I’ve joked with a few people about how I’ve been a writer since light up shoes were first invented, and I truly mean that. My mother will tell you how even as a young child, I’ve always been a reader, writer, and storyteller. As I got older, I wasn’t sure how to make a living and incorporate my passion for writing. So, I gave up on that idea and chose to do more private journaling and songwriting instead.
That is until 20 December 2014.
It was on that day that I decided to cross an item off of my bucket list. That item was starting a blog. Now, I didn’t have any real plans except to start sharing my thoughts in a public space. I had NO CLUE I would have learned as much as I have and even meet some wonderful people along my blogging journey.
I'd like to share a few things I’ve learned and had the courage to do because of blogging:
My experiences are not just for me
Life can be downright tough some days if we’re really honest. Although I enjoy journaling, blogging gives me a platform to share some experiences that have ended up being an encouragement and inspiration to people I don’t even know personally. Having people leave comments that they needed to read my words has been a reminder that everything I go through is not just for my benefit.
Sometimes, it’s easy to think that our experiences don’t matter or that they are trivial. This is far from true. Even if you never hear anyone commend you on your writing, just know that someone somewhere is benefiting. Some people simply do not like to leave comments. Don’t let this deter you from continuing on your blogging journey.
Making genuine connections is essential
I admit that I’m that person who would rather do a project alone because I can be really Type A. I just don’t trust others to put in as much effort as I know I will. So, this led to me thinking I need to do all the marketing necessary to build a readership. Let me be the first to tell you that line of thinking is hogwash. Period.
If you want to have a bigger reach as a blogger, you need to learn how to make genuine connections with others. Really get to know others in and out of your niche. Don’t go into these relationships with a “take, take, take” attitude, though. What can YOU do to be helpful to people you want to build a relationship with? Can you share their work on your platforms and with your email list? Can you recommend their products and services?
Although building relationships take time, it’s worth it. I have met some incredible people online who now share my work with their audience. I don’t take that lightly. I consider it an honor that they find my work shareable.
I can be an author.
As a kid, I never thought my love for writing stories in my old black and white marble composition books would lead to me producing an actual book I could sell. I was fortunate to have the chance to explore my writing in the online space for a year before taking the plunge into author-entrepreneurship. I have learned quite a bit about what it takes to self-publish, but I’ll save those details for another post. All I can say is that the readership I gained in my first year of blogging gave me the confidence needed to self-publish.
Tenacity is a necessity
There are literally millions of blogs. Sometimes I felt like I wasn’t getting the traction I wanted in terms of growing my readership. I’ve learned you just have to have patience and tenacity. Once you know your purpose for writing or blogging and you know your audience, you just have to keep going at it. Learn how to market using various platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, or even physical flyers and business cards.
There is always a learning curve when trying out a different marketing approach, therefore it is important to remember that tenacity goes a long way. You may find that an article you wrote a year ago is suddenly gaining momentum. Find out why and apply those tips and techniques to your other blog posts.
Push through all the hard times and be consistent. Just remember--if being on top was super easy, everyone would be doing it.
I can make a difference by being myself
Have you ever been picked last in gym class for teams? (If not, just work with me here, folks.) It’s not a great feeling is it to feel unwanted or as if you aren’t cool or special. For whatever reason, I have struggled with thinking I need to be someone else in order to have a voice, and not just a voice, but one that other people would actually choose to listen to. As a result, I struggled this year especially with creating a writing brand that I could be proud of. I have switched topics so many times because I felt I needed to write about what all the “cool kids” were writing about. I didn’t think I had enough to offer on my own.
Then I found two AH-MAZING women writers/bloggers who reminded me that what I have to offer IS important and it’s enough. So, if you’re struggling to find your writing identity, I encourage you to be yourself. What you have to offer IS enough. Don’t take your experiences, your personality, or your beliefs lightly. Use all that goodness and let your true self shine through as you continue on your journey to helping others. You’ve got this!