what I’ve learned from my first two months of blogging

 

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog recently.  I’ve been trying to devote my spare time to practicing my hypnobirthing breathing and basically just trying to chill out. I’ll blog about that in full when I get round to part two of my birth plans (you can read part one, about why I want a homebirth, here), but I had to get back on here to soothe the nagging guilt about abandoning my blog.

I’ve mentioned previously that I gave blogging a go before, a few years back.  I gave up on it because I found myself struggling with feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy under the shade of the big hitters, the slick pro-bloggers, the celebs of the blogosphere.  It felt a bit pointless to continue something I’d only started as a way to keep my mind active during maternity leave, but which had grown arms and legs and schedules and social media pressure, and which was eating away at my confidence.  This time I’m trying to keep the fun in it and to maintain some perspective, and so thought I’d take this lull to reflect on what I’ve learned since I started this little scrap of the WWW back in March.

 

1.  I am a hobby blogger…and that’s ok

I came to blogging after having an online journal for over ten years.  My experience was sharing rants, anecdotes and the occasional low-res drunken photo with a small group of similarly angsty teenagers.  So I was a bit scared off when I saw that blogging had a professional sheen and competitive, stats-driven side that was all new to me.

I understand now that for many bloggers this isn’t just a creative outlet – it’s how they make their living.  But at the time I panicked, and felt much the same way as I had when as a kid I was accidentally put in a swim class beyond my ability (a mix up, I happened to share a name with a more advanced swimmer)  – out of my depth, scared stiff and nearly drowning.

Now I can appreciate that I was a bit like a middle aged cyclist on a council cycle path trying to compare myself to a young Olympian in a fancy velodrome – similar sport, but vastly different levels of talent, time and equipment!  And you know what?  I’d look shit in one of those lycra suits anyway, so I’m quite happy to trundle along, avoiding the potholes with the other amateurs.

 

2.  There is more than one type of blogger

Hand in hand with the above is that this time around I’m more aware that there are many different types of bloggers. I’ve been heartened finding those who do what they do just…because.  Don’t get me wrong, I love reading blogs by those who collaborate with big organisations and who are practically brands in their own right.  But I’m balancing the pro-bloggers with the hobbyists this time around.

 

3.  Even novice bloggers need a plan

Or maybe that’s just heavily pregnant scatterbrains like me!  But its so easy for me to let days pass me by – I get in tired from work, collapse on the sofa after dinner and ooops…blogging time is over before I’ve even touched the keyboard.  But I’m a stickler for a to-do list, and a plan will help me get new content up on a regular basis.  I need to make blogging routine – nothing too regimented or busy, given that I will soon have a newborn to contend with, but enough to kick me up the arse when I’m tempted by another evening vegetating in front of a box set.

 

4.  Write first, read later

This has two meanings.  My first is when putting together a post – I need to stop editing as I write!  It can take me forever to write a post if I’m constantly tweaking and re-reading (I know, right?  This crap I put up is actually the polished version…you don’t want to see the mess it starts as).  I need to train myself to get the words down first, and worry about prettying them up afterwards.

The second meaning is to get my own blog posts written before I lose myself in reading other blogs.  I’m such a fan of other bloggers that I can be distracted from my own writing by a single intriguing  tweet, fall down the rabbit hole and emerge bleary eyed with my bed calling, having read ten other blog posts but with only my own blank post editor to show for it.

 

5.  But always read…and comment

I’m not the most savvy networker, and building relationships with other bloggers is something I’ve just not mastered.  But reading and commenting on other blogs has helped me feel more like part of the community, and I like to think/hope that some of those bloggers will head over here too.  I know how good I feel if someone comments on my blog, so I like to make sure I’m spreading some of that love and positivity myself.  Hopefully in time that will lead to some friendships, and maybe even some readers.

 

6.  Social media is a WTF

I don’t know if I will ever crack the beast that is social media.  Twitter is like a bunch of people shouting into a void, I only realise a moment was Instagram-worthy once it’s passed me by, and I don’t even know what a Snapchat is.  I’ve been putting pressure on myself to jump into the rapids of social media, but it’s like that swimming lesson all over again.  So I think for now, I’ll just stick to working on my blog and joining in with linkies.

Speaking of which…

 

7.  I love linkies

Whilst its clear that not everyone plays fair, linkies have been by far the best way for me to get my posts noticed.  And also to feed my blog reading addiction, but that’s maybe not always a good thing (see #4).  Some linkies are better than others for people reading and commenting, and I think those will be the ones I focus on to help get me established.

