So you’re thinking of starting a blog? What exactly should you consider before you wrangle with words, struggle with a photo-editing program, and shakily press the publish button? I started my blog 5 years ago now for no other reason than I think I’ll start a blog – possibly not the best reason in the world, but also possibly not the worst. It seems of late the online world has been throwing up articles and podcasts to me as to why people choose to blog, what drives them, and what they think it offers readers, and it had me thinking about my opinions on this topic. There is a particularly good article on A Beautiful Mess about young industries here that emphasises the need to be willing to share and to be open to newness and change at all times, embracing new ideas and concepts. This reads quite simply as if you you don’t have your fingers on some kind of pulse then why would people read your blog? Another post by Cristian Mihai, The 7 Golden Rules of Blogging, mentions that it is important that you let your readers see something of you, that you share some of your life, that you write something you would want to read. I think the last point is especially important – if you read a blog what is the reason you are drawn to it?
The blogs I visit offer a slice of life from a different viewpoint – I find this type of publishing really inspiring and motivating. An evening reading favourite blogs leaves me excited and wanting to do and create and write and photograph, I come away feeling refreshed and challenged. Reading other peoples blogs also fills me with ideas, and I feel less isolated in the world – all because I’ve had a small piece of someone else’s world. I also find that the more time I spend flicking through blogs the clearer it becomes what motivates me and who I am in this world. That may sound like a stretch but it’s a bit like looking through loads of house/garden/lifestyle magazines – the more you look through the clearer the division between what you like and what you would actually action in your home becomes.
When I first started reading blogs I stumbled across marvels like tiny happy, Mon Petit Poppet, and Lovely World, even looking back at them now takes me back to a time and a day- these fond memories seem like friends. I loved the differing views of the world, where people balanced home life, children, and creativity just as I was attempting to do. My first stop was tiny happy and it still remains to be one of my very favourite blogs to this day. Written and photographed by Melissa Wastney, tiny happy remains to be hugely popular and has a large readership worldwide – it’s a great example of sharing snapshots of a life, and this is what I think blogging truly comes down to.
Are you starting to see a pattern? The concept that comes up time and again is sharing. If you are planing on starting a blog you have to be a little fearless, you are about to open up your life, or at least a part of it, are you prepared to be honest about it? When the blogging world first evolved it was considered fairly small, just an online journal, but it has grown to be so much more, and has become hugely influential in informing people of differing points of view and putting out opinions across a large variety of topics. If you aren’t honest, if you apply filters and hold back, if you are not giving some of you then you are not sharing and people will not want to hear what you have to say. This world is full of falseness, ingenuity, and smoke and mirrors – if you choose to blog I would strongly recommend you choose not to be a part of that, but rather be a part of trueness, genuineness, and solidity. Your readers will understand and recognise this, but they will also sniff out falsity faster than a cheetah on prey.
That’s not to say you have to share every up and down of life, you don’t want to burden your readers. I, for one, chose not to blog when I am feeling sad or down – I don’t want to hide these things necessarily, I’m just not convinced they do anyone any favours.There are obvious exceptions to that rule in the blogging world, but no matter what the situation is hopefully the blogger is talking to connect and share a journey.
Sharing through your blog connects you with an enormous and never-ending community of like minded blogers – hell, it’s the world! Over the years I have been doing this I have literally met some of my favourite bloggers (which is rather exciting I can tell you!) and have been involved in a wonderful community of people who are willing to extend their day to day living outside of the frame they normally live within. I have made genuine friends, received gifts and cards, been sent packages of things I might like to create with, and been credited with the honour of being mentioned on some of the loveliest blogs I have ever read. This has been a wonderful growth experince, and any time I find it hard to fit it in around a busy and sometimes crazy life a quick visit to some of my favourite places instantly fixes that.
So why blog? To share, to connect, to become involved, and to give. My biggest piece to advice – write what you would want to read, open your heart, and don’t pay any real attention to the stats as this can skew your confidence about what you’re doing. If you need a reason to start, chances are yours will be just as good as mine – just because. As Elise from elise blaha says in her podcast – ‘just start it – if you think too much you’ll get bogged down and won’t do it at all’. Yep, that’s about it – you can work it out as you go along – just be you.
* all pictures taken today from a late afternoon wander around Port Chalmers, Dunedin, New Zealand