Blogging is like Gardening: Don’t expect instant gratification.

So, you have a blog, and you kind of know how to use it, but you are not sure how to get the results you want?

First of all, don’t expect instant gratification.  Blogging is like gardening.  If you’ve never tried gardening, I highly recommend it.  Gardening is a humbling experience full of life lessons.  Start preparing the soil now, keep tending your garden, and you might be lucky enough to see a bloom or a harvest in the months ahead, no guarantees.  Neglect your garden, and your efforts will yield little or nothing. Forget instant gratification, and start enjoying the process. Engaging deeply in the process itself provides a much deeper satisfaction than instant gratification. The more time spent tending the soil, planning, and envisioning, the better the results.  If you don’t love every step of the process as much as you enjoy reaping the results, there truly is no point in trying.

Once you have decided to invest in the process, it is time to set priorities.  Many gardeners think about personal desires first, considering what flowers would look nice next to the porch, or what kinds of vegetables would taste good.  Thoughtful gardeners consider how they will nurture the soil.  What kinds of nutrients and fertilizers does the soil need to be happy for years to come, not just this year? Raw organic materials are collected for composting. Beans are planted to fix nitrogen into the soil, even if the gardener does not like beans.  Soil is a good metaphor for the raw content inside of you that you would like to share with the world.  Think of it as a combination of your imagination and your soul.  Your inner soil needs certain things to be happy, so give it what it needs.  Maybe you truly want to see your blog go viral, but right now your soul just wants to enjoy the morning sunlight, so balance work with activities you love.  You didn’t get into blogging in order to become a slave to it.  If you commit all your spare time to blogging, do you really think you will have anything interesting to share?

Your inner soil is also the raw, organic matter that you will use to generate content.  It is composed of your experience, your knowledge, and your desires; it is all the stuff that you feel compelled to share. It is going to take some commitment to figure out what you want to say and to put it into words. Take your time with this, and enjoy every moment of your process.  It’s all yours!  There will be flashes of inspiration, moments when the ideas will flood in faster than you can record them.  That is good, but there is still a lot of work to do.  Don’t expect your writing to come out perfect on the first try.  Free write.  Find a comfortable place with a great view and turn on some tunes.  You don’t have to be by yourself. Try surrounding yourself with inspiring people. When you get a flash of inspiration, write it down.  Search your soul.  Experience life.  Write. Writing is the planting of seeds. Save everything you write.

Once seeds have been planted, they immediately start to take on a fresh new life, and the same will be true for your writing.  Look over your ideas from time to time. As you compile more material, you may find yourself gravitating towards certain topics.  You may find some ideas outside of your scope for now.  That could change in the future, so set them aside someplace where you can find them. Keep nurturing those ideas.  They are alive.  Like the plants in your garden, they are communicating with you.  Patiently nurture those ideas, and your writing will take on a richness that first drafts rarely attain.

Where it goes from here is highly subjective.  Gardeners and bloggers alike adopt unique approaches and techniques; everyone relates to their work in a personal way.  Just a reminder, tune out the egotistical part of your mind that wants instant gratification, and get in tune with the process, until you find yourself struck by your own level of insight and know beyond all doubt that you have something valuable to say to the world.


8 thoughts on “Blogging is like Gardening: Don’t expect instant gratification.

  1. thanks for liking my blog! You have some interesting thoughts on the blogging/creative process, good luck with it – hope you don’t get rude remarks like I’ve had this week!

  2. I could not have read this at a better time in my blogging life. I’m about two weeks in, and I’ve been in front of the computer for so long that I didn’t even go out yesterday or the day before. I have numerous beginnings of posts, and I’ll have something to write about for quite awhile, but if I don’t “nurture the soil,” as you so aptly described it, I know I will get stale. Thanks for the reminder!

    • I appreciate your kind words, and I am glad that this helped. Remember to have fun! By the way, where is the link to your site?

  3. Great post, Justin. I appreciate your emphasis on patience and enjoying the process. It’s tempting to envision ourselves down the road as a top blogger with book deals and a hundred thousand subscribers. But we forget how the creative process is full of surprises with the potential to yield unexpected results. Often, it’s these twists and turns that take us somewhere interesting. Thanks for your perspective!

  4. Thanks Sara.

    You are certainly right about the twists and turns.

    For me, being exposed to so many kinds of people from around the world is transformative experience. It takes time just to integrate this stuff, and then figure out what to do with it.

    I look forward to more from you!

  5. That is a very interesting visualization… and it is so true…. a blog must be enjoyed by the writer first… i should know, I have been writing off and on about all that seems to catch my attention for 2 years now 🙂


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