The Flinch“Pass it on” is the final assignment in the ebook I read over the weekend.

The book, “The Flinch”,written by author and blogger, Julien Smith is a free download from Amazon.

To complete the assignment, I am passing it onto YOU.

Today’s Lesson

My blogger friend Davina told me about this book and when she forwarded the link to me, I downloaded it immediately. Within the first few sentences, I was hooked.

I knew “the flinch” played a major part in my life and wanted to learn more.

The first words which resonated with me are in the introduction,

This is a book about being a champion, and what it takes to get there. It’s about decisions, and how to know when you’re making the right ones. It’s also about you: the current, present you; the potential, future you; and the one, single difference between them.

It’s about an instinct “the flinch” and why mastering it is vital.

This book is about how to stop flinching. It’s about facing pain.

Now you might be asking, “What does this have to do with blogging?”.

Let me share a few more paragraphs,

Forget secondhand learning. It leaves no scars. It doesn’t provide the basic understanding that sits in the body as well as in the brain. There’s no trace of its passing. It might as well have been a dream.

Firsthand knowledge, however, is visceral, painful, and necessary. It uses the conscious and the unconscious to process the lesson, and it uses all your senses. When you fall down, your whole motor system is involved. You can’t learn this from books. It just doesn’t work, because you didn’t really fall. You need to feel it in your gut – and on your scraped hands and shins – for the lesson to take effect.

But if you’re surrounded by padding, scar-free learning is all you have left. It defines who you are. It limits you, but those limits aren’t actually yours – they’re the limits of the men and women who came before you.

When I read those words, I was reminded of how easy it is to learn blogging from others. How we can avoid making the same mistakes they did, and how we can possibly advance faster in the blogosphere if we follow the lead of fellow bloggers.

But, is that REALLY beneficial? Is it REALLY helpful for a blogger to NOT go through some of the pains associated with trial and error?

I think it’s one thing to learn how other bloggers succeeded, what steps they use(d) to promote their blog, what they think of different blogging issues and to even hear about the mistakes they made, but that’s their blogging journey. Not ours.

To copy what others do (or have done) “may” work for us, however not learning from our own mistakes, could be detrimental to our authenticity.

It could also make us lose sight of other possibilities.

That’s not something I want.

What about you?

Today’s Assignment

How do you prefer to learn blogging?

Trough trial and error, including by making mistakes?

Or would you rather fast track your blog and avoid the pitfalls?

Care to share?

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  1. Barbara,

    I think there is definitely a risk of losing authenticity the more we rely on other’s blog strategies and styles.

    Your comments remind me of the “no pain, no gain” maxim, which in many cases is true!

    For something to be truly ours takes some effort and work.

    One way I think about this is in cooking. One can follow a recipe, but along the way we end up tweaking measurements, adding or subtracting ingredients, modifying the cooking methods, until it really becomes something that is ours and meets our satisfaction.

    Check out david k waltz’s awesome post.More Eyeballs for Dessert, Please!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi David,

      I like your cooking analogy and how it applies to learning from others. That”s so true. I know have a dozen or so favorite recipes that show the exact measurements, but when I make them, I always tweak them to make them “mine”.

      What’s funny is if I share a recipe with someone, they often say, “I made your recipe but it tasted nothing like yours.” I remind them how when we cook (or bake) we also need to add “love”, which I believe can apply to blogs, too.

  2. Hello Barbara,first of all thanks for introducing us to the E-book “Flinch”. I liked it’s introduction part, that is enough to motivate us regarding being champion. We all have the potential of being best in our field but only some of us get this instinct within the right time and take the decisions, I agreed to the fact about facing the pain and NOT moving back. Just the only thing for which i am biased is the Second learning i.e. Nobody can get the perfect basic knowledge from reading a Blog. Honestly i say I haven’t finished this Book yet!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Adrian,

      Yes. We all do have the ability to be champions, but as you mentioned, timing plays into that. If we’re not ready to make changes in our lives, no book or information shared will motivate us to change.