 

8.  My blog is already evolving

I started this as a place to chart my health efforts, but already I’ve found that I can’t talk about health without talking about my pregnancy.  And I’m actually enjoying bringing my role as a mother into my blog.  I think it’s way too early to try to force myself into a niche…maybe I wont ever have one.  And I’m not going to avoid certain topics just because they don’t fit.

 

9.  I need to take more photos

And to use this as an opportunity to really get to grips with what my camera can do.  There’s nothing worse than delaying a post because I don’t have an image to go with it, and using stock pictures makes me feel like I’m cheating a bit!  I’m going to be realistic, I’m probably never going to have the beautiful sorts of images I drool over on other blogs and a flat lay sounds more like a crap shag than something I could carry off, but I’m going to have fun trying.

 

10.  I’m excited about what the next few months will bring

Ok, so there will be a new baby in that time, which is the most exciting thing ever.  But blog-wise, I’m just curious to see what I can make of this place.  Hopefully I can get some more readers, and start to feel more comfortable and confident about what I’m doing here!

 

 

Help a girl out – do you have any tips for a newbie like me?  Or maybe you could just lend me some moral support by following me on Twitter or Bloglovin’ – who knows, your blog could be my next addiction!

Cuddle Fairy
DIY Daddy Blog
My Petit Canard

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30 Comments

  1. A great blog post! I’m about 8 months in to blogging and I feel very similar to you- these hugely successful blogs are as intimidating as they are inspiring… it’s much more fun to do it as a hobby and not compare! Linkys are the best for finding new blogs and getting people to read your stuff #BloggerClubUk

  2. Great post and you’re totally right. There are so many different types of bloggers around doing their own thing and owning it. We’re all different which I think is great, Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLInky
    Emily recently posted…That Friday LinkyMy Profile

  3. I’ve really enjoyed reading this. I’ve been blogging so long I’ve forgotten what it feels like to start, but for all my years I’d agree with everything you say here. Don’t stress about the social media, just find a platform that suits you and use that, you’ll go mad trying to be good at them all. Do get into photos, even just on your phone, you’ll be surprised how addictive it becomes. Love you to join my linky, it’s probably the oldest one running and is for outdoor family fun on Saturdays called Country Kids. Popping by today from #BloggerclubUK

    1. Your linky looks great, and I’m hoping to include more parenting/family related posts in this blog so I’m sure it wont be long until I have something to link up. Thank you for dropping by, and for your advice – I really appreciate it.
      Sadie recently posted…my pregnancy at 35 weeksMy Profile

    1. Haha, it’s like being the new kid in school all over again! Your blog is lovely, I’m definitely following the spring cleaning series – I started to try and Konmarie my house a few months back, but ran out of steam when I hit my clothes. I need the motivation to get my house overhaul mission back on track!
      Sadie recently posted…my pregnancy at 35 weeksMy Profile

  4. Lovely post.I’d say that in the world of blogging you may feel like a newbie, but you’re already old – in a good way. As evidenced by all you’ve learnt in 2 months. It took me about 5 months before I even joined a linky. lol One advice I would give – stay true to why you started your blog in the first place.
    #bloggerclubuk

  5. Sounds like you know what you are doing far more than me and Ive been blogging a bit longer! Im not into the stats either but as you say, comments and follows are always nice. Will follow you on twitter. Good luck with the journey!

  6. Great Article! I’m only 1 month into my own blog and it’s been pretty fun so far. You’re so right on how the “Bigger” blogs out there are a bit intimidating!
    #MarvelousMondays!
    Chris recently posted…Diaper Duty Daddy!My Profile

  7. Oh what a lovely post – sounds like you’re doing a great job! My advice would be to take it easy and not feel like you have to conquer everything at once. I spent the first 9-10 months writing as much as I could and I guess you could say I found my “voice” (that always sounds wanky) that way. I did push my social media as much as I could but after this I started focusing on one platform at a time. It’s saved my sanity 🙂 xx #thatfridaylinky

    1. Thank you, those are great tips. Especially about finding my voice – I think the bloggers that I like all have that in common, they have a definite style and that’s what makes them stand out.

  8. Great post! You’ve already picked up and figured out loads 🙂 One of the best the best pieces of advice is definitely write first, read later! It can be so tempting sometimes to try and write a perfect post first time round, but I always find it so much more helpful to just get everything down on paper and then edit and proof read. Social media is definitely a bit of a beast and im not sure anyone masters them all. My advice would be to pick one or two platforms to focus on navigating and figuring out this year and then slowly figure out the rest! Its always great discovering new bloggers, hopefully this is a linky you’ll enjoy linking up to and will get a lot out of 🙂 Great to have you join us, Emily #MarvMondays

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