Beginner Blogging: Lessons Learned
5 Lessons From My First 30 Days as a Newbie Blogger
My 30 Days to a Blog Challenge is done. Fin! This is my personal experience, and the lessons I have learned as an absolute beginner. Your experience may be completely different. Fantastic!
1. Set a Realistic Goal for Your 30 Day Blog Challenge
My main goal for my personal 30 Day Blog Challenge was to learn the basics of the process of setting up a blog and posting, and to finish the challenge. I only had a narrow window of time to work on the blog doing the following: researching, learning the basics of WP, and writing posts. I needed a realistic goal.
Many people choose to do a post-a-day challenge, but for me, I would have become quickly overwhelmed and would not have made it through the 30 days. I thought if I could write at least 15 posts, I would be satisfied, and 20 would be great. This is my 20th post. Woot! Recommendation? It’s your challenge, tailor it to suit your needs to ensure success.
2. Write in Your Own Voice and Style
Learning the basics of blogging in 30 days is a difficult enough task. Doing that while trying to be someone you’re not is Herculean. You’re a person: you have wants, needs, responsibilities. You will become tired, bored, and frustrated. Sickness will happen. Under stress, the veneer of your persona will develop cracks. People will know.
Either way, you will have readers who love you, readers who hate you, and many, many people who don’t read you at all. So save yourself from the unnecessary stress of faking a personality. Write as yourself. Most people can only sustain an act for so long. Ask actors.
3. Skip the Research, and Write About Something You Know
As a newbie blogger, a 30 Day Blogging Challenge is about 2 things: making it to the end of the challenge, and developing a habit of writing. Oh, and while you are doing all of this writing, you are trying to figure out the basics of the blogging process on your platform: headers and headings, pages and posts, menus and media, etc. And Grammar.
You have more than enough to worry about without the added stress of researching details for your post topics or fact-checking. You’re not writing an epic historical novel–you’re just trying to get to the end of the challenge without overwhelm or undue frustration.
My stress-free suggestion is to write about something you know or something you do. Is gardening your thing? Post gardening tips or how-tos for us poor souls born with black thumbs. Love craft brews? Do a month of critiques. Do your family and friends love your culinary skills? Post your recipes.
Don’t agonize over your challenge, or some unifying theme. The 30 Day Blog Challenge is your theme. Write what you know, and write for a successful end to your challenge.
4. Set a Dedicated Time for Writing
If you’ve made the decision that starting a blog is a worthwhile goal for you, then give it the attention it deserves. Everything in our lives that is important to us we give our time to: 3 days a week at the gym, weekly get together with friends, big family dinner every Sunday, monthly life goals reflection, yearly family reunion. We attend to what we intend to do.
For me, what works best is to give myself about 2 hours every morning before the household wakes up and my family obligations begin. My brain is freshest in the morning, and I work best distraction-free, so this particular time period is a win. If I choose to sleep a little more, I really don’t feel any better than if I had woke up early and just wrote.
One thing is for sure, if you don’t carve out a set time for writing, life will get in the way and your postings will become erratic. The newly-forming habit begins to unravel, and it quickly becomes easier to not write, rather than do the work.
5. Keep it Simple!
Again, the goal of the challenge is a successful end to the challenge while developing the habit of writing. All of this, while simultaneously learning all of the other blogging ‘stuff’ I mentioned above. At the end of your challenge, you want to feel that the overall experience was a positive one that you will want to continue.
I kept my blog simple for the challenge in several ways. First, I only had four menu tabs: home, about, 30 day blog challenge, and contact. My posts were published on my home page. Second, I only had 3 sidebar widgets: about, recent posts, and topics. I added a tag cloud and an archives widget in my footer, and that was it. Once I had the basic set-up done, I just had to worry about my posts. Simple=Successful. This formula worked for me.
Thanks for reading, and on to another challenge!