Is There a Blog in You?: 75 Posts Later….My Blogging Birthday Blooper
My blog has just turned one! Being the birthday party mad individual that I am, for my first blogversary I decided to bake a birthday cake to celebrate. My four year old said to me ‘Mummy, why are you baking a cake for your blog? A blog isn’t a person, and a blog can’t eat cake!’ Don’t you just love how innocently literal young kids can be. I explained to her that we could eat the cake to celebrate my first year of blogging. And so I proceeded to make a gluten-free sponge cake, which was…..a disaster! This sponge was as flat as a pancake and as rubbery as a car tyre. I love to bake, but I am yet to master the art of sponge cake baking. Tips anyone?
Just like the first year of a child’s life, the first birthday is more of a celebration for the parents than the child. You celebrate because you have survived the first year, the crying, the sleepless nights, and the teething issues. And the first year of my blog’s life has been quite similar to the first year of a child’s life. Plentiful joy and much fun, as well as jolly hard work, sleepless nights staying up late writing blog posts, and a few teething issues. And if you are one that likes birth stories, all I will say is that the blog ‘Cappuccino & Chaos‘ was born after a lengthy labour, and that the first few months were intense as I found my feet. There were the ‘blogging blues’, and as this was my first born blog I didn’t really know what I was doing. The blog was then rebranded as ‘Lattes Laced with Grace’ a few months later. I’ve had to learn many things, and I’ve undertaken a crash course in Blogology 101 of sorts, making mistakes along the way. My husband jokes that this blog has had more changes of design than most people have changes of underwear!
Why do I blog? I blog because I love to write, design and create. I also blog because I feel that God has called me to this. And if something that I write ministers to one person, then it is worth it. Most people have a story inside them, Writing can be very therapeutic, and with it comes – reflection, self-knowledge and often healing. One aspect I have grappled with is how much to share. I want to be real, and honest about my failings and struggles, but where does one draw the line at over sharing? Not every story needs to be shared; and not every story is mine to tell. I want to protect the privacy and confidentiality of my family and friends. And I also want to be careful what I share, as anything that is published here is obviously public, and therefore subject to criticism.
‘Some write to make sense of the world; to understand what has happened to them – for whatever life throws at you, understanding and dealing with it tends to become easier if you try to write about it. Others write to push their ideas out into the world; writing is a wonderful way of realising what you think about things: “The pen is the tongue of the mind.” Cervantes (1547–1616)
So you think you might have a blog in you? I’m no blogging expert, but here are ten top tips that I have learned on my blogging journey thus far:
- Define your niche. You can’t do it all. Find topics that you are passionate about to start with.
- Balance blogging with parenting and other responsibilities. I aim to only blog in the evenings, or when my children are napping or are at preschool or school. There is no point blogging about parenthood if my kids have to be stuck in front of the TV so I can blog. Furthermore, find a structure that works for you. I’ve given myself the goal of writing one blog post per week, as this is manageable for me in my busy phase of life. Any more would be overwhelming. I also plan out what I am going to write about each week. Preparation is key.
- Blogging can be addictive. Keep it in perspective. Don’t worry about the statistics, number of likes or followers. Popularity does not determine success.
- Be careful what you write, and edit, edit, edit. Post only your best content. Less is more. Be helpful and not hurtful to others in what you deliver, but don’t worry what others think. Some will misunderstand you and that is part of the territory. In fact, in whatever you do you will be judged, so be authentically yourself, realizing that your blog will not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that this is OK.
- It’s been said if you want to write a book, then read more. The same goes for blogging. Read other blogs.
- Blogging is a community. The best part of blogging is the interaction. Comment on other pepople’s blogs gracefully, and respond to comments on your own blog.
- Be yourself and find your voice. Practise makes perfect.
- Know your reader. Write about what others want to read about. And remember that it’s not about you.
- Make it pretty. I’ve discovered picmonkey: – a free little online design tool. See: http://www.picmonkey.com. Simplicity can be more elegant when it comes to design. This is something that I am still working on, as I like ornate designs. Make sure your graphics and blog design is easy to read.
- Network on social media. The actual writing and design comprises only around 50% of blogging, The rest is determined by how well you link your articles and blogs on social media.
And if you feel like you have lost your blogging mojo….