  3. pegasusNo Gravatar says:

    Relying on other peoples styles often results in little variety and everything just becomes the same as the last. The best blogs are the ones written by people who are a bit different and quirky to the rest!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Pegasus,

      Isn’t that the truth? Can you imagine if every blog was a copy cat of the next? Quirkiness can pay off as it sets us apart from the others.

  4. Jeremy SmithNo Gravatar says:

    Sounds an interesting ebook-I personally prefer to learn from my own mistakes, sure I read about other success stories just to get the motivation, but I personally like to experiment in my blogging style or the way I market my own blogs. Things that work out for me, may not necessarily work out for others.
    Check out Jeremy Smith’s awesome post.Volkswagen VW T4 Transporter Fully Converted Camper VanMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jeremy,

      That’s a good point. Although we can gain knowledge by learning how others succeeded, putting our own touch on our blogs and/or marketing of them makes them more authentic.

  5. I think when it comes to learning anything – it is better to read what is available but adjust it to your own needs and style.

    I don’t think there is anything that should be taken for granted and specifically in blogging. What works for one person might not work for everyone else – personality does make big diference.
    Check out Linda Campbell’s awesome post.Facts about Bacterial Vaginosis SymptomsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Linda,

      I agree. Our personalities can make a huge difference – not only in our writing style, but how we choose to display our work. I really notice that in the themes other bloggers use.

  6. Hi Barbara – Using any tactic (your own or that of another) probably won’t work well unless it’s part of a strategy, and even then, a strategy will not guarantee immunity from failure. I think some of the most constructive mistakes occur in a strategic context, when you’re focused on an outcome and more likely to identify a fail quickly in order to reboot. I am forever interested in what works for successful people and what they advocate. We have to be aware that our own mileage will more than likely differ within the context of our own plan – or lack of one. 🙂
    Check out Betsy Wuebker’s awesome post.Location Independence: Road Trip VersionMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Betsy,

      Like you, I enjoy reading how others succeeded; not just bloggers but business people in general. I think we can learn a lot from them, plus gain inspiration.

      I like the term you chose; “constructive mistakes”. To me it says the mistake(s) are something we can learn from without beating ourselves up for making a wrong decision. 🙂 It’s all a part of the growth process, isn’t it?

  7. I SO agree that it’s best to learn as you go – even if it means making mistakes.
    Check out Vered | blogger for hire’s awesome post.My Life Is Kinda BoringMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      Doesn’t it seem like the mistake(s) stick better and we learn more from them, then if someone said, “don’t do this…”?

  8. CatwomanNo Gravatar says:

    I think the chosen method of learning to blog depends on the person. There are bloggers who are really talented, they just have the intuition to write entertaining. The other types, like me, need to learn these tricks and methods from a practicing professional blogger or teacher, we aren’t able to learn it like an autodidact. The book you’ve mentioned sound really interesting, I can’t wait to read it as soon as possible.
    Check out Catwoman’s awesome post.fogpótlásMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Catwoman,

      I hear you. I think we all have individual strengths and when it comes to blogging, the talents of some are very evident. I know when I started blogging I knew nothing about coding nor did I understand blogging terminology, but others appeared to have it all down pat. Although I was able to learn from some of them, I was also in awe of their talents. (They made it look so easy.)

  9. Facts inNo Gravatar says:

    Learn blogging from others is not good as Barbara said. By learning blogging from others, it would left you nothing as per your knowledge. You have to bring your own thoughts in the blogging. Then only you will be able to develop your writing knowledge. So try to start on your own. Don’t depend on others.
    Check out Facts in’s awesome post.USB key to open home personal computer files from anywhereMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Facts in,

      True. We build our blogs based on our beliefs. Although others may steer us in the right direction, in order to make it ours, we have to put in the work.

  10. VincenteNo Gravatar says:

    There you go, The Flinch summarized in a sentence. There is a bit more to it than that, but, frankly, not much more. It’s a good message, and I fully endorse it (and want to practice it more in my own life), but it’s not a whole ebook’s worth of material, and I wish he’d presented it with a more positive emphasis.
    Check out Vincente’s awesome post.Anesthesiologist Career – Facts you Need to KnowMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vincente,

      Yes. The book has a good message and like you said, it’s something worth practicing in our daily lives.

