What I’ve learned in two years of blogging

My first blog ever:

It’s a simple blog in itself and a simple title, even. “Welcome.”

Looking back to August of 2009, I realize how different things were. I thought Twitter was a fad that would pass. I had attended my first writer’s conference and taken the first real step in becoming a writer. I was polishing and preparing a manuscript that could simply not be repaired.

Two years later, things are very different. I’m on my third full manuscript, working on my fourth. I’ve signed with an amazing agent and attended a handful of conferences. I study other blogs and improve my craft daily.

To put it simply, I’ve learned a lot since August 1st, 2009.

  • Blogging is hard work. It requires discipline. A lot of discipline. That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t take breaks when life intercedes.
  • Writing is writing. But blogging should not necessarily be your focus. If you’re pre-published, you must focus on your craft. Blogging and social media are essential, yes, but it is the quality of your writing that will sell your next book. I’ve come to discover my voice and style through three full manuscripts and 256 posts. So keep writing.
  • Follow the masters. Emulate them. But add your own twist. Michael Hyatt, TentBlogger, Seth Godin, Jon Acuff – there are hundreds more professional writers or bloggers you can learn from. Pick whoever you enjoy or connect with most and listen!
  • Connect and reconnect! Use Facebook and Twitter to promote your blog, but you also need to comment on other blogs. Everything comes full circle eventually.
  • Design is important. It needs to be accessible and readable. But it is not as important as good content. Keep your priorities straight. (I constantly struggle with this. And I blame my fabulous graphic designer friend because she taught me all I know about design.)
  • Stop worrying about your numbers. Google Analytics, GoStats, LinkWithin, AddThis – there are so many ways to track your followers and to build up your page views. It is a full time in itself. Know the basics of search engine optimization, do what you can without sacrificing your writing time. Then, just try not to obsess. It won’t change your numbers at all. (Trust me, I know.)
  • Know your audience – and know you might not get it right the first time around. Or you might not get it right for years upon years. I still am not sure that the true purpose of my blog has been discovered. But I’m answering the call to write and I’ll keep tweaking and learning until I find my niche role.
I am a young writer. I’m a dedicated writer. Yet I know I have dues to pay and miles to go before I can feel like I’ve truly made it. In two years from now, I look forward to writing this post over and sharing again how far I’ve come and all that I’ve learned. 

Until then, I’ll keep learning and growing. I hope you’ll keep reading. 🙂

 

More about Nicole

Community Champion at Buffer ~ writer ~ reader ~ urban homesteader ~ former rodeo queen ~ @nmillerbooks

  • Heidi Chiavaroli

    I will certainly keep reading, Nicole! Thank you for this wise, encouraging post!