Five Hard Lessons That I’ve Learned As An Amateur Blogger

“But my way of writing is rather to think aloud, and follow my own humours, than much to consider who is listening to me; and, if I stop to consider what is proper to be said to this or that person, I shall soon come to doubt whether any part at all is proper.”
― Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater


A Journey of Ups and Downs

I wanted to write this post today since it’s been about 6 months of taking my blogging journey semi-seriously. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I’ve grown/learned a lot in that time. I would say that my blog never really began to be of a quality that I’ve been proud of until the beginning of June or so. If I had to re-read some of my original posts or re-visit some of my oldest interactions with other bloggers, I would probably cringe. In fact, I’m so OCD about my content that I’ve almost updated every post that I’ve written, otherwise I’ve deleted it.

So, today felt like a good day to re-visit all of the lessons which I’ve had to learn for myself the hard way, through both my ups and downs. As one typically does! Enjoy.


Lesson 1 – Allow Your Blog to Evolve With You

When I first began, I hardly knew what being a blogger was all about.

“Write about yourself and your interests? Sounds easy enough.”

I had never even followed a blog before I had created one. I’d only known, vaguely, the topics that I wanted to write about and those topics were many and varied.

In fact, in the beginning I wasn’t even thinking about blogging as a way to really interact with others, for the first few months at least. I would write my posts, I would share them on Facebook and I did it all to express myself and grow as a writer. It was sort of my journal on the internet, with occasional messages for others. I was sort of uploading my identity in written form for the first time in my life, outside of a journal, for others to see.

Blogging was my therapy.

Computer2

In ways, I don’t regret having wasted a few months like this, because it helped me to discover my writing style, my passions in writing and what worked/what didn’t work for me, but it wasn’t bringing me a following at all and that was disappointing. We all want our work to be read, do we not?

Originally, I was blogging about everything from health and fitness tips to food recipes, book reviews, poems, stories and rants about my own life. Eventually, as I discovered my strengths and weaknesses, I chopped out those bits and pieces that brought me no pleasure, or which, I felt, were not up to my own high standards.


Lesson 2: It’s About Interaction!

Now, I’m embarrassed to admit this, but for the first 2 or 3 months of my blogging life I was hardly interacting with other bloggers except to say “Good work!” or something like that. I’m kind of a shy person in real life when it comes to people that I don’t know, and I was taking a similar approach to meeting others on WordPress.

I figured most people probably don’t care what I have to say anyways or want to read my work or speak with me, so why bother? I’ve been in a negative/cynical funk for a few years and I’m just starting to break free from this cycle, I think.

I was wrong anyways, there’s an amazing community of people here, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting others whom have more in common with me than most of the people I’ve ever bumped in to in the real world. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Think about it, we’re all here for the same reason, because we have a passion for writing and a passion for teaching and learning. We all automatically have that in common and a lot of us are wounded. A lot of us have past demons that we are trying to overcome and blogging helps to soothe our wounds by channeling all of that energy through our writing. So don’t be afraid of your fellow bloggers. Take a chance on them! Every person has something of value to share with the world.

Globe2


Lesson 3: Your Writing Needs To Be Easily Digestible

When I first began blogging, I wrote numerous blog posts that were massive heaps of text without pictures, headlines, italics, etc. I was happy with the writing, but they weren’t grabbing people’s attention. Looking back on it now, I wouldn’t have even been entirely happy with the writing either. Although, the biggest flaw was the lack of aesthetics.

I was in an unhappy place in my life when I first started this blog and those feelings dripped through my words and into my posts. My feelings of hopelessness and futility transferred through to my readers and it made my words less appealing. There were moments when I wrote motivational posts for myself basically, but in a way that I was also writing them for everyone else out there, in similar situations, and these posts did well at least.

The lesson here is; your attitudes and feelings are going to bleed in to your work. If you are going to write about things that bother you and upset you, that’s fine and you should, but do your best to balance these posts out with works that provide hope and other uplifting messages. Even if you write these messages for yourself in a sort of round-about way. That is – if an audience is important to you at all.

Chairs

Also, break your big blocks of text down in to smaller, easily digestible paragraphs and make it look pretty. Use bold and italic fonts from time to time, and add pictures to break up the writing. The ugly truth is, most people are going to scan your content rather than taking it all in entirely. Smaller chunks help make it easier to scan and keep a person’s attention longer. Especially for reader’s with an undiagnosed attention disorder like myself. 😀


Lesson 4: Authenticity is Everything

This can either come easily to you, or not so easily. Some bloggers are completely authentic straight out of the gate and their blogs explode from the beginning. Others, need to develop a proper confidence in themselves to be free enough to be that genuine. I was in the second category.

