Welcome back to the second of two posts on Blogging...the first one is here: Lessons I've Learned About Blogging (Part 1)...here is the wee bit rest of my lessons learned...
Lesson #3- Building Community/Link-Ups and Blog Hops- All that being said, let's face it, we want to share our words, and how can you do that if no-one is reading them or knows you are here? Blog Hops and linkups, as well as special interest communities, are a great way to connect, mingle and meet like-minded others in the blogosphere. I will be the first to admit, I had no idea there is this amazing fellowship among Christian Bloggers, Writers, Artists. It is beautiful. I can't tell you how much God has opened my mind and heart through His amazing Body Universal via the internet. When people say the derogatory things they say about internet usage, I feel the need to remind them that nothing in and of itself is evil. We bring to everything we do, ourselves. If we are full of light and truth, then we will reflect it. But if we are looking for trouble or unguarded and unwise in our motives, attitudes and actions then trouble will find us- and then yes, it can be negative. As with any other endeavor, ministry, activity, we must seek Him, first, and be careful how we invest our time and energy. Linking up regularly with weekly Blog Hops allows us to make some wonderful friends. We learn, and encourage one another, from wherever we are. God is not bound. He is so much more creative than we, in the means He will use to touch others, reach out, connect. Don't limit your thinking, or yourself. I am richer from those who I have come to know through blogging! Your Challenge: Join up with a blogging community in the New Year. There are many, but find which work for you or feel like home. Sometimes I have a hard time remembering all of them, there are so many wonderful ones. But Here is a PLACE that lists many: Missional Women Blog Hops List
Lesson #4 - Everybody May LIKE Sally Field, But Don't Lose Sleep If they Don't Like You!
In real life, we will not be everybody's cup of tea. Ultimately you make your grave and rest peacefully in it. OK, no- I don't know why I just wrote that...what I mean to say, and what you know in your heart of hearts, is that as wonderful as I am, not everyone is going to see that adorableness shine through. Some might find me downright annoying. Feel free not to chime in your opinion if you agree, thanks. Same goes for you. I am not writing to please EVERYONE. I am writing as God leads and as I believe is relevant and vital from my perspective. As a matter of fact, I recently turned down what seemed to be an excellent opportunity that fell in my lap. It looked good and seemed like a big opportunity. But when I looked into it further, I realized this great by appearance opportunity was not a good fit for the heart of my blog, for me, or for those who hang out with me here. I was afraid to say no, after excitedly agreeing to this particular opportunity. But in the end, I had to explain why, although I appreciated the offer, it was not a good fit for my Faith focused blog. It just felt, wrong. And although a interviewing a well known Christian woman seemed like a great thing, the stipulations left me feeling uncomfortable on a number of levels. Although, I may never know if I missed "a great opportunity", and it was hard to say no, I felt that I stayed true to my conviction with this blog. I know there are other blogs who would and did jump at the chance. Guess what? I have no desire to be all things to all people. Um...well, mostly. There are enough people in the Blogosphere for everyone to express themselves as they see fit. Me? I've got this one gift, this one voice and I share it here...it's all filtered through the lens of the Almighty. I'm not holier than thou, just aware that if my me-ness resonates with you, great. If not, there are a plethora of voices from which to choose. I'm not losing sleep if I'm not your cup of tea. Don't lose sleep if you're not mine. Your Challenge: Ask yourself, if you think your writing voice and who you are are in sync? What is your heart's message to share? Reflect on that and write about it! Let go of the desire to please everyone!
Lesson #5- The Rhythm Is Gonna Get You~ Consistency in Blogging
I had been blogging for about 6 months, when I happened upon a blogger who shared a blog writing challenge called The Giving Thanks Challenge. It was my first 31 day challenge, and I was not on a blog writing schedule but just writing as I felt led. Something amazing happened during that first November. The challenge was to write on the theme of thankfulness for the 31 days. The fruit of that first endeavor was this, once I blogged daily that November of 2011, it sealed the deal- I became a daily blogger right then. The more I wrote, the more ideas I had. After that first challenge my blogging was pretty much daily. It worked for me. Blogging was therapeutic, and beneficial. It reminded me that even when I felt useless, rejected and unsure of the future, God could use me in ways that I hadn't really considered fully. A blogging schedule is something you determine that works for you, your family and your real life. I have a variety of things I like to write on, so I try to connect with others who are on the same page. The beautiful thing about this blogging thing, is it's what you make it-schedule wise. Since I blog frequently I don't expect everyone to read all of my posts. Whoah! Way too much of me, for anyone! But, I know bloggers who post 2 days a week, or on specific days, and I like to visit on those days, expecting to see new material! There is nothing worse than unpredictability with regard to this. Whatever you decide is your Rhythm of frequency for posts, your readers will love if you are consistent. There are so many good blogs around, but it's nice to know you can count on finding fresh words from your favorite blogger on the same day each week. Even if you have to go into your archives and find a post that got few views, edit and re-post it, try to keep some kind of consistency. Trust me on this one. I have pulled about a dozen posts from when I first started the blog that I noticed had few views (I was not hopping all over the Blogosphere yet) and tweaked them, posted them the second time around. One of these posts has over 1400 views It is my top viewed post of 2013 (Why did I find that out? A fellow blogger on FB asked, what was your top viewed post of 2013 and BAM, there I went scouring the archives!). Point is, if you feel you can't post fresh stuff regularly, freshen your old stuff! Get some more mileage out of those hidden treasure posts you wrote but many may have not yet read. Your Challenge: Whether you post once a week, once a month or daily- establish a plan, and stick to it. Keep it simple, but keep it, and it will not only grow your blog, proper- but grow you, too!
Linking with Barbie for The Weekend Brew!
and Create With Joy: