How I Kicked-Start My Blog With New Initiatives But Whacked It With The Old-School Way

As far as I can remember, I have been writing my thoughts since I was 10 years old. Nope, my parents never brought me a diary; nor did they encourage me to write then. What I did though was use a discarded notepad and covered it with black paper. I literally made my own black book where I wrote about all the silly things that preoccupied my naïve mind.

FxCam_1337936672789

From being 10 to 30, I was only able to save three of my so-called black books. You see, I have a habit of burning my journals when all pages have been filled out; not because, I was afraid of the skeletons I kept in my closet (I can hardly categorize all of my secrets at that age as skeletons) but because I was unhappy with what I have written. If you were there prior to the ‘cremation’ of my black books, you would have heard me say to myself, “Crap…yuck…bad English…so corny…over…this is not true…” No one told me that it was normal to change your mind and no one told me that keeping a journal was not all about polish. In addition, it was tiring to keep journals when you’re family was constantly moving from one place to another.

It was while working as a writer-researcher in the Philippine Army when I discovered a new way of documenting my thoughts – blogging. The year was 2003 and I was new to the idea of online writing or what is known as blogging. (I got sick and tired of bringing my journal everywhere I went, which was not only heavy but also consumed most of the space in my bag.) I fell in love with it immediately; in fact, I was even able to convince some of my friends to create their own accounts as a means to get in touch with one another.

In a span of 9 years, I have created, maintained, and gave up (some deleted) a total of five blog accounts. Sadly, it is still similar to burning journals. It was only just recently when I decided to take my blogging seriously. I wanted a blog that was not too dramatic, nor too shallow. A blog that truly depicted who I was and what I believed in; where I can start sharing what mattered to me and people will actually enjoy stumbling into it. In short, I wanted a blog that I will not abandon.

DSC_0222

Obviously, I needed help and this was when my (superhero) travel blogger friends, Doi and Ed, came in the picture. They were generous enough to share what they have learned in their years of travel blogging and now I am paying it forward.

Advice # 1: Buy a scribbling pad.

FxCam_1347368675128

Documentation is essential during the planning stage because you don’t want to lose even the smallest details; so in order to make this plausible, you have to HAVE a notepad, planner, or notebook where you can write all your ideas and the suggestions made by those you consulted. For me, I am lucky to have a big brother who adores my whims for writing – he gave me a 2012 Starbucks planner so I can jot down the ideas that he swears he hears crunching and scurrying in my head every time something interesting comes up.

Advice # 2: Write everything down.

notes for tutu on the run

When I say everything, I meant everything – titles, possible topics, taglines, categories, resource materials, blogs you can check out, etc. Never disregard anything that passes through. You never know when you might be able to use it.

It’s your option to use as many pages as deemed needed but if it were for me, I would suggest you conserve space by being minimal. I’m a tree hugger, so that basically explains why I refused to give in to Ed when he told me to use the other pages of my planner. I preferred to squeeze all my notes to reserve other pages for future reminders.

Advice # 3: Listen, discuss and decide.

Sometimes we have to pay attention to what other people have to say, most especially if these people have successfully made their mark in the area where we want to take part in. If they ask you questions, try to rummage through your brain for answers. It’s not a job interview so there is no need to filter those thoughts; however, you need to come up with honest answers so that you will be able to discover what your blog will be all about.

FxCam_1340357353131

Here are some of the questions that my blog advisers asked me which you may want to ponder on.

  1. What is your niche?
  2. What is the purpose of your blog?
  3. Who are your readers?
  4. What do you want to write about?
  5. What is your theme?

During discussion, more questions will arise. I know what you are thinking, “I already know all these!” Yes, you might know but trust me on this – the moment you write them down and think about how you can phrase them in your blog, that’s when you realize that you actually didn’t know a thing. There is a fine line between letting thoughts run in your head versus putting them on paper. Thoughts in your head have the advantage of chaotic understanding, thoughts in paper do not. The latter is actually trickier and will require more organizing skills before it can be comprehended by other people.

