Archive for the ‘on writing’ Category
In the first year, I published 55 blogs. In the second year, 59 blogs. And in the third year. I published 30 blog posts. And yet, the third year was one of the best years in my blog’s history because of two separate, but connected events – speaking at WordCamp Seattle and WordCamp Portland.
I started this blog to find my voice and have a place to write. But it quickly turned into a hub around connecting with people. From random conversations with people I meet on Twitter to coffee shop dates with bloggers I admire, or three-degrees of separation that turn into job offers, most of the people I have met over the past three years have been connected to this blog and the doors that it has opened to me. And for all of the specific and vague connections I have made over the past three years, I am grateful.
My blog’s third year started off with more momentum, posts, and excitement than I could imagine. But after the second speaking event at the end of summer, everything went into a quiet hiatus. I still wrote and published blogs, but things slowed way down over here as I focused my creative energy into a new fulltime job I started in September. But when I look at the past year as a whole and ignore my goal of publishing more posts than I had in the previous year, my blog’s third year was a momentous one.
And to commemorate its birthday, here’s a little roundup of lessons learned, best posts, and the random ways that people find my blog.
The Three Most Important Lessons I’ve learned in Three Years of Blogging
1. You never have enough time to blog as you want to. I laughed when putting together my slides about blogging every day because I knew someone would ask, “How do you find the time to blog?” and the answer I prepared the following answer: you just do. For whatever reason, this fall I really understood what it meant to not have enough time to do anything other than go to work, eat, and barely get enough sleep to be energized to tackle the next day. I’ve had fulltime jobs before, but the one I started was different and I could not (still cannot) explain why. And while, for the first time in my life, I’m happy going through the motions and just being that person who goes to work and comes home, the writer inside of me is aching to write more. And the only way to satisfy her is to steal that time from somewhere else and, sit down, shut up, and pound the keyboard until words appear.
2. The post you pour your heart and soul into writing will never resonate with readers as much as the one you write and publish in the moment. There is a time and a place for epic blog posts that you spend hours researching, writing, editing, and perfecting. And while it feels good to write those essays, when it comes to blogs and writing content that people (you) care about, are posts that are written in an hour’s notice based on the ideas that you’ve been chewing on over the past few days. Stop thinking. Start writing.
3. Numbers alone don’t measure success. I’ve been struggling to write this recap and feel good about my third year of blogging because I haven’t been blogging lately. I didn’t blog every day in November. And I didn’t post at all in December. But when I think about all the people I have met and the opportunities I have had because of the work I have put into my blog since the beginning, it has been a damn successful year. (more…)
Today I had the pleasure of “hanging out” on Google+ as part of StrengthsTalk, which is show for StrengthsFactors.
Our host was Will Deyamport, III of StrengthsFactors and peoplegogy and participants included Krystle Rory of Kriss Did It, Leah Olson of LeahROlson.com (who I got to meet this past weekend down at WordCamp!), and yours truly.
Bloggers Talking about Blogging
Our topic was about all things blogging — why we started blogging, what platform we blog on, do we self-identify as a blogger, how we find time to blog, and tips for people who want to blog.
The hang out is 32 minutes long, and if you’re interested in blogging, I highly recommend that you watch it (and, of course, I am a tad bias).
What tips do we have for people who are considering blogging?
Blog about what you’re passionate about. Don’t blog for money, that hardly ever works out. When you blog about what you’re passionate about, blogging is not easy, but it does take a lot of time and dedication. – Krystle
Don’t blog because everyone else is blogging. If this is something that you want to do, do it. If you want to start blogging because everyone else is doing it, don’t. – Laura
Don’t feel intimidated by blogging. It is putting your writing and your thoughts out there, but it doesn’t have the same formality as putting your writing into a newspaper or a magazine. – Leah
Best takeaway from Krystle about when she blogs: “When life happens, I blog.”
I want that on a t-shirt.