  11. I think that it’s better to get experience on your own mistakes, than on others’. At least it will be more useful and these mistakes can learn you much more. That is probably the only thing with which I disagree.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Amanda,

      I hear you. Those mistakes we make on our own seem to cement the message on our brain – “don’t do THAT again”. And hopefully we don’t, but if we do, there’s always next time to make the correction(s).

  12. Adam JamesNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Personally I prefer to learn from my own mistakes, and I think the lesson sinks in a lot better this way, and I’ll always think twice before doing it again .. but If I just read about someone else’s mistake, I’ve not experienced the impact it could have on me and my blog.. and like you say, it’s their blogging journey, not ours.

    I think this can go a bit deeper though, I think it’s all to easy to see a bunch of bloggers doing one thing and then automatically thinking it’s the best way of doing things – then all you’ve got is a load of people doing something or using something that really doesn’t help your blog.
    Check out Adam James’s awesome post.14 Of The Best Premium WordPress Plugins To Buy For Your WordPress BlogMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Adam,

      Can you imagine how boring the blogosphere would be if we all blogged the same? As you mentioned, it’s easy to think there’s a certain way we should do something (just because so many others are doing it), but to make our blog our own, it pays to try things for ourselves.

      Who knows, we could become the next blogging trendsetter. 🙂

  13. SusanNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barb,
    I think it’s best to work for what you get rather than to be given anything – just as an overall comment. I’m sure the concept of hard work is a bit much to swallow for those suffering from Entitlementitis but alas I’ve a cure for that! 🙂
    Has a lot to do with my boot on a butt!

    Look, it’s a process – life is one big process and everything in it too. I’ve learned to fall in love with many of my mistakes – they are colors in my palette now and my life wouldn’t be what it is today without them.

    Check out Susan’s awesome post.The Quack Attack – Pt. 2 of Cancer SummitMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hugs to you Susan,

      I LOVE what you just said. “I’ve learned to fall in love with many of my mistakes – they are colors in my palette now and my life wouldn’t be what it is today without them.”

      You hit the nail on the head. 8)

  14. Chris NewaldNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Just grabbed it for my Kindle – sounds like a good read, thank you! As for your questions… learning is a two-part process. Learning from others gives you the groundwork. Learning on your own gives you the advantage and completes your understanding.

    When first starting out in the world of business I made many mistakes because I lacked certain knowledge. I certainly could have saved myself some pain (and considerable expense) if I had known about some things beforehand.

    On the flip side, I didn’t fully understand a number of things until after I tried them myself – even if I did have prior warning. It was only after getting involved personally that I truly understood what I was doing and what people were talking about.
    Check out Chris Newald’s awesome post.2 Ways to Get Your Unused Domains to Pay for ThemselvesMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Chris,

      I know what you’re saying. Not only in business, but with blogging too, we can save ourselves some pain and expense by listening to others, but as you brought up, at times we need to experience “it” for ourselves before we can understand why not to do “it”.

      Sometimes we need to put our feet to the fire, don’t we?

  15. BridNo Gravatar says:

    I feel like the best way to learn how to blog is to try to “find your voice” so to speak on a consistent basis. The best bloggers are those who have a clear voice that shows their personality as well as consistency. They blog often. With these two things, you’re unbeatable. Most people fail because they get sidetracked and chase a new shiny red object.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Brid,

      You’ve raised a good point. When we lose focus of why we’re blogging and start chasing that shiny red object, we also begin to lose our blogging voice. Our “voice” is what makes us unique and can help me make our blogs stand apart from others.

      And, if we’re only blogging to “catch” that shiny red object, we could easily begin to compromise our morals and ethics (our voice). Pretty soon our conscious could get to us and soon we might start feeling like a fraud.

  16. JackoNo Gravatar says:

    Good post. People tend to copy whatever they are learning.

    I think the best approach is to solve problems for people in their life. If you can share your solution with people then you will be successful.
    Check out Jacko’s awesome post.Martin Luther King Jr – InfoGraphicMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Jacko,

      Yes. Being a problem solver (in life or in the blogosphere) can set us apart from others. In fact, we could end up being the “go to” person in our area of expertise.

