While I sit here and watch the snow fall behind me out of the reflection of my computer, I have a little time to think about writing and blogging. I'm looking back at what I've learned so far while blogging for, essentially, 9 months. Throughout these past nine months, my posting consistency definitely has not been as active as I would like; that's a large lesson I've learned.
1. It's Quite Time ConsumingI currently work full time at NC State University and am a Master's of Business Admin. student at ECU. These two things alone take up the mass majority of my time. Throw in a blog and basically all of the extra time that I have is gone (but I am NOT complaining.) Some people think that blogging is not a job that can cast up to 40 hours of work per week. But when your posting 5 - 7 times a week, networking and advertising, it can add up to more time than that.
Networking, following other blogs, interacting with other Blogger's postings, advertising and posting/writing new content is time consuming. I personally know that I do not devote as much time to it as I need. But after work and homework each day, the hour that I devote to myself (normally dinner time) is the time I want to use to relax. But after school is over, I plan to get writing and working on this blog, fully!
2. It Can Be Hard to Create Shareable Content"Better content doesn't always mean a better blog." I remember this daily while I read, write and interact with other blogs. Although content is a MAIN aspect to blogging, having better content does not always mean your blog is "better."
But getting to that point can be difficult. Finding a niche content market or blog realm can be tasking. For people like me, who love a lot of things, it can be hard to settle down and figure out the main shareable content on your blog. Once that is actually accomplished, it can be even harder to create that content. I don't cook well and I don't read many books (outside of school textbooks). I can write and write and write, but I also get to a point where I feel nervous that my content isn't great, then delete.
3. Writing Isn't as "Easy" as School Essays Make it SeemI can write and research for days on end when it comes to specific graduate research project topics (provided by a teacher.) But when it comes to writing about topics I really love, there are times I can hit a (large) brick wall. Although I do love to research and write papers (I know, I know. What a weirdo.), I would love to be able to write about what I love easily. I want to do what I love justice and writing about it can, sometimes, not be easy.
Not to mention, creative writing is very different than research writing. I love research writing. I love writing in general. I just HATE those brick walls.
4. Online Networking is the Best Thing a Blogger Can DoSocial media, blogging forums, groups, etc., are essential. The blogging community is fantastic. There are many individuals out there who are WILLING to help you with your blog! If you're in NC, check out NC Blogger Network. Such a WONDERFUL blogging community of local bloggers willing to help and collaborate with you (with wonderful content at that!) Establish a community and use that community! They are a great resource. Most bloggers are willing to help and are very pleasant individuals.
5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Isn't as Easy as the Books Make It LookBooks can tell you all you want to know about Search Engine Optimization, but it cannot show you how to do it (some books try, really hard.) It's a very difficult process. But when it works, it works. It is a true learning experience, with a lot of intricate topics, twists and turns (but if you know me, you know I do love to learn.) It all roles back to great content and social interactions. Link sharing can be difficult, but great content can help that.
When all is said and done, blogging has been and will continue to be a wonderful experience. I've gotten way more views than I could have possibly imagined (even if many of them are from family and friends.) I've even made a little bit of money ($2 dollars currently... I know, not a lot but that's something I'm proud of as well!) Blogging has been a learning lesson and I'm glad I've ventured down this road! One day I will transfer to WordPress, but that will be after schooling is over.