Do you have a blog, 3 kids, and a full-time job?
If yes, you can understand why I have chosen the word “confession” for my article. If not, you're going to when you read it through to the end.
You are not a blogger, if you face no challenges.
Blogging is always about challenges, big or small.
My first challenges were connected with my writing destined to be published on my future blog.
These were the days when my head was spinning like a windmill, because I wanted to write more, but I didn't have enough time.
The pre-blogging preparations were indeed a big challenge for me.
However, the next set of challenges I faced were still much more provocative…
Challenge 1 – Christmas and satellites
It was really a tough time, as it was the beginning of December and I had to prepare for the holidays. The kids wanted something special and I had to give them that.
After all, they still believe that Santa Claus exists and that he comes to us every year on his sled with the reindeers (they know each by name and every time prepare plates with cookies and milk).
My first challenge started with the Christmas decorating issue.
I did have a couple of ideas, but they all seemed so plain to me, so I needed some freshness badly.
Christmas in California is a different thing for sure and it requires special preparations. So, I needed ideas and I went to… Google. Of course, where else?
The first thing I found was 20 Christmas Decorating Ideas You Can Create Without A Tree.
It suddenly dawned on me that I could actually do all of that and, moreover, I could share the whole process with people. I can't remember why I thought I could organize all that, but somehow I decided to give it a try.
Some mom bloggers like Gwendalyn Abrams, for example, accepted the challenge of being an only parent and raising their child alone.
Gwendalyn did it with the help of telling travel stories about her daughter and herself. I was going to accept my challenge with the help of Christmas.
So, I needed a blog to share my decorating progress.
What did I know about blogs? Practically nothing. Notions such as “keywords”, “plugins”, “viral content”, and “SEO” (first I thought it was something connected with space and the ability of satellites to send signals) were completely unfamiliar to me.
What I learned:
- That to start a blog, I should have enough time (which I didn't, as the girls took every spare second I had when not writing);
- That I wanted to share the result of my Christmas decorations. That was it.
Challenge 2 – Pseudo-blogging and a maniac
Well, nothing to boast of, I created a blog on Blogspot and struggled to post anything initially.
Guess what was the name of the blog? You'll never guess. It was mychristmas2015.blogspot.com. Wait, wait, wait. Don't get too reproachful.
Yeah, I didn't know then that I could choose a decent domain name.
It was unbearably difficult to make heads or tails of what exactly to do. Sharing my pictures (which were of an abysmal quality, as I did have a habit of buying only keypad phones) was a mistake of the highest level.
Sharing images of my kids was the turning point in my pseudo-blogging (can't find a better name for it).
The photos were taken when they were in their pyjamas and pants under the Christmas tree.
I didn't know then that nudity photos of your kids are a taboo and can't be shared on a blog or social media. I actually got into a trap.
Soon I received a letter from a man where he described how he liked my kids and how lovely they were (not a common letter, believe me – deleted it at once).
I had almost the same issue that Erica Brooke had a few years ago.
What I learned:
- That there is a thing called Blogspot and it is free to start a blog there;
- That I could change the image size in my post and actually edit it;
- It helped me self-criticize objectively;
- I grew very protective of my children.
Challenge 3 – Hi Everyone!
I read that playing with words was one of the methods to name a blog. So, I tried that with my blog. Now, it's whiteflowersofpoetry.blogspot.com.
White is my pen name. Nothing extraordinary and awesome, but still better than the previous one, right? I decided to follow my writing passion and dedicate my blog to it.
The first post was on February 10. As it usually happens, it was a Hi everyone! post – just to say hello to people and to announce my presence in the space of blogging.
Did I expect a welcome comment? Something like “Nice to meet you, Sam!”, “How are you, Sam?” etc.?
Well, you know the answer. Everyone wants to be noticed.
Unfortunately, there was zero. A huge zero that hurt my self-esteem. But I survived and waited (poor thing).
Time passed and nobody commented on my poor small poems. But all of a sudden, after half a month of me waiting, several comments appeared.
I was happier than ever. But soon comments ran out as abruptly as they emerged.
What I learned:
- That there is not only Blogspot as a blogging platform (though I didn't change it to WordPress or Typepad);
- That waiting isn't the best thing to do while blogging.
- I learned to write fast and much;
- I learned that writing fast and much doesn't help you engage readers anyway.