  17. Great blog & content, I agree it’s very important to keep your own authenticity and style when blogging, for this reason I believe learning from others isn’t the best way. However you can learn how to blog consistently and effectively.

    Keep up the great work


    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Shaun,

      I know what you’re saying. By looking at what the successful bloggers are doing, we can learn some of their techniques, however remaining true to ourselves will keep our authenticity intact.

  18. joe kimbroNo Gravatar says:

    Sometimes even after learning about someone elses mistakes I make the same mistake anyhow. It is like it is mandatory for me to get slapped before I learn how something works!

    Don’t forget to register a domain and purchase web hosting from Speedy-Joes

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Joe,

      That’s funny, but I’ve done the same thing. It’s not that I don’t believe they’re telling the truth, but I want to know “for sure”. 🙂

  19. JoyNo Gravatar says:

    Okay..I haven’t read “the Flinch” yet, but a close friend loves it and quotes it a lot…so I feel like I have read it. I personally do not believe we have to “suffer, feel pain, get scraped and bruised” to learn. I think it’s a mainstream story we buy that sets me apart from most. My life story will show you I suffered, felt pain, got scraped and bruised, and as a “jumper” I tend to have more than most..however, it is a choice..I prefer to learn in an exciting, fun, no pain way.
    For my site, I follow my heart…as in life..I make “mistakes” yet the connections I make are genuine and the mistakes I reflect inspire others to “avoid them”…so I personally don’t want to “fast track” it, but if someone credible has tips I am all for considering them. My focus isn’t about “making money” though, it is about building community and a forum for people to share…

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Joy,

      I don’t think any of us really want to suffer or feel the pain, but one thing I did learn from reading the book was how that which we think will be painful (not necessarily physical pain), if we meet it head on (not flinch), we can beat “that demon” and might come out of the situation thinking, “why was I so afraid to do “that”?” Thus, hopefully making us more confident to not flinch in future encounters and maybe even live a fuller life.

      I like what you’re doing with your blog. Not only do you share your learning experiences, but you tell your readers how your blog is “where transparency is encouraged and individuality is appreciated”. That’s a great message. 🙂

  20. Thanks for sharing a great information about good blogger. According me a good blogger never get bored from his work of posting the blogs dialy with new and imaginative ideas. I am also trying to write on blog topic- Fernseher mit Internet
    in German language. Infact writing is my passion.
    Check out Fernseher Mit Internet’s awesome post.Warum muss es ein Fernseher mit Internet sein?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Fernseher,

      Blogs are a perfect platform for those like you whose passion is writing. I can’t read your blog (I don’t know German), but it sounds like you’re enjoying the process.

  21. Andre SuchNo Gravatar says:

    Learning for the others mistakes is harder but much less painfull!
    Is harder because we have to put ourselves in other people places and most can’t do that.
    Thanks for the post!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Andre,

      That’s true. Since we can’t put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, even though they might try to teach us something, they’re coming from a different place than we are.

  22. Edward FrankNo Gravatar says:

    By learning blogging from others, it would left you nothing as per your knowledge. You have to bring your own thoughts in the blogging. Then only you will be able to develop your writing knowledge. So try to start on your own. Don’t depend on others.
    Check out Edward Frank’s awesome post.Watch The Iron Lady online for freeMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Edward,

      That’s good advice – to start on our own and in the event we get stuck, then we could turn to other bloggers for advice or help.

  23. EmilyNo Gravatar says:

    Learning blogging from others will not get blogger self satisfaction about the article they will write. The article which the blogger will post will be a mixture of the inspired blogger and very little part of his/her own thoughts. This will surely not make one happy about the work. Blogger will not get the feeling of satisfaction of getting their thoughts to reach the readers. Also they will not be able to showcase their own creations. Hope your post will motivate them!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Emily,

      True. Self satisfaction can be huge for a blogger. Not only can we feel more confident with blogging if we post good articles which we wrote entirely on our own, but knowing we’ve learned the process, helps as well.

      Baby steps….

