Recycling Content: The Logic Behind “Grading” My Old Blog Posts

I’ll start a Youtube Channel when:

The bug bites on my face are gone.

I’m back to my pre-baby weight.

I buy mascara.

I live in a place with a whole room to devote to it.

My husband and I have a routine where it fits.

I’ve written down everything I’m going to say.

All my children are born and perfectly quiet.

I look ten years younger (like I actually was when I first had this idea?)

I am a perfect person.

HA HA HA!  Not going to happen. 

To add to my intimidation, I also just watched several "start a YouTube channel tips" featuring fourteen-year-olds making thousands of dollars per month buzzing around on their phones with apps I've never heard of.

For now, I'll take small steps and try to show my face on Insta Stories.

And I think I'll eventually go with a podcast instead (while I have little babies and my house is a mess). Of course, older children create a different kind of mess...

Hmmmm... I debated for a long time between a podcast and a Youtube channel (like… four years).  I recently decided a podcast would be best to promote my new music because I already have the equipment.  (If I ever become five different people, I'll add a Youtube channel.)

Do Hard Things...

As a teacher, I ask my students to do new and difficult things all day long.  Most of the time, if they fail, they try again without too much complaint.  Quite frankly, they inspire me with their open-mindedness, humor, and ability to push through the day. 

Me?

Middle school was harder for me as a kid than it is for me now as an adult.  I try to carry this fact with me every day in my career in order to become a better teacher. 

Being young was HARD (at least for me).  Even as an old fogy, I want to be someone who does hard things daily in order to stay in touch with the constant learner in me. 

Before starting this blog, I had a comfortable life where I was doing predictable work, hiding from my childhood dream of pursuing writing, and basically settling for an awesome (yet less creative) weekly schedule. 

Now I've had the experience of writing consistently for a few months.

I've decided I really enjoy it.

This means it’s time to add another component to make myself uncomfortable... grading my old blogposts and "perfecting" my past work.

A False Sense of Accomplishment

I’m someone who can easily lock into a system and send an idea barreling down the tracks.  This is awesome when I have everything set up to aim in the right direction.

However, when I haven’t zoomed back for the larger picture, I lock into systems (like publishing a weekly blog post or commenting on five posts a day) that provide quick bursts of accomplishment-style feelings, but upon closer examination, may not be producing anything solid for my business or my vision in the long run.

In the past, I wrote five albums in six years while putting barely any thought into the larger picture of what I wanted for a career or a lifestyle.

I overlooked most of the "ultra-money-making" elements of my endeavors by not building a social media presence or understanding how to scale a business.

I felt accomplished coming out with a new album each year, but I eventually crashed and burned as a content creator because I had no concept of how to build passive income.

I'm Doing it... Again

When I love what I’m creating, it’s really easy for the above scenario to happen to me.  Considering music, I was making enough off touring and albums to be comfortable, so I ignored the sustainability question staring my older self in the face. 

Right now, I really enjoy the process of writing on the side.  Plus, I’m enjoying my career as a teacher.  It would be easy to keep plowing along never looking back while keeping blogging in my pocket as a time-consuming hobby.

But I’d be fooling myself.  I know better.  I know it's easy to burn out even while doing what you love.

Let’s Not Burn Out This Time

I have a mascot in mind for this blog that cheers, “Let’s learn from the past!”

How is grading my work going to help me learn from the past?  

Actually, I don’t know yet.  I don't even know if I'm ready to start looking back at my posts (beyond my test runs I've been doing lately on Twitter).  Also, I think 6+ months of blogging is enough time to establish distance from my work and hopefully experience my old posts like I’m a stranger.  The goal is to be able to judge the writing objectively and put it out into the world in a different way.

Buried Treasure

A lot of time as creators, we are tempted to plow forward and churn out more and more content.  Meanwhile, some of our original ideas and most powerful visions become buried at the bottom of the pile. 

I set my blog up to address major research at the beginning.  I have already written about most of the unique topics I consider myself to be an expert on (systemizing psychology, bibliotherapy, and the theory of positive disintegration). 

Now, I can link back to those posts as I eventually morph the blog into historical stories and first-hand experiences related to starting a small business.

During the "grading" process, I also hope to:

Evaluate whether or not I have grown in this style of writing (blogging).

Edit and add links from articles added to the blog since the older posts came out.

Test out blogging rubrics I may use with my students someday.

Recycle the best content with additional add-ons while giving it attention again.

Rewrite or erase material not offering value to others.

Switch from a personal finance focus to a business focus. 

Main Message: Don’t Be a Slave to Systems

I am vulnerable to locking into routines that don’t work (but I can carry them out dutifully)!  As a singer-songwriter, I would get too excited about new ideas and consequently miss out on maximizing the work I had already created.  I was very scheduled about recording and launching an album but I never took the time to market my old ideas.  

I'm too old for that now.  Ha!

Song-writing was my favorite part, but it was the promotion, traveling, radio interviews, and magazine press that helped me make a living.  

Trying to learn from the past, I’m taking it slow this time.  I need to rethink what feels like “accomplishment” and not lock into my check-lists before stopping to see if they are actually working.

I used to spend my time on 80% content creation, 10% marketing, and 10% staring off into space (either dreaming up new ideas or being nervous). 

Apparently, if I want to be successful online, I’m supposed to flip the script. I’ve heard it said we should aim for 80% promotion and 20% creationThat may not sound fun, but I can see how it is true.

Also, I think I'll hook my music to some small business pursuits instead of strict personal finance writing.  I'm kind of all over the place, but it feels like I'm moving forward and important decisions are being reflected upon on this blog and in this blogging community.  Thanks for your input!

How about you?  Do you like the creative process so much you forget to promote your older work?

Have you thought about starting a Youtube Channel or podcast?  Which one would you go with and why?

DISCLAIMER: AS ALWAYS, IF YOU NEED PSYCHOLOGICAL OR FINANCIAL ADVICE PLEASE SEEK A PROFESSIONAL FOR YOUR SPECIFIC SITUATION.

4 Replies to “Recycling Content: The Logic Behind “Grading” My Old Blog Posts”

  1. This is inspiring, and knowing that other bloggers face the same struggle on how to best leverage old posts makes me feel better. I love your unique insights and stories. Keep them coming!

    1. Thank you for the comment and share on social Wendy. It’s great to know you resonate with so much of the material. I think a lot of bloggers begin with some of their best ideas (but also get better over time – with a different feel or different spin on the original material).

  2. Another great article Michelle. It was the catalyst to make me re-read all my old posts to see if I was still on my “own script,” which apart from a few overlooked punctuation errors, I was.

    Honestly, I did forget some of the details in my original posts, but I’ve never promoted any part of Fates On Fire, so no worries. I am not a content creator, but just a FIRE’d dude exploring a life of freedom and writing about it authentically (in real time) as opposed to a guy with a monetized blog who’s going to tell you how to save a quarter penny on a roll of toilet paper.

    A podcast or YouTube channel would never be something I’d start, but I’d secretly love to be on one though I’m sure the ask will never come. I simply encourage you to be you. Your blog and articles are amazing, so just do “you” and the rest will naturally follow methinks

    1. Glad it inspired you to go back through your old work Mr. Fate. As I’ve been rereading, I’ve been learning a lot about how I might handle myself in the future. Funny how looking back creates that opportunity.

      We’ll see if I have (or make the time) to make content beyond the blog. Here’s to hoping though (even if it’s years from now).

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