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Things I’ve Learned- And Want To Learn- About Blogging!

In Should I Even Be Talking About This?, Writing on September 16, 2013 at 4:01 pm

September 22, 2013 marks my two year anniversary on ‘Kick In The Cornflakes’ at WordPress. I decided to make a list of what I’ve learned since being here, because I appreciate reading this kind of thing from  blog veterans (that translates into anyone who has been here longer than me) Some of these things may seem at odds with each other, but from where I sit, this is how I see it.

Always. Always.

Always. Always.

THE MISTAKES!

I refer to editing, and I will be the first to admit that self-editing is almost as bad as no editing- but what choice do you have? I cannot think of a single blog post that wasn’t filled with errors when I published it. (This, after checking it over and over!) When I first started, I would be mortified….I’d get up in the middle of the night if I realized I spelled a word wrong (I use spell-check, but there can  be mistakes regardless) I still get embarrassed about it, but now I know that I only have two choices: blog and make mistakes- or don’t blog at all. Some of my posts have been edited so thoroughly they are now completely different animals! (hopefully in a good way) On more than one occasion, I’ve edited an opinion post so much the opinion changed! 🙂  So I try to think of my stories and posts as works in progress.  I  also try to make a habit of going into my archives and fixing stuff, but without a professional editor, trying to stay ahead of the mistakes is like trying to hold the the tide back with a sandcastle.  To make matters worse, when I read other bLogs they seem free of mistakes! 

A Master

A Master

THE HARD WORK

I defy anyone out there to keep a blog going without spending at least two hours a day on it (if not way more!) It is like an endless conversation, and oftentimes it is only with yourself. But if you want to have any reader interest at all, you have to ‘keep it coming’. Just like ACTUAL WRITING (as in ‘I’d like to be a writer’ and thinking it’s just a matter of setting aside some time) everyone thinks they can do it until they actually try. There are still days when I want to delete the whole thing, but I know I would write anyway, so I might as well do it at my spot. (I also have a private ‘spot’ where I can write about more difficult things without fear of hurting any feelings – I think it’s important to go deeper if you can)

THE LACK OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Unless you blog within a network of friends, you probably won’t make many by blogging. This is because most bloggers are busy doing the ‘hard work’ of writing, and when they are not, they are living their ‘real’ lives. Also, lots of blog-writers (or maybe I should say writers in general!) are shy, or introverts, and wouldn’t know how to ‘put themselves out there’ (Where is ‘out there’ anyhow?) The guts to write and maintain a blog is pretty awesome. Most people can start one, but can’t keep it going (turns out that it takes work) But keep going! There seem to be a lot of ‘blogger conventions’ out there, but if you (like me) are an introvert, the thought of going to one can be intimidating.

Said no one ever

Said no one ever

A Very Important thing to remember is that nobody is required to ‘care’ about your blog- it’s not the center of their lives or thoughts. I used to get so (secretly) mad at good friends who had every excuse in the book about why they couldn’t read my latest post- or why they couldn’t push the like button (though I will say: try not say that to a blogger. If you read and like a post, but don’t push the like button, you’re literally saying: ‘You won’t lift a finger’)  People have all kinds of reasons- it might be passive aggressive for reasons too deep to worry about. Or they might not like your writing or subject matter and don’t know how to tell you. Or they have better things to do. The important thing is this: DO NOT LET THAT STOP YOU! KEEP GOING. HOPE THAT ‘CREAM RISES’ and have faith that your blog is CREAMY! 

stories can come from anywhere

stories can come from anywhere

There ARE some really nice bloggers out there, and every bit of help should be appreciated- they don’t have to help you. Thank them with all you’ve got!  Finding real-life writers or bloggers on a common wavelength seems really hard, but don’t stop trying. Take a writing class if you can. (Though the merits of these classes can be debated. My feeling is that it’s nice to meet other people who are also writing- just to know you’re not alone. The technical side-whether or not it improves your writing-eh, not really) The encouragement has to come from within, but that is easier said than done. Sometimes a single ‘like’ can make your day. Again -Just keep going….

THE DASHBOARD BLUES

The WordPress Dashboard confuses me. For instance, sometimes when I publish a post, it gets an immediate ‘like’ or two in less  than a  second! A person could not possibly have read what you’ve written. I also get followed by questionable blogs- maybe they are promoting or selling something- it’s often hard to tell. What is a Ping-back? (Yes-I’ve read the description, and no-still don’t ‘get-it’) Maybe the question is: What do I DO with a ping-back? And sometimes I’ll have a gigantic (to me) surge in visitors to my blog. The numbers  triple,  even quadruple on random days! I’m not doing anything different, so it’s puzzling. There isn’t any feedback either-( I assume that’s not good)  Admitting I’m not sure how the dashboard works might make other people who are as confused as I am feel less alone.

WRITE WHAT FEELS RIGHT TO YOU

I have lots of ‘stage-fright’ before I publish something. Mostly due to #1 (Mistakes and Editing) but also because I write about subjects some or most people aren’t interested in: Teenage angst, Disliking something the majority of the public likes and ranting about it, NFL Football and The 60’s, 70s and 80s. These subjects flows from my heart to the tips of my fingers and onto the page. If I changed my ‘style’ then I wouldn’t be me. And in order to maintain a labor of love- you have to be real. Or what’s the point?

Bloggz4


I’M NOT COMPUTER SAVVY

There are so many things I still don’t know how to do. I have trouble with links and pictures and the etiquette of blogging itself. For instance, I once re-blogged someone’s terrific post and then riffed on it. I added my own opinion to the piece. Luckily- the person liked it, but I thought ‘what if I am stepping on toes here?’ You have to trust that if you are doing something that is inherently wrong in the blogging world, that someone will tell you. You also have to do things you may not like to in order to promote yourself. I recently left Facebook and would love to keep it that way, but according to the WordPress bloggers I have contact with, it is necessary to connect to not just Facebook, but Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest- as many as you can. And for some reason (?) not having a Facebook (especially) is seen as suspect. (I would love for someone to tell me this is false, by the way!) But adding my Tumblr followers, for example, exposes me to lots more people. And maybe a few more likes or comments.

So?!

So?!

THERE IS NO ENDGAME

If you truly love to write- and think that posting some of your stories online, rather than keeping all of it stashed away somewhere- then a blog can be a way of slowly getting your writing feet wet. Maybe getting used to putting your writing in public- even if it’s not exactly catching the world on fire- is just the thing a shy person needs to build up some confidence. Maybe it helps you to find others who do the same thing or to submit your work somewhere. Maybe it gets you used to criticism.This may not sound like much, but I know I’m  more confident about writing in general than I was before my blog. Nothing is going to stop me from writing, so why not throw a hat into the ring?! Even if you throw it really, really quietly!

just keep going!

just keep going!

And that’s about it for my Two Year Evaluation. I expect to be much further along by the Third!

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