  24. Hi Barbara,

    I think you can learn from others, but can’t completely put your trust that you blog is going to exactly as successful like your fellow blogger because, he might be in a different niche. Discover what works for you, and pursue what’s working.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Branded Items,

      I know what you’re saying. Even though we might try to emulate what a successful blogger is doing, not only might our niche be different, but since our personalities and the amount of time we spend blogging will be different, the results will vary, as well.

  25. Levi NashNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for sharing the lessons. I know the power of asking people prior to blogging but in the end I am the one who decides what’s the final move to do. I ensure to get just their fruitful ideas not to be affected or moved by them.
    Check out Levi Nash’s awesome post.TN traffic fatalities declined in 2011My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Levi,

      You’re right. It is up to us to decide what to do with the information we gather. Although other bloggers may have great ideas, sometimes what they suggest is not applicable to what we want to accomplish, or may not be our preferred plan of action.

      • Singjon TanNo Gravatar says:

        Very well said Barbara. Yes, some bloggers have great ideas that could help us in our goals but the point to consider is that if it’s applicable to us or if it could work to us the way they did it. Levi is true, at the end of the day…We are the ones who will decide whether to take their ideas or just get the concept to make us better.
        Check out Singjon Tan’s awesome post.Four cruise ship victims identifiedMy Profile

  26. BeccaNo Gravatar says:

    Learning blogging should start in our own trial and error. This is the start of improving your own writing and business skills.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Becca,

      Trial and error is a great place to start blogging. Not only can we figure out if we enjoy the process, but we quickly find out if we’re willing to learn all that blogging entails.

  27. Hi Barbara.

    I’m thinking right now that following other bloggers is like lip-synching. It’s great to follow other examples because we never know until we try. But we are best to not box ourselves into what everyone else is doing. I think we start out innocently enough when we’re new, trying to learn and do it “right.”

    I’m so glad you enjoyed reading the book! As I was reading your post and your comments on the excerpt from The Flinch I got to thinking.

    It’s a blessing to learn from your own scrapes and pains. You can never know what it’s like until you’re “there” experiencing it. And when you are there you are connected with parts of yourself — strengths and weaknessess — that you never even knew you had.

    I love this quote from The Finch, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

    Thanks for the link 🙂
    Check out Davina Haisell’s awesome post.Rena’s CarnelianMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Davina,

      That’s true. When we learn from our own mistakes, not only are we challenging ourselves, but as you said, we find strengths and weakness we never knew we had. That said, it’s always a joy when we do something we didn’t think we could and can give ourselves a pat on the back because we did. 🙂

  28. I started out learning through trial and error. After a few months I purchased an e-book that did wonders for me. I think blogging takes time and experience before you can successfully master it. Don’t give up and keep working at it. Remember to post about things you enjoy. It makes blogging that much better.
    Check out josh@over the counter wart removal products’s awesome post.Over The Counter Wart Removal ProductsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Josh,

      I often wondered if ebooks about blogging help. From reading your comment, it sounds like they do (or at least the one your bought).

      That’s great advice: “keep working at it.”

  29. You have to bring your own thoughts in the blogging. Then only you will be able to develop your writing knowledge.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Singapore News,

      Yes. When we learn to blog our own thoughts instead of copying the thoughts (or posts) of others, is when we begin to develop our unique blogging voice.

  30. AbegailNo Gravatar says:

    You need to find a topic that people are looking for, that doesn’t have too many sites about it, that you have some knowledge about. Then blog about it.
    Check out Abegail’s awesome post.Face fitness formulaMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Abegail,

      That’s ideal. Too often we see dozens of bloggers all blogging about the same topic, whereas those who choose a less popular topic seem to do better.

  31. sanjayNo Gravatar says:

    Like Yaro said on his blog post, (I read a week ago) you need a mentor. Someone to guide you so you won’t make the same mistake others did. It will save you time and money too 🙂
    Check out sanjay’s awesome post.How to Create a Sleek Navigation Bar in PhotoshopMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Sanjay,

      A mentor would be great. Like you said, having one would save time and money since they’d be teaching us what not to do.

