During the two and a half years I’ve been blogging, I have found many bloggers who go through periods of inactivity, not because they are busy with their real lives, but mostly due to lack of inspiration or a desire to give up. When I first encountered one of those posts I felt it was a bad-day for the blogger, but I have found it to be a common theme among many others. And my reaction? I couldn’t believe what I was reading! The vast majority of the bloggers who feel a desire to give up write some of the most inspiring and well-rounded reviews on my Google Reader!
So, inspired by a post on last week’s Week on the Web by Rikki where she kindly directed us to this 10 Ways to improve your life today, I wanted to share my 10 Ways to improve your blogging. With this post I do not want to set standards as to how/when/why to publish, blog, read or to make a list of good blogging vs. bad blogging. I just want to share some of the strategies that, during the last two and a half years have made me come back to blogging every week, if not a few times a week.
1. Never make blogging an obligation.- For me, this blog was a place where I could come and relax. Reading and writing had never been an obligation or a project for me, but rather an everyday part of my life so, back in 2010 I decided to make that side of my life public and create Books and Reviews. I love to share my thoughts (even if they are bad!) with all my readers!
2. Blogging is better when you interact with your readers.- When I first got comments on my posts, I couldn’t believe my luck… and nowadays, I can’t either! Sharing my thoughts is really important but I prefer all the interaction I get from other bloggers and my readers, either here or over Twitter. You can expand your views, learn about other books and get very different interpretations from a book, all fuelled by the very different backgrounds of the people you talk to.
3. Reading other blogs is as important as writing yours.- I was not a very organized reader of blogs until I got a reader and added all the blogs that I love. I use Google Reader and I’m pretty happy about it, but any other system that you feel comfortable with can ensure you read more.
4. We are readers and writers.- Reading other blogs is great, but leaving a comment is even better. Not only are you collaborating with another blogger but you are also building a relationship that will always pay off. During the years I have become good friends with some bloggers and even send them books on Christmas.
5. Your blog is yours.- Lately some bloggers have denounced threats/insulting comments of readers who did not agree with their reviews. Dissenting is fine, but one must remember to keep it all polite both when writing and commenting. As a blogger, you can always set WordPress to send you an email to approve all comments to ensure a friendly environment.
6. Don’t obsess with numbers.- Since I joined Goodreads, there is this small box asking me to challenge myself to read a number of books a year. And I completely refuse to. I’d rather read a book a month that changes the way I think or see the world than four which I will forget next year. Also, I do not want to make my reading something I have to do, but rather something I tend to naturally: I want to pick up a book because I want to, not because I have to.
7. Don’t obsess with numbers #2.- Same as with the reading, but this time with writing posts and comments/visits. I’d rather write four great posts a month than only one, but if for whatever reason I can’t or don’t feel like it, it is better to let it go. There must be a reason why I did not feel like writing and it is a great occasion to do some introspection and learn from ourselves.
8. Create a style that reflects your reading.- Ellie has a great blog about crime fiction, thrillers and sci-fi and you can immediately recognize it from the design of her blog. There are many styles and colors and WordPress offers different templates to choose from. It is worth spending an evening doing some research and revamping your site if you do not like how it looks anymore.
9. Never stop yourself from writing if you’re inspired.- There are days when a million ideas come to my mind and I feel like sharing them, although not on the same day! Sometimes I write as many posts as I want and save them instead of publishing. Later on, I revisit them and decided to share them… or not. Most of the times, those ideas are still appealing to me after some days and I do share them. This is very similar to the scheduled posts some bloggers do.
10. Love what you do.- A key to healthy working (on anything) is to love what you do. The happiness and passion of a blogger can be infectious! I do understand that sometimes it is difficult to keep blogging, but three posts about wanting to give-up clearly show that you are not. Look at the bright side of it: you still feel that you need blogging even to share you want to give up. Could it get better?