Saturday, December 31, 2016

What I've Learned This Year About Blogging

This blog  is about to have it's first anniversary, WOW! I've learned so much about blogging since the beginning! 'The Occupied Optimist' has come so far in just one year! To God be the Glory! ^_^ I'm feeling optimistic about this blog's future and am excited for it to be soaring to new heights this coming 2017 year! Blogging has become such a therapeutic hobby for me. Thanks to all of you that read my blog entries and support me in it. It is because of supporters and faithful readers like you that taking steps forward is worth it, and even possible. Thanks for sticking with me. The best of crafting, cooking, ballet, travel stories, and tips are yet to come!! Today I would love to share with all of you what I've learned this past year about blogging. Maybe you are a fellow blogger like myself, or perhaps you are not, but you might just find it interesting to hear about all what goes into blogging. The biggest thing I discovered is that blogging shapes one's WHOLE lifestyle! 

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#1 Overcoming paralyzation. One of the most important lessons that I have learned for becoming a better blogger is how to conquer that feeling of paralyzation that can sometimes overtake me when my mind gets flooded with an overabundance of ideas of things to write about. It may surprise you for me to say that this could be an issue with the dreaded infamous 'writer's block' being the issue that most people struggle with, but when I have a mind overflowing with inspiration and creative ideas, it can be debilitating for me if I don't know how to organized my thoughts. Preparing a good blog entry can be time-consuming and can sometimes require research in order to make your blog substantial, helpful and interesting for readers. Researching facts, as well as collecting/making media and photo material all take time, which can be overwhelming if you have a thousand blog topics you want to write about that are floating around in your head. I first have to write all my ideas down, prioritize them, and then make a realistic plan of action on how to accomplish all the writing that I want, in a well written, informative manner, without rushing. This process of organization really helps to dispel any paralyzing anxiety that may arise.  

#2 A blogger doesn't write about living life, but lives life to write about it! Don't just sit around forcing yourself to come up with blog content expecting something to come out of nothing. This will undoubtedly lead to a writer's block! Live your life, then write about it; what you do, what you see, what you eat, what you read, what you learn. And what I have learned about this is that a balance is to be maintained. Be careful not to 'live up life' so much that you end up neglecting your blog, but then also be careful not to find yourself sitting around all week trying to muster up something to write about. Sometimes writer's blocks are unavoidable. What kinds of ways do you break your writer's blocks?

#3 Balance the time you invest in your blog with making time to do the things you love! Blogging might just cross over into the area of 'things you love doing', but regardless it can be hard work sometimes. As much as I love blogging I had to teach myself not to become a slave to it. Getting burned out is the last thing a blogger wants to do and only leads to writer's block and/or depressing content. Take a break sometimes and make time to do other things you love. Still, in my current situation, the most difficult challenge for me is balancing blogging, doing the things I love, AND working full time! If anyone has any advice about that, hit me up! But even so, I KNOW making time for doing things I love, like I wrote about here, is worth it! You will be refreshed, and like I mentioned in #2, you will surely have things to write about!

#4  A few life adjustments may have to be made in order for 'doing the things you love, and blogging about it' to be made more accessible, more achievable, and easier! The serious blogger is NOT going to want to be jumping through hoops to connect to the internet to submit a blog entry; having to use their neighbor's oven to make a recipe for their food blog; digging through piles of mail, bills, and receipts trying to find that rough draft of a blog entry that was written on the back of your sermon notes from that service from two weeks ago; having to go up to the creepy, unfinished, abandoned, attic every time craft supplies is needed... catch my drift? Take my advice while you are ahead! Save time and hassle by streamlining the blogging process ASAP. Make sure everything you need is at arm's length and accessible. This includes your technology, editing tools, and blog topic resources. Discard of any unnecessary obstacles in your way. Your workspace should be clean, clear, and organized which leads me into time management. I have already touched on the fact that blogging takes time so make sure you have time or make time! Your time should be just as well thought-through and organized as your environment and if not, evaluate what adjustments can be made to simplify and promote a blogging-friendly lifestyle. 

#5  Timing is everything. I used to not think timing mattered but after a year of blogging experience, I am convinced otherwise. Posting blog entries during the most popular online hours of the day will guarantee you more views. Being consistent with how often and when you post your entries will help your readers know what to expect, and builds up trust and the reliability of your blog. Whether you are posting once a week or daily, try to be consistent, and post during peak hours so that your article has a fighting chance. Also, it is worth mentioning that if you are going to be posting an entry about a current event or trending topic, make sure you post it in a timely manner while the topic is still trending!

#6  Sleep is important and not to be sacrificed! While it may be tempting to stay up into the late hours of the night fine-tuning your blog, don't do it! Especially if you are a lifestyle blogger, lack of sleep diminishes your quality of life, which diminishes your quality of content. In the long run, I've learned sacrificing sleep is not worth it.

#7  Make templates. Over the course of this past year blogging, I have grown accustomed to formatting my blog entries a certain way depending on what the topic is that I'm writing about. I think finding a consistent way you like of formatting your entries is good and important, but my advice to you is that once you discover what those preferred formats are, make templates that will preserve your layout and HTML styling. This will save you tons of time and energy!

#8  Count your wins. Everyone needs a little motivation to keep them going. "Base your life off of wins. It doesn't matter how much you accomplish in your life. Every week, every day you need 'wins'. It doesn't matter what you accomplish today. Tomorrow you'll need new wins and that will be what drives you," in the words of Lilly Singh in one of her vlogs. Whether it is how many views your blog gets, or how many comments people leave, count your wins. And be grateful.

#9  Mindset. A lot about blogging is about making a name for yourself and being an entrepreneur if your blog crosses over into that realm. It is all about the mindset you hold about your blog. How you see your blog is how others will see your blog. If you have no expectations, no confidence or convincing hope, your readers will not have those things either. Cherish your space on the world wide web and make it into something you want to be proud of.

#10  Different kinds of page visitors will have different motives and required needs to be met in order to keep them sticking around!  Those faithful readers that have been with you since the beginning will need incentive for sticking around, whether by special treatment or by continuing that consistent, reliable supply of helpful, informative, fresh information for them. Your blog will have to withstand the critique of new visitors by making good first impressions with a clean, alluring, and easy-to-navigate homepage. P.S. An overabundance of ads polluting your blog can turn off readers! So be careful and advertise tastefully! To attract old-comers and new-comers alike, clearly present all that your blog has to offer in an upfront sort of way without being too forceful or pushy. Even now, am I continuing to learn about how to meet the needs of my readers! That is why I always finish my blog posts asking for feedback, which is a good idea! So please leave me with any opinions or feedback you may have about how I might better be able to improve your reading experience! ^_^

#11  Don't hide yourself! There is no allowance for 'modesty' concerning the existence of your blog on the world wide web. People need to know you are there!

#12  You're selling your lifestyle! Make it sound interesting ( like it is 😉 )

I hope you found this helpful or at least interesting,
Thanks for reading!
Do you have a topic idea or suggestion of something I should write about?
Do you have a question you’d like to ask me?

Leave a comment below!

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