I know, I know what you are thinking! Only two weeks into the blogging process and she wants to give us tips on blogging?! Yes, I agree, credibility-wise maybe not the best! Sorry I cannot show you some well-deserved 5 years of experience. Or 100 blog posts to prove my point. I have merely come to see after 2 weeks of blogging that there are some pitfalls to watch out for and that the following can be taken as suggestions meant to help you become better at what you are already doing excellently! So, what I have come to find is:
1) If you have a topic, don’t push it off or wait too long to write about it!
A mistake made not only by beginners but maybe also by people who have a limited time for writing or other priorities (don’t we all have those!). And by the way, this can be said about all types of writing, from updating your private journal, composing a letter, spelling out an E-Mail, creating your own book and so on …. It is always best to write down the idea as long as it is still fresh in your head and it hasn’t been distorted by other memories interfering with it. If you wait too long, you might be at risk for forgetting the main points or the story won’t come out as smooth and well-written as you wanted it the first day you thought about it (You should have seen my draft inbox – I’ve made a point of either writing them out or discarding them right away, otherwise the posts would cluster up and never get done).
2) Make a list of topics …
…you want to discuss in your blogs or write out the main points of some stories and experiences you want to include in your online identity. This is of advantage for two reasons: First, it helps in sorting your thoughts and finding new, exciting topics while writing them down. You cannot imagine the amount of themes I wanted to discuss the first day I started writing and how I had to pause myself for a sec and to negotiate in only writing one piece a day (which until now has accumulated to a great average of 4 posts a week, not bad, don’t you think?!) Second, in case you are experiencing a case of the writer’s block (very common after party-weekends, sad moments, or in unstimulating environments) you will always have a back-up of ideas you can rely on. Matter of fact, I haven’t finished one third of the topics I included on my list and every time I want to get back to it, it seems like a new topic comes to mind, which I have to attend to first.
3) Give your post some time to proofread!
You should write what comes to your mind, but then you should also give it significant time to settle until you get back to the editing and proofreading part. Don’t write, look over it, and post. Spotting most of your mistakes will usually require you to be away from the post for a few hours; after reading your work again you might notice the finer errors. Best case scenario: Have someone else proofread your thoughts. I know this is mostly not possible for various reasons (and I did not mean copyright issues!), so just do some other work until you get back to the writing part. By the way, this is not only true for a word blog, but also when you include images. The order of the pictures might look better a certain way then when you initially posted it, so allow yourself some time of distraction and then come back to see if it still looks like a creative piece of art or needs some correction.
4) Write whatever you want! But be respectful!
Write what comes to your mind, post what expresses your deepest desires, compose whatever will make you feel better. Just be aware that, unless you didn’t select the “private” option, your ideas will float out into space and eventually reach other human beings, who might be curious to see what your page is about. And yes, after decades have passed since the internet was invented, there still exists something like an online etiquette, even though some people have appeared to forgotten what this means. If you want others to appreciate what you have written, then you have to be respectful to at least the same degree you would want others to be towards you. And, to take it a step further, you should not leave it at that, but start your courtesy at a level well above your normal buddy standards.
5) Be creative!
I believe there is nothing more boring than those awful 2 sentence posts people come up with just for the heck of posting something or because they cannot find the courage to delete their account. These are mostly the pages that are dead and inactive after a few months of blogging. So senseless, if you ask me! If you don’t have anything to post about, then come up with a great story. Or tell us about your life, I am sure it is not as boring as you think it is. Everyone expresses themselves in a different way. In case you haven’t noticed, I like to write lengthy blogs filled with a lot of information. Others care for having a picture blog to show the world where they have been on their travels or what their hometown looks like. There are a bunch of great ideas! My friends have opened up a combination of both while roadtripping through the entire US: They have included their great stories and rounded it off with some well-shot pictures!
6) Don’t take too much time “off”!
I know there are always occasions in which you cannot help it but refrain from blogging. Motherhood. Traveling without access to a computer. Not being near civilization. Blogging blues. A new job, relationship, move to another city. Yes, there are many reasons. But the longer the intervals between the blogs get, the harder it is to find back to the rhythm you had before. It takes motivation to write on a regular basis, I agree. Having an extended readership base or knowing that someone is following you is always helpful. But you have to do some things on your own sometimes and that is to pull yourself together and do as excellent a job as you did before! Just follow the tips until this point, and you’ll be just fine. Promise!
7) Don’t forget the fun factor!
Last, but not least (hehe), don’t forget that this is not a test or a pain in the butt which you have to endure. This is all about showing others what you want to share and what you have come up with in your gorgeous head while sitting in front of a computer. If jotting down a few words seems like a torture or posting images does not go hand in hand with your time limits, then there is not much sense in having something like this. But really don’t take criticism too seriously- after all, it’s about what you create and how you see things that will make your posts a pleasure to follow.