Over the years (a little over three now!) since I started writing this site, I’ve occasionally been asked for my advice on blogging. I’m not a full time blogger, nor do I consider Feather Factor to be the kind of success that would make me an expert in the area. I feel a bit sheepish actually writing about it!
However, I am always happy to share my own personal experience in this area, and thus here are some of my learnings, over my time so far blogging. I hope this is helpful to some of you, and if you have feedback/other tips on blogging, please share in the comments!
1. If you’re thinking about blogging – just start. And don’t expect a masterpiece right off the bat.
For me, when I first started Feather Factor, I thought that I had to be very careful in making sure my first blog post was perfect. After all, this would be the very first post – what would set the tone and quality for the whole site!
If you’re an accomplished writer with lots of experience, this may be the case for you, and you’ll come out with a perfect, timeless post right off the bat. In my experience though, whatever you write, you’ll look back on it years later and know you could have written something better. It’s not going to be perfect, in retrospect. And that’s how it should be. Blogging is creative writing, and you get better at it the more that you do. So if you’ve been hemming and hawing, you can start now, and not look back.
Besides, one of the upsides of having your own site? You can always go back to your old posts and fix your embarrassing mistakes. Although I often think it’s nice to have your original writings, as awkward as they may be, to reflect back upon.
2. You will develop a thick skin (or, you’ll probably quit blogging).
Remember how last month, a complete stranger came right up to you on the street and yelled, “Hey fatty, get a bigger size dress!”
Yeah, that doesn’t really happen so much in real life, but if you blog long enough, you will get a nastygram, or two, or ten. It comes with the territory. Social boundaries are lower online, and it’s much easier for people to write things they wouldn’t necessarily say to your face (but that includes nice things too, which is great).
I’ll be honest – whether it’s the first or hundredth time you receive a nasty comment – it’ll still feel bad, either way. That’s natural. What I’d encourage you to do, is to take these comments as constructively as possible. It can be very interesting, and even insightful, to hear what a perfect stranger thinks of you, without their fear of consequence. Sometimes it’s a helpful message…just wrapped up in blunt words.
Of course, there are some people who will just be mean for the sake of being mean. I really think those comments say more about the person, than about you. But it’s perfectly normal to feel very hurt nonetheless. You might want to stop blogging, which is of course fine. If you stick around though, you will gain a thicker skin that will help you in all kinds of areas in life! And I promise you’ll learn more about yourself, through both the nice and not-so-nice comments.
3. You have to write about what you’re interested in.
Seems obvious, but as you begin blogging, it’s easy to get tempted into writing what you think you “should,” or what might be popular, versus what you want to. I’m sure that my geography professor in college can attest to this fact – when you write about something you aren’t really interested in, it comes through. It’s boring, and flat. There’s no passion or interest.
I know that it can be very discouraging to pour your heart and effort into a post, put it out there, and have the world web web respond to you with…nothing. Crickets. But things take time on the internet to develop, and the best advice I can give is just to continue to put in the effort, as long as you’re interested. One of the most rewarding parts of Feather Factor for me, has been the ability to look back upon my old posts and reminisce about past times. Almost every other blogger I know says that as well. So since you’re probably going to be re-reading these entries you write one day…make them something you’d want to read! And the right audience will find you, with time.
My final comments would be that blogging has been incredibly rewarding for me. I’ve met the most amazing friends, had the chance to interact with people around the world and learn their insights on topics that fascinate me. If you are thinking about starting, I wish you the best of luck! If you are patient, write about what interests you, and are kind along the way, I can’t imagine you would ever regret it (and hey, even if you do, that’s what the delete button is for).
Please share your experiences with blogging, or any other feedback you have on the topic. Thank you as always for reading!