When I started my blog, I wasn’t feeling very confident in myself. I wasn’t very happy with where my life was at the time, and personally, I just didn’t feel like I had much to offer. So, I was afraid to be vulnerable to the world through my blog. In some ways, I tried to be vulnerable but was almost too much so. I’d vomit all of my depressed thinking onto a page and post it every once and a while, then shortly after, feel ashamed about having it there, then delete it.

It took me months until I finally realized that my voice was valuable to my blog and that being personable in my posts meant more than just divulging all of my deepest and darkest secrets. It meant having an opinion. It meant sharing my viewpoint. It meant being strong enough to be myself, without trying to first predict the reactions of others.

Secret
That doesn’t mean that others opinions aren’t important, but it’s your blog, and you need to be you. You can’t write for everyone else as a generic, inoffensive, little bit of everything type of person, who doesn’t step on any toes because there are already so many other bloggers out there like that and you’ll just wind up blending in.

Just be you, authentically you, whatever that is and if you can be respectful while doing that, then there should never be an issue. Anyone else who doesn’t like that should mind their own business.


Lesson 5: Everyone Loves A Mystery

In the beginning, I over-exposed myself to the blogging world. I wrote maybe a bit too literally. I had no pen name (I still don’t). I explained my life in way too much detail on my about me page. I over-exposed my secrets, relationships and dark past. I talked about myself incessantly. It’s boring to be honest.

After a while, I began re-editing and deleting old posts. I toned down how much I reveal about myself to a degree and I alluded more to my life rather than speaking literally about my issues/past/aspirations. I want my readers to both know me and not know me entirely. I want to be a metaphor for who I really am. My blog is my safe place to be me, perhaps even the me, that is more me, than in reality. Without the past to haunt me, without anxieties and insecurities to weigh me down, or perhaps it’s just my idealized version of myself. I’m not sure, I guess.

Mystery

My poetry’s provide revelations of myself, yet at the same time it’s mostly in metaphors and can’t be taken literally. I am both revealed and concealed, and I like it this way. It feels safer. It feels comfortable. It’s where I like to be.


The Takeaway

Be yourself. Be authentic. Even if you shroud who you are in bits and pieces. You don’t need to be entirely exposed to be genuine. Take care of other bloggers and give heartfelt feedback. Make friends. Write for yourself, but be sure that some of what you write is also useful to others. That gives them a reason to keep coming back for more, and don’t worry so much about how quickly you evolve, just be sure to allow yourself the freedom to do so.

If there’s something you don’t like about your blog, change it. If you have old posts that you don’t like, delete them or alter them and make way to pave a new path to follow. Love yourself, your work and be your own biggest support, but also be a support for others. When we care for others, we oft receive the same care back tenfold. Enjoy the journey and don’t worry about the numbers. It’s all a learning experience. Take it one day at a time.

Thoughts? Comments? Leave them down below!

 

88 thoughts on “Five Hard Lessons That I’ve Learned As An Amateur Blogger

  1. Great worthwhile tips! Loved learning more about your blogging journey & how your blogging’s evolved over time into your own niche. It’s always fun to reinvent old material if it isn’t working well + lovely advice about the importance of reaching out to others!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I think you have a good blog name ~ it is a little bit mysterious. Idk if it’s a characteristic of you or something about a story you’re working on.

    Funny about followers and interaction. I was pretty psyched yesterday seeing my number go over 2250 (WP + twitter), but just now I happened across a blog with ten times that… and she’s been around only a short time. Oh well 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The Wolf is just my spirit animal and it was my first tattoo. I know the importance of branding so it just felt right for me 😉.

      I’ve also seen others doing much better than me but oh well. We should only be in competition with ourselves.

      I’m trying to pick up my social media game lately. Instagram only. Hows Twitter?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have to be careful on Twitter not to get lost in the endless political discussions, which can be fascinating. I try to fill my feed with writers and poets and post poetry when I have time. There are some really good poets there!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it’s so interesting the journey we all go through to find our best blogging voice. Finding the confidence to be authentic is such an individual process. And like you, when I started I knew nothing at all about blogging. So much to learn!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Great post and advice! I am almost to six months of blogging and realizing I need to go back and clean up some old posts as well. I also started with the intention of my blog being my therapy but it is evolving. I can also relate with revealing too much personal information…I ALWAYS do that, but maybe that’s just me, I like to be open and honest – but it’s definitely tough finding a balance.
    I am really enjoying your blog. 😃

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much Geneva. It’s not a bad thing to be super open and honest especially if you’re comfortable being like that.

      I’m still quite open and honest, but I just like blurring my lines a little more now. I always feel more comfortable as a slight mystery.

      I look forward to interacting with you more in the future!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! Same here! Interacting with other bloggers is one of my favorite things about this whole blogging process.

