Thursday Thirteen – Blogging Lessons
As is always the case when one approaches a birthday, I have begun to look back over the year that has passed. Going over lessons learned, goals achieved and opportunities created, I have slowly come to realise that so many of the positive changes which have come about in my life over the last 12 months have been down to my determination to blog regularly. If you were to look at my profile on Blogger, which is where I have my professional blog, Textual Tangents, you would see that technically I’ve been blogging since 2004. This dates back to when I first signed up with Blogger and began a blog called Cup of Stars, which was going to be about life as a home educating mother of 3 who was embarking on a phd. I deleted that blog earlier this year, and do you know, it did not have one single post on it! I had thought in the past that this summed up my life at the time better than any words I could have posted there. I considered myself too busy to blog. So what’s changed? What has made me a consistent blogger despite the hectic schedule which is my life? My Thursday Thirteen this week is all about answering those questions, by sharing what I’ve learned about blogging, and how it’s made a difference to my life.
- Connecting – One of the best things about blogging is the wonderful connections that are made with others out there in the blogosphere. There’s such a special sense of camaraderie which I had thought no longer existed in our insular, fast-paced world. Knowing that my blog not only connects me to a community, but that it is in itself generating a community, is one of my primary reasons for continuing to blog.
- Sharing – I love to share. I love to show others things that I’ve come across,whether that’s a new You Tube clip, a new blog, a new book etc. Quite often these things won’t be new to others, but they are to me, and I get a kick out of knowing that I may have helped others to discover something that might be new to them too.
- Engaging – I saw a t-shirt recently which had the slogan “I am going to blog this!” emblazoned across the front. Despite not being a fan of the slogan t-shirt, I actually felt tempted by this one as it rung true to me. Often when I’m out and about, I find myself thinking, “This would be good for the blog!”. I really feel that writing the blog has tuned me into the world around me in a way that I wasn’t beforehand.
- Photography – I don’t think I have ever taken as many photos in my life as I am currently. I can now honestly say that it’s a rare day indeed if it passes without at least one new photograph. My photos often appear on my blog, as I find they not only brighten it up, but they often spark off ideas for posts, or they make me examine issues more in depth. My love for photography has been one of the more surprising discoveries!
- Research Profile – Blogging has really raised my research profile. Now while this might seem like an outcome rather specific to a blogging academic, I would like to suggest that it could be transferred to any blogger. By blogging about my interests, others in my field have come to know about my work and my areas of research. This has led to opportunities that I may not have been offered otherwise. Surely this must apply to all lines of work!
- Technology -Despite playing around with Blogger back in 2004, I didn’t really understand much about the technology. There was lots that I couldn’t do with my blog. And, you know, there’s still lots I can’t do with my blog! However, I am on quite a steep learning curve, and I feel proud that I have managed to teach myself the basics.
- Commenting – I have learned the value of commenting, both on my own blog and on others. It really helps to facilitate that sense of community, doesn’t it? However, I have also learned that even when there are no comments, people are still reading and engaging with your writing. This has been an important revelation, as it applies outwith the blog. Even when you’re not receiving feedback, press on. You are affecting others than you may think!
- Social Networking – Through the blog, I have discovered social networking. I am now on Bebo, Facebook, Stumbleupon and Delicious. I don’t get as much out of these networks as I do from blogging, but I do enjoy participating in them, and will continue to do so. Oh, and incidentally, if anyone wants to link up with me through any of these sites, drop me a line.
- Selfish Blogging – When I began blogging for the second time earlier this year, I blogged for readers. I blogged for other people and not for myself. I boxed myself in and I felt I had created a restrictive space where I couldn’t blog about what I wanted to. My solution was to start Lives Les Ordinary, and I haven’t looked back since. My other blog is now used as the space where I post about my career, and this blog is where I post about whatever I choose.
- Altruistic Blogging – Despite blogging about whatever interests me, I have discovered that others are interested in those kinds of things too. Although this may be stretching the definition of ‘altruistic’ slightly, I do think that by blogging for myself has rendered my writing more interesting and, I hope, more enjoyable for my readers.
- Release -By blogging at Lives Less Ordinary, I have found a release for all those thoughts and opinions that used to just circulate round my brain. Now I can blog about them, and this process seems to free up my mind to concentrate on my research and on the home education of my children.
- Creativity – I think that my creativity levels have increased tenfold since beginning this blog. I’m having fun making unusual connections and I’m constantly coming up with new ideas for posts. I’m also finding that, by being a part of the blogging community, I am continually finding inspiration on other people’s blogs, which is also making me not only a more creative blogger, but also a more creative person in general.
- Time Management – People often ask how I have time to do the blogging that I do. I have such a full life already, why add to it in this way. What I have found though, is that blogging has enhanced my time management skills. If I want to do all the things on my to-do lists then I have to be organised. I set aside time for the upkeep of the blogs. I set aside time for my reading. I set aside time for my writing. I answer emails as and when they come in and I am always available to my children.
Well, as I turn 29 next week, I can celebrate safe in the knowledge that I’ve spent the last year learning some wonderful lessons through the world of blogging. What have you learned through blogging?
My other TT posts: What I Found in Madrid, Rules To Live By, My Life in Scent, My Family, New Habits and Memorable Moments