Each day when I open up my laptop, I check my e-mail, and in between the spam mail insisting it can give me a bigger penis (why thank you!), coupons from Pizza Hut, and random business-type stuff, there is at least one e-mail from a reader of mine asking for advice on blogging. I guess I’ve been doing this for so long that it all comes pretty natural to me at this point, so I can’t see that from the outside, just how much of an undertaking it is. I’m still learning every day, and I still struggle- so I’m definitely no expert, but I think I’ve learned a thing or two.
I’m incredibly flattered that people who want to start blogging would think of me when they want advice on how to do it- but I simple don’t have the time to respond to each of these e-mails individually. Still, I think the question- HOW do I do this?- merits a good response, and I think blogging is incredibly valuable no matter what you’re looking to achieve with it, so I figured the best way to answer would be with the reason people come to me to ask- a blog!
Thank you to everyone who thinks of me, and I hope this blog answers some of your questions!
Now, if you’re looking just to write for yourself, and not gain a following outside of friends and family- that’s AWESOME, but you may not need the advice below. Just dive in! Blogging is a great tool that can be used as a sounding board, therapy, memory, or even just to put your thoughts in order. You don’t have to blog for anyone but you!
If you ARE looking to branch out beyond the friends and family that you’d probably have to annoy the hell out of to even get them to click a link, here are my top tips (after picking a title and which platform you want to use. I’m of no help there. I didn’t even name THIS blog. Thank my husband for that):
1. FIND YOUR GROOVE – it took me a long time to figure this out. I’d written personal blogs before, so I went into writing Holdin’ Holden the same way- which got me basically nowhere. It wasn’t until I stopped writing about the day-to-day and started telling stories that people started coming back for more- and at the same time, I grew to love blogging as more than just something to do.
2. Write for YOU- but keep your audience in mind- Once you find that groove, things feel like they’re falling into place when you sit down to pound out another entry. While I consider Holdin’ Holden a humor blog, NOT all of my blogs are funny- but it’s not just the humor that keeps people coming back. It’s the style that I write in. I always try to keep that in mind. I can’t FORCE funny, and you shouldn’t try to force out an entry just to make other people happy. Make YOU happy in your own groove, and people will groove with you. If you build it, they will come!
3. DON’T GET DISCOURAGED– The internet has changed from when I started so many years ago. Facebook isn’t the amazing tool it used to be in increasing reach and readership. I’d never call it “easy”, but it definitely wasn’t as hard as it is now. I’ve known more than a handful of bloggers to instantly take off and have thousands of readers in what seems like the blink of an eye, but for most of us mere mortals, we have to work for it. There will be times that you’ll write something AMAZING, but not a damn soul will read it. Not even the family you’ve been bugging so much to share your links. Don’t let that bring you down. Keep writing, and share that amazing entry again later. It’s hard to get eyes on your blog, so it’s important never to give up on a piece after the first try.
4. NETWORK– Get yourself out there. Whether it be forums of other writers/bloggers, or Facebook groups full of people who you think might be interested in what you have to say (example: if you write about horses and there is a group called HORSE LOVERS that isn’t some kind of code for weird animal porn, it might be a good place to start chatting people up)- get yourself out there. It’s like sticking a toe into the dating pool. You aren’t sure if there are going to be any bites, if you’ll get a drink splashed in your face, or attract creepers- but you’ll never know if you don’t try. Don’t be afraid to contact other bloggers (but don’t spam them with your link, especially on their Facebook page. This is just bad form and might get you banned) and say hello, ask for advice, etc. If the blog accepts submissions for guest blogs, get on that! (I am ALWAYS accepting submissions here on Holdin’ Holden). Going viral isn’t as easy as it looks on The Walking Dead. If you want people to know about you, you’re going to need to be loud.
5. TROLLS– It doesn’t matter if you’re writing about happy dancing unicorns with bubble gum hair that poop Skittles. Your blog could be the happiest, sweetest, most well-written, harmless blog on the internet, and it will still get trolls. It’s inevitable. They have a knack for getting under people’s skin- but just remember- they took the time to leave a comment on your blog, out of all the blogs they could poop on, they chose yours. Pat yourself on the back. They found it important enough to waste time being shitty to YOU- that’s a milestone!
Most importantly (so much so that I’m not even giving it a number) DON’T GIVE UP. You’ll probably want to, possibly even often, but trust me- you’ll regret it. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a popular blog with a large following. Give it time, KEEP WRITING, and enjoy the journey. It’s definitely been an interesting one for me!
Any more questions? Leave them in the comments and I’ll try to answer them all!
Frying pans. Who knew, right? pic.twitter.com/usSQcFGpmI
Just did this yesterday and it was everything 9 year old me could have dreamed of pic.twitter.com/imYQlUmSVn
LIVE on Twitch tonight -- come say hi! twitch.tv/holdinholden
As I embark on an 11 day trip with my kids, this is especially fitting. VACATIONS WITH KIDS ARE MANUAL LABOR! holdinholden.com/2016/03/vaca…
Are you, though?? 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/Rm5L9PBuiL
When I file for divorce and people ask why I'm gonna say "I told him I felt bloated & wanted donuts and he replied 'that's not gonna help'"
Me usually: Lunch time, kids! So much to choose from! Me before a trip: You're gettin' a bread sandwich because I'm not going shopping again
How to Convince Your Fam to Watch ANYTHING you want on Netflix! goo.gl/fb/H6iZrR
We're just... uh.... wrestling.... 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/dpAIyM88c8