How to Start a Blog by Bridget Willard

How to Start A Blog

I was asked by one of my Twitter followers this week how to blog. Honestly, I can’t believe I’ve never written about it.

Why you should blog is here.

Why should you blog?

In my view, there are two aspects of blogging: the writing and the technical.

Obstacles

My nemesis is motivation.

Other people are daunted by the technology.

Still others, time.

All of these things can be overcome.

We know that one of the keys to being social is content. Too many people, including myself, think there’s nothing more to be said. Here’s an excerpt from that post:

What if I have nothing to say?

Have you ever thought to yourself that everything meaningful has already been said? Maybe it has. I’m sure there is another blogging series or posts that are better than this one. But this is my creation and the words come out in my voice.

Believe me, you, too, have ideas. You have your own style. You have a voice. You can add value to the world. Are you worried you’ll just state the obvious? Maybe the obvious isn’t that obvious.

“Everybody’s ideas seem obvious to them. Maybe what’s obvious to me is amazing to someone else.” Derek Sivers 

Just Write

You just have to do it. This is what all of my friends tell me. I tend to write in binges, much like everything else in my life.

Carol Stephen recommends using a timer:

“Yes, you can write in small increments. Yes, it will help your startup. Back when I started to exercise, I gave myself an out whenever I went to the gym. If I didn’t feel better after 15 minutes, I allowed myself to leave. During many years of exercising, I’ve only left twice. So set that timer for 15 minutes and get going! You can do it!”

Keys to Being Social: Consistency - 130510 The Positive Daily Affirmation Image About Consistency by Omar Reyes, on Flickr

Keys to Being Social: Consistency

Do you struggle with making writing a habit?

 

Do you debate blogging based on consistency versus inspiration? Are you a slave to the editorial calendar?  Do you fear the impending, un-avoidable lack of quality that only comes with consistency? Perhaps, that debate has only been in my own mind.

“Consistency is the last resort for the unimaginative.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Yet consistency is important to our own skill-set. Like any skill, writing must be practiced. That reason alone, regardless of consideration for Google’s search math or serving your audience, is enough to compel me to publish more regularly.

The Confession

I admit that I’ve been selfish in my blogging. I only blog when I feel compelled to.

Often, since I have a “day job,” my reasons fall under “Life Happens.”

 “At the end of the day blogs, Twitter, Facebook are just sites. Sometimes the world is more important than the digital one we live in.” Scott Stratten, “Frequently Futile: How Often Should You Blog” 

How do you find ideas? Keep learning.

learning by Anne Davis 773, on Flickr
learning by Anne Davis 773, on Flickr

When I was in college studying to be a teacher (that lasted a year), the cliché phrase everyone batted around was “be a lifelong learner.”

Passion for knowledge is what makes you a great teacher, but being teachable comes from self-awareness and the humility to grow as a person. They’re not necessarily correlated.

Stagnant water, after a period of time, begins to attract bugs and decay. So it’s no wonder that when we stop learning, we stop finding ideas. They hide from us in the depths of the shadows, like a horrible game of cat and mouse.

Historically, where do ideas come from? (You should totally watch this video from Steven Johnson.) Most often through cross-pollination and/or collaboration.

“Allowing yourself to cross-pollinate will make your ideas stronger.  And it gets you out of the tired ‘same old’ marketing all of your competitors are doing.” Sonia Simone of CopyBlogger in “Five Marketing Lessons You Can Learn from a Weird ‘Real World’ Business

Don’t stop learning.

“I’m not an expert and I aspire never to be one. As Frank Lloyd Wright rightly put it, “An expert is a man who has stopped thinking because ‘he knows.’”. Brain Pickings began as my record of what I was learning, and it remains a record of what I continue to learn – the writing is just the vehicle for recording, for making sense.”  Maria Popova as interviewed by Copyblogger

For most people this means reading. My attention span likes 300-500 word blogs and whatever books I do read are non-fiction, but it’s rare. If you’re like me, you need other ways to learn that don’t require a library card.