The blogging community is very welcoming
I thought about starting a blog for ages before I actually took the plunge and made the first step. From the outside it looked pretty intimidating - lots of bloggers with thousands of followers, bloggers that had other blogger friends and amazing, professional looking photos and layouts.
For some reason, I had visions of me being shunned and run out of blogger town by angry, torch-wielding, established bloggers. Well, maybe not quite, but I didn't expect to be welcomed as warmly as I was. Honestly, if you are thinking of starting a blog and have somehow stumbled upon this here post, not to get all Labeouf on your butt, but just do it. I dare ya.
Social media is your friend
Once I'd gotten over the initial "OMG I'm a new blogger everyone thinks I suck" fear, I realised that the blogs I followed all had links to their various social media outlets and I wanted to get in on the action. I set up an Instagram account and a Twitter account and used these to connect with more bloggers, join in with Twitter chats and keep in touch more regularly with my favourite creators. Social media helped me move on from feeling like a total outsider to feeling included and a part of this pretty great blogging community. Even more so when I signed up to be a member of #TheGirlGang. (if you haven't already done so, check it out - you won't regret it).
It's okay to promote yourself
Why shouldn't you? We all put time and effort into writing posts for our blogs. I don't know why I felt so uneasy about this when I first started doing it. I'd tweet a link to my newest post and then get a little sweat on about it (the fear is a weird thing isn't it?!). I guess I thought that I'd be a total nuisance, clogging up people's feeds with my links. I was forgetting that my Twitter followers do in fact follow more accounts than just me. And that the majority of my twitter followers are bloggers themselves, also promoting their own work.
Now it's a part of my daily routine - before bed I schedule tweets for the next day with links to my blog and I promote it on Instagram too. I actually find that the majority of my traffic comes from these sites. DO IT.
Write for you
Otherwise, what's the point? What enjoyment can you get out of it if you are just writing to please the masses, or just for the sake of it? I really enjoy sitting with my laptop and writing up blog posts about my life. Don't get me wrong, there are so many blogs out there that it would be almost impossible to have a blog filled with posts on subjects that no one else has ever touched on before, but what you have that everyone else doesn't is your own personality. Or, if you're like me, your own weirdo sense of humour.
I'll continue to blog as long as I get enjoyment from it. It would be a really unfulfilling hobby to put time into to just produce content that you think will make people like you, or you think people will want to hear. As much as I might share some odd stories (The Ghost Story Cupboard & The Spider Cupboard much?) I share them with passion and I think it's pretty easy to tell when someone has just fired out a blog post that means nothing to them.
What about you? What has been the biggest lesson you've learned since you started blogging? I still have so much to learn but I'm definitely still enjoying every minute of it.