Do you read blogs and wonder if you could write your own? Of course you could! You can read plenty of advice about starting one, writing your first post, working your SEO, building your traffic, and connecting with your readers, but what does it take to really do the work? You know what they say—you need the right tools for the job–so what are they? It probably depends on who you are, but here are some tools I think you should have in your Toolbox if you’re thinking of writing a blog, or even if you already do.
Time: Blogging takes time. A lot of time. Regardless of your reasons for blogging, you need to carve out space in your life to do it. Whatever time you spend working on your blog, is time taken away from something else. Just remember that and make sure working on your blog is worth it.
Motivation: Since blogging takes a lot of time, there has to be some sort of payoff. What is it? Why do you blog? Figure out why you’re writing. Are you building a community of like-minded people with similar interests? Building a business? Creating a family record? Creating awareness for a cause?
Figure out what your motivation is because it is what you need to get things done. You motivate yourself with a reward—the community, the growing business, the published family pictures people can share and talk about, your cause moving forward.
Inspiration: Inspiration is a different force of creativity than motivation. It’s the energy that moves you to write and it can’t be measured in the same way as a motivational checklist. It’s something you feel from the inside. So what inspires you? Figure out what moves you. Read blogs unlike your own or the kind you want to write–you will learn so much. Get outside—nothing helps you feel better than a visit with Mother Nature. Try new things—it’s never too late to try new things. Read—good reading begets good writing and, well . . .
A keyboard: Blogs aren’t handwritten. Can you even read your own handwriting anymore? I hardly can. Having said that, I do carry . . .
An idea notebook: I always have one in my bag because I don’t like to carry a laptop and I don’t own a tablet. If you have a notebook, you can open it up and record writing ideas whenever they come to you. You can take notes in your phone or use the voice memo function (that’s brilliant, actually). The point is, figure out where you’re going to keep all your writing and creative ideas and get them recorded whenever they come to you.
Images: I love using images in my posts and, quite frankly, they’re important. We live in a visual world and words and images love each other. What do you do if you aren’t a talented photographer or designer? Use programs to help you be one. 😉 PicMonkey, Canva, and Unsplash are great places to start.
Goals: Set some goals to help you be motivated to do the work. They should be aligned with what inspires you. One post a week. A beautiful layout. Content your family will read. 500 followers. Catharsis.
Support: We already established that blogging takes time. It’s a choice, so that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but our lives are better for the people in them and we don’t need them to be missing out and we don’t need to miss out on them. Your family will support you but the time they miss with you is a sacrifice. Don’t neglect them. Appreciate them. This will go a long way to your family continuing to support your blogging. Another thing is to connect with other people who are doing the same thing you are. Start or join a meet-up, join a writers’ group, go to a conference.
I enjoy going to blogging conferences and meeting other bloggers. They’re always fun and I learn a lot from the people I meet. My writers’ group, the Flying M-Inklings, is invaluable. We truly connect and learn from each other. We’re really different so we enjoy each other’s varying viewpoints. For me, they provide constructive criticism, hold me accountable, and push me toward my goals. I highly recommend starting one if you’re not already in one.
If you need some tips on how to start one, check out this post from my friend Daisy.
What other tools should be in a bloggers’ toolbox? Let us know in the comments–thanks!
Shannon maintains her own blog with her daughter, Brittan. Called Salt Lick Lessons, the site provides fun and helpful resources, tools, stories and ideas of all kinds.