        I don’t mind being open and honest…I just worry about my kids and how my being open will affect them. I try not to reveal too much about them and as they get older I’m sure it will be even less. I want to respect their privacy.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Being a “metaphor” or who you really are is an astonishingly accurate description. I’m still very much the amateur in blogging, but as a writer, I know precisely what you mean. We want to be both present and separate from the writing we do–it’s no good without a personal touch, but too much of us takes away the ability to communicate a point.
    This is a very engaging post. You definitely demonstrated the things you illustrated!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for your insight and feedback. I act more on feel than researched or educated know how when it comes to writing, so its interesting to hear back from someone with more experience. Heading to school in September to Major in English and really get the practical knowledge. 😊

      How long have you been writing for?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. More experience? Hardly so, I’m smack in the middle of my own Creative Writing Major. (Workshop-based courses, multi-media classes, and publishing simulations are both fun and practical, I recommend them a lot! The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you get out what you put in, but I don’t think you’ll have any problem with that. I hope you have a wonderful time.)

        I’ve been writing since about…ever, but pursued since fourth grade. I have three novel projects right now–one in editing, one in rough draft, and one still in drafting–but my next journey will be publishing. Yikes. How about you? Have you always liked to write?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve always loved to write but never tried to pursue it seriously until I’d injured myself at the end of last year. I’m drafting my first novel and I have a book of poems in the works.

        I would love to be a published author and just make my money by doing what I love one day.

        I’ve heard finding a publisher or agent can be rough. Good luck to you!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree with everything you write here. I try to do the same, sometimes I succeed. I love wolves but I think the dragonfly is my spirit considering all my life changes. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Great lessons, tips and advice. I was very active the first time I started blogging then I got lazy over the years because of social media. Now, I’m fed up of social media because I practically gets nothing out of it than wasted hours. After going round in circle, I’m back in blogging seriously which I must say, suits me better 😁

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re certainly appreciated here ❤. I feel the same way about social media, I only have instagram now which is nice. Thank you for your feedback.

      I’m wondering when I’ll get burnt out by blogging. Seems to happen to everyone. Some days I get frustrated. Today is one of those days. 😝

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m having a hard time keeping up actually with everything because I’m also most here or Instagram.
        I do feel that burn sometimes. And when it comes, I take a step back and few days off. But never goodbye because I know that I’ll always return.
        Blogging for me is like writing stories. Sometimes, I don’t see why I should go on, but after taking a break I’ll realize all over that it’s my passion.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi 🙂 I found this very enlightening so wanted to say hello and thanks really. I’m just new to this game and sometimes don’t post coz I’m wrapped up in wondering what I should post so really cool to read and take from what you’ve learned.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow, this was great, thank you for sharing.
    I always grateful to you and your page. You mean so much to me and this community❤️
    You are creative and make different posts. I am impressed how you do it. Your poems always captivated me.
    I hope you reach so far out in the world and many people read your work.
    I am in a period where I am considering taking a break from blog … I am not mastering following up everyone and I am getting sad of it …
    I wish you a nice day❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You’ve got it! I was very fortunate when I first started taking my blog seriously that a seasoned blogger just happened upon my blog and took me under his wing, advised me about things like keeping it within a certain length (I strive for 800-1200 words), adding visuals, and most important of all, responding to every single comment, interacting with others, and being genuine. He had, at that time, 56,000 followers! I’ll never catch up to him, but in truth I don’t wish to, for there aren’t enough hours in a day as it is!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, that’s very fortunate! I had always wished that I had someone to take me under their wing when I was a newbie, but I usually tend to have to learn most things the hard way. Maybe because I’m too stubborn. 😛

      Is this person still an active blogger? Who might this person be?

      Thanks for sharing and visiting me over here 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, he’s still around, though he’s changed the name of his blog from “Harsh Reality” to “Opinionated Man”. His name is Jason, he’s a computer programmer, has two adorable young children, and I don’t know how he finds time to do all he does. We had a disagreement a couple of years ago … not over politics, but over my stance on guns and the 2nd Amendment … he is a supporter, and I am not. But, he still pops in every now and then, as I pop in on his blog occasionally. If you’d like to check him out, here’s a link: https://aopinionatedman.com/2019/08/17/daily-7/

        Liked by 1 person

  11. These are all so true and relatable especially the one about letting your blog evolve as you do. My blog has gone in a totally different direction than what I had initially planned and I’m so glad it evolved as I did because I love how it is right now! If I had stuck to what I was doing before I think I would have quit blogging a long time ago.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Yeah, the community aspect is SUPER important. I don’t like small talk in real life but I love it on my blog comments section..
    This is why I’m even considering updating to paid WordPress instead of hosting it privately because the WordPress reader network is so fun. lol

    Like

  13. What an honest post. Highly agreeable and easy to relate to in both blogging and life. Authenticity is key to success. “Be you!” is such a simple message, but so hard to get comfortable in. Cheers to finding your own voice!

    Liked by 1 person

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