I’ll admit, I’ve not been the most regular blogger. Heck, I’ve written virtually nothing over the past few months. But this morning, I looked at the date and it struck me – today is an entire year since I first publicised this blog, making it open to the public and actively showing the world what goes on in my head.
To anyone who follows me, and reads all – or most – of what I write, you know that this is a hotchpotch if there ever was one. I began with entire articles on thoughts I had; I slipped into a period of (nearly) daily poetry on every subject under the sun, which were primarily inspired by The Daily Post prompts; I wrote a few short stories when inspiration struck which I still aspire to be able to develop on; I had a period where I constantly reviewed the films and books I was watching/reading, and one where I began a ton more such reviews and they then got pushed to the very back of my drafts folder, where legend says they lie to this day, collecting dust and cobwebs. I’ve had months where I posted nearly every single day, and months like this past one where I’ve struggled to get myself back to writing. I began this without really any expectations or ideas of what I would do with it, and my conception of the blog has changed over time. In retrospect now, one year in and looking back, if I had to say I’ve learned a few things about blogging, this is what they would be.
A message to new bloggers: 5 things I learned over the past year
- You don’t need to know what you’re doing from the very beginning. Yes, if you start with the clarity of your final goal you’re one step closer to it than the rest of us already. But it’s okay to start out with confusion, and figure it out as you go. You may end up loving something you’d have otherwise never considered.
- Nothing you do is permanent if you don’t want it to be. Of course, you must be careful about what you put on the internet, but in terms of uncertainty and commitment fears, don’t worry! WordPress allows you to go back and edit and delete and make things public/private over time as much as you would like to. So if you’re unsure about whether you’re ready to share something with people, or you no longer agree with something you wrote months ago, you can remove them from your public page.
- On that note, WordPress has a ton of features that are great! I’m no expert, but be it the various themes and plans available, or the different things you can add to posts, there’s a always a ton more to learn. Two of my favourites, simple though they are, are the ability to add unlimited hyperlinks to absolutely anything, and the customisable themes that honestly quite intimidate me with the number of choices they offer.
- Don’t be a lone blogger – join the community! As a new blogger, you’re likely to share your writing with people you know, whether personally or through social media. And that’s great, but at the end of the day it’s the WordPress community who is likely to become your regular viewers, and who you will find yourself reading and loving and being inspired by. I started out by reading random posts recommended to me, and liking and commenting whenever I felt like it – which made me feel involved, and also helped me make my presence known. More than that, however, was the Daily Post Community Pool, which has made many a Monday night special for me. I certainly recommend it as a way to make friends and find readers.
- And finally, be open to feedback and criticism. You’re sure to get a lot of people who like and appreciate what you write, but you’re also likely to encounter those who don’t. Or those who disagree with you, or those who dislike the way you’re putting something across. And if this is, like it was for me, the first time you’re putting yourself out there, just be aware that you might get such criticism. Some people may be kind and helpful and encouraging about it, while others may be outright rude. What’s important is that you can take away from it any legitimate points that are beneficial to you, and help you to grow over your journey as a blogger.
For at the end of the day, that’s what blogging is. It’s a journey. It varies for each blogger, and takes us all down very different routes. But it’s a great journey, because for the most part, we’re not looking to get somewhere specific. We’re just along for the ride.
Hey you! I’m glad you made it this far. This far into the post of course, but for anyone subscribed, this far into my journey as justaplatypus. It’s been a great year, and I can’t wait to see what this next one brings. If you’ve only just found me, I hope you’ll join the family today! If you have any thoughts to share, I look forward to reading them in the comments below!