Looking back, what have I learned in this last year? Aside from “everything” and “not enough,” that is?
Here’s a summary of what I think I’ve learned.
- I’m still a newbie. This is the biggest one, I think. A year is not nearly enough to figure out how to do this blogging thing well. I’ve made it a ways up the learning curve (thanks to some help – see the next point!), and I almost think I can see the top from here, but there’s still a long way to go.
- I’m not going alone. There are lots of folks out there giving lots of help along the way. Let me point out two that have been especially helpful. I can’t say enough good things about the great folks at Blogging University. I went through their Blogging 101 course and highly recommend it, and I will be looking into other courses they offer as well. I’ve also gleaned helpful insights from Reflections, a blog about blogging. Other bloggers have been generous with suggestions and helpful tips. Thank you, all of you.
- It’s more fun than I expected. I started blogging because I thought that having a social media presence would be useful in my hoped-for career as a published author, and I should have something in place, with a history behind it, before that magic moment when my book comes out. But along the way I found it was a delightful creative challenge to plan posts, write them, and release them into the world. It has been especially fun to get feedback and responses from people (I’ve had over 400 visitors and over 50 subscribers – wow! Welcome, everyone!). Another source of fun has been figuring out what would be an appropriate image to anchor each post and doing the photography and photo editing. For this one, I got to buy a cupcake (and then eat it of course). It’s all been a blast!
- It’s all about what I say. Clever images, Facebook links, and everything else aside, no blog will work if it doesn’t have the right things to say, so that’s what I spend most of my energy on. I’m not on target yet, but I’m working on it! I think there are three things that are key here.
- I need to have something to say. This blog started focused on my writing, which gives me a niche.
- I need to have something else to say. Nobody would read a blog just about what I’ve done each day in writing, so I need to bring in other things as well. I think of it as ripples spreading out from that central focus on writing: writing tips, writing and authorship, book reviews and analyses, and general commentary about things happening around me.
- I need to say what people want to read. This is not just me, talking to myself in some kind of isolation chamber. If the blog is nothing but self-indulgence it won’t go far.
My bottom line is that what makes a blog work is its readers. You, right there. Yes, you. *taps on glass* You are what drives this blog forward every day. With your help and support, I’ll make it through another year.