As I wind down my year-long blog project, several people have been asking for tips and advice on how to stay motivated, how to document a particular aspect of everyday thinking, and how to share those thoughts with the world, that in some small way, might add value to someone else's life. If you were to Google "how to write a good blog", you would come across hundreds of articles that will tell you how to increase your blog count, how to market your blog by commenting on other blogs, how to place ads on your page to generate revenue, how to make your blog go viral, how to create a writing plan of topics for your blog, etc. I have none of that advice for you. None.
I have never considered generating income from this blog. I have never commented on someone else's blog just to get noticed. Most days I have no idea what I'm going to write about until I sit down in front of my laptop and begin typing. While I have never "gone viral", I have about a thousand regular readers each day and a few of my blogs have been picked up by other websites and feminist on-line magazines, and shared on forum boards and other social media sites. But by far, the most rewarding part of this experience has been when someone somewhere relates, commiserates, or is impacted by my ordinary, everyday thinking.....and takes the time to tell me about it. The thing with being a plain Jane is that, most everyone else is too. We're more alike than we are different. We have more power to change the world than we give ourselves credit. If there was a single motivating factor that has driven me to get up at 5 a.m. every day for 365 days, this would be it. If you are considering starting a blog, please keep that in mind: what is your blog calling?
So, that's all fine and dandy, but how the heck does one logistically pull this off? Here's how I did it (with a full-time job and a 6-year old).
1. I write what I love. Believe it or not, it's not that hard to just sit down and have an opinion on something you already care about. I dare say that every one of you has the capacity to do so if you tried.
2. I find the unexpected in the ordinary. Throughout the day I'm always mindful of possible blog topics - whether I'm hearing someone tell me about their day, inspired by someone's story, struck by something on the news, or have an opportunity to carry out an everyday act of activism.
3. I write at my peak creative time of the day. For me, that happens to be before any of those needy people in my family awake.
4. I hold myself publicly accountable. Those few times I haven't posted first thing in the morning, someone will call me on it. Are you OK? Are you sick? I noticed you didn't post your blog today. And I will quickly recover from my hang-over and get myself out of bed and to my laptop.
5. I sleep with a very indulgent man. Over the last 11 months, I've had a sick child, overnight trips without internet access, insane work stresses, but my husband has always done everything in his power to make it easy for me to make time for this blog.
6. I remain human. I write like I speak. I make some grave grammatical errors that I know probably make my English major friends cringe. But I own it. I apologize as needed...and sometimes I don't. And I don't stress about it. After all, I'm just a plain Jane.
7. If you build it, they will come. This is probably the most important piece of advice I will give. Spend your time and energy on your writing - of things that matter to you and to others....not on promoting your blog. Don't worry about your traffic and blog count. Don't dream about quitting your job and getting rich over this. Just do what you love, and do it well with authenticity and reliability. If the universe is aligned for your blog to bring you fame and fortune, trust me, it will happen on its own. In the meantime, consider merely settling for this: creating intentional space in your life to do something that is fulfilling, and that might even have a small chance of touching someone else's life. Now who's taking over the torch on January 1st?
Photo credit: The Chaotic Soul