100 followers and counting! I can’t believe it. Thank you all so much for sharing this journey with us.
Blogging has been such a source of joy for me, and I have you to thank for that. I cherish the outpouring of faith and compassion, the growth and learning, and the sense of community that you, dear reader, bring into my life.
I won’t lie though, I also feel stressed out sometimes. I’m learning to navigate a whole, new world. And that’s a big deal! Assuming I’m not alone,
I thought I might offer you a few tips I’ve learned along the way.
#1: Choose your why wisely and write with that in mind.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. This blog was not my first attempt.
I first started blogging in 2018. I shared my posts on Facebook. I worked my blog into every conversation. I had no specific focus.
Numbers crossed my mind, but mostly, I sought validation. I was at the height of people-pleasing at a difficult time in my life, and it bled into my digital life.
It wasn’t a safe space. And that looks different for everyone. We all believe differently, and we write what we believe in. But, remember:
So write about what matters to you. Be bold. Be creative! But, most of all, choose your why wisely and create a safe space by recognizing that your worth is inherent; it isn’t earned.
#2: Be genuine. Love your reader, and talk to them!
I watched a video recently about the principle of attraction. The one-liner being: when cultivating a following, attract, don’t chase.
The question is, how?
To be fair, I don’t blog for money, so I have the leisure of taking things slowly. But I do this by focusing on genuine community.
I find blogs I enjoy reading and share the thoughts those posts provoke. I explore the interests of my readers. I meet new friends and get a sense for what matters to them, and what we have in common. When I disagree, I try to do so with compassion. I express gratitude, and I mean it.
The best thing about this approach is that you get to be truly yourself, and your readers truly want to be there. What you have to say resonates with them, and vice versa.
In the words of Albert Camus:
Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
I also want to tell my friends and followers out there that you do this so well. Thank you for all of the genuine comments and articles and wearing your hearts and beliefs and talents on your sleeves. Thank you for using your voice to lift me up. I feel truly blessed to know you.
#3: Don’t wait; just do it.
As my Instagram followers might know, Joe and I are working toward launching our very own podcast! I’m super excited about it, but branching out to new avenues has been scary for me, too. In fact, Instagram itself was intimidating.
I feel inadequate as an “influencer”. That’s not a significant portion of my why. But I do want to touch more people and grow organically. Maybe you can relate.
So what if the numbers don’t merit taking big ventures? Do it for you!
Make changes to your layout. Invest in your own domain name. Open up to social media. Offer extras you’re excited about. Write what’s in your heart.
Big ideas don’t have to be scary. Treat your blog like it is where you want it to be, and don’t worry about the stats.
#4: Format for scanners by highlighting what matters most to you.
This is a recent tip I learned, largely from following The Art of Blogging (which I highly recommend!).
As writers, we put so much heart and soul into our words. It’s hard to imagine someone might skip a meticulously crafted paragraph of a precious work.
But even well-intended readers budget their time and invest it carefully. This is why formatting for your average scanner is a big deal.
Here are a few things to consider that might help:
- Ensure your title and your opening paragraph highlight the value your article brings to the table (How will your reader benefit from reading your post?).
- Add headings and sub-headings that do the same for their respective section (What portion of that value will this paragraph review?). This will help your reader find areas they would like to read in more detail.
- Make lists and increase your white space (re-structure lengthy paragraphs) to keep readers from getting lost.
- I also tend to bold what is important to me, because, as a reader, bold lettering catches my own eye.
- Close with a recap (What one thing would you like to leave your reader with?) as well as an invitation to collaborate (maybe a question, or a challenge).
#5: Tackle writer’s block with exposure.
For sanity’s sake, I also try to write on a schedule, which means I often need to write when “I’m not feeling it”. I tackle this with lots of reading, conversations with friends and family, and listening to several podcasts, interviews, audiobooks, etc…
Essentially, browse the topics that interest you, and you will find plenty of food for thought. Then, free-write until an outline becomes apparent, or start with an outline you already have in mind.
#6: Know when to look up.
Blogging on a schedule also means I don’t always write “when inspiration strikes”.
If you’re like me, you might have trouble letting go of passionate words until they are in print. The dangerous thing about this (for me at least) is that pretty soon you will find yourself blogging, or thinking about blogging, 24/7.
And it is 100% a worthwhile investment, but I recently heard the idea that, we often use our digital community to meet needs we can better meet in our physical community. We need to invest in both.
Particularly as a parent, I am discovering how important it is to look up when my kids need me, not just after I finish, and show them they are important by being willing to come back to a given project later. It isn’t easy, but they are worth it.
Find Joy in the Journey
Hopefully some of these ideas will help you find as much joy in blogging as I do. Thank you so much for being a part of this.
Here’s to why we write, and bravely putting it out there!
Ideas for Discussion
- Why do you write?
- What do you love most about blogging?
- What do you find the most difficult about blogging?
- Do you have any of your own tips?