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The Four Stages of Blogging And The Challenges You'll Face In Each

Blogging is a journey. Like any journey, there's a pathway toward becoming a fully committed and consistent article publisher. 

And, knowing where we're at along the path is a key insight to helping us get where we're going. This guide provides mile markers along the road so you can find your place and the unique challenge you can expect to face now and later. 

Those that succeed long-term at blogging arrive and sustain the fourth phase (Achiever). Embracing reality, they’re focused and diligent in their clearly articulated vision. They reap the fruit of their reliable labor. 

Unfortunately, others get distracted, fall into traps, or simply realize blogging is not their path. To help you navigate the journey, I'm diving into all four blogging stages we go through, starting with our final desired state and working backward to the first.

These are inspired by the Island Story framework and you can also explore how this framework composes a commitment structure here. 

4 - The Achiever - Embracing Reality

You've embraced the reality (both positives and negatives) of blogging and succeeded at sustaining the endeavor. As new challenges come your way, you're eager to face and overcome them.

You're disciplined, consistent, and successful as you journey forward. By all accounts, you've made it. And that is where the trouble begins. Chasing the unending and elusive success.

Achievers are distracted by others (and/or themselves) pushing them to go further and faster than is appropriate, healthy, or right. The growing appetite for more, more, more.

This never-ending black hole pulls us forward and our pursuit of success supersedes our relationships. In our achievement, we hurt ourselves and others to accomplish.

While the tension in the first three stages is about motivating bloggers forward, it's this stage where the pushback is slowing down, and sometimes stopping altogether. The end sequence of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade illuminates the pitfalls of this stage well.

Learning to let go.

What achievers need is clearly articulated boundaries for personal accountability, and for others to call them to our attention when we violate them, much like Indy's father does in the clip. But, we must be willing to respond or like Elsa (from Indiana Jones), we'll fall to our doom.

3 - The Visionary - Elusive Intentions

Before we ever become an achiever, we've got a slew of false starts. Unlike the second dreamer stage, visionaries realize the rubber meets the road and they take the red pill starting their blogging journey, publishing their first post. 

Energized, we launch into this path, but we soon realize passion quickly runs out when faced with reality's obstacles. 

While the possibilities are endless. We don't have what it takes to bring those possibilities to life.

What does that look like for bloggers? You’ve started a blog and have chronically started and stopped so many times, you lost count. Your intentions are there, just not so much the doing part (at least consistently). 

There’s something about blogging that’s inspired you to do it, but you’re lacking an articulated and anchored vision to carry you forward when you don’t, at the moment, feel like doing it anymore. So when the emotions fade so does your blogging. 

If you're honest with yourself, the reality that stops you from blogging is not one you are willing to embrace. It requires more time, discipline, structure, and sacrifice you’re not willing to accept. It's hard. You thought you could have all the benefits without the due diligence.

The visionary is driven by meaning and significance but is easily distracted by others on a mission. Instead of doing the hard work they need to do for themselves, they get distracted doing hard work for others!

But a strong motivating vision provides the carrot (incentive) to accept and push past these challenges. And the key to continued success in this stage is found in an inspirational community and accountable relationships. We must accept that we can't do alone, and to sustain requires people and processes.

Dreamers Jacket - Back Person
Photo by rob walsh on Unsplash

2 - The Dreamer - Seeking Potential

Before we ever started blogging and our numerous false starts, we simply wondered and dreamed about blogging.

Once you grab a hold of the potential of blogging leaving the lost stage, you go into discovery mode, learning and exploring. You think and daydream about it. You’ve grasped the upside of what this path could provide you and you spend time exploring it through research, thinking, and discussion. 

Unfortunately, you get easily distracted by shiny enjoyable things. You continuously go down various rabbit holes without taking any action. All this learning is so fun and the people you connect with are fascinating. But after years of wanting to blog, you realize you could have very well spent that time actually moving the dream forward.

What you need is a kick (inspirational or consequential), something to shake up your comfort zone and decrease the appeal of staying where you are doing what you're doing. 

My first kick to personal blog came from being inspired by a friend who had been blogging. My second kick came after shutting down my company, and floundering as I struggled with what to do next. Knowing blogging could help me, regardless of the path I took, I embraced it in 2014.

1 - The Lost Survivor - Wanting To Survive

It’s hard to recognize we’re lost when we’re lost. Discovering blogging later, you'll come to realize looking back on the season you were lost. 

When I began blogging in 2014, I so wish I had started doing it over a decade earlier. Unfortunately, I was simply lost. Surviving the way I knew how.

And whenever survivors get room to think and calibrate their bearings, they’re so burned out that they’re forever stuck recovering instead of dreaming. 

Distracted by opportunities to make it easier to survive, you continue to discover they're not real and these distractions prolonged your misery. 

But, at some point, you’ll stop long enough to hear about blogging and its benefits. You’ll grasp the potential upside and your curiosity will drive you forward to the next stage. Maybe, just maybe, blogging could be your path out of this survival cycle. 

You Are Here Sign
Photo by John Baker on Unsplash

Which Stage Are You?

If it's not obvious reading the stage descriptions, the following questions are a quick awareness check to determine where you are.

  • Are you NOT blogging without a clue of its benefits? You're probably a Lost Survivor (1).
  • Do you know the potential upside and benefits of blogging, but have yet to start actually doing it? You're probably a Dreamer (2).
  • Have you started a blog, many, many times? Are you struggling to sustain a consistent blogging rhythm? You're likely a Visionary (3).
  • Are you consistently knocking it out of the park blogging like a master overcoming challenge after challenge? You're an Achiever (4).

What's Next?

Now that you know where you stand, lean into the next step, avoid the distractions that come your way, and embrace help when you fall into the traps of each stage along the way. To accelerate your journey through the five stages, explore the formula for intentionality, write down your intentions, and share them publicly with others as a form of accountability. 

Hero Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Stages of Commitment

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