I know I am a day early with this post. NaBloPoMo isn’t over for another day–but I kind of have other stuff to do this weekend so I am highlighting the things I learned from NaBloPoMo a bit sooner. I hope you don’t mind!
I had never done a writing challenge before. If you saw me posting at the beginning of November, I talked a bit about how I got sucked into blogging every day for a month. For anyone who might not know, NaBloPoMo stands for National Blog Post Month and while you may do a challenge like this any time on your own, the BlogHer website orchestrates a blog challenge every month. November is the big month however, because there is also another large scale challenge going on. NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.
I had contemplated NaNoWriMo, but I wasn’t so sure about trying to write a novel. It’s a great ambition, it just seemed a bit too large scale for me. Blogging is more manageable. It allows me to be more creative than I think I would be at trying to write a book. My blog is a venue for me to do a lot of different things. I can communicate my opinions on various topics, take my love for food and turn it into a post to share, review books I have read, create outfit looks that I think are fun–basically, I can use my blog for anything I want.
My blog is me in word form (and I am quite a mish mash of things).
If you were doing the challenge yourself, I bet you have learned some of the same things. If you haven’t yet done a challenge like this, maybe you can utilize something I have found out during the past month.
- Before you write for others, you must first be able to write for yourself. You need to be writing about things you are interested in or believe in. Don’t try to blog about something you aren’t very passionate about. Those feelings will show, and your readers will figure it out!
- Write in your own voice. Again, this is something readers can easily pick out. When I first started trying to blog, I hadn’t written anything in a long time. I was trying too hard to sound grammatically perfect. What content I ended up with turned out to be stiff and formal sounding. That is totally not me, and those I had asked to read it told me so! If you swear sometimes in every day conversation, do it on your blog (I do). Just be you and write how you would talk.
- Practice really does make perfect. The more I have written, the faster I get at writing and posting my blog entries. Granted, I need to have my topic idea, but my speed has increased over these last few weeks.
- Quality over quantity is important. There have been some posts I have done that I feel were kind of “cop out” posts. It was so important to me not to miss a day of the challenge that I sacrificed a little quality in favor of quantity. Going forward, I will not be doing that. Yes, sometimes quotes are ok, but I want to invest readers more than that.
- An editorial calendar would have been a big help. I am ok at coming up with something to write on the fly when I had to. It also helped me to know that every Friday I was doing a Fantasy Wardrobe Friday post, and almost every Saturday would be a recipe post. Though, some of the other days when I wasn’t in a mood to write, I didn’t know what to write. That made me feel somewhat flustered even though this entire challenge is voluntary!
- Write content in advance. This goes hand in hand with keeping an editorial calendar. There will be days you have life to deal with, or you aren’t in a writing mood. If you plan and write some content in advance, you have a little breathing room for when unexpected things come up.
- Don’t obsess over your Google Analytics. If you are just beginning, traffic will be slow. It’s good to be aware of your traffic, but don’t keep refreshing your analytics dashboard every five minutes. You will see your traffic increase in time.
- Utilize social networking. You don’t need to be a member of every social network, but you should be active on a few. When I post, I have a plugin that publicizes to Tumblr and Google+ when I hit my WordPress publish button. I edit the text in the publicize section before actually posting to my blog. Then I go to Twitter and send a tweet complete with picture when applicable. I schedule a tweet for the following morning via Buffer. I also share with my Facebook and Pinterest.
- Try to engage with people on your social networks. I need to work on this. My Twitter followers have grown over the past month, but I know I need to personally be better at adding and engaging as well.
- Find blogs you like and leave genuine comments. I need to work on leaving comments and connecting with other bloggers; I haven’t done much of this. I think when I get my blogging schedule figured out I will feel like I have more energy for commenting. At the moment, it seems as if all my time goes into writing. I want to set time to do the social part.
I could keep listing the many things I have learned, but I will leave you with these ten for now. A blog is forever a project of growth. I think I have said that before! It’s true! There is no success overnight, and we all start from the bginning and work our way up. I hope what I have taken from the NaBloPoMo blog challenge will benefit you in some way if you are thinking about doing a challenge, or if you are starting a blog.
What have you learned participating in NaBloPoMo? What have you learned as a blogger? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!