When I started my blog last February, I enjoyed an endless passion to write about personal development. I also suffered from a naive cluelessness. I had no idea the Blogging World, Blogopolis, the Blogosphere — or whatever you call it — held so many fascinating people, ideas, and writing styles.
As I ventured out from my own blog to explore, a whole new world opened up. Like this Vulturine Guinea-fowl, bloggers and blogging can be weird, wild, and wacky.
But blogging is also home to some sane and wonderful folks who make the blog world and the real world a better place. I like hanging out with those people.
Here are seven things I learned from the whole experience:
- Blogging offers satisfying self expression
Whether I write to vent, expound, or question, I still find pushing the Publish button has its rewards for me. I may feel a range of emotions from simple satisfaction to an adrenaline rush. My post may not be perfect grammatically, it may not be aimed at anyone specifically, it may be written for my own amusement, it won’t always be pithy, and it won’t win a Pulitzer, but in the moment where thoughts take a short flight to the keyboard and then to the world beyond, I take pleasure in knowing that at least one person will find something of value here.
- The main rule of blogging is authenticity
Be an ass; be a moron; be brilliant; be a mover and shaker; but whatever you do online, be genuine, human, real, transparent, and true to your words. People of my generation grew up blindly following the lead of mainstream business, media, and education, so it has taken me all of my 49 years of living on this planet to read a person with intuitive insight. This is not true of those online now. Authenticity is the new cool, the new connective tissue in a community, the new Holy Grail.
- There is a learning curve
Whether I aim to be a small-time blogger with plain text posts or a blogger in search of a six-figure income, there is something new to learn. When I started, I found Wordpress.com easy as pie. When I wanted to move to my own hosted site, I had to bring in the big guns — my techie husband who moved SpaceAgeSage to a .com site (instead of spaceagesage.wordpress.com/). I’ve read how to monetize my site, but it seems to fall into a quicksand bog in my brain. To help me in this, I’m looking forward to the blog Blogopolis Blueprint, which is a collaboration between Sean Platt of Writer Dad and Eric Hamm of “Motivate Thyself.”
- The community is amazing
When I first read other blogs — mainly at Wordpress.com — I found voices crying, sighing, singing, and laughing. What a wild ride it can be reading about the inner lives of others. I read words and saw images from:
ranters and rebels and revolutionaries
reasoned and seasoned souls
revelers in the written word
teachers, tutors, trainers
photographers and videographers
moms and dads and grandparents
In other words, tons of people who want to put pen to paper … er, I mean, put words on the screen to connect with family, friends, or strangers waiting to introduce themselves.
- Kindness is worldwide
When someone first commented on my blog, I felt a warm glow of appreciation for the person and for blogging. As a newspaper reporter and journalist, I’d rarely received feedback. Now I give and receive it regularly. I like to listen to the words of my favorite bloggers and hear the sound of kindness. (Although I know they exists, I choose not to listen to other bloggers who value negativity and tearing down people out of insecurity.)
- Big or little fish need a clear, sharp voice
It’s taking me awhile to find my blogging voice. Experimenting helps me find a tone and resonance that fires up my posts and readers, but I’m still searching for the powerhouse voice that erupts out of me now and again. I want to grab it and pin it down so I have consistency.
- Bloggers don’t fail. They re-direct.
Blogging allows me to be as free or as rule-bound as I want. If I just want to write, I can express anything that comes to mind. If I don’t like how that is going, I can choose another way, style, or type of content. I can even choose to stop posting for awhile. Now if I want to earn a living at this, I have to follow the rules of the road and learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the like, but the great thing about blogging is the rules aren’t set in stone yet, so it’s ripe for exploration and innovation.
Of course I’ve learned more, much more than this about blogging and also about people, writing, and myself, but this post grows long! Like anything, you get out of it what you put into it. How about you? What has blogging taught you about yourself, your writing, or anything else?
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Photo credit: speech path girl
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