Four Blog Writing Lessons I Learned in Four Years
When you’ve been blogging for long enough, you tend to create routines. You have little systems in place that you’ve developed over time. It makes the entire blog writing experience less stressful.
I’ve learned so many things in the four years that I’ve been blogging. And I realize I rarely talk about them on here. So today, I want to highlight on my blog writing journey and the lessons I learned along the way.
My Writing Voice Metamorphosis: From Cynical Caterpillar to a Better Butterfly
I was one of those early teens in the internet who is angry at the world 24/7. Shocking, isn’t it? But it’s true.
My username was literally Cynical Kate or something. I know it’s hard to imagine now since my personal brand, and by extension my blog’s brand, is spreading positivity and love. (Create and grow happily, yes?)
But that’s my origin story as a blogger and writer.
Somewhere along the way, I realized how emotionally taxing it is to be angry all the time. My fingers tapping onto the keys could sometimes feel more like slamming doors after doors. And I know there are people who thrive in that energy, but I’ve come to find out I wasn’t one of them. I found that there is, on the other hand, so much joy in writing with a happy vibe.
So I did.
Finding the Right Blog Writing Voice
Writing with the right happy vibe was a journey in itself, though. A sub-plot, if you must. I’ve been that blogger who uses lots of exclamation points and making words suuuper looong. I have used gifs and memes. I’ve abused the capslock and emojis.
And while there are also bloggers who are so natural at this, writing this way didn’t feel normal to me. It felt inauthentic and forced.
I didn’t feel like myself.
It wasn’t until I first stumbled upon the Yes and Yes blog that I found inspiration and clarity. I LOVE the way Sarah writes. It’s like your best friend talking to you and the way she put in humor and stories in her post are clever.
That’s the kind of happy vibe I want. Like your funny and clever best friend talking to you.
That, plus my love for analogies – that would go so far as comparing getting past obstacles to a chicken – and adding pop culture references, is my current writing voice.
So what did I take away from those four years of searching for my writing voice?
1) Read as much as you can
This isn’t just me being a bookworm and promoting the beauty and importance of reading. (Although, I’m all for that!) But seriously. To improve as a writer you have to read.
There’s only so much you know and ideas you can come up on your own. I know this because I myself don’t have lots of mindblowing ideas coming out of my brain everyday like how scrabble relates to not giving up on life. I need outside perspective too.
And when I say read a lot, I’m not pressuring you to read 300-page novels either. You can read an online essay on Longreads, or scroll through an article on Medium. Heck, even reading a comment in one of the Facebook groups you’re in goes a long way.
2) You are an important part of the writing equation
You know how most blogging advice on writing a good blog post centers on what your readers like?
Well, that’s true. But I don’t think it’s the entire truth. What your readers like to get from reading your blog is important, sure. But you also need to consider what you like to write.
Think about it:
If you forced yourself to write something that your readers like but you don’t quite enjoy writing, what do you think would happen? The post will come out unnatural and inauthentic. And your readers will sense this.
Format how you like to format your posts. Make use of lists. If you like long paragraphs, don’t be afraid to use them! One way to be authentic online is through doing what you prefer. It’s honestly more enjoyable to read a blog post that’s so real. I talked more extensively about writing a great blog post on the Blog Buddy Program website, if you want to check it out!
3) Learn how to balance self-acceptance and self-improvement
There’s room for improvement but there’s also lots to love about your writing now. This is something I struggled in my first year blogging.
I always thought my writing sucked. I had the habit of publishing impulsively and then reading back what I already published and finding flaws that I edit right then. And I would spend hours doing this. Looking back, that was such a perfectionist Kate thing to do. But it was also very counterproductive.
I talked about this before:
When you choose perfect over finish, you leave zero room for improvement.
Spending so much time trying to fix your work will end up in you getting stuck on doing only that one thing, for-freakin-ever. I’m all for editing, but you need to give it an end time.
4) Finding your writing voice takes time
It could take months or, in my case, years to find and develop your writing voice.
This isn’t to say that your writing right now is awful — not at all! It just means that you aren’t there yet. You aren’t in that place you wanted to be yet. The way I see it, it’s kinda like how an artist’s skill develops and progresses over time.
In fact, both writers and artists (and all kinds of creatives, really) follow the same creative principle: improvement requires hours and hours of practice. This is why it’s important to show up and write stuff and finish writing said stuff. It’s how you improve as a writer.
Remember: even the masters were once novices.
We all have to start somewhere. And really, the only other way to go is up. So enjoy where you are right now. Relish in the things you are proud of, and be excited for a better you ahead. Because there will be a better you ahead. I know it.
I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
What are some blog writing tips you’ve learned so far in your blogging journey? Share them below!
In another news, November 14th marks the day this smol blog was born. Which means I’ve been around the blogosphere for 4 years. Which is, like, a century in Internet Days and therefore I am a certified virtual crone.
