‘Get Off Beyond Your Blog’ and Other Lessons From BYB’s First Year

jaws4242Tips & Tricks18 Comments

Guest Post from Ann Cinzar of AnnCinzar.com

Beyond Your Blog is one year old!

It’s hard to believe a year has passed. Considering I am usually a late adopter, it’s even harder to believe I was one of Susan’s first readers/listeners. In honor of the first anniversary, I’ve put together a list of top lessons I’ve learned so far from Beyond Your Blog.

[bctt tweet=”A list of top lessons learned during Beyond Your Blog’s First Year from @anncinzar”]

Lessons Learned From Beyond Your Blog's 1st Year - Beyond Your Blog Guest Post From Ann Cinzar

Make It Easy

Writing isn’t always easy. But it’s important to make it easy for an editor— to say yes, that is. Particularly with first time submissions to new sites, pieces that are relevant and current have greater success. My first attempt at Huffington Post resulted in a “yes” after I noticed a HuffPo editor writing a month-long series on her Social media detox. I sent my piece offering her my view (which happened to be the opposite) and (remarkably!) she said yes. Similarly, my first acceptance to The Good Men Project came when I sent a piece on football….two weeks before the Superbowl. Make educated assumptions on what an editor might want or need, make it clean and ready to go, and make it so good there is no reason to say no.

There is Room For Everyone

When I first started writing, I was overcome with a sense of urgency. In my insecure writer’s mind, it seemed like everyone had a big head start: people were getting published everywhere, calls for submissions were passing me by, and soon all the good spots would be taken. The truth is, it’s not a race. More importantly, there is more than enough room for everyone. The number of places to submit to is endless. There is no need to panic. As long as you stay true to your own work, it will find a home.

Participate In the Community

I’ve found my people! This year has brought amazing friendships with talented, smart, and funny writers and bloggers I’ve met online. (You know who you are!) You are the friends with whom I confide, vent, discuss issues with, and share wonderful news. The truth is, sometimes our friends and family at home have no idea what we’re doing. So it’s essential to have friends who know that when you get published on certain sites, it’s A BIG DEAL! The ones who give you virtual high fives when you post “I’m on On Parenting.” These are the friends who will share in your success, as you will in theirs.

[bctt tweet=”‘People getting published everywhere, calls for submissions passing me by, & soon all the good spots would be taken!’ @anncinzar”] Get off Beyond Your Blog

Wait, what!? Didn’t I just say what a great community this was? It is, of course! But every so often, the constant barrage of success stories makes me feel untalented, unmotivated, or lazy—some days all three. Then there are discussions going on about getting a newsletter started, gaining more followers, and submitting multiple pieces, while I can barely get lunch made. Sometimes it’s good to get off BYB (and the other marvelous groups out there). Without the distractions of what others are doing, you can take a step back, get centered again, and get back to your own writing.

Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Page (or Get Off BYB Part 2)

It doesn’t take long on BYB to realize that writers and bloggers have various reasons for being here. Whether you want to monetize your site, land an agent, find connection, or simply take in good advice, you can do it all here. The problem is, the constant updates from everyone can make you lose track of your own priorities. The blogger monetizing her site might want the viral sensation a HuffPo or Scary Mommy can bring. But the writer who wants to publish a novel might be aiming for an acceptance from a literary magazine. Sometimes, a step back is required to remember (or perhaps clarify) your own reasons. Otherwise, when Susie Q gets a post on “Major-Huge Site” — and it goes viral, and everyone is so excited for her, and she just got 10,000 likes on her FB page—it’s easy to slip into the mindset of “Omg, I should be doing that!” Even though what you really want is to find a regular blogging gig, or to be published in a literary magazine. (Btw Brain Child, if you’re reading this, I’m ready anytime you are.)

RELATED: 21 Writing Submission Tips from 21 Beyond Your Blog Posts

By unplugging (only briefly, of course!) you can get your eyes back on your own page—to your own goals, motivations, and writing. That way, when you come back to BYB, you’ll be more focused on what will help you, more supportive of others’ successes, and more grateful for why you came here in the first place.

Thanks to Susan and a great first year of Beyond Your Blog, and looking forward to what year two will bring for us all!

ann headshot 1Ann Cinzar writes about lifestyle, culture and negotiating the complexities of modern life. Her work has appeared in various publications, including The Washington Post, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Good Men Project, The Huffington Post and The Globe and Mail. Follow her on Twitter or find her at anncinzar.com.

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18 Comments on “‘Get Off Beyond Your Blog’ and Other Lessons From BYB’s First Year”

    1. thanks Michele! Yes, knowing about all the amazing places to submit work makes you realize it is not a competition, it’s a fun game to find your spot. Thanks for your comment!

  1. Ann- I think you can read minds. You brought out the same concerns/worries/frustrations that I have when I read updates from other writers. I always feel I need to do more and do it now. Reading your post has encouraged me to keep improving my skills and to keep submitting pieces because there’s room for everyone. I especially related to your comments about how invaluable this community is. Our family can support our efforts, but I don’t think they “get it.” Thanks for a great post.

    1. I felt the same way before I started BYB where I felt like everyone was doing more and getting more than me. When I finally let that go and started the site to level the playing field, I too realized that there is room for everyone — in fact more than enough room! Thanks so much for reading.

    2. Thank you so much Lisa! I so appreciate your comments, and love knowing I am not alone in how I feel! This is why we need each other! thanks again!

  2. Ann, this is so well done! I love BYB too, but your advice about Get off BYB part 1 and 2 is first of all just awesome in its honestly, as well as incredibly wise and EXACTLY what I had to do 🙂 I was getting so into the site and the fab podcasts that I wanted to do EVERYTHING and that simply isn’t possible. I had to remind myself who I was as a writer and what my goals were, and that they weren’t going to mirror everyone else’s and that was ok. Thanks for writing up such great advice from a fellow BYB fan. Oh, and Happy Birthday Susan!

    1. Doing the podcasts, I feel the same way! Every time I interview a guest I leave thinking ‘I need to submit there!’, but I have to remind myself of my goals and balance from there. Thanks so much for commenting!

    2. Dana, I appreciate this so much! YOU are such a great inspiration for me, and I have so enjoyed connecting with you and your writing. It’s comforting to know that others have been through the same process of needing to take a break and get a reminder of who you are (or want to be) as a writer. It’s also great to know I can come to you when I need future reminders of it! 🙂 Thanks again!

  3. This helped me exhale. Thank you. I am a huge fan of BYB, a fly on the wall for many months until I finally launched my blog and submitted my first couple pieces this summer. Susan, what you have created here is invaluable to so many. But, yes, easy to get intimidated, that’s for sure. Ann, I’m also learning that participating in the community is truly the only way to build a blog and not feel so isolated in our pursuits to reach an audience. So far, finding my groove within all the wonderful communities of writers has been a little sporadic and challenging for me, but I’m grateful for the treasures I’ve found and what connections I have made.

    1. Hi Julie – what a great comment! The fly on the wall of blogging was me 2 years ago. I’m excited to see that you have submitted some pieces! I used to remind myself that the worst case scenario was that they rejected it or didn’t respond at all, and that was not a major deal to me, so I kept doing it and loved it! I can see why it might be intimidating with all the writers dropping bylines of big and intimidating pubs, but for everyone getting published in the NY Times, there are 25 other people in the group who have not submitted. Plus everyone with big pub credits had no credits at some point. I love that we can learn from them while working at our own pace. I love what you say about finding and participating in communities. Cheers!

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