Lessons From a Virgin Blogger
By that I mean someone who has never blogged - not a blogger who works for Virgin, or a blogger who is a virgin (is that what you were looking for? You are on a mum blog, your search engine has really let you down). I recently read an epic blogger’s list of 70 lessons learned from writing 1000 blog posts. After getting over my feelings of awe and lack of self-worth, I decided to write my own list of ‘17 lessons learned from writing a handful of blog posts’. Slightly less epic but after 200 (or perhaps 25) posts when I have completely run out of things to say, I look forward to looking back, laughing at my innocence and naivety, and blogging about it. It’s an investment piece.
So…starting a blog? Here is what I know:
Abandon all plans to reach any of your other life goals, even if you started a blog solely to reach a goal. Blogging is what you do now, and what you think about, and what you think about doing, and what you do about thinking.
Don’t bother trying to sleep. If you think you have a good idea for a post at morning tea, just wait till your head hits the pillow.
Don’t expect to continue your usual amount of involved parenting. Kids really get in the way of a mum blog (if you are a winky smiley face person, insert a winky smiley face here. Then get off my site).
Don’t expect others to be as excited about your blog as you are. It is like announcing you're having a baby - you have to accept there will be some ‘good for you honey, sounds fun’ comments partnered with a neck-breaking eye roll and change of subject.
Do not believe it is ‘so easy to create a blog’ like you have read, and don’t think you will ‘work out wordpress because you are a smart girl’ as your friends will tell you. If you know and understand website stuff, ok you will be fine. But if you only use your computer as a handy electronic typewriter without all the Tippex, it will be as easy for you to create a blog as it would be for your 85 year old grandpa to rack up some Candy Crush points. It truly will not compute. The answer? Get help from someone who knows and pay them to teach you how to use it.
Of course base your blog on something you know, but also on something you do regularly and will continue to do regularly into the foreseeable future. Eating, parenting, wearing clothes, travelling, yes. Your son’s first tooth, your 3 day cabbage soup detox, eating the placenta cake, jeggings, no.
Your smartphone ‘notes’ app is your new best friend. If you are not already married, you should marry it.
Don’t sit and stare at your computer thinking about what to blog about, unless you blog about other blogs (which is pure genius). Go and do something. Observe the details of the moment, see the humour or the beauty, think about your own thoughts or guess someone else’s. Just remember while you are out there thinking/observing/writing notes on your IPhone, not to let your kids walk on railway tracks/lick public toilet seats/drown in muddy puddles. Even if you secretly know it would make a good post.
Let someone else (who is unrelated) tell you if you have a ‘humour’ blog. Other people decide if you are funny, not you. Sometimes when I laugh at someone, I am really thinking about different ways I could suffocate them with a bandaid and a custard apple. I assume at least half the time someone laughs at me they are doing the same.
Say it, don’t Google it. Unless you are researching for an article, don’t check if someone else has already had the same thoughts as you before you write about it. They probably have. Take heart in the fact that if you truly had 100% original thoughts 100% of the time it is likely to indicate a rare and incurable mental illness.
Don’t get intimated by other blogs with their advertising, giveaways, likes and followers. They are just better than you (or more established, and with a journalism degree).
Get yourself a blogging goal. Mine is to get 100 followers in the next 6 months. So c’mon people, get supportive! Follow! Like! Share! Comment! Help me reach my goal!
Don’t let other bloggers tell you what to do (unless it is me in point 12). Or give out your bank account details.
Pepper your posts with big brand names. Like IKEA and Huggies and Subway and One Direction. I have no idea why, I just see people do it. Maybe the answer will now be revealed. I will let you know.
Decide how personal you want your blog to be. Remember it can be read by anyone, including psychopaths. So it’s fine if you want to include your kids’ first names and some cute pics but maybe leave out your address and what flavour icecream would lure them into a van. And if you blog too much about your marriage, especially without permission, you may soon be blogging about your divorce, then blogging about your affair with the divorce lawyer, then blogging about being found in a dumpster….
If you are traditionally shy of social media because you value your privacy, prepare to feel sick when your blog first goes live, and every time you post after that. I call the ‘Publish’ button ‘Click Here to Vomit.’
Heed popular blogger’s advice on blogging. Like 'put photos or pics in your posts', even if they are random, irrelevant or could get you kidnapped by Directioners. Or that 'it is a good idea to write lists', about anything, because apparently people love lists. Nailed it.