Hurray! This is my 50th blog post! Thank you for reading!
This year I began blogging because I wanted to make writing a consistent habit (I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was about 5 years old and the time is now). I decided to write about my fear of bridges. It’s a narrow topic (on the surface) but I didn’t give too much thought to it at the time. More about that later.
I committed to posting twice a week for 1 year and then I’d reevaluate. My first post was on 1/6/17. I can’t believe this is my 50th post. It came fast. I’m writing nearly every day and when I’m not actually writing on a screen or paper, I’m writing in my head. (I think I’ve always done that. I’m sure other writers can relate.) I write for this blog and experiment with personal essays and haiku. I’ve even increased the number of posts for this blog from 2 to 3 per week.
While having written 50 posts means I’m just an infant compared to the mature bloggers out there, I’ve learned a number of things. I’m sharing a few today because I want to confirm what many writers and bloggers have already said, I want to inspire others who want to blog, and I don’t want to forget what I’ve learned or where I started.
You have a beginner’s mind only once.
Here are 3 things I’ve learned about blogging after 50 posts.
- Writers are Right. YOU HAVE TO WRITE TO BE A WRITER
Seasoned writers tell aspiring writers all the time, you have to write to be a writer. It’s so basic but as the saying goes, coffee shops are filled with writers who don’t write.
I’ve worked hard to make writing a habit. I do it pretty much the same time every day. I don’t mix it up with other related tasks like research or reading or editing. I do those things at a different time so they don’t distract from the writing.
When I began blogging in January, I often had to force myself to sit and write. Some days 15 minutes was all I could bear in one sitting. Sometimes I’d catch myself staring out the window watching the squirrels. When I couldn’t think of what to write, I wrote anything that popped into my head. It might be about breakfast, the weather, or something I needed to do around the house. I wouldn’t get up until I had written something. I tried not to judge what I wrote. I just wrote.
Today, I can sit for long periods of time and remain focused on a topic and have to remind myself to get up and stretch. I have to write. I miss it when my schedule goes haywire and I can’t get to it.
I heard a story about a famous writer at a book signing. Since I don’t know whether it’s true I won’t name her. A woman finally arrived at the table to have her book signed and told the writer that she too was a writer but with a family and pets and commitments etc. she didn’t have time to write. The writer was abrupt with her and told her that they did NOT have anything in common because she actually wrote and moved on to the next fan.
You’re either a writer or someone who wants to write. I want to be a writer so I must write.
2. Be Open and Flexible
When I decided to write about my fear of crossing bridges I didn’t give too much thought to whether I’d have enough to write about. I knew my fear was big and I felt it so deeply that I was confident the well would always provide. Other people write blogs, so I thought, so can I. So far I haven’t had a shortage of ideas. I capture every idea on a spreadsheet. I don’t judge them. I just add them and plant the seeds of ideas and see what happens.
Through writing I discovered that while I’m a gephyrophobiac I’m also fascinated by bridges – their beauty, how they’re built, their history etc. Then while reading another blog I learned I might be a pontist too – someone who’s very interested in bridges.
This realization inspired me to write about more than just about my fear of bridges though that’s usually some part of the post because that’s still what drives me. For example, this week I wrote about the importance of knowing the difference between the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and the anniversary of the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, which I’d like to walk across one day.
I’ve found it’s important to also be flexible with how I write. Sometimes my writing is personal, sometimes it’s more factual, sometimes the photo dominates the post, sometimes the post is long, sometimes it’s short. I’m trying to figure out what comes most naturally to me.
I’m experimenting and learning every day.
3. Read Other Blogs
I’ve taken the advice of other bloggers and often given in articles about blogging and started reading other blogs. I’m astounded by the number of blogs and the variety of topics on WordPress.
I’m soaking up what other writers say and how they say it – styles and tones and word choice and on and on, I understand why (besides actually writing) it’s the best way to learn how to blog.
I’ve begun commenting on posts that resonate with me and following other bloggers. Because of this community of writers, I’ll become a better blogger.
Five months and 50 posts into blogging, I’ve learned some very simple things. You must actually write, be open and flexible to see where your writing can go, and read and learn from other bloggers.
I’m looking forward to writing the next 50 posts!
Thanks for reading!