I have to thank the Well-Red Mage for giving me the kick in the pants I needed to post this. It’s been sitting in my notes for a while, and the timing just happened to be perfect, since it’s almost my blogaversary, and I was planning on talking about just this very thing. However, doing it a bit beforehand is fine with me.
The original post is located right here for you to peruse and try yourself, and the essential question is “What have you learned since you started blogging?”
This short answer is a lot. I’m no stranger to writing nor am I stranger to planning when I’ll be able to write. I’ve completed three novels, one of which is actually original hehe. That doesn’t occur if you don’t know how to manage your time, but blogging is a bit of a different beast. Maintaining this blog is like having a second job I’m not paid for (yet), but I’ve been saying that about writing in general for years. The blogging aspect has become a part of my daily writing task, but unlike novel crafting, blogging grants much quicker and regular interactions. So this is what I’ve learned.
- One of the main things that makes you a better writer is reading. It’s one of the reasons I want to read horror, because I want to write it. Even though I have quite a few ideas for horror stories, I’m not quite sure of the execution, and that’s where reading Lovecraft, King, Koontz, and others will come in. Blogging is no different. Follow small bloggers; follow medium bloggers; follow large bloggers. Follow new blogs, and follow established blogs. Follow bloggers who talk about what interests you or who talk about what you’d like to become interested in. Like, comment, follow, interact. This will not only help you become a better blogger, hone your craft, think up new ideas, but it will also allow you to meet, befriend, and interact with all kinds of different people. Networking is hard, and not everyone is good at doing it face to face or has the opportunity to do so, but blogging gives you that opportunity. This doesn’t mean you’re going to be offered $50k a year to blog hehe (god if only…), but it never hurts to make friends especially considering that you can follow blogs from all over the world. One of my first and oldest followers is from Germany 🙂
- In a similar vein, answer your comments and interact with other bloggers. If someone comments on your post or follows your blog, reply to their comment and check out their blog to see if it’s something that might interest you. Do those blogger tag posts (if the poster opened it up to every or if you were tagged) even if it might take you a few months if not longer to get to it (guilty as charged). I know some people see them in a similar light to email chain letters or that annoying shit Facebook does, but I disagree. Blogging those answers takes time and effort. You’re talking about yourself, which has the opportunity to become as personal as you’d like it to be.
- Post regularly and/or often. Plan out weekly posts if you don’t have time to do regular, variable content. I have my four weekly posts now not because I don’t have a shit ton of things to talk about, but because I don’t always have time to talk about them. Essays take time, effort, and energy to write, and I’m often lacking both time and energy. So do stories, and don’t let anyone tell you that editing all of this is easy either. While that’s going on, I have my three weekly State posts and Final Fantasy Friday. The State posts keep me honest with my writing, reading, and gaming, and actually do help me make progress.
- Try to keep up with your blog subs. That has proven to be the most challenging for me. You want to not only follow other bloggers, but read their blogs as well, like, and comment.
Hm, I suppose these are just general “how do be a good blogger” tips. I’ve also learned that people I don’t know or didn’t know before are way more interactive than IRL friends. I think this has to do with the fact that you blog to and are following me because of a common interest. Also Facebook is terrible with its algorithms in terms of what it will post. But even outside of this, I’ve found bloggers to be not only more analytical, but more willing to accept and interact to analysis. When I post my in depth Final Fantasy thoughts on FB, they’re often met with silence, but when I put them on here (or even Twitter since I know quite a few of you there), a lively discussion will start. Facebook is like the cafeteria, Twitter is like the noisy pub where we’ve found a quiet corner, and WordPress is like a lecture hall where open discussion is welcomed.
I’ve also learned how to take disagreement. I can’t tell you how important this is. I used to become neurotically nervous about certain things, but now I realize disagreement about preferences doesn’t mean people think what I like isn’t valuable. Again, a lot of this came from Facebook where sadly the atmosphere is often about one-upmanship or making your opinion/preferences seem more worthy than the other persons. That, honestly, immature attitude doesn’t seem to permeate this space. When I read an interesting post, I often think of emulation because it’s a good idea. I might add my own spin to it, but it’s not to make the other person look bad, and thanks to WP’s link feature, you can always lead people back to the source. If I post I like Majora’s Mask on WP, I’ll get people who agree and people who might say they weren’t fond of it for Reason A or B, but it’s not a dig at my enjoyment, but rather a discussion piece on their preferences. With Facebook? “Majora’s Mask sucks!” I feel like I’m bitching about Facebook, which is not my intention, but before I found WordPress, that’s where I went to share my ideas, and it really did make me neurotic. I never knew when/if I was going to be attacked for talking about how much I loved FFVII, so I got to the point where I just stopped posting anything about it. This is probably why I’ll apologize to people if I babble about VII too much, because, well, I had bad experiences with people being less than nice to me about it. Granted, people could just not follow my blog or not approve my comments if they’re tired of hearing about it lol.
Learning how to disagree is integral to the human experience, and I’m an open person in terms of your preferences (so long as those preferences don’t violate basic human rights obviously), and blogging has taught me how to do that and accept different opinions objectively. Since we all have different backgrounds and lived experiences, what we find enjoyable and relatable is going to vary.
Thanks again to the Well-Red Mage for presenting this question, though I still say he went back in time or sent the Timely Mage to look at my notes about it. No hard feelings though :p