Full Disclosure: Everyone thinks, creates, and works differently. There really are no right answers. This is an opinion post; everything is advice and tips on what helps me the most.
A Marathon | Not a Sprint
I decided to start blogging when I realized I wanted to take my writing to the next level. I wanted to start a career out of it and become a writer worth reading. I had the same problem most have when starting a blog; not knowing where to begin. I researched different methods and styles. Most the time I would end up watching different people relay the same message and blogging tips, over and over. I got into this habit of trying to do everything perfectly, by the book; the only way to succeed.
The more I tried to come up with the perfect approach the more my main focus faded away. I became so wrapped up in discovering the ultimate formula behind having a successful blog, that I ended up being more disconnected from my writing than ever before. In my first few weeks I barely posted or even wrote any content. Focusing more on the ideas and the structure of the process than the actual writing itself. Reversing everything I set out to accomplish, expressing my creativity and helping others. This is when I took a step back and really looked at how everything was spread out.
I went back to looking at the big picture and what my main goals were by starting a blog. I want to enjoy writing and create a way for other to read and engage in it. I want to provide content that is both entertaining and helpful. I took these goals and the what I have already learned about blogging, through research and writing, and I started a new path. A path that helped me create the platform I want to present and be recognized by. I have taken these steps and have turned them into lessons that I have learned starting a blog.
5 Lessons I Have Learned Starting A Blog
1. Consistency: Provide yourself and your readers with a consistent routine and content strategy.
Having a consistent writing and posting schedule can help your writing process and help you to keep creating. Finding the right schedule for you and your daily routines will give you more confidence and ensure yourself that you are progressing as a writer. Following a set writing schedule will help your creativity flow and allow you to simply, just write.
You should also have a consistent posting schedule that correlates with your writing schedule. This doesn’t mean you have to post everyday, if you don’t want too, but it helps you find a rhythm with content that readers come looking for. If your readers notice a posting pattern from your blog they are more likely to read your posts. Why? Simple, your readers notice the regularity of your post and they are seeing your name frequently.
Consistency is something I struggled with in the beginning of my process, but I have since forth found a simple way to overcome the dilemma. For my own blog, I want to post everyday. I try to post around 8:00pm every night. Each day I have a different theme of my content, so everything is both fresh to write and read. Each theme is its own category and I have seven of them so I know that each week will be something new while still following a consistent pattern. Having these different themes allows me to stay focused and always have a plan for my next post. The set time everyday allows me to follow through with our next lesson, writing everyday.
2. Write Everyday: Even if you are not posting, you should be writing everyday.
Helping us succeed with our consistency lesson; having a consistent writing schedule everyday, allows you to grow as a writer. Just like anything you do, practice makes (close to) perfect. If you are not writing everyday you are missing out on a key method to enhancing youreself and your writing.
It doesn’t matter what you are writing, a blog post, article, essay, free write exercise, or even just making a journal entry. What does matter is you are taking consistent time out of each day and using it to improve.
I spend my morning and into the early afternoon, writing and not stopping. I have a morning routine that helps me get motivated and plan out my process for the day and then it is just writing. During these hours is when I get most of the content done for my projects. At night I spend an hour or two, going over everything I worked on that day and starting a new strategy for the next day. I take this time to sit back and look at everything in the greater picture to make sure I am staying on track and focusing on my strategy.
3. Read Everyday: You cannot grow as a writer if you are not taking the time to read content by other writers.
Just like writing everyday, it doesn’t matter what you’re reading, just read everyday. You could read books, news articles, comics, or other people’s blogs. By reading you are allowing yourself to grow through other’s writing voices. As a writer, your writing voice is what can make or break you. Finding the right tone to relay your content is everything when it comes to good content.
By reading you can see the different styles of writing and you are able to see and learn just how a certain tone can add to the content or make it seem unstable and out of place. You gain more of an idea of how you want your writing perceived by others. Reading a little bit everyday will help keep your mind sharp and will allow inspiration to flow.
I make sure to set aside at least an hour everyday to read. I am a bibliophile, so this is not a hard task to accomplish, for me. I mostly read at night and you mostly can find me with a thriller novel in hand. I also take time out of my mornings to read other blogs. I find it a nice way to wake up and get motivated for my own blog process. It also allows me a set time to engage with other writers and readers.
4. Be Yourself: Use your own writing voice.
Like I have already said, your writing voice can either make or break your content. Finding this voice not only comes from reading and writing everyday but all comes down to being you. Think about how you interact with others on a daily basis. Do you tent to find the humor in situations or do you take things more seriously? If you are one to joke around and make an encounter light and playful, that should be your voice. If you are more serious about situations you should take a more strict, straight forward approach.
The reason this is important in writing is because it is all about the flow. If you are trying to be something you are not, tension can come through in your writing. An unnatural rhythm forms; coming out disconnected. If you write how you speak, you will see the difference in structure and see more of a connection between yourself and your writing. This also helps your readers connect with you and your content at a more personal level. I know as a reader, I like to feel a relationship between myself and the information I am reading. It all comes down to, how the reader portrays themselves through their words.
I am constantly reading and rewriting my content, not only to correct mistakes and make sure it all connects, but also to make sure that my voice is present. I want my voice to be noticed throughout my work. No matter if it is a personal write, formal write, or just and update, I want to make sure that when my readers are done they know a little more about me and the get it all through my own style.
5. Be Inspired: Take what inspires you and write from it.
Not everyone who reads your content is going to like it. You cannot please everyone. Most writers have a niche that they write about, they follow a specific topic that a specific set of readers wants to hear about. This is a great way to build your community and guarantees a constant reading audience. Although, you may find enough success just writing specific topics to specific people, don’t forget about what really motivates you.
If you find inspiration in something outside of your niche, write about it, post it, come back to it, post about it again. Your writing can be about you and what you want your readers to know. Some of your readers may not like the post but others might find it refreshing to see your writing in a new angle. If you are passionate about something and write about it, your readers are going to see that passion and continue to read your content. Give your readers the content they want but remember what inspires you the most and what keeps you motivated to keep going.
Starting out a new blog, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to keep my main focus. I wasn’t sure if I could ore event wanted to dedicate all of my time to just one specific topic. I decided to start off just being myself and posting everything that inspires me to be me. I just make sure to let my readers know exactly what they will be reading about in my header and first paragraph. If they want to continue reading (the goal) then perfect, if they find it is not a topic they want to pursue, that’s okay because maybe they will find my next topic more satisfying.
Ups & Downs
In my first few months of starting my blog, I had an emotional roller coaster zooming through me. Trying to find my own flow and path into the writing community, I lost my own way for a little and questioned exactly what I was doing. I pulled myself together from what I have learned about my own writing and my own process. I realized their really is no exact formula when it comes to expressing yourself. There are some helpful steps to get you started along your way though. These lessons have helped me flip my down days into days of improvement.
I hope some of this information can help new bloggers find their right path before they go down the slipper slope I was able to pull myself out of. I owe a lot of my beginning success to the blogs I follow. You can check them out in my sidebar or if you are on a mobile device just keep scrolling.
Check out my Inspiration Series posts for everything that keeps me moving and motivated!
Find out how I am currently keeping all my thoughts and ideas organized in my post, Organized Planning in May.
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