Passion doesn’t just have to exist within the world of reality. With the internet, it’s easier than ever to share your hobbies, ideas, and creativity with the world, in a way that was hardly possible 15 years ago.
Starting a blog is such a daunting prospect – especially when you look at those who’ve managed to establish themselves as success stories in their industry. It’s hard not to compare yourself right from the beginning. But, it’s a good idea to remember that the most important part of any new venture is passion. Just like opening a store or a new business, a blog has to be an extension of you. If it isn’t backed by unlimited enthusiasm for its subject-matter, then you’re going to have a hell of a time with the upkeep.
I’ve been blogging for close to 8 years now. I started with food blogging, purely out of curiosity for the online world and a love of all things chocolate-coated, then forayed into DIY and party blogging, which was a huge eyeopener when it came to commitment. When you’re a blogger who’s choosing to share their hobby with your readers, you’d better be prepared to make the necessary time commitment in order to see the fruits of your labour. The amount of time spent away from the computer, preparing projects, prepping props, setting up shots, and photographing, is enough to make your head spin.
After my time in DIY and party blogging, I was lost. I loved – and still love – to write. But, I had stuck myself in a place of disproportionate commitment that I wasn’t able to maintain because my level of passion for what I was blogging about didn’t match up with the amount of time that I needed to invest. You can climb the mountain for as long as you want, trying desperately to reach the top, but if you’re not committed to the cause 100 percent, then eventually you’ll misstep. That one misstep can bring an avalanche down on you and, suddenly, climbing the mountain just doesn’t seem that appealing.
Eventually, I found my way to entertainment writing. I created RecentlyHeard.com as a forum for fans of television, film, music, literature, and more to get their daily dose of entertainment news without the added gossip or malicious intentions of other popular celebrity-driven outlets.
In my time blogging, developing my social media skills, and building a catalogue of online media experience, I’ve learned a lot – so much, in fact, that I want to share with you 5 Tip For Starting Your Own Blog. This isn’t a fool-proof guide to making in it the online world, nor is it a step-by-step manual to getting your blog started. Think of it as a friendly and helpful pamphlet to give you a bit of insight into the dos and do nots of successful blogging.
1) Find your true passion:
I mentioned this above and reiterated it when I walked you through my time as a food blogger and a DIY/party blogger. Trust me when I say that if you don’t genuinely love what you’re writing about, you will not keep it up and it will never go anywhere. Don’t be sucked into the idea that just because someone over there is writing a really successful blog on fashion, and you like to dress up when the occasion demands it, that you should write a fashion blog as well. If fashion is the first thing on your mind when you wake up in the morning and if it deviously but enjoyably steals your thoughts during the day, then, by all means, go write a fashion blog! But a passing interest that you have to justify with some deep thinking and misaligned pieces to the puzzle is not enough.
2) Surround yourself with those who share common interests:
In the online world (and I’m speaking from hands-on experience), you will face competitive people and jealous people and people who will find any reason to tear you a new one. You will come across people who are so wrapped up in their own world that they refuse to allow other people to step into the spotlight. These are the people you should avoid. Instead, surround yourself with people who not only share your vested interest in something special, but whose values and ethical behaviour are the same as yours – people who, had you met them in person, would be your very close friend.
It’s easy to tell the truly supportive bloggers apart from the secretly petty and jealous bloggers because those who really want the best for you will act on it. They won’t mind discussing industry secrets or answering questions or giving you advice. In fact, they’d likely relish in being able to support a fellow blogger in the internet jungle.
3) Decide what you want to get out of the experience:
Not everyone gets into blogging so that they can quit their day job and work at it full-time. The intent behind starting your own blog really can be as simple as wanting an outlet for your creativity. What’s important is starting and committing to the experience, regardless of what ends up happening. Not everyone gets famous off of their blog and not everyone has the luxury of being able to do it full-time. Never expect that you’re going to make it big, but if the opportunity should ever present itself, follow your gut instinct.
Intention is just as important as the content you create. If you start a blog to gain attention or “fans,” then you’re likely doing it for the wrong reason. If the reason behind your new venture isn’t built on a foundation of passion and good intentions, then you’ll likely never feel satisfied or content with your efforts.
4) Don’t be afraid to try new things:
One of the worst things a blogger can do is resist change. You wouldn’t insist on blogging on a typewriter, would you? No, because that just doesn’t work. The internet is constantly changing and, if you plan to make your mark on it, then you have to be open to new ways of doing things. Whether it’s new trends, expectations, social media platforms, etc., it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for the rocky and unpredictable waters ahead and open yourself up to the idea of new information and new possibilities.
5) Know your strengths:
It isn’t realistic to expect yourself to know how to do everything – be it coding, photography, design, writing, etc. But, what is realistic is knowing what you’re good at. A huge part of blogging is authenticity. Use your skills to make your blog wonderfully unique and amazingly you. The more your creativity shines through, the more people will resonate with what you’re doing. That’s how you gain loyal readers and slowly, but surely, build your online presence.
Leave a comment!
Current Bloggers: What’s your biggest piece of advice for someone starting a blog?
Aspiring Bloggers: What’s the one thing that’s been holding you back from starting your own blog?
[Graphic + Photo: Jordan D’Amico]