It’s been more than two years since I wrote my first real post about blogging. I was pretty naive at the time. Looking back, I find it pretty interesting to see how I was dead-on in some ways, and in others not so accurate.
I thought I’d take a peek at what I wrote, and then mash it up into something more coherent based on what I’ve learned.
The Obsessive Compulsive Guide to Blogging
If you’ve already started a blog, you’ve been through these steps in your mind, on paper, or on your screen. If you’re like me, you might be a little bit obsessive or compulsive, or both obsessive AND compulsive, on the mental health side of the life equation – or as I call it: two for the price of one.
Note: I have not been clinically diagnosed, contrary to what you, or members of my family, may think. Nor do I judge you, if you, my fellow bloggers and readers, are as loon-crazy as I am.
My Five steps to successful blogging:
1. The beginning
Everyone has to start at the very beginning, and for the OC this is a world of tremendous consternation (like we don’t have enough rattling around in our heads, right?). What should I be blogging about? I thought about this for days, and then weeks. It consumed me at first. So many possibilities. I asked friends and family. I researched other blogs, but didn’t know enough to know what I could do differently, or better, or even as well as someone else.
What did I know? Did I know enough? Did I know ANYTHING? Should it be funny? Serious? Long pieces or short ones? Heck, back then I didn’t even really know what a post was!
What I learned: With blogging, you just have to jump in there. You can go from Miley Cyrus-Hannah Montana to Wrecking Ball-crazy, later, as you develop your voice, but at first, get your feet wet any way you can.
2. Naming the blog
I thought the name had to be perfect. It had to be. I remember wondering if the name of the blog would add or detract, be memorable, or be easily forgotten. And it was important to me to know if people would like the name.I didn’t want to get down the road in a couple of months – when I thought I’d have millions reading my blog – and have to change it.
What I learned: It truly didn’t matter. I had a blog name to begin with, but changed it – to my name - after a few months. Believe it or not, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be to make the switch.
3. Public or Private?
Did I want my family and friends to know I’m blogging and writing this stuff … possibly about them?? (See #2 above, which started the cycle of worrying about the name of the blog again). Maybe I should have made it available to my friends only … ?
And then I thought it should be more widespread! Otherwise, how will the masses – as though there would be “masses” – ever experience these fantastic, amazing compositions?? That made that decision fairly simple.
What I learned: Unless you’re really nervous about people close to you reading your writing, it makes more sense to simply keep it public. Otherwise, maybe journaling is the best bet.
4. Write first post
With the first three steps nailed down, I was off to my first post. It. Has. To. Be. GREAT – or so I thought. After three weeks of agonizing over every word, I thought it was pretty good.
Having spent every waking moment, when I wasn’t working, poring over every sentence … I was certain the words, so carefully chosen and crafted, flowed like honey. Just the right amount of spirited wit and seriousness. So creative and interesting. I was sure that post would set the blogosphere on fire, and possibly even go VIRAL!
What ACTUALLY happened: As I review my very first post, it was pretty basic. And also VERY short. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure why it took me so long to um, “craft” it. LOL
5. Wait patiently for feedback
The last step – I thought – was opening up the post, and in a matter of a few short hours, I’d have several people out there commenting. Instead, after pulling up the post over and over for hours, and then days, I had … drumroll, please: ZERO comments flood in. My first indication that I might not make a fortune blogging.
Unfortunately, I also came to realize, it’s like that show “48 Hours”: If the feedback hasn’t come in during the first 48 hours, it isn’t coming in! *sound of big bubble bursting*
What I learned: It takes time to build a community of friends when you blog. But if you comment on other blogs, and support other bloggers, you will start to see that same love in return. And that’s been the best part of the whole process.