I have been writing since I was a little girl. Don’t we all!. Today, I am going to talk about the ten things I needed to kick-start my first blog.
I know that most of you who are reading this blog have searched for some inspiration to start your blog. I have done the same, which is why I am going to share my experience with you.
As a stay-at-home mom of a hyperactive 3-year-old kid, I had lost much of my dignity (had to chase a pack of hens the other day for her entertainment!) and was on the verge of losing my sanity (can’t remember what I had for breakfast, or if I had any).
I needed to be productive again (nothing remotely house-wifely). I said so to my husband, with great animation and some hint of tears (more of a sniffing, wink).
Guess what he suggested? Blogging, of course!
1. A kick-start
So last week, after I had seen my child off to school, I sat down with my computer and started looking for blogs on writing. I came across a blog Aliventures by a super mom and an entrepreneur. She offers to help you master the art, craft, and business of writing with great tips on writing, productivity and time management. Furthermore, she has a way of successfully boosting your morale.
It was this article Why You Should Be Blogging … and Why You Shouldn’t that pushed me to the next phase of my research.
2. Research, more research
I had spent three full days in research (I do not understand back-end stuff about computers, prefer the way they look from the front) on a blog platform, domain, hosting, plug-ins and examples of personal blogs.
I will share the most informative sites (easy on eyes and brain of course) with you today.
3. The blogging guides
I found this very informative guide by Mike Wallagher during my search on how to set up a blog. I followed it head to tail and strongly suggest you check all the links for detailed tips on each step. However, his guide is specifically for those who have decided on using WordPress as a platform and HostGator for self-hosting. There are other popular choices; you can google or check these for blogging platforms and blog hosting service.
4. The dictionary
I have always found the Merriam-Webster dictionary very helpful (downloaded the app in my mobile) and cross check synonyms and antonyms from www.thesaurus.com.
There are times when I have felt the word I remember is not right for the sentence. I searched it on Google and found many suggestions. I keep up a spreadsheet for new words, their short definition, synonyms and antonyms for future reference. So tell me, what do you do to improve your vocabulary.
5. Grammar check
I came across this guest post by Sam Landon in ProWritingAid who had suggested a list of other websites for improving one’s grammar. I have checked the first three and found them very useful. If any of you go through the rest, let me know how they were.
6. Some great blogs
I went through a lot of posts from writing-related blogs and websites and found that reading good blogs can give us lot of confidence. They are very resourceful for both bloggers and aspiring authors. Writer’s Digest, copyblogger, The Write Practice, Chuck Wending a really crazy and adorable man (I have not met him, just love his blog), The Write Life are some of the best known names offering answers to a variety of questions lurking in our mind (simple or complex, you might find they bugging you at the oddest of times).
7. Read read read
Some say a voracious reader is not necessarily an entertaining writer. The question is, how do we fall in love with writing if we do not read? Goodreads offer a massive database of books of all ages. I often read book reviews for hours, especially when I am between books (if you know what I mean). Some excellent blogs offer book reviews. You can find a list of great book blogs here.
8. Ask for help
I asked my husband to go through my materials and website a hundred times. He is my beta-reader. Well, he was my only reader till yesterday. If you have friends or family members who are comp-geeks and good in English, ask for help. Do the actual work by yourself though.
9. Active online social life
Yes. Be a socialite. No, I am serious (not Kim Kardashian Socialite duh! I like you, Kim, just kidding!). I am known as a loner but this blog and book mania have made me a twitter and Facebook freak again. I don’t remember the last time I had spent time on the social network for this long. It helps. You make new friends of similar interests, already established people in your chosen field who can give you a lot of tips and ideas, often pull you out of a tight spot, unknowingly.
This is the most important one, though I mentioned it last, so you linger here the longest. Brainstorming is the most important aspect of our chosen path.
Night after night, once the rest of the family went to bed, I kept all my electronic devices in one room, locked myself in another, and relaxed with closed eyes for half an hour. I thought a lot (I do that all the time), this time in an organized way. I forced my mind to stop making a grocery list and meal plans for the next day. Instead, I listed out as many ideas as I could and took a measure of content in my mind. I jotted them down on my writing pad in a tabular form. One morning, when I had enough to go with, it was very easy to transfer to a spreadsheet and play with categorization (genre, comfort level, content size in the ready). I had a generous amount of blog ideas and started my first book within the next hour.
For working with WordPress, I went through the tutorial after installation and some online guides (google and you will find loads). I am not a computer geek, so took some time to click everything and see what they are all about. You might see everything in a jiffy. I am still coming across new stuff. Do explore and share.
So these were the ten things that helped me start my first blog. How about you? Are you ready to write your first one? Are you a blogger already, trying to get out of your blog-block and ready to post again? Do share your experience.