This little corner of the Interwebs that I call home has gone through so many phases — and I’m sure it will continue to do so. But I never expected my blog to become so important to me. Yet in a way, it had a huge part in making me who I am now.
Gosh, I’m getting sentimental.
As a thank you to all you amazing human beings who made blogging an incredibly enjoyable experience, I’m having my 2nd Blog Birthday Giveaway!
Here’s what’s in store for this year’s blog birthday giveaway:
- 1 winner of a $25USD Amazon Gift Card
- 1 winner of a full-color illustration (A5 size, 300 dpi)
- 2 winners of a watercolor portrait with minimal background (A5 size, 300 dpi)
I will be sending all these digitally, though, as I have yet to figure out my country’s mailing system. This giveaway is open internationally and I will be picking out the four winners on December 2, 2018. Good luck!
I love your writing! It always inspires me. Happy blogiversary! ❤️
Aww thank you Anne!
Just joined to your raffle!!!!
Happy four years kate
Thank you Karen! Best of luck with the giveaway!
Happy four year blogaversery! I’m only in my fourth month so have a long way to go! One tip I’ve found useful is to ‘just write’. Then edit it after. I’ve found this approach speeds me up overall!
Oh gosh I agree 100%! As a perfectionist, editing as I go was one of my biggest flaws. Just writing really helped conquer that dreaded first draft 🙂 Thank you so much, Alison!
I honestly didn’t know you had been blogging for four years yo! Such a commitment! I wish I had stuff to a single blog but it too went through some major swings… I think my own personal Facebook is still set to scarsonthisheart or seekofdescry or something. I was dark and angry during those early years. And then I took off traveling and came back a bit of a hippy? And well. Here we are… Writing positivey blogs and working on BBP… I love you. And your blog. And your story. And your giveaway! So excited!
Aww I love you too Lee! I feel like we’ve all been through phases to where we are now. I’m super excited with what the future holds for us and BBP! 🙂
Stopped by to say hi. i am new. Very cool blog!
This is a great perspective on what it is like to be a blog writer.
Aww thank you so much, Sara! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂
Congrats on your 4 year blogiversary! Your point about it taking time to find your voice is oh so true. I recently started down a slightly different path on my blog, and I feel like I’m getting into a good stride. Thanks for sharing your useful thoughts – I saved it to my Writing & Blogging Pinterest board for others who have an interest is possibly starting a blog.
Thank you so much Ellen! And that sounds great! I hope you get into a better and better strides with you blog 🙂 Thanks so much again!!
Congratulations on what you’ve done!
Thanks so much John! Have a great day!
Happy 4 year anniversary, love! That’s such an amazing accomplishment! I really love all the advice you gave! I too have noticed the way my writing voice has been shaped over the years. I started off as a ranting-user on Goodreads, but now try to review books in the most respectful ways possible. I think it’s so wonderful that you love to spread positivity and kindness through your blog! That’s so inspirational! <3
Oh gosh, I was that ranting reviewer on oodreads too! It’s always so nice to hear someone grow with more love and kindness 🙂 I think that’s the best growth to happen. And the world today is better with your grace and respect, Kelly <3 Thank you so much! Have a great day!!
Awesome post! It’s great how writing and putting one self out there ignites personal growth as well as media presence.
Couldn’t agree with you more! Sometimes, I feel so blessed to have and love writing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Devinder! Have a wonderful day! 🙂
This is such an inspirational post Kate..I love all your input and as a newbie blogger, I’ll keep these things in mind. My blog is only intended for books, for NOW, I suppose but hopefully I could find my voice to share something as worthy as this. I don’t want to make another blog for sharing something personal so, I hope to incorporate mine and blend everything I love in one umbrella of a blog name. Thank you so much for sharing this!
Thank you so much Karlita! And omg, if you can find a way to incorporate personal stories into your currently-book blog, do let me know!! I love book bloggers but my fave kinds are those who put in a bit of personal/lifestyle in it too! Thank you so much for taking the time to share a bit of your blogging jourmey, hope you’re enjoying it! 🙂
It sounds like youve learned a lot. I always admire bloggers for being able to stick with it and grow.
Aww, thank you Shannon! And I so agree, I know of bloggers who have been around for more than a decade and I’m just at awe of them!
You are an awesome writer! Happy 4 year anniversary. I especially like “Read as Much as you Can”. That is a good philosophy to follow whether you are a writer or not
I so agree!! And that isn’t my book dragon self talking 😉 Thank you so much for dropping by, Sandy!
This would be great to win. Thanks for this chance..
Herzllichen Gruß! Sehr geholfen Ratt innerhalb dieser post!
Es sind die kleinen Veränderungen , die machen die größte Änderungen. Vielen Dank für das Teilen!