…or the alternative title: Things I know about blogging by a total novice.
Thirty days ago I bit the bullet and pressed publish on my first post and entered in to the wonderful world that is the blogosphere. At the start, I set myself the challenge of posting every day for a month and, well, here I am! So I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you what I have learnt in those first thirty days…
Everyone has their own reason for taking up blogging. Once you find your personal reason for writing the words will begin to flow. But for me it was also important to take up a challenge. Be it with yourself, your friend or by taking part in a WordPress challenge such as the recent Writing 101. A reason to stick with it when you feel like a failure, can’t be bothered, or simply find yourself face to face with that old adversary writer’s block. Because you will.
However, the greatest motivation is when you realise you have readers. When your stats reveal that there is someone on the other side of the world checking out those words that you, yes you, wrote. Or that day when you are notified that your ‘stats are booming!’ Those are the days that you begin to believe you are a writer. Nothing beats it.
But the next post will always fall flat. It won’t, but it will feel that way. You will spend the day wondering where your readers are, why thy have deserted you and what you have done wrong. The answer will be nothing. Some posts are simply better than others. Or more popular.
So, when you have written something you are pleased with, publicise it. Share with friends on Facebook, tweet a link or just text someone you would love to read it to let them know where to find it. Because the bottom line is that people probably won’t just come looking for you. And if you want to boost those view, an accompanying image of a cute kid usually works wonders!
And if you do have someone you want to read your writing, someone you want to know your thoughts or hear your ideas, then write with your reader in mind. Your voice will begin to speak out and you will start to find your own style. This is a great feeling too but, be warned, the temptation is to trap yourself there. To fall back on tried and tested techniques telling yourself that they did the trick last time around (excessive alliteration for example!). Be brave. Try something new. Have a go at fiction writing, poetry or free flowing streams of consciousness. What’s the worst that could happen?
Because bloggers are wonderful people. They will take time to read your work, like, comment and even share. So make sure you do the same. After all, you can’t be a good writer without reading. Other writers will become your inspiration and testing out your thoughts on a new topic or idea by commenting on someone else’s words is a great starting point.
But a great blog is more than just the words you write. One of the first pieces of advice I read about producing a successful blog was to write a good About Me page. Thirty days later and I still have nothing. It’s hard! And if, like me, you post via the WordPress app, take time to check out how your blog looks on a desktop. I did this for the first time today and realised my page was far from perfect! I can only recommend that you don’t attempt to edit it in fifteen minutes on your iPhone in a car park with very restricted 3G connection…apologies if you are viewing this in a very strange way!
I hope to iron out these and the many other flaws in, what has fast become, my own personal place to grow. But for now I will just accept that my blog is simply a work in progress…
Thank you for reading.
A photo from my favourite place to write!