Technically, I’ve been “blogging” since 2003. Old school with LiveJournal.com, anyone else remember that? Wow!
I switched to Blogger in 2005 because it was more versatile and I wanted a wider audience reach. My personal blog was to record my creative writing and life news, but I continued to post sporadically.
When we had our first son in 2010, I got serious about blogging to record our family life and adventures. Soon, I was reading parenting blogs, connecting with bloggers, and entering giveaways!
I decided it would be fun to write reviews to help other parents. So began the past (nearly) three years of blogging here at A Year With Mom and Dad.
Along the way, I have changed and grown. I can see mistakes I made and I know to improve!
Five mistakes I made as a blogger:
- I didn’t plan. I would write on whim and ramble.
- I over-connected, subscribing to every blog, Facebook page, and forum I found. (Sometimes this was serendipitous – more often, it was time-consuming and non-productive).
- I over-committed. Taking on too many reviews or post gigs at the same time. Not scheduling, and then cramming my writing into late-late-late night sessions (right Trisha W., Courtney, T-Rex Mom and other readers who sometimes catch me online way-way-way too late?)
- I under-valued myself as a writer and blogger. I mean, seriously? I am a professional writer with THREE degrees (two separate BA’s and a Master’s). And I was writing blog posts for “chances to win?” That is not a fair trade!
- I played the comparison game. I thought if I could just get as many followers as this blog, or write as humorously as that…it’s counter-productive!
And five fixes:
- Plan posts. Create themes for the month or week (I do Cloth Diaper Friday just about every week, and Tot Explorations about twice a month).Advance planning allows me to concentrate on relevant and current topics.
- Connect appropriately. Find groups of like-minded bloggers and you’ll be more productive, and get the help you really need.
- Use a calendar. A calendar format helps you see how much work you’ve already agreed to do. This will keep you from taking on more than you can handle in one time period.
- Value your time. I love blogging. Possibly too much. It’s a hobby. It’s a business. It’s an outlet. It’s a form of recording and communicating my family news. But… I love being with my family MORE. And you probably do too. So each post better be important and add value to your life (whether in payment, product, or creative expression, because I consider each to hold value). This year I’m making more and better use of spreadsheets, calendars and blogging planners to set goals, track goals, plan events and posts, and record income.
- Focus on my goals. More successful? Less successful? Everyone’s idea of success will differ, and it’s important for me to stay focused on reaching my own goals. Remember that saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?” By writing down what I hope to achieve, I’ll know when I can start celebrating!
At the end of the year, I want to know I was productive. I want neatly organized files so taxes aren’t a big scramble. I want the blog to reflect that my year was about my family, not about my blogging about my family!
The Blogging Planner was created by bloggers, for bloggers. It contains a year’s worth of pages to plan, track, and set goals for your blogging. So you can make the most out of your time and energies! Now, I think I do a good job of staying organized, but I don’t do a good job of setting specific goals for the month or year. So I am excited to see how the goal-setting aspect of this Planner will help me improve my blogging!
More details to follow, but if you’re interested in picking up The Blogging Planner, check it out in Travel and Executive sizes!
If you blog, how have you changed as a blogger over the years?
Thanks to Trisha and Lynsey for sending a product for my review to facilitate this post. All opinions are 100% my own.