It’s been quite a month. There have been a lot of ups and downs, trials and errors, excitement and frustration. I read other people’s stories about their first month blogging (which inspired me to reflect on my own), watched a lot of how-to videos, overwhelmed myself with information about writing and marketing and networking. I spent a lot of time wondering what I was doing. A few times, I even came close to wanting to quit. But somehow, I made it through the first month, and came out with renewed conviction that I can do this.
I had a lot to figure out; I’ve only ever blogged on free platforms like Tumblr, Blogger, and Xanga (dating myself a bit there, aren’t I). All I had to do for those blogs were write and post. Often, I wouldn’t even bother to read what I had written until after I posted it. Not here though. Here I had to learn to buy a domain and set up hosting, to install WordPress and customize themes, to build up an email list and monetize my site. I still haven’t gotten to SEO and social media promotion! Even before I launched my site, I was freaking out. But it’s actually quite fun learning how to set up a website, and I’ve been offering to help set up blogs for people left and right hahaha.
My original plan was to post weekly; a quick glance will show that that did not happen. I didn’t realize how much work goes into one post. Not only do I have to read the book and take notes, I have to draft, edit, edit again, and again, and again, proofread, photograph, link, optimize keywords, and schedule emails before the post goes live. It’s exhausting! That doesn’t even include all the promotion and follow-up I’m supposed to do after it’s posted (most of which I haven’t been doing). I need to have a concrete schedule for creating content if I want to meet my weekly deadline.
I have been preoccupied with learning how to do everything other than write. I’m not happy with the posts I’ve published so far. I know I can write better than that. I have written better than that; I have seven-year-old posts on Tumblr that are higher quality than what I have up. This past month, I spent countless hours messing with my theme and figuring out how to monetize. How will I be able to retain readers if I don’t have the content to draw them in and make them stay? I shouldn’t be worrying about monetizing my blog when there isn’t anything to monetize! My priority needs to be the writing.
That said, I need to be myself. Part of the reason the quality of my posts have been low is because I was trying to appeal to readers. I was trying too hard to write something I think other people will want to read. All the how-to videos and seminars on blogging say you have to write for your audience, but I don’t have an established audience yet. And I’m definitely not going to get an audience with the work I’ve been doing. I need to create quality posts that I can be proud to share with others. It would be more entertaining for my readers and will better convey the value of what I’m writing if I’m true to myself.
My goals for the next two months:
- Post every Monday. This will force me to write consistently, and to work smarter to create higher-quality content, if only to avoid publishing things I’m not proud of.
- Network with other bloggers. I spend way too much time, in all aspects of my life, feeling like I’m on the outside looking in. Since I’m starting fresh with this, I want to start right. I’m aiming to find five blogs to follow and be active on, to start building relationships and be a part of the blogging community. Bonus if they are also new bloggers and we can help each other grow together.
- Share my posts. I will stop being scared to tell people about my blog. I’ve always been a private person, so it’s hard for me to actively promote myself. And since my first goal is to produce quality content I can be proud of, I now have no reason to not share my blog with everyone.
So that’s my story so far. I’ve been having a lot of fun, and I’m pretty optimistic about the future (it’s a weird feeling – I’m very much a worst-case-scenario person). And the funny thing is, I can already feel things improving – this is probably my best post to date 😅.