It’s been four months since I put together this website and started sharing my ideas here. I had just graduated from my masters degree and started a job as an independent contractor working with an Occupational therapy pediatric practice when COVID-19 shut down the world. As many people were experiencing, I went from being constantly busy to doing maybe 1 or 2 hours of productive things, if anything at all. I am a self identified busy body – for as long as I can remember I have always THRIVED in being scheduled to the max. In high school I was constantly rehearsing for a piano recital, school show, dance recital etc while being involved in various groups….and the same continued into my undergraduate degree and masters degree.
When June came around, we weren’t only being flooded on social media with novel studies and findings DAILY about COVID-19, about how to be productive during a pandemic, about how to make banana bread and sourdough, but we now were in the midst of a civil uprising. George Floyd had just been murdered and the whole world was in protest. As many people were, I was flooded with information, some old and some new, but all emotional and I could feel the heaviness of the world and of my people. I tried to keep reading about everything going on, and reading about occupational therapy practices, but my head was spinning with information. So I figured since I had so much to share, I would start a blog.
At first it was specifically for Occupational therapy information and yoga… two things that I work with pretty frequently. But as I started writing I realized that since I’m not naturally a writer, I needed passion to be able to write well written narratives. Eventually, my blog became a mix of the things I was passionate about. Some occupational therapy, some mental health, and whatever else sparked my interest for the day. Do I have a niche yet? No, and who knows if I ever will. But it’s become a way for me to reflect on my learning and share the information I know.
And I am really enjoying it!
So what are my learnings from the first few months of blog writing?
Write about what you are passionate about
Remember when you were in grade school/high school and had to write a long essay about something you really didn’t care about ? Don’t let that be your blog, especially if you aren’t being paid for it right off the bat. Writing should be for you, and if you are passionate about the topic it will show through in your writing. Also writing about what you are passionate about will make it easier to post more on your blog because you aren’t reaching for a curated theme that you either can’t easily speak about or don’t want to commit your energy to researching into.
Write WHEN you are passionate
Some bloggers and vloggers recommend posting content at the same time every day/week/month in order to get engagement. If this is a blog that is purely for you and not something you are being paid to write, think about the realistic timelines you can give yourself. If you are someone that needs inspiration and flow to write (like I do), it can be difficult to pump out a well written and interesting article on demand. Consider your schedule and your style of writing! If you think you can commit to weekly posts, DO IT! But don’t feel that you have to promise or pressure yourself to get that post up every week…. the people that read your posts will continue to read your stuff if they enjoy it.
Don’t be scared of the ‘drafts’ folder
I’ve read so many articles calling people out for having tons of half written posts in their drafts folder (or the equivalent on other blog sites), but no lie I have 18 half written posts floating around in my folder now…and I usually do. I’m the same when I read; I get into moods where I am super excited about a book to read (or a concept to write about) and can write so quickly… but if I get interrupted I can lose that flow and won’t be able to focus. And then I can either give up on the book/post, power through and half focus while I finish, or come back to it. I hop around from blog post to blog post a LOT … but in the end I have something I am excited and proud of. Which comes to my next point:
Don’t be shy to share your work with your family/friends and followers!
What are your goals for writing? If you want to write because you want people to read your work, start with people you know! Of course, depending on your content, maybe you aren’t comfortable posting where your parents or employers will see what you write, but otherwise it’s wonderful to share! And if you’re writing and thinking… people aren’t going to be interested in this… you never know unless you try! I have shared quite a few blog posts that I was unsure if people would be interested in reading, and was often pleasantly surprised to see people commenting and sharing on my social media!
Finally, don’t fall into a like/share/subscribe trap
Everyone and their mothers are writing blogs these days. There are so many different people writing out there, and a lot who have huge followings for various reasons. The statistic page of WordPress is super cool to check and see who’s looking at your posts (I love seeing where people found my posts and what countries they’re from!), but don’t fall into the trap where you are writing FOR the likes. Some people read blog posts and don’t like/share/subscribe… and that’s OKAY. Don’t let yourself feel defeated or unworthy as a writer if you aren’t seeing any engagement or if you’re seeing inconsistent engagement with your posts. If you are starting to find yourself writing for the engagement, check in with yourself and why you started this blog. Is it time to take a break and find meaning in the writing of the blog again vs the satisfaction of people liking your work?
After a few months of writing, my advice definitely is WRITE FOR YOU. Find what you love, write with your heart, and share with your community. You will find people that enjoy reading what you want to share, be patient and in the meantime enjoy the process!