Today is my baby blog’s first birthday! I can’t believe my baby is growing up :]
It was a slow-going endeavor when I first started blogging. I had but a handful of readers (mostly related to me) and in those early days, one of my first thoughts in writing was always, “how can I get more readers?” Even then, I didn’t write just to be read; I write because I love doing so. I love words and the click, click, click of the words as they’re typed into existence.
Still, even though I love writing just for the pleasure of the words themselves, I would be lying if I said I didn’t care about having readers. If I wanted to write only for myself, I would journal not blog. I blog to share what I love with other people but to do that, well dang it, you need readers! So plan and connive I did and slowly, ever so slowly, the readers came. But then, once I had bright eyes watching for my words, I panicked a little bit. I thought about all the different interests and backgrounds of all the different people reading and drove myself crazy trying to decide what I could possibly write that would interest so many lovely people. Let me tell you what I’ve learned in this first year:
- Speak in Your Natural Voice: As quirky, sarcastic, or misunderstood as it may be sometimes, I try to speak in my natural voice and write just the same way I talk. Hold on–it’s a bumpy ride sometimes <8[
- Write What You Know, Know What You Write: It’s not a new idea–it’s probably one of the oldest rules in the book–but writing from my own experience and perspective always works best. When I think something I want to share is too boring to post, I just remind myself of how much I love reading about other people’s normal lives and activities and hope my readers will be interested in my normal life too–which brings me to the next point…
- Readers Come, Readers Go: I get excited every time I get a new reader…and about two minutes later I get bummed when I lose a reader. I’ve learned readers will come and go at their own leisure–and that’s okay. If I’m being myself and being honest, then not everyone is going to love everything I have to say and that may mean losing readers sometimes. I just remind myself there’s no point in having numbers if those numbers don’t represent individual readers who want to be here. If they’re not interested, let them go and focus on the ones who stay.
- You Won’t Make Every Reader Happy Every Time: Some posts are going to be more popular than others and no, you can’t decide which ones people will love. Some people love every word that percolates in your brain; others want only to hear about coffee, music, or cats–deal with it and keep typing about whatever it is that comes floating by your cortex.
- Be Open and Honest: The times when I’ve been most vulnerable and shared stuff that scared me are also the times I best connected with my readers. No one wants to read about someone else’s perfect life all the time. People identify and connect with honesty, humility, and struggle so tell the truth.
- Find a Platform: People won’t know I’m writing or know where to find my blog if I don’t tell them. Self-promoting can feel a little vain but there’s just no other way to get your voice out there unless you speak up and tell people to come join the party. I started by sharing each new posts on my Facebook page and of course Twitter and other social media sites are great resources too. Network with other bloggers and don’t be afraid to share what you’re doing–I mean, that’s the point right?
- Talk to Yourself: If the idea of having an audience starts getting in the way, I step back and pretend I’m writing just for myself–like I’m journaling.
- Don’t Give Up: Blogging can get discouraging–when you pour your heart out on the page and it feels like no one is listening or you hit a road block and can’t think of two words to smack together. But like life, you won’t succeed by walking away discouraged so hang in there.
- Relax and Have Fun: Blogging is fun, sooooo, you should be having fun! Relax and enjoy the writing you love!
- Be Yourself: All of this amounts to one thing in my mind–being myself. I can’t make people like me, I can’t force them to read my blog, I can’t share what I don’t know. All I can do is be who I am and share what I know and love. And the beautiful thing about writing is, it has really helped me better know and discover who I am.
It’s been a great first year, kids :] How about you? How do you manage to be yourself even when others are watching and reading your words?