Streaming Netflix is one of the greatest joys and lowest lows of my young adult life. It's introduced me to fantastic shows like Downton Abbey and Breaking Bad, but it has also kept me up 'til 3 am on a weeknight to see the series finale of Greek. I mean, I have lost days, people, days of my life watching LOST over and over again.
One show that has brought me endless joy and laughs, especially in the later seasons is Parks and Recreation. Do you watch it? If you don't, you are missing out on one of the most brilliant and charming shows. Ever. It centers around the employees of the parks department of a small town in Indiana, and Amy Poehler plays Leslie Knope, the main character. She's an irrepressable optimist, and a Type A over-achiever.
Myself? I am neither of those things, but I try to take many of Leslie's characteristics to heart when it comes to my blog. I treat it like a job, so emulating her on-the-job attitude on occasion can be a brilliant source of motivation. Without further ado…
Six things Leslie Knope has taught me about blogging:
1. Be kind and stay positive. I mean, we should all be kind people, and we don't need a TV character to tell us that. But Leslie Knope's cheerful disposition and rather unflinching positivity should be a model to us all. Whether she's trying to get a park built where there's a giant pit, organizing a Harvest Festival or running for city council, obstacles only seem to motivate her more. In blogging, we're both friends and competitors within our community. People will test your patience and your grace, but smiling, saying “Please” and “Thank You” and a friendly attitude will always get you farther than a smug and off-putting disposition.
2. Be unrelenting with your goals. Again, this woman is like a human tornado of energy and ambition. She just doesn't give up. No matter what kind of goals you set with your blog, whether its followers, traffic, monetizing or just making a deal with yourself to keep on posting, stick with it! Draw inspiration from wherever you need to and just don't give up. Sometimes it's not even so much about achieving them as it is about how much stronger, more capable and ambitious you will become in the process.
3. Be unabashedly yourself. Leslie Knope doesn't apologize for who she is. Everytime she's tried to change for someone (a date, city council representatives, Ben…) it hasn't worked out. She always comes back around to realizing that she can only be herself, and that it's enough. It's her unique personality that attracts her friends and makes her excellent at her job. Your blog is your calling card, and it's an extension of yourself. Who cares what everyone else thinks? I mean, really. Okay, so we all do a little bit, but when it comes to your blog – just do you, as they say. We try to hammer this in over and over again on IFB because it will never not be true.
4. Quirk works. Let your freak flag fly, you now what I mean? This ties in with being yourself, but also don't be afraid to exploit your excentricities a little bit. We all have them, whether it's an afinity for sequins, harem pants, top knots, or matching your outfit to your food… Just roll with it! It will give you a unique angle and something for your readers to remember you by. Take someone like Leandra from The Man Repeller, who took an interesting and sort of ridiculous part of her personality and turned it into a sensation.
5. She knows her stuff backwards and forwards. The reason Leslie Knope is so good at her job is that she knows literally everything there is to know about her town, it's government and the people who make it up. Apply this same dedication to your blog's niche. Read, read, and read some more. Set up an RSS feed so that you can browse your favorite blogs and new sources easily. The more you know, the more reliable of a source you will become to your readers. You'll build trust and credibility, and establish yourself amongst other blogs in your genre.
6. She cares. A Lot. The bottom line with Leslie Knope, that leads to all these other characteristics is that she cares. She has a genuine, vested interest in her town, her co-workers, her friends and improving her government. She cares about her well-being, but not as much as she cares about others and their happiness as well as the success of her projects for her town. Your level of care will be obvious to your readers. Love your blog like you love yourself. Nurture it, promote it, grow it and share it.
What fictional characters do you admire? Do you channel their personality when blogging?