Many thanks to Will for inviting me to be part of this hangout and thank you to Leah for giving a shout-out to my WordCamp talk on How to Blog Every Day.
Why do you blog?
Ray Bradbury, an American literary icon, died today. He was the the man who made us first think about what would happen if we burned books and also the man who shaped the genre of science fiction that we know today.
…degutted, to become a non-book
I will always remember Ray Bradbury as a man of words. In the Coda of Fahrenheit 451, he wrote my favorite quote in the entire world:
All writers write because they need to, because their ideas are things that they can’t ignore.
These are Mr. Bradbury’s words, and they are my mantra as a writer.
Rest in peace, Ray Bradbury.
Every few months I take a look at my blog and start asking the following questions:
- How do I get more readers?
- Should I figure out what my blog is about?
- Should I redesign my site?
And the list goes on and on…
See here’s what I always forget – lamiki.com is not, nor was it ever intended to be, strategic to the level that a business blog needs to be. And while I have gotten jobs and business from my blog, it is not a business.
Your First Blog is Your First Blog
As I experienced this crisis last night and wept, dramatically, to my husband, he brought up a good point – your first blog is like your first AOL screen name, dedicated to whatever you’re obsessed with at the time and once you grow out of that phase, you get a new one.
My husband is smart. And, ironically, the name lamiki was derived from my first AOL name.
Goals are Great, but Make Sure You Want Them
Five months ago I outlined my goals for the year and my blog, twice. I also outlined a very detailed plan of everything I was going to focus on with my blog for the year. Things like guest posting, a redesign, and a tighter content strategy – things that are included in that first list and much, much more. (Did you know that I’m ambitious?) And then in March I set a new goal:
Now I have one achievable, measurable goal. One that does not require the content calendars that I love to create, yet love to hate. One “must have” goal every single month when it comes to my blog and everything else has been demoted from the “required” list to the “would be nice” list of things I want to do.
My blog is not a business. It’s a passion project created to give me a place to write and share how I see the world. There is no monetization strategy and if I decide that’s something I want to do, there will be a new domain.
In the end, we all have an enormous amount of stress and responsibilities that we juggle every single day. And if something in your life that’s supposed to give you pleasure and a break from it all starts giving you stress, you need to make a change.
Photo Credit: Snapies
Writers see the world differently. We analyze every word that you say, every move that you make, and every thought that you barely breathe. We piece stories together when there aren’t any to be told. And we create a world out of the pieces that we see in our own.
And yet, with as much as I love this part of myself, being a writer is hard. It takes practice. The great Haruki Murakami wrote an entire book about how being a writer (especially of epic novels) is like long distance running, it takes practice, endurance, and a lot of training.
I’ve been writing stories my entire life. In elementary school I would sit along the wall while the other kids played foursquare (the game, not the app) and scribble stories in my notebook with a felt-tipped marker.
One day, a girl in my class saw me writing and came over.
“What are you writing?” she asked.
“Oh, just a story,” I said, and curled the spiral bound notebook up in a way so that she wouldn’t be able to read it. But of course she did. And she noticed exactly what I didn’t want her to, the name of one of the characters.
“Ohhhh, do you like Tyler?”
There were three boys named Tyler in our class, and it was perfect for one of my characters. We were nine years old. Even if I tried to explain it, there was no way she was going to understand how writers work.
As my husband, the illustrator said one day, he creates art out of nothing, and I create art out of what I see. That is the difference between the illustrator and the writer.
My first fiction teacher told me that his wife used to read his stories and would always find the character that resembles her. Shortly after I wrote the best short story of my life and the protagonist was modeled loosely after my best friend.
That’s the magic and the danger behind being a writer, we don’t know how to separate the two worlds apart and we don’t want to. That’s why process of writing is scary and personal, we write about what we see in the world in order to understand it, we write for us and at the same time for you. We write because we have to, because we need to, because the world needs us to.
And sometimes that’s enough.
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