Have you heard the song by roughly the same title by Molly Kate Kestner? I first heard it off the show ‘All Rise’, brilliant show too but I think this song is fitting for my celebration today.
It has been a full year since my first post and in 366 days later, I’ve had 50 posts up and 100+ followers. I am posting with a little confidence that has replaced the hesitation that used to hover whenever I had to press the publish button and slowly finding a pattern of my own here in the blogsphere.
I had the name for the blog first (allow me to look back a little at how far I’ve come). It came to me in one of those down moments where I had convinced myself I was an afterthought. Don’t ask! I think feelings were just raging wild but I sat with it a while and on a road trip with my mum and sister, I put in all into perspective and decided that at the very least (or most as it has proved to be) it made a good enough blog name and I started.
I had no idea what I was going to do with the blog, what I was actually going to write about consistently (all I knew was that I wanted a platform to account for my writing) or how much is actually involved. I was pleased when even one person read the post and then liked it. I mean, I know writing is what I love to do and I want to have the confidence to say I would be doing this even though no one read it, but I’m more than pleased (grateful, delighted, elated, satisfied – take your pick) that some people believe my writing is worth their time.
And through all this, I’ve learnt!!! Still learning but I’ll share that little today.
- Set a target. My target has been simple. I write just once a week and as I was starting out I thought this was so easy. But then time always goes so fast. And I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks that. I post on Sunday, blink and it’s Friday evening. But having a target kept me from sleeping on the job😂, forfeiting weekends where I didn’t feel like writing or didn’t sit with my thoughts long enough to realise what I wanted to write about. Of course this weekly writing has kept me accountable for my writing and it’s a good thought to know that I’ve showed up every week – beat down or looking forward to it.
- Have fun. Because this is blogging and not a writing assignment! Obviously. Most of the time, creating a blog was most likely your own decision and, because there is freedom in anonymity, very few people around you actually know you are doing it. So act like it! Make mistakes, make huge strides, write in a style you had never attempted before. Explore thoughts that no one around you wants to take up. Use your platform. Dare yourself…or don’t. Just have fun with it. I don’t think there has been a particular trend to my writing and I think for the first year while there wasn’t a trend set in stone, this has been great. There has been room to try out a few things. I don’t think I have done a lot of poetry but for everything else, it has been fun to just try and put it out there then see how it is received. Some of the posts I didn’t put enough faith in are some of the ones that impressed me with their feedback. I think there is a lesson in itself with that realisation.
- Network. There’s no way to stress the importance of this in writing. Blogging was frustrating at the start when there was hardly any traffic (and now you are possibly thinking but I thought you didn’t even expect anyone to read it as you were starting out😅 stick with this please). Especially when I was just getting up on quick success stories – ‘How I got 500,000 followers in 6 months’ and the like. So I joined a number of blogging Facebook groups and used every opportunity to get myself out there. A special shout out to Phoebe at https://phoebemd.com/ for hosting Promote your blog Weekends. There are benefits to networking; first it keeps you humble when you see the ridiculously beautiful writing out there and second, it opens your mind, shakes your perspective up on so many topics.
- Be mindful of your readers. Should be obvious, shouldn’t it but most of the time the advice is write what you want to read. So you are mostly at the forefront of your writing. But think of your readers too and write with your target audience in mind. That may look like shorter posts, brief and to the point kind of writing. I’m still learning. That may look like more appropriate photos (what are inappropriate photos? I’m not so sure either). It will definitely look like consistency and commitment. Attach faces to the numbers. In fact, if possible, forget the numbers. They’ll roll in more when you are focused on producing quality content (preaching to myself too here) And you do take your readers as you find them!
- There is always more to learn. I had done a little reading on what blogging is like, trying to get a little direction if I were ever to – and eventually did – start blogging. The theory is always different from the practical. And the best way to learn is to jump right in. I think I can authoritatively say we are making it all up as we go along.
So here’s to another year!! Of ups and downs, writing and discovering! I definitely have a few goals I want to hit, give the blog a touch up😏 and starting post about two times a week. I’m looking forward to that. I hope you are too! A huge thank you to all of you that have been around for the year. THANK YOU!!! You’ve given my blogging a whole lot more purpose than I had even dared to imagine!