Hi there! To begin with, let me tell you one thing: I am not an experienced, popular, or fantastic blogger who has thousands of followers, fabulous pictures, and cute clothes that everyone asks “WHERE DID YOU BUY THAT?!” (Honestly, maybe it’s just me, but I just don’t get fashion bloggers! Haha, but that may be because I like to shop at thrift stores and Walmart still… #collegestudent ) Anyways….
Although I am not a highly educated blogger or writer, I am confident (but still learning!) in my knowledge of the spiritual side of things with blogging… And I don’t mean this to come across in a boastful way! I’m simply saying that God has taught me a lot in this adventure of blogging, and some of it could be beneficial knowledge for you if you’re interesting in starting a blog. It’s not like I’ve got a degree in “How to start a Blog” or anything either… Some of these Q + A’s are things I still wrestle with! Sometimes it’s good to get advice or wisdom from someone who is currently going through obstacles as well as people who have already overcome obstacles. Both are beneficial!
Listed below are some questions I’ve been asked recently about starting a blog and overcoming certain obstacles. I hope you find my answers to be helpful!
1. What is the first step in starting a blog?
Pretty simple: before you decide on anything, DREAM. Write down your goals, aspirations, and intentions before you even decide on your blog’s name! In my personal experience, I had tons of great ideas– but I needed to put them in order. This helped me tons! Figuring out my intentions with a blog helped me decide on a name. Writing down my goals helped me target a particular audience. Dreaming and praying about who might be influenced by my writing helped me stay sane in the chaos! Here are some ideas for making little decisions in starting a blog:
Choose aspirations. This is something I wish I did earlier in starting a blog. It really helps! Not only in writing blog posts, but social media posts as well. Here’s what you should do: write down some (I’d recommend 3-5) adjectives that you would want your blog to be described as. I’ve actually just recently done this. Some of mine are “Encouraging, creative, modest, artsy”) And these will be no means have to be your aspirations forever! If you’re like me, you like a change every once in while, and I desire to dream of more and different words– and my goals may change as well. Writing down your aspirations are great, especially when you’re in need of inspiration to write, or post an Instagram picture, they can remind you of what or who you desire to be– or they may help keep your heart in check.
Create a blog name. For me, I already knew I wanted to share about my past addictions and how I found freedom in Christ (that was a goal I wrote down!) and I wanted to incorporate my calligraphy/script into my blog as well. So I started drawing on a piece of paper (physical writing things down helps SO MUCH) bubbles with words that described those things to me (examples: freedom, soul, freed, radiant, script(s), letter(s), broken, vessel, etc.). Honestly, it didn’t take me long at all to choose a name from the words I wrote down– “Freedom” and “Letters” stuck out immediately– that was definitely the Holy Spirit was working! That is another thing, PRAY and LISTEN to the Lord’s aspiration for your name (and everything else too ;).
Make goals. This is pretty similar to creating aspirations… And although they may kind of go together, your goals should be more concrete. Write down some goals that you want to accomplish with your blog. They could be as simple as, “I want to bless those around me with encouragement,” or “I want to keep my friends and family in the loop with my life.” They could also be “I want to make a living from writing,” or “I want to become well-known with 5k followers.” (That’s the thing I’ve discovered with blogging– it can pretty much be used for ANYTHING.) You can blog to update people on your life. You can blog to encourage others. You can blog to reach a specific group of people. Your goals will help you decide on your target audience as well. In choosing goals, be careful on how big you dream. Don’t get me wrong! I LOVE dreaming, but if you’re like me, and you dream too big sometimes, it can be very discouraging when reality shows its ugly face. Dream big, but start slow. Work hard, but give yourself grace. God will get you there in His time! I have to remind myself sometimes that good things take time– unlike all those pins on Pinterest that tell you can start a blog overnight, I’m telling ya, it takes TIME. Some more than others, but I guarantee you, if you want a blog YOU’RE happy with, it takes time. So dream of some goals! Write down as many as you can– the big ones, the little ones– and then go back and think and pray about what your main goals should be. Also, I guarantee you, that once you start a blog, you’re going to dream of even more goals you desire to accomplish. Work at it, have fun, and all in all, give them to God, and see what He does!
