Today is a day in history, my friends. Today is my blog’s birthday! Okay, that’s actually kind of lame ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ but I’m always looking for an excuse to write “*throws confetti*” so … *throws confetti*
I’m honestly so grateful for this little corner of my internet where I can spill everything I know about writing to all my storytelling souls on the interwebs. I love talking about writing, and I’m so grateful that my blog attracts the kind of people that also love talking about writing.
In case you haven’t been around for the full year, let me fill ya in: I found my own creative process and learned to write by reading about other writers’ creative processes and how they write. That’s why I share mine!
Creating something from nothing is a little tricky.
Okay, more than a little tricky.
But there’s no road map or formula for creating. Writing a novel is all about finding your process, giving yourself room to create, and staying disciplined. Blogging is the same thing!
For the same reason I share what I learn along my writing journey, I want to share what I’ve learned along my blogging journey so far.
Grab some cake or coffee (or coffee cake ooooh) and let’s talk about 5 things I wish someone had told me about starting a blog.
(also, come throw some confetti with me *throws even more confetti*)
01. JUST START ALREADY
I published my first blog post a year ago, but I wanted to start a blog looooong before then. And I just … didn’t.
It was my 2017 summer goal to launch a blog. I didn’t start this sucker until May 2018.
I definitely wish I would have started earlier. A lot of my fears held me back.
I figured if I prepared enough, there would be no failing.
If I learned everything ahead of time, there would be no learning curve.
If I wrote enough blog posts ahead of time, I’d never be behind on posts.
All this waiting was a big mistake … which is kind of ironic because by waiting I thought I was avoiding mistakes, not making them.
I thought I was doing myself a favor by learning all about blogging and waiting until I really felt “ready” to start a blog. I wish I would have jumped right in instead of spending so much time thinking I needed to launch a blog that would become an instant success.
02. WRITE FOR YOURSELF FIRST
A easier said than done — especially because blogging advice for new bloggers is “find your audience and then write for them.” Cut to the chase and say what readers want to hear.
Nope. Back it up.
I think before you can write anything helpful or enjoyable for anyone, you have to write something that’s helpful (like researching plotting so you can write a post about it!) and enjoyable for yourself. You have to be getting something out of the process first.
If you like what you’re writing about, blogging will be a) easier, b) more fun, and c) worth your time.
I tried to write for a younger version of myself. It wasn’t a terrible plan, but it was uninteresting for older me.
Now, I write posts that I want to read. It makes everything a lot more fun! (And if you’re not having fun, well, why are you blogging?)
03. MAKE AN AESTHETIC BOARD TO INSPIRE YOU
There’s an overwhelming amount of info on the internet about “branding.”
You have to pick colors that represent the essence of you (I am a rainbow, how am I supposed to just pick 3 colors??).
You have to use fonts that go well together but also stand out.
You have to use images that invoke a sense of your brand.
Like, what do you mean “brand” ?? I’m a person.
Okay, branding is actually important, but tbt to #2. Use what looks good to you. Your natural brand and aesthetic will come from that.
Y’all know I love aesthetic boards for my novel. I wish someone would have told me to start an aesthetic board for myself and my blog.
I think having a sort of aesthetic board capturing the type of vibe I wanted my blog to invoke would have been soooo helpful.
I probably wouldn’t have spent so much time trying to use gifs when they don’t invoke the “vibe” I’m going for. (I can’t even describe my vibe with words. That’s why aesthetic boards are useful!)
Believe it or not, having an aesthetic board to follow also gives you a lot of creative room. You can make choices easier because you’re not constantly saying “wait, does this match my vibe?” because you already know what your vibe isn’t.
I’m not gonna lie. Graphic design is hard. That’s why there are professionals (aka not me). But graphics are going to make your blog look so much more professional — and you don’t have to be a pro graphic designer.
Pretty graphics make for a pretty blog, but there’s this thing called copyright that makes using any images besides your own kind of hard …
Unsplash is great because you don’t have to worry about copyrights or any of that good stuff. Done and Done.
Once you have all your pretty images, it’s time to actually turn them into something.
Canva is easy because there are a lot of different templates. If you’re just starting out, I’d recommend playing around with making something like Pinterest graphics for mock blog posts.
After you know what looks good, you can start using fonts, colors, and graphics that are tailored to your blog’s “brand.”
05. IT’S GOING TO TAKE YOU A WHILE TO FIND YOUR VOICE … AND THAT’S OKAY!
When I first started blogging, I was disappointed with how my posts didn’t “look like me.” There were some gifs here, some floral separators, and some inconsistent formatting.
I was also disappointed that my voice didn’t arrive fully fledged and ready to roll the minute I sat down to blog.
My voice is still late to the party. I mean, not really because I’ve been blogging for a year, but you know. It’s a process.
That’s something I think a lot of people conveniently forget to mention:
You’re going to find your voice by writing, not by looking for it.
If you’ve never blogged before, it’s gonna be a bit uncomfy. But that’s okay. The only way to discover the fact that you like ALL CAPS for important headers and lowercase for sort-of-important headers and coffee cups for separators is to keep creating blog content.
Your voice is already inside of you. You just need to write enough to bring it out.
Do you have any blogging tips to share? How long have you been blogging for? What’s your favorite part?