When I started blogging I was a mid-twenty year old living in Los Angeles, working in both the entertainment and fashion industries. I used to tell myself, “Damn girl, you live a very cool life.” Within all that cool was a young woman still trying to figure who she was, what she liked, and where she was going. I was on a journey and wanted to document my life, share my experiences, and connect with people in a way that I knew would be fun and serve as a creative outlet. At that time I had a general Facebook account but it wasn’t enough. I needed a better outlet that gave me more control and encouraged an artistic approach.
I knew a blog was the best way to record my experiences. My first blog was called The L Train. It was a play on words because my first name begins with the letter L and I grew up in Chicago where the elevated train is the preferred method of public transportation. Anyway, it was my own little corner on the internet where I could share photos, write posts, and slowly let my guard down. That blog was a mess, but it represented the road I was on to finding myself. I had my hand in so many pots while blowing in the wind, and my blog reflected that. I had a hard time narrowing down my niche and figuring out if the content I was actually posting was even worth reading. I mean, sure, the celebrity parties and plush events I attended were interesting to many, but I was on a path leading to something deeper.
I used to carry my camera everywhere because I would blog about everything just to have content. I slowly learned that having photos didn’t warrant a blog post and sure didn’t guarantee that my post would be any good. I cringe when I think about some of the things I used to blog about. I fell into the cycle of publishing then deleting, especially if my photos weren’t up to par or if I couldn’t fluidly write about my topic of choice. I got to the where I began comparing my blog to others and it made me want to throw in the towel. I was amazed at how some these bloggers seemed to have found their niche, and there I was struggling to narrow down my categories from fourteen to four. In spite of this, I stepped into a new role in the entertainment industry. I worked in marketing, using my blog and other social media accounts to promote events and t.v. shows. Once I moved back to New Orleans, I was still facing the same struggles I was facing in Los Angeles. I kept asking myself, “How do I make this better and transition my L.A. based blog into a blog based on my life in the Big Easy?” If I knew then what I know now, I would have triumphed. The reality was I blogged here and there but still kept missing the mark. I finally said, “I’m taking a break.”
A couple of years went by but I knew that the next step would be revealed to me by way of divine intuition. During my blogging break, I finished getting my second degree, began traveling for work, and took a few vacations. I had also started on a spiritual journey that led me into understanding who I am. It wasn’t until then that I knew what the next step in blogging would be. My vision became clear and I was ready to dive back in. The L Train became Wild Moon Rising.
I went back to my very first blog post, filtered out what needed to go, and updated what I wanted to keep. I set rules for myself and followed them. When I finished, I had less than fifty posts still published, and I was happy about that. One of my rules was Quality over Quantity. I narrowed down my categories, customized the look, picked a direction for my content, and created a plan for how Wild Moon Rising would flourish. I also knew I wanted to create something that was easily adaptable to any changes I’d make in life that would reflect on my blog.
Once my vision came to fruition, my blog started growing in readers and subscribers. I have some new and exciting things planned for the near future, will eventually switch my blog over to self-hosting, create video content, and move toward a regular posting schedule. I promised myself that I’d only post content I am genuinely interested in writing about and anxious to share. I enjoy putting together content that excites me because it will then excite you, the reader. By the way, if you are one of the people who have been on this ride with me since the beginning, I send you plenty thanks for sticking it out.
There have been a lot of ups and downs over the years but I’m proud with how far I’ve come and what I’ve achieved. I’ve learned a few lessons along the way. This biggest lesson blogging has taught me is to always be myself. It sounds cliché but it’s true. People eventually see through the
bullsh facade. I also learned years ago to stop comparing my blog to other people’s blogs. It’s cool to be inspired to do better, but I had to do things my way. There’s room for every blogger. It’s the infinite internet for crying out loud! Another lesson I learned is that blogging requires a lot of time and effort. I’d love to blog everyday, but sometimes, things in life get in the way. It’s OK, I’m working on it!
What I get now are people who ask me advice about starting a blog. I’ve put together a short and sweet list of tips below:
Find Your Niche
What makes your soul smile? It is important to ask yourself this question. When you figure out what excites you, it’s safe to say you’ve found your niche. As a result you will find your voice and what naturally separates you from the rest.
Have a Vision
What do you envision as your color scheme? What type of layout do you think would be best to highlight your content? Will you have a theme or take the minimalist approach? These are all things you need consider to make your blog aesthetically pleasing, and easy to navigate.
I know, I know, I just said I publish blog posts inconsistently, but it doesn’t take away from knowing how beneficial consistency is. If you have the time to post quality content often, do it! Stay on schedule. If it helps, draft several posts ahead of time and that way you’ll always have a post on queue. Readers will know when to expect a new post from you and visit your blog to read your new content.
Keep Your Space Clutter Free
Your space includes physical, mental, and digital space. I find that when the space I’m working in is clear accompanied by clear thoughts, I naturally keep my digital space in order. It’s hard to blog when the energy around you is disrupted by clutter. Keep things organized and all will flow smoothly and freely.
DO NOT GIVE UP!
I can’t tell you how many times I thought about quitting. I said to myself, “Why am I even doing this? What’s the point? Am I helping anyone? Am I still helping myself? What direction should I go in? I don’t know. I don’t have that many views, likes, comments, or readers anyway. ” Forget all of that nonsense! I worked through the process because I couldn’t bear to let go. I blog because I love how it makes me feel, and if I only help one person, my mission is accomplished. Also, if you get writer’s block, take a break. You’ll find your inspiration for content when you least expect it. Bottom line is if you want to blog, blog. Things will only get better with time if you keep up your effort.
I hope these tips are helpful to new or discouraged bloggers. If you are already a blogger, I’d love to hear your tips for getting started, how you maintain your blog, and what you’ve learned on your journey!