  32. JeoNo Gravatar says:

    I think its very obvious that others will not be able to guide you as properly as you can on your own. In case the second person is a blogger himself, then he might just tell you the basics but not the strategies needed to do continuous blogging. The best thing that can be done is just start with it and with experience, you will get an idea of all the facts and tacts of it.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jeo,

      True. If we just start and are willing to experience all there is to blogging, we’re bound to learn along the way. I don’t know about you, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my blogging journey thus far.

  33. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. I was glad to have some help in the beginning and get established … keep established albeit on a very small basis … and then I adjusted a little – less posting, slightly longer ones … and as long as friends come to comment and I know I’m being read, then that opens the doors to many possibilities … as my voice is mine and I can create my own unique blog/products etc … I like Betsy’s comment and Davina’s … particularly Emerson’s quote:

    I love this quote from The Flinch, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

    That’s me I’m fairly certain … and I’m on that path.

    However we all need to read other blogs and if there is value in them, we can read and absorb, or join in the conversation, or scan to keep abreast of aspects that sit in our future.

    Cheers – interesting read again .. and Davina’s recommendation of The Flinch sounds a very interesting book … thanks – Hilary

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Hilary,

      That’s a great quote, isn’t it? Whenever we forge our own path, uncertainties may be many, but the process will definitely become our teacher.

      I remember you saying previously how you started blogging the same time as a few others. That’s a great way to get a blog off the ground, plus each of you have empathy for each other.

      I’m curious. How many of the others are still blogging?

  34. JonathanNo Gravatar says:

    I must say, that I’m a big fan of both. If you don’t watch and learn from those who have gone before then you are doomed to maked mistakes that could have been avoided but despite this. You can not learn enough from others by it’s self. Success is built on failure and the greatest lessons come from our own mistakes.
    The moral of the story is that you need to learn from both the failures of others and yourself in order to have the best chance of success.

    P.s. In a fight, our natural reflex is to ‘flinch’ when someone throws a punch at us but it is that exact natural reaction which we need to overcome as it’s supposed to protect us but instead it leads to one getting knocked out as you can’t see the next punch coming and it’s the one you don’t see that causes the damage.
    So keep on blogging and try not to flinch. When you hit an obstacle, take it on the chin and find a way to win.
    Check out Jonathan’s awesome post.Alistair Overeem vs Brock Lesnar- What went wrong for Brock.My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jonathan,

      I know what you’re saying. We can learn by seeing what others are doing, but for us to really experience what all blogging entails, we also have to make mistakes of our own.

      I like your advice: to “take it on the chin and find a way to win”. 🙂

  35. Milena KNo Gravatar says:

    Both approaches are interesting. Maybe it depends on the industry if it is a business blog. Sometimes playing safe will harm your blog as it will not stand out. If you have innovative ideas why not try them.
    Check out Milena K’s awesome post.The Main Building Blocks of Every Website Part 2My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Milena,

      Definitely. Using innovative ideas are what will set us apart from our fellow bloggers. It’s worth a try.

  36. JonNo Gravatar says:

    Really interesting article. I’ve never heard that perspective before.

    Although I must admit I’m really enjoying learning blogging via trial and error. I do find myself on blogs like yours looking to fast track things a little from time to time!
    Check out Jon’s awesome post.Why Do We Want Comments On Our BlogMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jon,

      I think a lot of us bloggers do that – read other blogs to see if we can fast track or streamline an aspect (or two) of blogging. I know for myself, I like finding plugins or coding which will eliminate a step or two so I can spend my time on that which I feel is important.

  37. CupcakesNo Gravatar says:

    Mostly trial and error, but also AB testing. But again, AB testing is only a variation of trial and error 🙂 By doing it you are doomed to mistake every time 🙂

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Cupcakes,

      I had never heard of AB testing so I looked it up. Comparing different versions of a web page at the same time would give us the information we need to get the best results. But as you implied, one will always lose.

