Posted by: itsleisa | 01/20/2010

When to stop listening to the experts

Photo by jurvetson

Firstly, this is a post more about blogging than about food, fitness and fat-burning – maybe.

I have been noticing in the last few weeks that I have gotten a little off-track with what I want to do with this blog. I’m not talking about the whole vacation, holidays and then getting laid-off my job (oh, ya, in case you didn’t know – experienced, talented technical writer seeking contract or permanent employment – inquire within) distraction.

I am talking more about brooding over what is tone, voice and flavor of the site? What’s my ultimate vision? What do I want to DO here?

Now, since I am a writer by trade, if I have a blog, I want it to be good. No, not even good – I want it to be really good. Exceptionally good. Mind-blowingly good. Ya, I know, no pressure. And, since I am a lover of learning, a natural teacher, and hater of reinventing-the-wheel, whenever I begin an endeavor – especially one at which I want to be exceptionally good  – I look to the experts to learn from the hard knocks of those who have gone before. Here is where I got a little off track.

Experts say…

There are some blogging experts I truly admire. Bloggers whose success I would really like to emulate. People like Darren Rowse at ProBlogger, Brian Clark at copyblogger, Leo Babauta at  zenhabits, Johnathan Mead at Illuminated Mind, and Charlie Gilkey at Productive Flourishing, and 10 or 15 others that I left out (and yes, there are women bloggers I admire too. That’s another post). My point is, they have great, proven advice, including:

  • If you want your blog to be really good, make every post count.
  • Make every post your very best work.
  • Make every post something you are proud to have out there. After all, the Internet is f o r e v e r! duhn, duhn duhnnnnnn….(Boy now that just really gets the creative juices flowing, don’t ya know.)

Ya, but…

Problem is: My whole point in starting the blog was to share my story, my journey, my triumphs, and struggles, and what I am learning about food, fitness, fat-burning and myself along the way to becoming lean and strong.

And, um…..the idea of ‘every post being your best work’ doesn’t jibe very well with the blog-as-journal/confessional format. In practice, as I have (listening to the experts) strived to make each post meaningful, relevant and informed, I have found that I feel less and less free to say anything. No surprise – that’s a heavy burden for 500-2,000 words a week to bear.

And so…

This leaves me with a dilemma. One over which I gained some freedom and insight by looking at the site of another very popular blogger, and best-selling author (dare I say “expert”? ), Gretchen Rubin. She’s the creator of the blog and now best-selling book, The Happiness Project. On her site, she has a section called “Happiness Theories I Reject.” I had an epiphany when I saw that. Seriously, with all the reading and learning I had done about how to create a really good blog, I had never considered the idea that I might actually, actively reject an idea or proposition coming from an expert I admire. I reject lots of ideas from ‘experts’ to be sure: experts I profoundly disagree with, experts I think are stupid, experts I think are just out for buck. But, wow, to reject ideas from experts I admire? That’s a new option.

Now that I see it, it is so obvious and freeing. It leaves me feeling free to soak up all the good, expert advice I can find, and then take what I like, what works and feels right for me, and then (instead of feeling like a petulant child ignoring her chores), I can consciously reject the premises that don’t fit with or won’t work for my vision. The burden of feeling obligated to do all the smart stuff  is off my back.

With that…

Here’s what I envision this blog looking like going forward. It will be a journal of my journey. It will contain frequent snippets of experience, including  perhaps (fair warning), unformed, rambling thoughts and insights as I go, and occasionally (hopefully more so than less), it will contain well-formed, thought-out, researched and reasoned  advice and insight, something that I will be proud to have out there in the interwebs forever, something that will inspire you, dear reader, along your own road to life-long fitness and health.

And as I finish I wonder, hmmmm maybe this post does have something to do with food, fitness, and fat-burning? Looking to some of the new habits I have learned that work for me, I see that it many ways it does.

I’ll ask you. Where have you in your health and fitness journey have ‘rejected the experts’ and created something unique that worked for you? Or, where do you now see that you could? How do you know when it’s time to stop listening to the experts?

Look for a random, possibly rambling, unformed post further documenting my journey soon.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for the link, and it’s an honor to be included in it.

    You’re absolutely right that you have to stop listening to the experts. At a certain point, you have to disagree with them, too.

    The experts usually talk about the general rules of the game, but you’ll get to the point where you won’t need those training wheels. Kick ‘em off and ride on, m’man!

    One last thing: it’s important to try to add value. I’ve written plenty of crap and will continue to do so.

    Every post doesn’t have to be your best work, but every post should work for something or somebody. Note: writing for yourself is working for something and/or somebody.

  2. Thanks, Charlie. I think I will take that advice. Appreciate you stopping by.


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