In the last couple decades, the idea of being a writer has changed beyond recognition. Blogging entered our world and it’s proven that it’s here to stay. It presents a whole new avenue of opportunity for amateurs and professionals to have their voices heard.
Looking back on my own blogging story, I never could have anticipated how much it would change my life when I started out two years ago. I decided to take a gap year before university, and so created a blog as an easy way to keep my family and friends updated throughout my travels. As it turned out, I absolutely loved being able to share what I was encountering with people. It became much more than just a monthly update. I’ve kept it going since (albeit sporadically) and have now guest-blogged for numerous sites.
While I’m still a complete amateur in the world of blogging, these are some of the finest tips I’ve learned in these twenty-four months. Here goes…
1) READ, READ, READ
This is probably my best advice. Reading is such an underrated hobby in my book (pun intended). The more I read, the more I can learn about and from other people in every sphere of life. So whether it’s a tabloid, my shampoo bottle or an academic paper, it’s the best place to gain new insights into the world. The more you read, the more your writing will improve. Plus it’s free and accessible anywhere and anytime.
2) Create a blog with purpose
A blog has got to have purpose. Not necessarily in a deep, soul-searching sense, but it’s good to take time to ponder the use of your blog. Essentially, you’re writing so that other people will read and potentially be inspired afterwards. So it’s crucial to consider who your target audience is and what you want them to gain from your writing. Sometimes just getting started is the biggest hurdle to overcome. So write about what you’re enthusiastic about – a person’s passion speaks for itself. Capitalise on your own interests!
3) Don’t get too bogged down in the technicalities
The hardest thing for me starting out as was definitely getting to grips with the technical aspects. Some love it, others hate it. I began with WordPress, which I found to be excellent. But even now, the finer details of plug-ins, marketing and content management systems throw me a bit. However the most essential thing with blogging is writing. So that’s what I focus on (especially as a beginner).
The same goes for the feedback you may or may not receive. Ratings, reviews, views and visitors can simultaneously be your best friend and worst enemy. It can be disheartening to spend a lot of time and energy on an article that isn’t received as well as you thought it might, or dare I say, should have been. Writing is a process, and it’s important to bear that in mind. Your worth is not found in your writing.
4) Blogging as a platform
Lastly, utilise the start of a blog as a platform to build upon. In the age of social media, posts can be shared at the click of a button to a whole new audience. This is especially great when talking about the world of faith and social justice. My nearest and dearest know that justice is a passion of mine, but with social media I can talk about it in new spaces.
Mainstream media often doesn’t present faith in a positive way. And nor does it share much about social justice unless it really grabs public attention (see the recent Extinction Rebellion example). However, I can use blogging as a way to highlight injustices like human trafficking, poverty and systematic racism in a way that may have been otherwise ignored or downplayed. As we seek to care for our planet and people, it’s important that we utilise every tool at our disposal. Blogging is one such tool – let’s tap into its power for change.