10 Things I’ve Learnt From Blogging For A Year

This time last year I embarked on an adventure to launch my geek out into the world virtually, and today I’m a little in awe that I’ve made it to my first milestone.

This blog has become a part of me. I don’t know whether that’s sad or amazing, but not a single day goes by that I don’t think about how I could improve it, or what I could post about next.  I look at the world completely differently now, and have learnt so much about myself, and about blogging.

Before I go on to gush about how amazing you all are for supporting and interacting with me these past twelve months, I want to quickly talk about some of the things I’ve learnt.

A VIRTUAL COMMUNITY CAN BE THE BEST COMMUNITY

I think one of the greatest things to come out of this past year has been the amount of friends I’ve made. I’m not used to having a lot of people around to talk to, let alone ones who actually want to listen to me babble on.

One group in particular – Geek Girl Bloggers – has completely changed my perceptions on friendship. They’re always around to offer up support and encouragement, whilst being equally kick ass and interesting to boot.

In another life I may have scoffed if someone told me they’d met a friend online, but I’ve come to realise that distance just doesn’t matter. Ok, so I can’t really ask one of them to pick me up from the station if they live on the other side of the world, but I can ask their advice on anything, and their kind, honest replies mean more to me than a lift home from the dentist.

THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH HOURS IN THE DAY

Juggling a social life with work is hard enough. When you throw blogging into mix, it all gets a bit crazy. I don’t think I’ve ever written a post that has taken me less than 3 hours to complete, and when you’re trying to put one up every day – and failing quite drastically may I add – it all gets a bit overwhelming.

You know what helps – apps. I downloaded the WordPress app to my phone and my Ipad, and it’s kind of a life changer because I can make use of the time I spend commuting by blogging or editing photos.

You know what also helps – notebooks. Which leads me to my next point..

NOTEBOOKS ARE LIFE

Seriously, a simple notebook can be a bloggers best friend. I always carry one around with me in my bag so that I can jot down ideas on the go, or make bullet points on a movie I’ve just watched.

I have tons of the damn things in my drawer at work, and even more of them scattered around my house, but they’ve saved me from my poor memory on so many occasions that I will never resent their presence.

TAKING PHOTOS IS HARD

I have taken more photos this past year than I have my entire life. There is no denying that a good photo can completely change your blog post; taking it from an article that someone will skim over, to something people will want to interact with.

I am in no way good at this photography thing, because I’ve just never really learnt how to use a camera properly, but I still try my best – even if it does take me 30 minutes and 100 snaps of the same thing over and over again.

You know what’s harder than taking photo’s? Editing them. I don’t think I even bothered when I first started blogging, but now I couldn’t imagine posting a picture that hasn’t first gone through A Colour Story or Snapseed.

But it’s worth it.

I sometimes look at photos I’ve taken, and can’t believe they came from my camera. It makes me smile to think about how my photography skills have improved.

IT’S DIFFICULT NOT TO COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS

One of the harder things I’ve come across while blogging is that urge to compare yourself and your blog, to other people’s. Whether it’s the look, the content, or the social media following they have gained, it can get you down quite drastically if you think about it all too much.

The one thing you have to remember is that everybody is different, and just because you don’t have as many views as someone else, doesn’t mean you aren’t having a huge impact on someone’s life.

Just keep concentrating on what you do best, and admire other blogs – don’t resent them, because you know first-hand how much work goes into blogging, and besides, everyone started off with the same figure – zero.

WRITE ABOUT WHATEVER YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT

 Another difficult thing to deal with as a blogger is being original. Having a niche definitely helps with this – it can get your blog noticed by the right people – but if it’s a niche you aren’t passionate about, you’re going to get bored very quickly.

Make sure you write about whatever you want to write about. You’re the only person who looks at your content every single day, and you’re the only person that has to write the content.

I went a long time thinking that I could only post geeky things because I have a geeky blog, but ended up discovering that my more personal posts were enjoyed just as much, if not more.

If you want to write about your incredibly un-geeky trip abroad – do it. If you want to write about your favourite beauty products, get on that. Being passionate about something is all that counts, because it will come through in your words and be ten times more enjoyable to read.

STRUCTURE IS GOOD, BUT SPONTANEITY IS GREAT

A little while ago I made a bit of a blog battle plan where I’d post about a specific subject on a certain day. Geek Picks on Wednesday, Adventures on Monday, Geek Chic on Thursday, and so on.

Having those guide lines and being a bit more organised in general really helped me and my blog out. My content became more regular and consistent, and planning posts in advance became a lot less stressful.

But still be spontaneous.

Sometimes you may have a strong urge to write about something – something that you deem quite important – and yet, you may not post it because it will mess up the structure of your blog. Screw the structure. Your readers want to know your random thoughts there and then, because there has never been anything quite more relevant than what you are posting that very second.

IT’S OK TO HAVE A BREAK

When you become responsible for updating a blog that people actually read, you can get a bit anxious that you’re not doing a good job – that maybe you’re not posting enough.

But it’s honestly ok to sit back every now and then – slow down, or even take a break. We all need holidays, even holidays from blogging.

Plus, your readers will still be there when you get back, and anyway, haven’t you heard – absence makes the heart grow fonder.

YOU WILL START TO ANALYSE EVERYTHING

I honestly can’t remember the last time I just watched a movie. As soon as you decide you want to start reviewing things, the way you watch something completely changes, and you find yourself being far more critical of absolutely everything. It’s exhausting.

On the plus side, your attention to detail improves tenfold, and you’ll start to spot things that no one else has. Your memory will also improve because you’re using the whole of your brain whilst you watch and read, instead of just enough to be force fed the information.

JOURNALING IS A BLOGGERS BEST FRIEND

The last time I kept a personal diary must have been when I was about 14 and going through that awkward puberty / boy crazy phase. I then started up a travel journal so that I could record every detail of the amazing trips I went on. After coming across an entry I had written about New Zealand, I realised that the whole page of personal thoughts would be perfect material for a blog post.

Since then, I’ve recorded what I get up to everyday, and not only has it helped my remember my thoughts on specific subjects, and movies, and life in general – allowing me to add those thoughts to posts – it’s also helped improve my writing style. You can write much more personal things on a blog if you are in a journaling mind frame.

Do you have a blog? What have you learnt? Does any of this ring true with you?

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