I joined the International Bloggers Association several months ago, and I wrote this article on blogging as a part of the process, but I have changed and added to it and wanted to repost it on my site.
The IBA is a group of bloggers who have gathered together to support each other. Blogging can be an overwhelming task, but there are some great women that I have interacted with there that have supported me. They visit my blog and make comments, and even the smallest comment can make a difference. If you are interested in learning about the IBA, you can check them out here. If you are interested in joining, you can do so here.
I have never written an article on blogging before…ever. But as I thought about what I have learned over the past several months, I do see that there are some things I have learned about blogging. Starting a blog was a huge endeavor for me. I felt overwhelmed at learning html, providing great visual content, choosing a host and setting everything up. For some reason, I just thought I needed to start typing. Wrong!! Here are four steps that have helped me as I started my blog using the acronym FEAR.
F: Face the Fear
I felt so strongly impressed to start a blog, but was also terrified!! I knew that I didn’t know anything about blogging. I worried that others would think I was silly or misunderstand my purpose. I wondered if they would see it as a ploy to get attention. I worried that others would disagree and possibly say cruel things. But, the thoughts and promptings about starting a blog wouldn’t go away. It kept me up at night. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
I decided to face my fear. I went ahead anyway. I spend hours late at night setting up my domain, deciding on my blog name, and developing blog post ideas. I had pages and pages of notes and the ideas kept coming. I still didn’t have a clue. I began looking into social media and setting up my accounts. I still remember the first day I put my blog out there. I had articles, a question of the week, and two blog posts up before I published. I had to push “post” on Facebook and let my friends and followers know I was now a blogger.
Courage means facing the fear. Go ahead. Face it. Be vulnerable. We can do this together.
I truly didn’t get this at first. I thought if I wrote great content that magically the people would come to me. Yep…waiting…hoping…writing.
Waiting some more.
Yep, still waiting.
I soon realized that blogging is a lot more than writing. Blogging is truly about connecting. You have to read other blogs. You need to reach out to others. You need to be gracious. You need to seek out others blogs that are doing well and take notes. Make changes. Go to link parties. Connect on social media. Leave messages about other bloggers. Blogging cannot be self-centered.
I have found some great blogger friends, but that only started happening once I extended myself. I had to put myself out there, start reading and commenting on their sites and then I got some great responses back. I have really enjoyed meeting and interacting with some of these ladies online!
Another lesson learned: I believed once my site was set up, I had it made!! All I needed was some great posts and people reading them!! Very quickly I learned that I need to constantly assess and evaluate my site. Change. Change. Adjust. The only way I can do this effectively is by assessing regularly. I need to update. I need to add. I need to learn.
As I learn from other blogs, I find that most bloggers want to share. They are willing to share their knowledge for free!! Wow! If only I had more hours to do it all! I have set a goal to assess my blog once a week, read an article on blogging from another blogger and apply it. As I do this, I add widgets, make adjustments, get ideas for future posts, and learn about photography, SEO, html, etc. All of these things will only add to my blog. But, it takes a conscious effort to be willing to assess and change.
The biggest problem I am running into is the time. I struggle to find enough time in the day to work, be a mom, be a wife, be a friend, clean my house, and still blog. It is a balance. I have found that I have to do it at my pace. Some days I cannot blog. Some days I cannot do it all. I have to pick and choose and things fall through the cracks. Part of assessing is realizing that we cannot do it all at once. There are some great bloggers out there that hit it big immediately, but the truth is that most bloggers grow slowly. It takes consistency and effort. So assess your time and don’t burn the candle so brightly from both ends that you end up burning out!
Not only do I have to face my fear, but I have to continue to risk. This article, for example, is a risk. I know that I am a newbie. I know that my knowledge of blogging is limited, but I am taking a risk. I am putting myself out there to share what I have learned so far and how it has helped me.
I risked when I posted on Facebook that day months ago. I risk when I share personal, heart-felt stories that make my heart cringe. I risk every time I share a post, but without risk, nothing would change. I could stay in my comfort zone, not stretching, growing, or learning. I am sure that my blog wouldn’t change, grow, or develop either.
Are you ready to use FEAR? Can you be brave with me and take some risks in your life?
Whether in blogging or life in general, I think these four basic steps apply: face your fear, extend yourself, assess, and risk.
Let me know what risks have paid out for you!