Challenge 4 – Google!
As a result, I had only 3 posts in March.
I started to write my poetry in February, but I didn't expect the ideas to develop more.
However, I surprised myself. I thought it would be a trilogy, but already now, I have VII parts and I'm planning to add the eighth one.
I gave myself a chance to create, to forget about household, work, even kids.
One more mistake I made was the appearance of the posts.
Every time I wanted to post a new part, I added the text into a picture and posted only the image, without any text. And what does Google like? Right, Google likes text (keywords, titles, length and other factors that influence your ranking).
Image Source: Moz
I didn't care about Google then. What could Google give me? I wanted to make friends with people like me.
Later my blog did give me the opportunity to meet interesting people all around the globe (writers, poets, publishers, editors, film-makers, actors, and so many more).
I am no longer alone. I have friends who are always happy to communicate with me.
But it was much later.
What I learned:
- That it's better to concentrate on the quality of posts, not quantity;
- That you shouldn't wait for people to talk to you first, it's you who should talk to them first;
- That to make friends on the Internet, you shouldn't necessarily need to talk about your house, husband, and kids.
Challenge 5 – Google always wins
April was a very unproductive month for my blog. I shared only one post at the end of the month.
Though I did have some progress in my learning process about blogging. And I did change the appearance of my posts (yeah, Google won) – now, I have text as well and I know that there is many ways to create images for a blog.
And it wasn't only me who did so. All of us follow Google.
I remember when I first stumbled upon Angela's WriterMom blog. I was impressed by her work.
She really made her blog thrive! She's even now a great example for me.
I didn't install any plugins though, didn't make any windows pop-up when you open a new page, and didn't add any videos that increase the loading time of your blog.
That's what I call gruesome website mistakes that make people despise your website.
What I learned:
- That social media icons are obligatory for a blog;
- That blog posts should always be meaningful and relevant for the people who will read them.
Image Source: Vandelay Design
Challenge 6 – Twitter vs Husband
Thinking about the past became my addiction. I couldn't post the next part, even though I didn't actually like the lead time of my long poem as it was.
However, it actually gave me the chance to guest post on poetry and writing, to be interviewed about my poems, and so much more.
That's where I met Ericka Griffith – a poet and a writer who dedicated her life to The Term Papers, Inc. and who became one of my mentors and role-models.
Yep, Rome wasn't built in a day.
I also started sharing my posts on my social media. At last, I reached it!
And you know what? I did have a couple of DMs on Twitter, where people asked me about my poems.
What I learned:
- That writing addiction may not be as bad as they say;
- That Twitter is a giant that swallows my time.
Challenge 7 – Blogging nerd
Deplorably, blogging has receded into the background.
I do have a lot of writing and editing work. Kids are asking about my vacation and the seaside, my husband is grinding his teeth, when I sit with my laptop late at night (I'm doing it even now, but I can't help it).
I may not be a good blogger, nor a brilliant one, but now I can confess that blogging and writing are more than just hobbies.
They have transformed into passion that inspires me to be the best I can.
Though, I haven't chosen my way for how to become a genius in a digital world yet, I'm striving to.
Here's the benefits of blogging I found out for myself that you can never buy:
- possibility to experience wonderful feelings;
- sharing your intimate thoughts through your blog;
- opportunity to discover new talents and abilities, to pour out the creatures of your imagination (the good and the evil ones). Blogging gave me the chance to show them to others in lots of different ways.'
- developing your hobbies and preferences in life;
- finding your safety valve in the speedy world of changes and technologies.
Once you start blogging, it is very likely to alter your life forever. It definitely has changed mine.
I'm writing about it now and I understand how much I should still learn about blogging and how much I wish to learn about blog development. That's my confession.
Sometimes, I was shameful to indicate some aspects, but I'm glad I did. After all, I'm here to learn, to grab every opportunity technology gives to me.
Has blogging changed your life? If yes – how? You're welcome to share your experience.
Guest Author: Samantha Wilson (White) – an irrepressible blogger, freelance writer, happy mom and traveler. Don't be shy to drop a line to her on Twitter. Here's her favorite line that inspires her to create:
“We write in response to what we read and learn; and in the end we write out of our deepest selves, the live, breathing, bleeding place where the picture forms, and where it all begins.” Andrea Barrett
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