I have now been blogging for well over 12 months and since I missed my one year anniversary post back in July, I thought I would post something now instead, not only looking back over my first year blogging, but also share some simple things I have learnt over this time.
Blogging and writing in general teaches all of us a lot of different things. We each have our own reasons for why we write. For me, I find the writing process really cathartic and it relaxes me – I imagine in a similar way to how watching TV or taking a bubble bath relaxes some people.
You see, I have never really sought satisfaction in just doing nothing. My mind always has to be busy, even in school when I was little, the teachers would tell my parents that once I finished the assigned work I would become disruptive until I was given another task. This is single-handedly why blogging works so well for me as there is always something you can be getting on with. It is there when I need it to be, but I am not reliant on it for my income so I think it is a lot less stressy.
I started blogging, the first time, when I was in university, and I really hated it. This leads me nicely on to my first lesson;
WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU LOVE
It sounds really cheesy and cliche to say, but it helps. A lot. If you are interested and passionate about what you are writing it will be more enjoyable. Not only that, but it also shows in your writing. My first blog I referred to above, was about fashion (as my degree was fashion journalism) and I hated it. I loved looking and reading about the clothes and the shows but creating this content myself was just not up my street. In fact, it was so not up my street, it may as well have been on the complete other side of town.
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
Okay, I know, it is much harder to do this than it appears. But you cannot compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter 23. It will drive you crazy and lead to a hailstorm of self loathing and pity which will not end well. You. Are. Good. Enough.
THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER
You don’t need any of these things. Fair enough, it can be a bit different if you are looking to make millions from your blog within the first month (spoiler, this won’t happen, regardless of what you do) but generally speaking you do not need all of the things ‘people’ say you need. People can be the worst. You do not need to spend this amount of money on that, or that length of time on the other. You just need to write. And it doesn’t even need to be consistent. Write when you want to, not when you feel like you should. For me, if I feel like I ought to be doing something, it stops being fun.
CONTENT IS KEY
Writing should always be fun for you. You decided to start your blog presumably because you had a passion. Once it starts to feel more of a burden than a joy, it is heading down the wrong path. Take your time to create content you love; posts you could sit and read again and again. Ask yourself, ‘am I interested in this’ because if you are not, why should anyone else be? Some posts will of course be better than others, but you have to at least like everything you put out there, otherwise you become a content mill.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT FOLLOWERS
Again, it is one of those things easier said than done, but 100% true. Whether you are super consistent or post a couple of times a year, do not worry about your followers. They are just numbers at the end of the day and do not deserve your stress. Sure, we all love loads of likes on our latest post, on any social, but it shouldn’t get you down. Organic growth every time over buying followers, likes and fake interactions.
ALL GREAT JOURNEYS START…
Everyone starts somewhere. Your favourite writer. Your favourite actor. Your favourite athlete. Every single person starts somewhere. You have to take the first step if you want to climb the mountain. It really is true what they say. I hummed and harred about starting a blog for literally about two months, before actually starting my little corner of the web. I am so glad I did it – if nothing else, it is a platform to share my ideas with like minded creatives. That is why my blog tagline is “just thinking out loud here…”
BE CONTENT, WITH YOUR CONTENT
It is okay to always want to improve and to always want to be learning – that is fantastic. But for me, it is important you are content with the writing you do. If you are constantly looking at who and what is better than you and comparing yourself, you will never get there. Let me explain. If you are at point 1 and always looking at points 10-15 and comparing yourself, once you actually get to point five, you will not be able to recognise it because you will be too focused on ten to fifteen. It is always good to look to the future, but you can’t let it become a toxic obsession. You must be grateful for what you have now, to appreciate what you will have tomorrow.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS YOUR FRIEND
There are some lovely people out there – many more lovely than awful. The blogging community is one of the nicest out there. Comparatively speaking, it is so much more pleasant and supportive than the majority of online fandoms (at least the ones I have known). People are generally always so happy for you when you achieve something, no matter how big or small. It is such a lovely environment it is really easy to be happy for everyone you come across. You are not competitors; you are all in this together. Remember, a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.
STOCK IMAGES SAVE YOUR LIFE
I know that this may be a little different if your blog is built on reviews or beauty or fashion, but for me, using stock images saves a lot of time, and they always look great. Fair enough, in travel and food posts I take my own original images, but in a post like this one, or a time where I am looking for an emotion or a physical object I just don’t have, these stock sites are life saving.
What works for one person will not work for another. It’s as simple as that.
I guess after all of that, my final lesson is not really a lesson, but rather advice. Just do it. Write. Share. Blog. You will be glad you did it. I worked really hard on only writing about what I love as I never wanted it to become a burden like it did the first time I attempted to have a blog and I am really happy that I made it past one year in doing just that.
What do you enjoy the most about writing? Let me know in the comments below.