When The Travelers (Saguaro Books) first released back in October 2016, I decided to start blogging for the first time. And because I never do anything half-way, I decided to do it every single day and so far so good. I’d never blogged before. I read blogs, but I definitely did not quite understand the depth and breadth of the blogging community.
Did I accomplish a blog a day? Nearly. I think I only missed one day. (In retrospect, I kind of wondered what I was thinking committing to this every day thing.)
For those of you who don’t know, writing a blog and books isn’t my only job. I have a day job as a medical editor that takes up a good chunk of my time. So, again, what was I thinking? Caffeine may have been thinking for me.
Well, yesterday, on my birthday, I reached 200 blog posts and asked myself that exact question! It felt like a great birthday milestone. I’ve also exceeded 300 blog followers, which makes me really happy. I hope to keep it growing.
So, being my birthday and the day I’d written 200 blogs, I was feeling introspective. How did I feel about this decision to blog every day? Would I do it again if I went back in time knowing what I know now? What did I learn from blogging?
Here’s what I uncovered in my analysis.
Blogging is good for the soul!
I don’t regret blogging every day at all. Is it hard to do? Yes. Is it worth it? I think so. Blogging helps me work through my feelings. I probably have dozens of half-finished blogs that I’ve written in a rush of emotion. Some of them get finessed and published. Others are still sitting in my draft queue and may forever, not quite fully baked and I’m not sure if they’d taste very good once they were.
Regardless, like writing in general, for me I’m never upset if I write something that never reaches any readers. Writing fiction and nonfiction is how I work through my thoughts and feelings. Reading blogs helps me do that as well. I often find myself reading a blog and when getting to the end I click on the suggestions of blogs on similar topics and keep reading to get different perspectives and thoughts. I like the web of information where I can weave through all these different thoughts and opinions.
Blogging makes me a better writer (or at least a more prolific one)
Practice makes perfect. We’ve all heard that before. I don’t know if it’s practice or just an aspect of inertia, but writing a blog actually makes me want to write more. And I think it helps me hone my writing skills. There are days I even contemplate not writing a blog and I just can’t do it. I have a compulsion (or maybe obsession) to keep writing. At first I thought I was crazy. Then I realized it’s partly because I just love to write and the idea of doing a short little writing piece everyday makes me buzz with excitement. Sure there are days where it feels daunting. But most of the time I just love it.
Blogging helps keep me be creative
My daughter has asked me a few times “How do you come up with these ideas for your blog?” And I said, I just do! Every day multiple things pop into my brain or I see something that triggers an idea. Just her asking that question made me say – I should write a blog on how I come up with blog ideas. (Future blog to come)
Blogging creates connections and relationships
When I first started blogging it felt very “one way.” I kept thinking – why would anyone care what I have to say. I quickly realized blogging is about sharing ideas and thoughts. It’s about learning and contributing to the dialogue, in my case it’s usually a dialogue of books with some politics thrown in. It’s a form of conversation and a way to reach out and learn from others.
I’ve learned about so many new books and heard different ideas form others through joining the blogging community. I truly feel my life has been enriched by it and I really wasn’t expecting that. Before blogging I wasn’t even on social media. I just pictured teens snapping selfies and complaining about who did or didn’t like their pictures. Now, I realize social media is far more than that. It connects you to people in far away places and their ideas and thoughts.
Blogging helps me get over my writers anxiety
I don’t know if all writers are like this, but when I write anything (and I mean anything, even something for my day job which usually just includes content related to the medical world), I get this feeling in the pit of my stomach that someone won’t like it or will think what I wrote is stupid or bad.
For my blog I worry about taking chances or someone might be upset about something I’ve written. Blogging has helped work through this anxiety. Without it, I’m not sure I would have taken some of the plot chances I am with my current sequel to The Travelers or ever showed anyone the first draft of one of my stories for an upcoming children’s book. It helps me “put myself out there” and worry less about pleasing everyone and more about just writing something that pleases me.
One of my favorite recent blogs was a graphic novel style blog of our trip to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, where I created it from the perspective of my book. I worried people would think it was really dumb and not interesting or humorous. But, you know what, my daughter liked it and I think a few other people did too. I realized I don’t need everyone to like everything I do and if I never take chances because I’m afraid what people think, I’m never going to get anywhere, not just with my writing, but in life.
My tips if you want to blog more
1.Write down every idea, even if it seems stupid.
2. Just start writing – something that seems mundane might turn into something interesting after you’ve written a paragraph for two.
3. Read a lot of blogs and articles and books – these are great places to get ideas.
4. Get out of the house more. See what’s in the world around you. Experiences make for a great blog.
5. Keep an expository of pictures you could use at any time. Finding visuals can be one of the most time-consuming parts of blogging, but it’s critical. Keeping pictures in one place and saving anything that might be useful can speed up your blogging process.