This is a guest post by Roman Jelinek. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
What do you want to be when you grow up? When you were young the answer was movie star. What young kid does not dream of being famous, having lots of money, living in Beverly Hills and followed by flashing bulbs every time they go shopping for shoes.
Then you grow up. Maybe you still dream of being a movie star but now you realize that it is not a realistic goal. You can become a mail person, an accountant, a teacher, or unpublished writer. But to become a movie star is too hard – it is like wanting to become a lottery winner. You were young and naive, susceptible to wild dreams. Now you are an rational adult – you no longer strive to be a movie star.
Now you want to be a blog star. You want to have a successful blog with 100,000’s of daily visitors. You want to work from home in your bathrobe and slippers. You want money to be accumulate while you sleep. You want your friends to envy you as they fight traffic five days a week to a job they hate.
You know you cannot be a movie star but think that you can be a blog star.
What is the difference between becoming a movie star and a blog star? Why do rational adults, who quietly snicker at somebody striving to be a movie star, strive at being a blog star? They write posts, promote, take a few ‘how to blog’ courses, all in the attempt of being a successful blogger. They know the stats: 99.99% of all blogs fail. And those that do not fail in the first 6 months are barely able to cover the costs of the web host service – ending up like the failing actor performing at the local community center in front of empty seats and a few retired people looking towards the free donuts at the end of the show.
Wanting to be a movie star is crazy. But wanting to be a blog star is not. This is strange. Why is the notion of becoming a movie star absurd while becoming a blog star rational? Here a the reason why you, a rational adult, might believe that one day you can become a blog star.
1) No Barrier To Entry
You cannot wake up one day and say, “today I am going to be a movie star.” You need an agent, you need to take acting lessons, you need to be able to make people cry, you need to get a role in a movie, you need to move to Hollywood and in most cases you need to look good. So much work and so many possible points of failure – one barrier after another.
But, you can wake up tomorrow and be a blogger. Get out of bed and turn on the computer. Go to wordpress.com download a free blog template and start making posts. Before breakfast, still in your pajamas, you have become a blogger. It is so easy.
2) No Special Talent Required
To be a movie star requires talent. Remember high school drama class? There is always that one student who stands out above the rest. He can turn a room of gum chewing, giggling, restless students into a silent and focused audience as they watch him recite, “To be or not to be…”. He has talent – student most likely to be a movie star.
Do you now how to turn on a computer? Do you know how to read and write? If you do then you can be a blogger. All you got to do is write some interesting content everyday. You have everything it takes to be a great blogger. No special talent required.
3) No Instant Rejection
Watch an episode of American Idol. The candidates want to be stars. Before they walk on the stag and perform they believe in their dream of being a star. Then they perform. And in most cases with either an awkward smile or a tear in the eye they get a big dose of rejection. Dream shattered and a direct flight back to reality.
The blogosphere does not provide rejection. Nobody will tell you that you suck. Even after 1 year of blogging you can still think your blog is great – that you have a chance of success. Your 3 loyal followers (mother, uncle, co-worker) are always praising your blog posts. They tell you the reason your blog has not took off is because of some outside factor – need more promotion, change the color of the text, add a RSS feed etc. Nobody will strike you down with a big fat rejection – your blog sucks, you have no talent, quit wasting your time. Booo.
4) You Can Be A Blogger On The Weekends
To become a movie star means devoting your life to it. You need to become a starving artist. Buy a wool sweeter and scarf, never have any money, spend your days at coffee shops drinking tea and nibbling on biscuits, discussing Sir Author Dumenhouwer’s riveting performance of Cyrano de Bergerac.
Want to be a blogger: No need to quit your day job. No need to cancel your Wednesday nights at the pub with friends. All you need to do is devote a couple of hours on the weekend to your blog. Six days out of the week you are who you are, on Sundays you sit at the computer and write a post.
5) It Is Not A Cliche For The Foolish Endeavor
If someone tells you that they want to be a movie star it means one thing – they have no grasp of reality. The cliche is a 18 year old girl who moves to Hollywood thinking that she will become a star. She believes that because she has talent and knows how to work hard she will get noticed and in no time be on the big screen screen with Brad Pitt. Whenever you hear such a story all you can do is roll your eyes. What a silly girl.
Becoming a star blogger has no such cliche. Tell your friends that you are starting a blog, that you are a good writer and that you will work hard. Tell them that you think you will make lots of money. Their reply will be: “that sounds like a great idea, you know HTML, you are a good writer, I think that you really have a chance of succeeding, go for it!”.
Becoming A Blog Star In Blogwood
These misconceptions about blogging make it seem like anybody can become a blog star. But the reality is that the blogosphere is no different then Hollywood. There is only so much room at the top. And to get there takes hard work, talent, devotion, and of course the elusive and slippery element of luck.
Like Hollywood, the blogosphere is mostly populated by people with shattered dreams and tear stained pillows. People who come full of energy and excitement, but after a good whipping by the reality stick they leave on their knees shaking their heads and murmuring curses.
Like me. My back is still bloody from the beat down I received. For all the reasons above I went into blogging thinking that within a few months I will become a blog star. I was lured by the shine and glitter of the blogosphere. I laughed at aspiring movie stars but at the same time thought I could be a blog star. It has been 9 months of disappointment.
The good news is that I am still around – I did not burn out. My goals are more realistic now. Now I expect modest progress and to have fun. I no longer expect to be a blog star. This change of attitude has helped me focus on providing good content and to sleep peacefully at nights. Of course I still dream of being a blog star, but I no longer wake up every morning expecting to be one.
Re-evaluate your reasons for blogging. Are you doing it to become a blog star – is that a realistic goal?
Note from Daniel: I don’t agree completely with this post, but I figured it would be interesting to see another point of view. In my opinion with hard work you can become anything you want, be it a movie start or a blog start. And the number of blog starts that we’ll see around the world will also be much bigger than the number of movie starts.
Roman Jelinek is a new webmaster with a blog and website describing in detail what is involved in creating, maintaining and profiting from a site. Called How This Website Makes Money, you will find charts and statistics there.
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