a lot of favor asks and requests from people I know well, and from people I barely know at all. I no longer feel any guilt when I have to say “no” to any or all of them.
6. I channel frustration into writing
Writing can be an incredibly cathartic experience, especially if I’m writing about feeling sad, isolated, or angry. I’m able to pour my feelings onto a page and get that toxicity out of my system.
The amazing thing about blogging is that my words can be just as cathartic to someone else who reads them. There are people in the world waiting to relate to the words that I write, and that is an incredible power.
7. I give myself credit for improvement
I’m not sure I believe writers ever really “find” their voice. I think with every piece that I write, and every article I read, my writing gets a little bit better. Our voices are constantly evolving. All I have to do is go back and read something I wrote six months ago to prove it. When I finally stop cringing, I’m able to at least give myself credit for how much my writing has grown.[bctt tweet=”‘I’m not sure I believe writers ever really “find” their voice’ @ramblinma “]
They say the only thing constant in this world is change. I continue to fail, and grow, and learn every day. But I have all of the above lessons to remind me that I’m stronger than I was yesterday. I’m not afraid to stick up for myself, I have a great support system, and above all else: I’m a total badass.
Joanna McClanahan is a writer and humorist residing in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two small kids, and two dogs. Her work has been featured on Scary Mommy, Club Mid, Sammiches & Psych Meds, YourTango, and TIME.com. You can find more from her on Ramblin’ Mama, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.