This is the advice you get:
The key is not to aim for perfect. The key is just to write. Truthfully, you never know what blog post will go viral or what people will pick up. So just write. Over time, people will come across what you have to say and some people will like it. Those are your people. Write for them.
Easier said than done.
I could go weeks at a time without sitting down to write, and then something would happen or I would read something and I would have to write it all down. Those were my best posts, but they were also rare.
Now I write all the time in my day job, and I have found it really is easier. There are always ideas there and there is always something to put down. It’s like the nuts and bolts bounce around my head. So then, it’s just a matter of whether I do it.
Because sometimes your mindset is better for writing than other times. I do believe you need to make room for writing, mentally and physically.
I’m getting used to writing at my desk. Also, in an Ikea chair that was one of the first pieces of furniture I ever owned. It sits next to a big window in my living room, and, I can usually whip a post out in an hour or two.
My couch is less productive. As is my parents’ couch, despite all my attempts to make it otherwise. I also enjoy writing in the odd coffee shop.
Here are a few more tips I’ve learned over 8 years of blogging casually.
10 Blogging Tips From a Casual Blogger
- You need to decide why you’re blogging. Is it for fun or are you seriously wanting to get yourself out there? Is it a personal creative outlet or a professional blog for business? This matters because is determines what reasonable expectations are for yourself and your blogging habit.
- Who are you writing for? If you could pick one person you want to read your blog, who is it? That is the person you should write for. Often, we start out writing for ourselves. We just want to get our ideas out there. This is OK and you don’t have to ever change this. If you really want people to read your blog though, eventually you will have to sit down and think about who you want to read it. When you write for that person, then you are more likely to attract that person. Agvocates pay attention here! If you don’t actively try to write for someone, you are likely to write for yourself. If you are a farmer, than you are likely going to attract only other farmers.
- Brainstorm several topics or posts you could write before you ever start your blog. Writing the first few posts is always easy. Then it gets hard. Having several written in advance gives you a taste of what to expect and lets you get a head start.
- Categorize and tag your posts to keep them organized and easy for people to find similarly-related topics. This will also make organizing your blog easier down the road if you do a redesign.
- A picture tells a thousand words. Use them. I once read that the Pioneer Woman uploads all her pictures first when she sits down to write, picking her favourites and then writing the post that supports the pictures. I tend to think of my posts in words but if you’re good with a camera, this might be a fit for you.
- When you lay out your post, use lots of white space to make it easier to read. Break it up with short paragraphs (5 lines max), use headings and bullets and add a picture on every “page” so your reader doesn’t drown in text.
- I get caught writing a lot of opinion-type pieces. Maybe I’m just an opinionated person who likes to talk a lot (yes). There are many other types of posts which can make blogging regularly easier. I especially enjoy lists, like 10 Tips for Blogging for Beginners!
- Draft and edit your post in a Word document or Google docs, then copy and paste into your blogging platform when it’s ready to post. This way if your browser times out, you won’t lose work.
- Routine. I’ve committed to blogging weekly with a couple of my friends and so far, it seems to be keeping me on track. If I know I’m not going to have time Saturday mornings to write, I plan something earlier in the week or try to salvage one of the many posts left for dead in my draft folder.
- As you start writing more, take advantage of tools which make workflow and drafting easier. I use Pocket to save links which I think could be good reference pieces and Trello to note my ideas and points for future posts. Pablo by Buffer is my new favourite platform to create images and finally, WordPress is a super versatile platform that can take you from amateur to professional.
Some additional resources:
- Food Bloggers of Canada – Tons of tools and tips for beginner bloggers.
- Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content By Ann Handley – Just darn great writing advice.
- Purple Cow, New Edition: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable By Seth Godin – Just the best marketing book out there!