Blogging, Life and a Chick Flick

Last week, my wife and I picked up a Sony Playstation 3 and a Netflix account to start having Blu-Ray date nights at the house. With the price of actually going out to see a movie making it all but not worth it…it made a lot more since to have the latest gaming system that also happens to play Blu-Ray movies (see how I pulled that one off!).

Besides, I had a bunch of Visa/Mastercard/American Express gift cards to blow, so it seemed like the logical course of action anyway.

What was the first movie on the que for Netflix? Julie and Julia. Besides being a movie that my wife has wanted to see for quite sometime, it also sealed the deal for her when my parents said, “It’s like you guys…just reversed!” Julie and Julia hit the Netflix que, arrived on our doorstep yesterday and made its way to the TV last night with a fire in the fireplace and a lit Christmas tree. The two dogs were ready to curl up, so we hit play and started to watch the flick.

Now…other than being a typical chick flick and a brilliant display of acting from Meryl Streep (you actually forget that you are not watching Julia Child), there are some actual blogging lessons filled within the movie that all bloggers should realize as they continue to grow their audience and success. I was actually pleasantly surprised on some the “blogging lessons” accuracy that was played out during the film. After hearing some bloggers irritated attitudes on how bloggers were displayed in the movie, after actually watching it…I thought it was pretty damn accurate…to a point.

What We Can Learn from Julia and Julia About Blogging

So as I watched this crazy movie, what did I rip out of the movie that are heart felt, meaty, blogging tips for your guys?

  • I Can Blog! – The whole reason Julie starts a blog is because a so-called friend did. The trick…she found something she was passionate about (cooking) and formatted it in a way that people would find interesting (524 Julia Child recipes in 365 days). Now…she didn’t do this intentionally…but it is something you need to consider as you develop your blog topic. And yes…you too can blog…but you actually have to put words on a screen and not procrastinate!
  • Setting Deadlines and Sticking to Them – In the movie, Julia sets the 524 recipes in 365 days as a deadline for herself. Throughout the movie, people tell her that she does not have to stick to the deadlines or she can just lie. In blogging, you are your own boss and you are only accountable to yourself. Deadlines are a great way to make yourself accountable so that you can actually realize your goals. Without deadlines (that used to be determined by your boss…now you are that boss), you are just floating in the wind without any real direction.
  • Writing When No One Is Listening – In the beginning of the movie, Julie gets really excited when she gets her first comment. Of course, that first comment goes something like “I don’t know why you are doing this, it still appears that I am the only one reading this thing. -Mom”. When you start a blog, you have to be prepared to continue writing even when no one is listening. Just because you put your blog out in cyberspace, that does not mean that people are going to gravitate to your words instantly just begging you to keep going. You have to put in the sweat and tears even when there is little to no external reward.
  • Late Nights – Blogging is filled with a ton of late nights in the beginning years. You are just bleeding for extra hours in the day as you continue to write early in the morning or late at night when you can just find 20 extra minutes in the day to put up content without being interrupted by work, family and friends. Julie is up late cooking, writing and doing other blogging activities to get the job done.
  • Flack from Work – Your office or place of employment may have zero clue you have any life online…or even care. For some of you, that might be a real problem as employers do not get “the whole blogging thing”. During my beginning blogging, there was some heat from the powers that be in my office. They are going to assume you are using their company time to do your work or you are skipping out on their work to do yours. They also might be worried that they are going to show up in your online exploits (like her boss was worried about in the movie). Be ready to catch heat from those that do not understand. They are going to make assumptions without asking and you need to be prepared for that conversation should it come up at a future date.
  • Cooperation from Spouse – In the movie, her husband is extremely cooperative (to a point) with the whole project. Julie does step into a narcissistic phase as bloggers sometimes do due to the selfish nature of always talking about yourself or your opinion. The cooperation of your family and…specifically…the one you choose to call your wife or husband…is essential to beginning success in life and in your new business. There is not a single blog on the net that is worth ruining life at home, so you need to make sure you work out the kinks beforehand.
  • Mental Breakdowns – Throughout the movie, Julie goes through several “mental breakdowns” in the search of completing her goals. Blogging can be really stressful at times as you deal with your readers, deadlines and other owning a business stresses. Remember…we have all hit that at some point in time even if it does not appear to be like that on the outside. Keep pushing towards your goal and you will make it there.
  • Dedication to the Cause – The entire movie is based around Julia Child’s life and Julia’s (the blogger) dedication to completing her year long project. While I do not recommend creating a blog that will be dead in 365 days, I do recommend staying dedicated to your cause and continue pushing forward. Both Julie and Julia in the movie were extremely dedicated to their task at hand.
  • Your Industry Might Not Be So Accepting – (spoiler alert) At the end of the movie, Julie finds out that the real Julia Child does not like her…or her blog. While this can be extremely devastating for bloggers, it is a lot more common than you might think. You need to be prepared for the realization that your industry is not too fond of what you are doing online even if you are seeing a massive amount of success. Many people do not understand blogging and think that it is just playing online. They are going to make assumptions about your motives and your dedication. They might even try to put you down or even bring a stop to your achievements. Having a successful blog does not mean that your industry is going to accept you with open arms.
  • Be Yourself – Julie’s blog was successful because of the extreme transparency she used with her life and her writing. When Julia Child wasn’t so accepting of her blog, Julia asked, “Is it because I drop the F-Bomb from time to time?” It is crucially important that your readers are connecting with you and not who you think they want to connect with. You can not fake it…it has to be real.

Being based on two true stories, Julia and Julia is proof of just another way bloggers can make it big online and off. After her article in the New York Times, Julie hit it big through her words and her online blogging. The key is finding something that people can relate to…and then help them and help yourself at the same time. The rest will be history.