Monday, February 24, 2014
6 Tips I'd tell a New Blogger
When I started blogging consistently in 2010, I had no idea that it would become a hobby that wove itself into all kinds of parts of my life. I just knew that I liked to write, that others did it, and that I enjoyed it. What I didn't know is that it would also stir up feelings of inadequacy and envy. I also didn't know that it could also connect me with so many lovely + beautiful women who inspire and encourage me daily.
For me, blogging has taught me a lot about myself, my priorities, and the value of my words. Recently, I've heard from some new bloggers that they feel like they are not good enough or feel discouraged because their blog isn't x, y, z. Those comments brought back a lot of memories from my first years of blogging--when I worked so hard to fit in, do it the same way everyone else was, and have people love my blog.
To be honest, I still do that sometimes. But, I think that I have come to a point where I feel confident in how I blog and what I blog about. I know that I won't ever be a blogger star or make a million dollars. I wish that as a new blogger someone would have sat me down and told me a few things. If I had a heart-to-heart with a new blogger, this is what I would tell them.
1. Invest time in community, not competition or comparison. This one, to me, is key. It's easy to look at someone else's blog and compare your words/life/home/whatever to theirs. It's easy, but it doesn't do you any good. Instead, support those around you. If you are inspired by their words, tell them. If you love their blog design, let them know instead of wishing it was yours. I promise that if you spend more time investing in the community, people will invest in you too.
2. Your story is unique and has value. This is the beauty of blogging. Tell your story. It is enough--even if it looks different than everyone else's. You don't know how your words can impact others. Keep writing it--even if it seems that no one cares or notices. I see too many people decide that their story isn't as deep, honest, raw, engaging, surprising, sad, _____ as someone else's and they stop telling their story.
3. Let your blog develop naturally (in other words, don't give it artificial growth hormones!) Blogs develop just like you do. Your blog will probably not look like the blogger who has been blogging for 5 years. Believe me, my blog has gone through many, many changes--not only in content, but even in its name. Don't believe me? Check out the first posts I wrote. Yikes! It went through awkward and strange phases (just look at where I started), but it was part of the development of my style. Just enjoy the process of finding your stride in blogging and write/post from an authentic place. Also, you'll probably make some mistakes or have weird posts or take a horrible picture or something...but isn't that how you learn, improve, and grow?
4. People won't always respond like you think they will. And that's okay. Learning to not write for recognition and affirmation is hard. We all want someone to notice our words and appreciate them. Or see a project we do and pin it. Or think that our house is beautiful and lovely. I've written many posts that I thought would get lots of comments, or pins, or responses, but instead, I got crickets. I often have to check my motives--am I really writing to share my story and encourage + connect with others or am I writing to get affirmation? For me, if I am only writing for a response, than it often becomes tedious and not fun.
5. You don't have to be on the most successful, most read, most _______ blog on the block to have value as a blogger/writer. Sometimes it seems that ever other blogger out there is making money, using their blog to launch a successful business, having people comment meaningful words on their posts, etc. But, you know what? Most bloggers are just like me and you. We write to share a little glimpse of our life. Perhaps we will make a little money or use our blog as a platform for an organization/business, but being successful in blogging doesn't make your blogging more valuable.
6. Don't take yourself too seriously. This is a blog. This is a blog. This is a blog. Blogging should be fun and good. There can be strategy, business, and intentionality in blogging--and that's okay. But if that starts to morph into striving, pouring out too much of yourself, and investing all your energy into your tiny space on the world wide web, take some time to put things into perspective. I've had to do this. I reckon that a lot of bloggers have too. If you start to feel dried up and tired of it, take some time away and come back when you are refreshed.
Those are six things that I wish someone would have told me and what I'd tell a new blogger. But, I'd love to know what you would say to a new blogger! If you are a new blogger, what are some of the frustrations/questions you have about being a part of this community of bloggers?