Starting a blog can be like diving into the deep end of an eternity pool feeling unsure of your stamina for the swim. Where will you get time to write and post, content ideas, readers?
Gentle blogger-to-be, may I suggest you stick a toe in the shallow end, test the temperature and discover which stroke works best for you?
Blogging is like learning to swim. First, there are some basic technologies you have to invest time to learn. Like a toddler putting her face in the water and blowing bubbles, if you are unfamiliar with the technology start basic and play with it until you gain confidence.
I started my first blog, Riddles on the Harp, on Blogger in 2010 (my first post). It was my writing practice, polished a bit for posting. I figured if I didn’t have the discipline to maintain a regular writing practice, I didn’t have the discipline to be the kind of writer I wanted to be (published!). Two years later, I knew how to add photos and links to my posts. I like to think my writing improved with regular practice. With a book to launch, I was ready to move with clearer purpose to the more sophisticated WordPress platform.
A believer in transitions, I kept my rambling Riddles on the Harp going and started a new blog called The Sheepwalker on WordPress.com focused on writing topics and my writing themes and book promotion. Transitions are messy. Now I had a clunky website and two blogs to maintain. Naming the blog after my book was limiting and didn’t take into account that a publisher would likely change the title.
Figuring out what to blog about requires a degree of composure. Columnist Iris Ruth Pastor says, “Maybe the new technology is to just be yourself.” Keep in mind who you want to talk to and serve their interests as only you uniquely can. Today, my blog is focused on both readers and writers. I have a 365 Short Stories series running this year and an editorial calendar of topics based on my writing themes and underlying spiritual principles planned for next year.
One thing hasn’t changed. I still use my blog to hone my writing. Reading and critiquing a short story a day has challenged my critical thinking skills and sharpened my writing. Writing a daily blurb that I publish in a weekly post has helped me improve in the areas of clarity and brevity.
- Don’t be afraid to start.
- Don’t be afraid to stop.
- Give yourself permission to play. Your purpose will emerge.
Gentle blogger-to-be, mining my first blog for words encouragement to give you, I found this scripture: “Do not despise these small beginnings for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Zechariah 4:10. When you give it your best, God will bless your efforts.
Sydney Avey lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Yosemite, California, and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a lifetime of experience writing news for non profits and corporations. Her work has appeared in Epiphany, Foliate Oak, Forge, American Athenaeum, and Unstrung (published by Blue Guitar Magazine). She has attended the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Sydney blogs at sydneyavey.com on topics related to relationships, legacy, faith, and the writing life. Her novel, “The Sheep Walker’s Daughter,” ISBN 978-1-938708-20-6 will be released from HopeSprings Books in December, 2013.