  38. HeatherNo Gravatar says:

    It seems I’m in the same boat with Joe. I don’t seem to have much choice, if I am to learn anything, I need to make the mistakes myself before the lesson resonates and sinks in. I often tell my kids, I can’t teach you anything, I can only present the information. But more to your point directly, I think we each find out blogging style directly anyway – but there’s nothing wrong with learning a few tips and tricks from folks such as yourself that have been there done that. That’s one of the reasons I’m here after all!
    Check out Heather’s awesome post.Keep Fit With Baby Jogging StrollersMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Heather,

      Just as you are teaching your children, my parents told us, “sometimes you need to go to the school of hard knocks”. In some cases, we can learn from others, but I believe it’s when we make those big mistakes ourselves is when they stick.

  39. Well this is my first comment on your site and I have to say its a very different theme you have there on your blog. Doesn’t it effect SEO (-vely)?
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Welcome Dev,

      To be honest, I don’t know if this theme affects my SEO or not. I normally don’t use SEO (search engine optimization) in my posts (on this blog). I just write like I talk and hope what I share is found at least a few and is helpful to those who show up. 🙂

  40. Hello. On my opinion, learning from others is not a bad idea. Professional bloggers teaches how to be better. Honestly, I’ve learned a lot from them. On the contrary, after you garner much experience, you will be not needing their advices anymore. And will be the one who will.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Hanna,

      That’s true. When we’re new, we can learn from professional bloggers, and like you said, when we get better at it, we’ll be the one others might turn to.

  41. AlanNo Gravatar says:

    Learning blog from others is not good as Barbara said. By learning blogging from others, it would left you nothing as per your knowledge. You have to bring your own thoughts in the blogging. Then only you will be able to develop your writing knowledge. So try to start on your own. Don’t depend on others.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Alan,

      You’re right. We don’t know what blogging REALLY is until we try it. Some bloggers make it look so easy, but as you know, it’s not what it appears on the surface. Although we can learn tips and tricks from others, we’re the ones who have to put in the work.

  42. I think no matter now much you can gleen from others experience, everyone will undoubtedly make mistakes when learning anything new. I think that people have learned to see mistakes as unacceptale and even embarrassing. Why? This is how we all learn, and like you mentioned above, we remember that harsh lesson and are forever changed from it. Learning can be accelerated from other’s experiences, but you can in no way reach your fullest potential by just mimicking what others have done. You’ve got to go on a limb and Just Do It.
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Liz,

      “Just Do It” – that’s one of my favorites quotes. And you’re right. We can learn parts of blogging from others, but it’s those mistakes we make on our own which become the stepping stones to expanding our blogging knowledge.

      All of us make mistakes (I crashed my blogs several times), so there’s not need to be embarrassed. Learn from it and move forward.

  43. Catherine67No Gravatar says:

    I believe that learning from my own mistakes will help myself to become better with my blogs. I prefer to learn by myself. There is no wrong searching for ideas, but I have to do it my way…
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Catherine67,

      I agree. It’s okay to learn on our own. Although we might be able to speed up the learning process by reading what other bloggers are saying, when we choose to do it ourselves, what we’ve learned is also more apt to stick.

  44. I think every blogger has his or her own style and a story to success, so I agree that it’s better not to learn from them, but do it your own way.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Wartrol,

      Having our own style is what makes each of us unique. That’s one thing I enjoy about blogging; not only do we get to hear the “voices” of others, but we get to admire the themes they choose, as well.

  45. Some peoples maybe think that learn from others is not the best choice, but I think we should do that Barbara..! We can learn about anything from anyone else or other doesnt matter right ?
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Share With Infan,

      That’s one great thing about blogging. We’re communicating with people from all over the world. What I find interesting is how some of those who live in foreign (to me) countries, approach blogging differently (at times).

  46. HenryNo Gravatar says:

    Well I know for a fact that when you’re trying to acheive anything, you will FAIL at times. But failure is the key to growing. There is blood, sweat and tears involved.

  47. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Henry,

    I agree. Blood, sweat and tears is part of life. Trying to avoid the hard work gets us no where.

  48. Very well said. Interesting book. Learning from others is the best choice for me because you can actually compare yourself that you need to improve in yourself. Aside from being different and unique in blogging we have to learn from others.
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  49. JackNo Gravatar says:

    Learning from others would just mean you are trying to run away from the hardest part of blogging. Experience comes with hard work and if you do not explore everything yourself, you might not know the bits and pieces in depth. Taking guidance from others is fine but leaving everything to the one who is teaching you will make you an amateur blogger.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jack,

      That’s how we learn about life, too – from the school of hard knocks. 🙂

      I don’t know about you, but when I’m forced to learn those hard lessons (blogging or otherwise), those are the ones which stick with me.