Advice # 4: Create social media accounts.

Social media accounts help the promotion of your blog so it is best that you utilize them. There are several that you can take advantage of; for me, I chose to stick to the most basic ones which are Facebook, twitter, and Instagram. Besides, these are the only ones I use anyway.

Oh yeah, another great way of making your presence felt is by visiting other blogs. Go blog-hopping and get acquainted with other writers. This is a sure way of letting people know that your blog exists. You can even write guest posts for them like what I did.

FxCam_1340355713644

You may also want to monitor the traffic in your blog by opening accounts in feedburner and statcounter.com. It is actually quite encouraging to see people’s visits to your blog, even though some were probably just passing through.

Advice # 5: Use Windows Live Writer.

Because I am such a cavewoman, I just recently discovered the magical powers of Windows Live Writer. I didn’t actually open my own account but it was Doi who initiated it. In the beginning, she and Ed were having a blast joking about how I wrote my articles but later on Doi got irritated watching me use Word Document.

cavewoman Den

You must be wondering, “why was I using Word Document and what’s wrong with using wordpress.com directly when writing your article?” There’s nothing wrong with using your blog host directly but if you have an internet connection which was as unreliable as mine, then Windows Live Writer can be quite handy. You can write your articles with the same convenience offered by wordpress minus the required internet connection, as well as, upload photos or videos to your articles faster. You have the benefit of being able to view how your article will look like without going online.

Once you have saved your article, you have the option to post it as draft or publish it to your blog. By this time, you will need to go online but if an internet connection is still unavailable, you can just close the application and go back to the same article some other time (at least by then, the hard part would be over).

Advice # 6: Tweak your settings.

Like what I said, I am a technological cavewoman. I will admit that I owe Doi a lot because she set up my blog in accordance to how I imagined and sketched it. Being old school and all, I merely laid all my plans on a piece of paper and gave it to her. She then took it from there. She tried explaining the process to me several times but I couldn’t help withdrawing to Wonderland while she was doing so. My brain automatically shuts down when it comes to technical stuff.

I have this advantage now but I know that I will have to learn this in the future. I can’t rely on my friend forever Winking smile (or maybe I can).

Advice # 7: Write about the things you love.

Don’t get into the bandwagon of always writing about the current trends. If the hot topic is something that you are passionate about then by all means, write away! If it is not, then stick to your interests. Your article may not garner a hundred or more readers but at least you’re happy with it. Never lose the identity of your blog. This is the main reason why you have returning visitors.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Like This Blog's Posts? Get the latest updates straight to your Email for FREE!
 
Please check your email to confirm your subscription

Comments

  1. hehehe. i agree on being the technical cavewoman that you are. nice read Den. 😉
    happy blogging and make sure your passion for writing doesn’t fade and no more burning books or blogs, k? 😉

  2. great list! na-inspire tuloy ako to write better post:D

  3. great list! I’m so with you on #3. A lot of bloggers will say you need to answer those questions which you already know but it’s harder to implement it. 🙂 BTW, which part of China did you visit?

    • Hi Claudine…that list is not so updated now, my stint here in India has taught me some additional things that a woman may need (most especially when travelling in India)…I’ll try updating it soon…thanks for dropping by…and about China, I was in Zhengzhou and Guangzhou. 🙂

      • Wow! You’re in India now! I would love to visit the Taj Mahal in the future. 🙂 You’re really an adventurous person. I do hope you’re able to save up some money as well for your future. Hehehe.. 🙂 Zhengzhou and Guangzhou? Two of my least favorite places with least amount of culture. I do hope you explored Shaolin Temple and Luoyang Grottoes while you were in Zhengzhou.. 🙂

        • Yes, visit India one day when you have the time…I like to discover new places…let’s just say that my travel stints defined who I am now…you learn a lot when you travel and meet people…not the luoyang grottoes sadly but I plan to go back to China in the future…well, I hope I’ll bump into you in one of my travels…you know what they say, travelers are bound to meet somewhere…:)

%d bloggers like this: