How to Graduate to Your Next Level of Blogging

It’s a special day in this neck of the woods. It’s graduation day for my husband.  After two-and-a-half years of carrying a heavy course load at school while working a 6 p.m. – 6 a.m. factory shift, he’s finally earned his diploma in electromechanical technology.

But it almost didn’t happen.

A few weeks back he was feeling overwhelmed. Lack of sleep, an endless torrent of homework, and chronic health issues had left him depleted and depressed.

With just five weeks to go til the finish line, he’d hit a wall.

“I can’t do this anymore,” he told me. “I’m dropping out.”

Flash forward five weeks, and my husband has earned his diploma.

Yesterday was the last day of classes, a special occasion celebrated with family, feasting, and soaking up the joy that comes with a hard-won victory.

And now it’s graduation day. More celebrating. More cake :)

Victory is, indeed, a very sweet thing. And to think he nearly didn’t taste it . . . .

I’m sharing his story because whether we’re working towards a degree, training for a marathon, or pursuing our blogging goals, we all hit a wall sooner or later. But just because we hit that wall doesn’t mean it has to stop us.

The same 3-step process that carried my husband from despair to a degree will work just as well for any of us when we’re sure we can’t write one more post, tweet one more promo, or deal with one more technical set-back.

Here’s how it works:

Talk it out. My husband’s situation turned around in the moment he told me he planned to quit. Up til then, he’d held his self-doubts inside, where they multiplied like a fast-growing cancer. When he opened up about his feelings, I reminded him of all the progress he’d made and how close he was to his goal. Suddenly he saw things from another perspective, and things felt doable again. It’s the same thing with blogging. When we feel unable to go on we need to share those feelings with an encouraging blogging friend who will point out how far we’ve come and remind us of the bright possibilities just around the bend.

Ditch perfection. One of the things that landed my husband in trouble in the first place was an attachment to perfect grades, which eventually ended up paralyzing him to the point of inaction. When he recommitted to finishing school, he knew he had to stop chasing perfection, and simply do his best with the time he had available for schoolwork. That’s how it works for blogging too. If we’re going to continue on towards our goals, we can’t become so obsessed with getting everything right that we avoid submitting guest posts, trying our hand at shooting videos, or releasing our own products. As the saying goes, “perfection is the enemy of done.”

Persevere. Life didn’t become a rosy stroll in the park when my husband decided to push through to graduation. If anything, things got more challenging. He was assigned even more hours at work, a bout of sickness put him on his back, and an instructor added a last minute project to an already staggering course load. Rather than look at the mountain of challenges, however, my husband persevered by completing one paper, one lab assignment, and one exam at a time. Persevering by completing one task at a time has the same result in blogging too. By simply continuing onward, one step at a time, we too will eventually graduate to the next level of our blogging endeavors.

Your turn: What keeps you going when you feel like you’ve hit a wall?

Related Posts: 6 Things That Get Easier About Blogging if You Just Keep Going

Image Credit: Carbon NYC

29 Responses to How to Graduate to Your Next Level of Blogging

  1. Katie May 15, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    Yes, it's so easy to get caught up in techie troubles. Had some yesterday. Had to talk it out with my husband (okay there might have been some whining), let go perfection (after 5 hours of trying to fix it) and persevere (finally fixed it), just like you say. Great advice. It works. Taking a deep breath and looking at the big picture also help – why are you blogging or studying or whatever it is you're trying to accomplish. Get back to the joy and giving part of it, that's puts things in perspective. Today, I'll keep blogging, with a little help from you, Jean.

  2. virginbloggernotes May 15, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    I get pretty good at that whining part myself sometimes :) Glad to hear you broke through the wall of those tech troubles. I know how frustrating those things can be. Yuck. Here's to staying the course and helping each other out along the way!

  3. Gurl May 15, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    I love the way you took something personal that isn't related to blogging yet made it relevant to blogging. Amazing stuff and very creative! Some excellent points as well…I tend to keep my blogging woes to myself, guess I need to finish cementing some of the friendships I've been blessed with so we can turn to each other when it gets rough. Thanks for sharing this and big congrats to your husband, I know how hard it can be to finish those last few weeks of an academic course (and I wasn't even working at the time!).

  4. virginbloggernotes May 15, 2010 at 3:30 pm #

    You can share your blogging ups and downs with me anytime. I've found that there's a lot of encouragement and support in the blogging community, which really surprised me. I always thought of bloggers as being sort of isolated, but I found when I started getting out of my own shell I started meeting some really nice, helpful people.

  5. Gurl May 15, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    Thanks so much! That means a lot to me :)

    I've also found so much help and support from other bloggers, some of which are in the same or a similar niche as myself. Its mind blowing and humbling for me. I just keep hoping that I can do them proud so they feel their help made a positive difference. Then I guess the next step will be to pay it forward…which I am looking forward to, helping someone else always gives a tingly good feeling :)

  6. virginbloggernotes May 15, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    It's funny how quickly those opportunities pop up to pay it forward, and I have a hunch you'll be a real giver in the blogging community. You've got the right personality for it.

  7. Gurl May 15, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    Thank you! I have no clue what I will have to give others, but I am always one to do what I can to help. Sometimes I get “used” but for the most part it works out well and leads to long standing, mutually beneficial friendships. :)

  8. kiesha_WeBlogBetter May 15, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

    Yes! This is an awesome blog post that makes perfect use of personal experience! Thanks for sharing your link!!

  9. virginbloggernotes May 15, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    Thanks, Keisha, and also thank you for the RT. I was out in the garden this afternoon and blog post ideas started popping up like dandelions. Sometimes we think that by stepping away from our computers we're losing out somehow, but I find that engaging more with life makes for more engaging posts.

  10. TheInfoPreneur May 15, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    I have only one question, …… and it's a serious one

    What cake was it?

  11. davy May 15, 2010 at 9:16 pm #

    hey just having a look at your blog ive only set my one up recently your giving alot of good content
    keep up the good work

    thanks
    Davy

  12. Olusegun May 15, 2010 at 9:22 pm #

    We insightful and practical. Thanks for sharing something special to you and your husband.

    I'm gonna talk my challenges out, ditch perfection and keep persevering.

  13. virginbloggernotes May 15, 2010 at 10:26 pm #

    Two cakes actually, James :) A white cake (probably not as tasty as one you would make!) with white frosting and a Dairy Queen Buster Bar Blizzard cake. Do you have Dairy Queen's over there?

  14. virginbloggernotes May 15, 2010 at 10:34 pm #

    Thank you, Olusegun. This was a fun post to write because I'm so proud of all my husband has done and truly feel we all can benefit by following his example. I hope all your endeavors are successful.

  15. virginbloggernotes May 15, 2010 at 10:35 pm #

    Good luck on your blog, Davy. Blogging is an addictive thing, so don't say I didn't warn you :) Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

  16. Angela Artemis May 15, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    Jean, this was just what I needed to hear right now. Congratulations to your husband for sticking it out. Working and going to school is extremely difficult – he is to be commended!

    I feel overwhelmed at time (honestly, a lot….) full time career, second – intuitive consulting career, family responsibilities, housework, and then blogging too? Forget a social life…. What the hell? Sometimes, I think I was crazy to take this on. I still haven't redone my site on a Thesis theme yet either. Oy vay….

    But, I've decided to take it one day at a time and one project at a time too. Today – painting around the house as I prepare to put it on the market (more stress). But, that's life. The day we have no stress is the day we wake up on the other side!