  50. EldoradoNo Gravatar says:

    Sounds like an incredible read. I agree it is our own journey that we must take and not that of others. If one person had all the answers things would be very different in our world. But the truth is that each of us has to take our own journey to discover what works and what doesn’t. I’m off to read some more!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Eldardo,

      Yes. It is our journey. And it’s an important one, at that. Via mistakes and challenges we become not only better people, but can become better bloggers, too. 🙂

  51. Khleo ThomasNo Gravatar says:

    I would rather learn from others’ mistakes before making them. I wish I had known more about blogging before I started because I have wasted so much time doing pointless stuff and wasting money.
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Khleo,

      That’s the hard part – when we’re new to blogging, we’re not sure who to listen to, however like you mentioned, if we do find someone who shares the mistakes they made, we can learn what not to do.

      In my blogging journey I learned a few lessons from others, but I also learned from my mistakes, as well.

  52. DavidNo Gravatar says:

    If you’re confident in your writing ability, consider starting your own blog. Although becoming a blogger may sound intimidating, most blog services are user-friendly. After you create an account, you’ll be working in windows that look like those in any word-processing application. Familiar tool bars enable you to change fonts, add links, and center content. When you’re finished writing, click on a “publish” button and your work is automatically posted to the Web.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi David,

      That’s good advice. Like you said, it can be intimidating to start a blog, but most platforms make it super simple to learn. Plus there are many videos online with step by step instructions.

  53. There must be some type of originality, without it blogs just become into a blogs of repetive post that other mimic to promote there sites. I do alot of SEO work all day, every day but still i take time into reading others blogs to allow myself to gain some sometimes useful knowledge and tips that i may not of known yesterday. Great Post.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Terrell,

      I agree. Originality goes a long way. It’s one thing to learn from fellow bloggers, but we need to put our own touch on our blogs. plus write in our own voice. That’s what keeps readers coming back for more.

  54. Interesting post Barbara. I think it is best to use a combination of firsthand and secondhand experiences to guide your blogging journey. It is all about how you want to personally do things, but you don’t necessarily have to make all the same mistakes others have made. By avoiding those mistakes in the first place you can spare yourself a lot of grief and time. I do ask others for help and consider their opinion, but it doesn’t mean I am always going to follow that advice word for word. For example, some bloggers told me to avoid all adds until about 6 months in. I thought that was bad advice since it results in a bait and switch tactic when you do want to include ads later. So I went against their advice and put up ads from the start. This decision may ultimately hinder me, but it is still sticking with what I think is right.
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jeremy,

      Hearing the opinions of others is important, but like you said, we don’t have to “take it”.

      With regard to adding ads to a new blog, I think the same and when I first started blogging, put ads up right away. too. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I needed traffic in order to make money, so my revenues were just pennies.

      I tried running ads on this blog, but took them off due to lack of clicks. Who knows what I’ll do in the future.

  55. alexNo Gravatar says:

    Interesting question Barbara
    From my point of view, u need to pick a liitle from each. I mean, it’s great to get advices, or to be teached how to do something, but until you start doing it yourself, and make some mistakes with that knowledge u can’t say that u understand / know it.


    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Alex,

      Yes. Balance is key. Although we can learn some things from others, being hands on with the blogging process is where we’ll ultimately learn the best.

  56. Well, you always have the choice whether to learn from others or not. It’s a good start to ask questions from people who are experts in blogging. But one thing is for sure: you definitely have to put your personality in your blogs. Imitating others will only make it hard for you to continue blogging, and getting an audience will be even harder. Make a name for yourself by using a brand of writing you can call your own.

  57. I am totally strucked by reading this topic. I entirely is against your opinion, learning from professional bloggers helps you to gain more and more knowledge on blogging but searching about the ideas and many other knowledge’s on your own boosts up your blogging skills.
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