Be careful who you listen to… [Become A Better Blogger]

Published: Tue, 09/15/15

It’s important to listen to advice, stories and experiences from people who have already traveled the road where you’re headed.

But you must be careful who you listen to, what you hear, and how you apply it.

All the advice people give and all the stories they tell are filtered through their own experiences and point of view. We all inadvertently project our own issues on to other people.

For instance, last week I shared a post I wrote about an article quoting Heather Armstrong aka Dooce.

According to Heather, writing sponsored content can suck your soul dry.
And for her, it probably did.

It’s very clear that Heather is burned out completely.

For 14 years she has been living an excruciatingly public life and depending on the income from publicizing that life. She has been through so much and blogged during it all. 

But should you as a blogger take to heart Heather’s warning of soul-sucking sponsored content?

No. Not really.

You can listen to her story and advice, but then you must run it through a filter of knowledge before applying it yourself. 

Heather’s blogging experience is very unique. She told the most personal stories in a most irreverent way that attracted readers who wanted raw truth of the most intimate sort. 

Her readers came back religiously for a daily fix of vicarious living and shocking honesty. She didn’t blog to give tips or advice. She wasn’t trying to teach her readers how to do anything new.

She was simply blogging about her daily life in a way that made jaws drop and laughs erupt out loud. 

Heather’s blogging style, and most importantly her personality, didn’t transition well to sponsored content.

And it’s no surprise that she despised writing sponsored posts about her kids using particular products.

But that’s HER.

Her experience is completely different from mine and I’m so thankful to have the job of writing sponsored content that sometimes includes stories about my kids using particular products.

It’s a phenomenal way to make a living.

Yes, it’s a HARD way to make a living and I don’t recommend it to everyone. But it is truly a blessing for me and my family.

Now, let me say…

I don’t love writing every single post. I often procrastinate. But nobody loves every moment of their work. That’s why it’s called WORK.

Overall, I'm grateful for my business and I love that I can look back and see something that I created. 

And many of my favorite creations include content that was sponsored.

Most of that content was HARD to make and I would NOT have done it if I didn’t have to.

Take for example, a video post of Olivia that Janice and I made waaaaaay back in time.

This post was a huge amount of work and very stressful. The resulting video isn’t perfect… the quality of cameras and upload size we used wasn’t great back then.

But the memories we captured are PRICELESS.

My girls so often ask to watch this video.

Behind the scenes, creating this video was a nightmare. 

We needed to film our girls running around in diapers. Sounds easy, right? PROBLEM: They had both just potty trained and moved into Pull Ups.

Yes, the video tells the truth… all our kids DID wear Huggies. But, just days earlier, our babies had moved on to Huggies Pull Ups and we needed them to wear diapers in the video.

As we prepared to start shooting, I tried to put Sophia into a diaper and she refused. “No! No wear diapers!”

Thankfully, Olivia was easy-going and we got her into a diaper and shot a bunch of footage of her.

You might notice in the video that it’s raining. Yes, it started to rain as we were trying to shoot a scene of her running around outside in a diaper.

Stress? Yes! But in the end, the video of her dancing in the rain makes me smile and my kids roar with laughter.

We never would have had that video if we weren’t being paid to make it. 

Many of the photos we have of our kids, we only have because we needed to take the shots for a blog post. 

And I truly thank God for those photos and for the blog posts that I had to write.

Not only did those posts pay for the dinner on our table, but they’ve given us memories we’ll treasure forever.

So yes, listen to everyone. But be careful. Take everything into context. Remember every story and piece of advice is affected by a point of view and a set of circumstances you may never know.

Ultimately, you know yourself and your story. Build your future your way.

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Talk soon,

Susan (and Janice)
5 Minutes For Mom

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