If you haven’t been following Stephanie from When Crazy Meets Exhaustion, I have no idea what you’re waiting for. She is fantastic! And yes, she is a first year blogger. I was thrilled when she agreed to guest post and so here it is. Enjoy!
First Year O’ Blogging
Before I share my blogging revelations with you, I have to thank Julie for being JULIE! I don’t even know how we “met,” but my life hasn’t been the same since! Not only is she the epitome of helpful, but it’s refreshing to know there’s a person out there who sincerely cares about our blogs and wants us to learn how to make them better. Julie for President!
Okay, moving on.
I’ve never been shy about or in my writing and I think that’s been a double-edged sword for me. I know that I absolutely appall some of my family members with the information I overshare on the regular, but that hasn’t stopped this crazy train from chugging. Toot-toot!
That said, my first lesson is: not everyone in your life is going to be enthusiastic about your written endeavors. And sometimes it will sting a little. My mother wants nothing to do with my blog. Granted, she thinks the computer is the devil (“pedophiles will find you, Stephanie”), but on the occasions where I’ve read a piece aloud to her and was met with a harsh criticism, my heart hurt. After that, I learned to keep my “real life” and “blogging life” separate.
A few more thangs I’ve learned in my first year:
Less is more. I participated in BlogHer’s March writing challenge and I found that although I was getting more eyes on my blog, the quality of my writing was suffering. Not a good trade-off.
Get around. Not like that, but subscribe to other blogs, comment on them, interact with other writers on Facebook and Twitter, participate in hops and link-ups, etc. I have made incredible friends because of blogging, and now I have a new support system and that’s pretty cool.
Take a chance. Step outside of your comfort zone; use the F-word if you feel the need, rant about the political scene, share a part of your soul. Whatever the chance, prepare yourself for…
Rejection blows. You’ll write something and you’ll be like, “this is fierce!” And then only two people comment on it. Then, you’re like, “WTF?! That was GOLD!” It happens. Keep fighting the good fight.
Know your audience. If you keep at it long enough, you’ll start to find the same faces and names coming back for more. This is your core audience, AKA: your peeps. Make them feel welcome when they stop by; respond to their comments, give them what they want (humor? Inspiration? New recipes?), and always be grateful for those people!
Learn something new. Julie can attest to the fact that I am an A-1 moron when it comes to technology, but I try my best to function independently whenever possible. Have a question? Google that shit. Are you self-hosted? Call your host or sign on to its 24/7 web chat and school yourself. Have a few bucks to sling Julie’s way? She will teach you. Your education is one of the few things no one can ever take away from you, says this high school English teacher.
HAVE FUN! If blogging begins to overwhelm you, walk away for a bit. Ask yourself: why did I start blogging? If you can’t remember or don’t enjoy it any more, there is no law that says you must continue. I came across a blogger who gave up blogging for the duration of Lent this year, and when she came back, she was refreshed and ready to roll. Maybe a pause for the cause will help you recapture those creative vibes. And while you’re out, grab me a tall mocha latte, would ya?
Don’t take no for an answer. If you’re serious about this blogging stuff and if you’re trying to take it to the next level, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. (You will love me, In the Powder Room, oh yes). Make a Facebook page, Pinterest board, and/or Twitter account for your blog. Keep submitting and networking and writing and ya never know what doors will open. You’ll probably have a few slam in your face (In the Powder Room) in the meantime, but what doesn’t kill us, ya know?
I hope this helps some of you and if not, get off of the computer. Pedophiles will find you.