  17. virginbloggernotes May 15, 2010 at 10:58 pm #

    I think being a little bit crazy is probably an asset with blogging :) Seriously, with your full life I can see why you'd have plenty of moments of overwhelm! But you're on the right track to take things one project at a time and work at your own pace. I know it sounds strange, but I think some of the best blogging comes from folks who have lots of other responsibilities because they can share those experiences in their posts like you do. The posts might end up being more spread out when a person is busy, but they're worth waiting for!

  18. BrandonBurgh May 16, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    Hey Jean,

    First, tell your husband congrats for me. Well earned. I know what it's like to feel ready to give up. I think in my sophomore year of college, I was trying realllly hard to stay my course in my major. I couldn't take it any longer and finally went and talked to some of the school's guidance counselors. The day arrived, I was ready to make it offficial and switch majors…but I couldn't do it. I couldn't quit.

    There's James…wanting some more cakes. He sees a picture on the net of one and he's ready to break out the mixing bowl. 😉

  19. virginbloggernotes May 16, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    Haha, James should shoot a video of himself talking about blogging when he's mixing up cakes. People are after him to take time off, so maybe he should record at the beach or from a hammock :)

    Glad you stuck things out in college. That sort of determination definitely comes in handy with online work.

  20. alexwhalley May 17, 2010 at 12:09 am #

    Congrats to the hubby and also to you! You asked what keeps us going when we hit a wall. And although you already know I like to 'Just Keep Swimming' – it's bloggers like yourself that give me the motivation to keep at it. You are a case study in the importance of networking and commenting and building a community -and I'm glad to be a part of it. (on that note – permission to post a case study using you as an example?)

  21. virginbloggernotes May 17, 2010 at 1:34 am #

    My fellow bloggers and readers are my major source of motivation too. They bring real meaning and joy to what I do. Plus, I love to write and tell stories :) I would be honored to be part of your case study, Alex. Thanks for thinking of me.

  22. Kaizenvision May 18, 2010 at 6:53 am #

    Big Congratulations to your Husband! It's amazing how often one desires to give-up just as the success is around the last corner. Sticking out beyond the point of exhaustion is often what it takes and it's such an amazing accomplishment to make it through the perseverance. It applies to graduating with a degree in “electromechanical technology” as well as persevering through the very thing our heart desires. Thank you for the inspiring post!

  23. virginbloggernotes May 18, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    Sometimes it's almost like we're afraid to push ahead and get that thing we've always dreamed of. Or at least that's how it's been with me sometimes because success in something can bring a whole new set of challenges. And, sometimes too, we really are just plain exhausted and are sure we can't go one step further.I love hearing/reading stories of people who have overcome challenges because it reminds me that we can do the same.

  24. Trece May 18, 2010 at 11:43 pm #

    Jean, congratulations to both you and your husband! I can relate, as my husband left his civil service job and we all moved to West Virginia for him to go to Bible college, in preparation for entering the ministry. We all felt a part of his success (and he turned 50 while we were there).

  25. virginbloggernotes May 19, 2010 at 12:08 am #

    Now that's what I call a major life change! It makes me happy to hear of others who make midlife changes and follow their calling. Sometimes people think they are too old at 50 to start on a new path, but I think 50 is just the start of the next great chapter in life.

  26. custom-web-design May 27, 2010 at 7:37 am #

    Victory is, indeed, a very sweet thing. And to think he nearly didn’t taste it . . .
    :) liked it in this huge article….:)

  27. Madeleine May 30, 2010 at 1:31 am #

    Jean, Many congratulations to your husband and kudos to you for being so supportive and such a good “sounding board.” Your suggestions for getting through a “can't do this anymore” time are excellent, especially for someone so close to success. It sounds like running a marathon (which I've never done) in the sense that a person can “hit the wall” and somehow find the will to push through to the finish line.

  28. virginbloggernotes May 30, 2010 at 3:49 am #

    Thanks, Madeleine. It definitely was a challenging time for the poor guy. He had to function on no sleep at all sometimes because of his night shift job, but he made it through. Needless to say, he's enjoying the extra free time he has now :)

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