Last year I went to The Blog University known as #BlogU. Hashtag getschooled. And there was definitely a lot of schooling to be had there. Writing, promoting, making money, social media, “branding” your blog, treating your blog like a business. A lot.
And despite the notion that one should go to a blogging conference to learn about blogging, I actually learned more about myself last year. I learned that in a large group of people that are not my family or friends, I will revert back to my introverted and shy younger self. It prevented me from meeting a lot of fellow bloggers that I was quite comfortable with chatting online in various writing groups. People who share my love for this medium and who understand what it means to want and to need to do this.
I wasn’t 100% sure I should even be going to BlogU since until then I hadn’t considered my blog to be much more than a hobby and an outlet for me to write. (Of course, this might be a bit of an understatement since I do have a facebook page and twitter account under my blog name–but I guess part of the vanity of writing is wanting people to actually read what you write.)
I didn’t know if I could justify spending the time or money on what was (for me) the huge luxury of a conference. I had dabbled with a few small social media campaigns and a sponsored post that helped offset the cost, so that sort of sealed the deal for me in my mind — if I had already invested the time and energy in those efforts, maybe there was more to my whole experience as a blogger than writing every once in a while and begging my friends to read it.
At it’s most basic, blogging is writing and I’ve been doing it ever since I can remember. I am certainly not the best, and I am definitely not prolific, but I believe I am a good writer–even if I might be a crappy blogger. I felt that I had a unique “brand”, but not necessarily a unique perspective–which seems to be a key to blogging success. But then, success is defined differently for all of us. The main reason that I feel BlogU is for me is that it is approachable. No one there is keeping tabs on how often (or not) I’m posting. They don’t care if I don’t have some sponsorship deal with a brand. They care about me because I care to be there. I want to learn whatever it is that will elevate me as a blogger and a writer–whether that’s writing for money or simply writing for myself. It is about our craft and how we can do it better: for ourselves, for our readers and for our families (as a potential source of income).
I was determined to have a more successful year at #BlogU15 this year. My shy, introverted (and coincidentally Middle-School-aged) self was nowhere to be found. (Except on the bulletin board full of #MiddleSchoolAwkward pictures for the Nickelodeon-sponsored #MiddleSchooltotheMax dance party on Saturday night.)
But despite the previous year’s shyness, I really made an effort to meet and talk to more of the little people from inside my computer…
But enough about me, there are SO many things to know and do depending on what your goals are for your blog or yourself as a professional writer. I did make an effort to focus on my blog and what I wanted to take away from #BlogU15 as a writer and a blogger.
The things I learned about blogging are these:
- Blogging is work. If you think this shit writes itself, you’re crazy. I’m sure some people can sit down and bang out a post in 15 minutes but it takes me some serious time. (In fact, a good bit of THIS post was started last year after #BlogU14. I never finished it then, but a lot of the thoughts stuck with me this year.)
- Blogging is not merely writing. Writing is just the beginning of it. There is design, analytics and social media involved. All of which are time consuming and necessary to different degrees, depending on your goals.
- Blogging is universal. The heart of blogging is communication. We write to share, to teach, and to reach out–regardless of the topic. You can be a parenting blogger, a fashion blogger, a food blogger or a lifestyle blogger but no matter your genre, you are speaking to an audience. And they are listening. That is communication.
*This was originally published on TheNotSoSuperMom
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About the Author…
Melanie Madamba is The Not so Super Mom: recovering nerd, mother of three, and coffee addict. She would never want to be confused with a Super Mom or anyone else who seems to have it together. She’s not trying to do it all–she’s not even trying to do it right. She’s just trying to get something, ANYTHING, done. She writes to escape the laundry and to pretend someone is listening to her. If you are trying to avoid your laundry, you can kill some time checking her out on Facebook or twitter.Add to favorites