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10 Things I Learned From NaBloPoMo

10 things i learned from nablopomo

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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!


The One Blogger Skill

One Blogger Skill BlogHer Prompt

I am taking the BlogHer NaBloPoMo prompt that landed in my email today and I’m going to roll with it! As bloggers, we are always trying to improve our skills. One week we are learning and tweaking our SEO, the next we are researching how to take better photos. There are a lot of things we are trying to do in rapid succession. But we all have the one blogger skill we hope to get a better grasp of so that we master it. Until then, we see this skill in our favorite bloggers, and admire what they are doing with that skill.

I love reading about the personal experiences of other bloggers and how they are helping themselves and their sites grow. When they write posts about what they learn, it helps the rest of us too. We get to read about what that person tried and discovered, as well as what worked best for them–or didn’t work at all. While every blog is different, in reading what others have done we can make more informed choices on how to progress with our own blogs.

The one blogger skill I wish I had that I often see in others is the ability to plan an editorial calendar. Granted, I think I needed the NaBloPoMo challenge to give me the extra push I needed to focus and become more determined to get myself into my writing groove. Deciding to do this gave me some confidence in my ability to write regularly and share. But as I touched on a bit in yesterday’s post, I wish I would have planned some content in advance.

Some of the bloggers I follow regularly have written about editorial calendars and how much they help in the content creation process. This is something I will be trying once this challenge is done and I determine what days of the week I will be posting. The daily thing is not a routine I can continue after November, so I will knock it down to 2-3 posts per week. I think that is still a pretty good goal, and hopefully with an editorial calendar I can plan things out a few weeks in advance.

Do you utilize an editorial calendar? How is it working for you?


NaBloPoMo: What Happens When…

…You decide to challenge yourself with National Blog Posting Month at the last minute, and you have other things you need or want to do? Posts like this happen! I have no topic I want to blog about right now, I just needed a break to do some other projects. However, I can’t just post nothing when I can post a little blurb and not miss a day of the challenge.

November isn’t halfway through yet, and I usually have only enough energy to write one post per day. Yesterday, in addition to writing one, I did the prep for another recipe post. That will be tomorrow’s task I think.

This NaBloPoMo challenge has already taught me a thing or two about the next one; start early and pre-write some content for the days I can’t or don’t want to invest a major chunk of my day to writing.

I just need to keep pushing. I can do this!

Have you written any of your NaBloPoMo content in advance? How many posts did you prepare beforehand?

NaBloPoMo: My Personal Goals

National Blog Posting Month

My blog has been here for quite awhile, getting dusty and waiting for all of my intentions to be constructed into posts. I think it’s time to write some shit!

For a few years, I have heard the buzz going on about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). You know, that yearly conquest aspiring novelists want to accomplish throughout the month of November where the end goal is to have 50,000 words written by the time the writing bell tolls on November 30. That number of words is enough to be a bit fear instilling. Luckily, a person can’t be penalized if they don’t make the goal but it’s a pretty arduous goal I would say. I thought it sounded fun, but writing fiction isn’t my first choice of genre.

While the thought of penning a book is so tempting, I am not so sure I am ready for that. It involves more planning than I feel like I want to put in at the moment. I need a project that can be broken down into smaller bits.

Since I am trying to strengthen my writing skills to go back to my former writing post at Audacity, an online Lifestyle magazine for individuals with disabilities, I had considered just participating in NaNoWriMo anyway. Regardless of the fact I would be writing fiction, it is still using my brain to be creative with my words. The sense of community also appeals to me.

Nathasha, Audacity’s editor, suggested I participate in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) instead. Similar to NaNoWriMo, a pretty intense writing goal is set. The objective is to publish one blog post per day throughout the month of November. Anyone can do it, and the BlogHer website has a place where bloggers can sign up to the blogroll. There are also writing prompts if a blogger is stuck. The deadline for sign up is November 5th.

Think I can do that?

You won’t hear me saying that I can’t or won’t, but fear makes me hesitant to commit to things like this at times. I am a “What if…” person. I also have a strong procrastinator gene. I do work best under pressure usually, so maybe having to do a post a day will be enough to push me.

What ifs have held me back from blogging and from some personal growth at times. I have put too much stress on writing in proper English which kept me from writing like myself. I have compared my skills to others who I thought had better skills, which is not a wise thing for anyone. I have worried about the opinions of others and the nasty shit people say for no reason.

Enough worrying, right?

I have also spent so much time reading about blogging, social marketing, monetizing, etc., but yet I haven’t been making myself really put what I learn to practice.

It isn’t like I need to write a thousand word post every day. This is my space after all. If other people like it, it’s a bonus.

So, today the challenge commences. Let me begin by setting a few rules for myself.

  • Always write like myself. In blogging it isn’t necessary to write as if I’m working on a Master’s thesis.
  • Don’t compare anything I do with anyone who I think has more skill. This includes comparing blog aesthetics, content, writing skill, or post topics.
  • It doesn’t matter if I can’t think of a post topic. If I have no idea, I can post pictures or quotes I find amusing. I don’t always need to write a lot.
  • Always tweet, pin, and share every post no matter how shy I might be to publicize it.
  • Try to start writing longer post ideas on the previous day.
  • If I somehow don’t meet the challenge, I won’t feel like I failed. Everyone learns something from an unmet goal and it is possible to try again!
  • Don’t worry about opinions of others. Nasty comments aren’t constructive and often come from people who have nothing better to do.

If I keep reminding myself of these things, maybe I can get through the next 30 days and have a very successful first NaBloPoMo!

Are there any words of advice you follow or habits you have when you participate in NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo? Leave a comment!