So I’ve officially been blogging now for six weeks, happy six weeks to me! Do I get to think of myself as a blogger now? I feel like I do. I reached 3,500 hits a couple of days ago so now feels like a good time to reflect on how it’s all gone since I hit that ever-so-scary launch button.
I’ve really enjoyed pushing my limits and writing for myself over the last few weeks. I’ve always wanted to start a blog and write a novel, and 2017 was the year I did both. 2018 is going to be the year I really make something of both those things. I never really knew what to expect when I started blogging. I assumed it was just going to be sitting at my laptop writing tidbits and snapping photos with my iPhone. I want to share a few things I’ve learned in the past six weeks.
“NOBODY CAN GO BACK AND START A NEW BEGINNING, BUT ANYONE CAN START TODAY AND MAKE A NEW ENDING.”
It’s Hard Work.
I’ve run a pretty tight posting schedule so far – I think the longest I’ve gone without posting anything is five days – and it’s tiring! Working a 40-hour week plus commutes, plus renovating a house, plus trying to have a family and social life… Add in launching a new blog and it’s really tough to fit it all in, and finding the time to grow and build on your brand just isn’t easy. The things I actually found the hardest were:
- Choosing a name for myself and my brand. In the end, I gave up trying to think of something creative and sassy and decided to use my own name and I feel like it’s been the very best decision.
- Photography. Hello, stock images, you’ve saved my life. But seriously, these dark nights are absolutely slaughtering any opportunity for decent photos.
- Writing time. When I actually sit down to write, I feel guilty for working on my blog when I should be working on my novel, and vice versa.
- Confidence. Shocker, I know. But finding the confidence to reach out to others and to promote myself has been a huge stumbling block. Although, whenever I do show people what I’ve been working on, the response has been overwhelmingly positive so that’s been an enormous help in that respect.
- Having no internet connection at home. 99% of my blogging has been done on my phone and at other people’s houses. Bring on January 12th when I can actually sit in my own home, with my own laptop, and write!
Finding your niche is important.
There are a lot of people out there writing and posting daily on their blogs, so finding your niche is essential if you want to make your mark. I’m still working on this. When I started up, I wanted to write about literature and lifestyle with a bit of mental health & wellness thrown in. Now, I find myself gravitating in general towards wellness and health plus I really want to focus on ethical living and diet in the next few months. Launching my 12 Months to Me project will definitely keep me focused, both here on my blog/social media and in real life.
One thing I learned quickly as a newbie blogger: there’s room for everyone! So don’t feel disheartened if you want to start a fashion/beauty/lifestyle/etc blog because you feel like a small fish in a big pond. Put your own spin on it, and there’s a space for you too.
Social media is essential for a blogger.
Not only for promotion, but for helping your followers to learn more about you, the blogger. We want to know the people we’re following, we want to learn what they like and dislike, what their daily lives are like, what inspires them. So finding and following people on Instagram, Twitter, etc is important but so is sharing parts of your own life so you can get to know the people around you. It doesn’t matter how many followers you have – it’s your content that matters.
My Instagram is currently more personal than writing-related, although I do post specific blog-focused images from time-to-time, and that’s how I want to keep it. I know others have specific Instagrams for their blog and it works really well for them, but for now I enjoy sharing images from my everyday life on that platform and using it to connect with my friends.
Most people want to help.
Twitter is a wonderful place to meet and connect with other bloggers and to find people in similar niches to you. There’s been a huge shift towards bloggers wanting to help each other grow, which I feel is so important especially when established bloggers lend a helping hand to newbies and share their wisdom or promote their work. It isn’t all about promotion, but as writers we do want people read the posts we take such love and care over, so having extra exposure is really valuable.
You’ll encounter Negative Nancys everywhere, but in the blogger community, most people are approachable, friendly and helpful. So don’t be scared to get involved!
Don’t compare yourself to others.
So go and do like you do, I’m good to do like me.
~ A favourite line from The Greatest Showman (which is amazing, by the way, definitely go and see it).
You have to stay true to yourself, because when you start looking up other bloggers who have been doing this for a while it’s a sure-fire way to take a hit to your confidence. You cannot compare one person’s chapter ninety-nine with your own chapter one. Everyone started somewhere, and where you’re at now is the ideal place to be because you can only go onwards and upwards. Take inspiration and tips from other bloggers but don’t play the ‘she’s better than me because…’ game. Trust me, it isn’t worth it and it’ll only harm your own confidence in your own work.
Results take time.
Don’t expect overnight fame or for your first post to go viral. Sure, it happens, but it’s incredibly rare for a new blogger to suddenly be earning six figures and land a major ad campaign. Real results take a lot of hard work and develop over time, so don’t give up if your hit count isn’t where you want it. Don’t do it for the hits, do it because you enjoy what you do. It’s helpful to set goals, but if you don’t reach them it isn’t a disaster because the path to success is different for everyone.
Work hard, play hard, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and if being a blogger begins to feel like a chore then take a break for a while or reevaluate what you’re doing and why.
How long have you been blogging? Do you have any helpful hints or reflections to share?