Originally written for and posted at My Girl Thursday
Starting a blog is a simple process- a few clicks and you’re published! But writing the blog that you want to put out into the world can be a frustrating experience. There never seems to be enough time, your photos don’t look quite right, and how will people even react to what you put out there? Self doubt is easy to get drawn into- so I thought it would be really fun to share some tips that I’ve picked up while trying to write a blog that reflects who I am and what I love for the past four years.
Sometimes it feels like there are so many niche blogs that if you aren’t a raw food vegan marathon runner, fashionable Mormon mommy blogger, or an effortlessly creative small business owner there isn’t a place for you. The thing is, those really polished blogs are the result of years of work, sacrifice, and heart work that those bloggers have done to know who they are to their core. It’s in communicating who they are and what they love that attracts people to those bloggers and their online spaces.
Even if you don’t want to write a blog that’s read by lots of people (Can you imagine the e-mail replies? *shudder*) having a blog is a great way to discover and showcase your passions. Spending time each week resting in what you love doesn’t just make for a great read, it makes for a great life! Think about what your interests and hobbies are, and look for natural ways to talk about them on your blog. Experiment with new kinds of posts and don’t be afraid to fail- your blog friends and readers will be a great safety net of encouragement and feedback if you let them in.
Just because you’re a blogger doesn’t mean you’re a writer- and it doesn’t mean you have to become one, it just means you have to find a way to express yourself that fits for you. If you think about the complements and criticisms that you’ve received while you were growing up, it might help you to figure out what works for you.
For example: I love writing, so writing posts is my favourite way to share. I love helping people learn new skills, so tutorials are a fun way for me to change it up every now and then. I’m a very visual person, so featuring my photography has been a fun challenge, and I have a unique approach to problem solving, so posts where I share how I’ve taught myself new skills or how I’ve organized parts of my business and life is interesting to other people.
If you love to talk, learning to video blog or podcast could be a really fun way to share yourself with readers in a new way. If you love to travel or have an eye for trends, take us with you or be a curator! Your voice as a blogger may involve lots of words or very few- but there’s no right way to express yourself. If you’re stuck, ask your friends and family about what they like about your perspective when they talk to you. If could reveal something about your character that you didn’t know was unique to you, and that could be the thing that attracts your next big client or next great friend.
Okay, confession time: I have a complete inability to sit down and invent something to write about. Put me in front of a blank screen with a deadline and I will spend eight hours on Pinterest or Etsy before I write a paragraph, but if I’m walking my dogs, riding my bike or doing anything away from my computer I’m full of ideas! Because of that I keep a notebook with me all the time and write my ideas down when they come, and then pick post topics for each day of the week. Suddenly writing five or six days a week isn’t a daunting task!
You probably already have a way of tracking your To Do lists and ideas that works for you, so think about how you could extend that to your blog and see if it makes your blog better. What works for you can and will change in time- I used to write posts up to two weeks ahead of when they published, and now I write a post in the morning that it publishes or the night before. But the best thing that planning posts will give you is time. You gain the ability to take the perfect photograph, or write a more thoughtful post, or to take a few days off if you’re just not in the mood.
Blogging can be a way you’re transported into a world of inspiration, friendship, and learning. And no amount of camera equipment or photo editing that someone else can do can replace what you bring to the table, because they don’t have your life experience, sense of humor or personality.
You are uniquely able to savor every moment of dreaming up a great post, putting it together, and setting it out in the world- so make sure you take advantage of that chance! Having an incredible amount of fun with some time that’s dedicated just to you is practically your obligation, and I hope it’s one that you take as seriously as I do :)