2. How do you share from the heart and put aside little worries of comparison and doubt?
One of favorite quotes (I actually have it written on a note pinned to my wall) is: “Her purpose is not your purpose.” I just love that. And let’s be honest, in a world with smartphones, social media, and constant stress, it seems impossible not to compare, right?! I think it’s almost pointless to answer this question with just “Jesus,” because I think we all know that for the most part. Although Jesus is the answer to everything, we as humans also need fellowship, encouragement, and love from other humans. So that is one thing you should know: you are not alone in comparison and doubt. EVERYBODY experiences those things. My advice for you is to be vulnerable. Seriously. Not only does it feel great to be real and raw, you will NEVER know if others are going through the same thing until you say something. Here’s a quick story of how I had to overcome a LOT of comparison and unhappiness with social media: Around March, I finally got to a point with social media where I was really unhappy and discontent. I found little joy when I posted. I was always worrying about hashtags, followers, and that my pictures weren’t good enough. I knew that something had to change! I made a mental-commitment that from then on– I wouldn’t post something unless I could find JOY in that post. I started writing in the notes app on my phone– just writing– the kind of writing where you dump everything that’s on your mind. Later, I posted a vulnerable picture on Instagram that I previously thought sucked (no make-up, stained shirt, greasy hair, etc.) and posted what I wrote in notes. And I was so overwhelmed by my friends and family and what they said about my post! I’m not saying that you need a sappy-vulnerable post to get over comparison and doubt… obviously take to God first. But I will say that being real on virtual-reality kind of platform like Instagram was what I needed to move on.
My advice is to make a commitment to stick to your aspirations when posting on your blog or social media, and to be real and vulnerable! Don’t be discouraged by someone else’s virtually “perfect” life– God’s purpose for you isn’t going to look like someone else’s. Enjoy what you do!
3. What’s the best advice for maintaining a blog?
This question could be answered a few different ways. It depends on if you want to maintain the networking part, spiritual part, or whatever other part of blogging. This also depends on what type of blog you have! Are you blogging about a lifestyle? Cooking? Traveling? Business? I’m sure all of those have different things that have to be maintained more than others. Over all, I would say that to maintain a blog, you have to keep it interesting. For your followers, and for you. Personally, I like a change every once in while! Since I’m a organizer-type of person, I sometimes like to redesign my site, change a font, or take some unique and different pictures. Keep your blog updated. Don’t overload your friends, family, and followers with too much blog stuff, but don’t let them forget about your blog! One of favorite things to do every once in a while is go take some intentional pictures— like, go out for a photo shoot for no particular reason. And have fun with it. (It helps to have photographers for friends + family!) “Pictures speak louder than words” is pretty true! And it can be really fun to go for a spontaneous photo shoot with a friend, and then you have some nice pictures! Also, find joy in your blog. This was one of the biggest obstacles for me. I would so stressed about silly things that I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing! Keep your heart in check– and give yourself grace sometimes.
4. What’s the hardest thing & the best thing about working on a blog?
This is a difficult one to answer! I would have to say that the hardest thing can be staying on top of my blog when life gets busy– I have the desire to write/blog, but there’s little time to do it. 😦 I can often be a perfectionist as well when it comes to posting– I want things to be just right! This is something I have to surrender a lot, and to be okay with imperfection. The best thing about working a blog is hands-down the feedback I get from friends, family, and followers. God truly blesses me through you guys! Even though 9/10 of my posts are encouragement post, it’s a two way street because of how encouraged I get from your feedback! Something I want to do more is pray before I publish a post– pray that at least one person will be encouraged or influenced, and that God will work through my words. Every time I’ve prayed that, God has moved through someone and they’ve reach out to me. So freaking awesome. It’s seriously so amazing how God works through the small things to make big differences in our lives. And your feedback is always so awesome!
5. How do you write a blog post, especially when you don’t have inspiration?
First, PRAY for inspiration! Then, go back to your aspirations and goals, and review the adjectives you wrote down. This is probably different from blogger to blogger, but I don’t write a blog post unless I have inspiration to do so. This means that my posts are not published on a regular basis– but I am okay with that! What are you okay with? Do you want to post on a regular basis? Or would you rather wait for inspiration? If you want to wait for inspiration, then great! You do that! If you want to publish on a regular basis, you GO GIRL! That takes a little more creativeness and effort! Here’s some pointers:
Find your niche. In what kind of conditions do you best work? Do work best in a busy, noisy, coffee shop sorta environment? Or do you prefer a isolated quiet corner in a library? Go to that place. Do you like Music or silence? Do other people distract you? Or do you get inspired from other people around? Find those people– or get away from them. What’s your go-to drink? Coffee? Tea? Water? Go a glass of it! Find out exactly what gets you into the right mindset for writing and creating.
Set time aside. As I said before, one of the hardest things for me is finding enough time to put a good effort into making a blog post– because I’m an all-or-nothing type of person. That being said, be intentional about making time for blogging! I’ve found that when I set a time aside, and starting thinking ahead, I also start looking forward to it– as well as daydreaming about ideas and inspiration before I even start!
Ask others. Sometimes it’s really good to get ideas from other people– but don’t compare! We all think about things differently, and it’s great to get a different perspective about something if you don’t understand it– or if you can’t find inspiration. Most of all, don’t get stressed! Again, it depends on what kind of blogging you’re doing, and if you have deadlines, but I advise that you don’t get stressed about something that is suppose to be enjoyable!
Enjoy what you do, and don’t force something that isn’t true.