On Monday I received a Happy Anniversary! achievement on my blog. To celebrate, here’s an A to Z of things I’ve learned and loved about blogging over this past year.
AUTHOR. It took me a while to feel comfortable about this label because I’ve heard things like “self-publishing is no publishing” and “authors need to be recognized.” But in the end none of those matter. I wrote a book. Yay me and yay every one of you who have done the same!
BALANCE. I’d like my blog to have a nice balance of informative content, tips and lighter material (with more entertainment value). Perhaps it’s possible to have that balance within every post? Not sure, but it’s something to think about.
COMMUNITY. Because let’s face it, no matter how much I like reading my own words, blogging is all about community. Sharing ideas and finding like-minded people is what keeps me coming back.
DIALOGUE. A key element in many books and I’m glad there are tons of information about the subject. Taking the time to research how to craft good dialogue will no doubt be worthwhile to nearly everyone.
ENGAGEMENT. I know how much I love receiving comments, likes and follows. Therefore I can guess how much others love receiving one of those as well. I encourage everyone to focus on engagement at least as much as you focus on producing your own content.
FANTASTIC. I’ve read tons of fantastic posts over the year and not nearly all of them involved dragons. There can be fantastic elements outside fantasy too.
GOODREADS. I’d used Goodreads a bit before I started blogging, but this year I became much more active in reviewing books when I actually read them, instead of adding them years later with only a star-rating.
HASHTAGS. I didn’t like hashtags before. Maybe because they were all over the place and I didn’t know what to do with them. I’m still not a hashtag-pro but I’ve learned to see the usefulness in them.
IMAGES. I like to find nice images for my blog posts. Flickr is a great source of creative commons-licensed work.
JOY. Blogging brings me happiness and joy. Maybe not all the time (especially when I can’t think of a topic to write about), but I like coming back to WordPress to see what’s going on and how other bloggers are doing.
KNOWLEDGE. No matter what subject you’re interested in, I’m certain there’s someone out there blogging about it. I follow several blogs whose writers have more knowledge than me and I try my best to learn from them.
LISTS. I’ve read list-posts about nearly every single subject and for the most part they’re funny and creative. I myself have been more of a fan of “here are some facts” but perhaps I should loosen up a bit with them.
MOST POPULAR POST. According to my site stats, my most visited post has been Review: Baptism of Fire by Andrzej Sapkowski. And I do have to say it’s an amazing book and I recommend the Witcher series to every fantasy-lover out there!
NOVELS. Reading is also very important to me and most of what I read is novels. I’ve read several good books just because I ran into their authors online, so blogging is another great way to find out what to read next.
OBSERVE. I’ve learned a lot about blogging by simply observing others and reading their blogs, seeing how they engage and communicate with their readers.
PASSIONS. The heart of starting a blog. If you have a passion, you probably have something to say about it, and a blog can be an amazing outlet for your words.
QUESTIONS. Questions encourage communication and conversations (also good candidates for this list’s C, by the way). If you read a post and think of a question, you should definitely ask. And if the post already offers a couple of questions you might have the answer to, don’t hesitate to reply.
REVIEWS. Both writing and receiving them. I hadn’t written many reviews before this year but I’ve noticed they’re quite fun to do. It’s not always so much fun reading a review about your own book, though, but I’m glad people point out areas I could improve.
SCHEDULING. This would’ve saved me a looot of headache over these twelve months. I’ve tried scheduling my posts several times and sometimes it works, but mostly my head goes “nope, not today” and everything I wanted to say magically disappears from my memory. But if you can schedule and keep to it, do it!
TWEETING. I created a Twitter account after blogging for months. It’s still a confusing world of hashtags and re-tweets to me, but I follow some incredible people who always seem to come up with something great to say. Or, you know, dragon jokes.
UPDATING. I update my blog three times a week (with the exception of some summer months and special occasions), and to me that’s a good amount. To some a good amount is every day, for some twice a month, but I’ve found that consistency is good.
VARIETY. It’s good to have some central theme on a blog, but it’s also good to mix it up. Sharing other interests and talking about subjects close to the “core theme” are good ways to find more readers.
WRITING. Because that’s what this blog has been all about. Also writing is the one skill I’d like to keep with me for the rest of my life.
XENODOCHIAL. I admit spending ages searching for a fitting word. I found this! It means being friendly to strangers. Definitely something to keep in mind when blogging because you can find so many like-minded people who might even turn out friends in the long run.
YES. Whether it’s commenting, writing about a subject, tweeting or replying to a tweet, I can spend an enormous amount of time debating whether I should do it or not. Usually the answer should be yes. So even if something scares you, try to overcome your fear. What’s the worst that could happen?
ZERO. When I created this blog, I naturally had zero content/ likes/ comments/ followers. When I look back at this year of blogging, I’m glad and proud of myself for getting this far. It’s good to keep in mind that without those first zeroes, I wouldn’t even be here.