Over the past few months I’ve found myself really interested in newsletters.
Many of the blogs I used to regularly read are now sites I check out every once in a while or have just forgotten about altogether. People don’t blog (or read blogs) like they used to and the sort of blog content that worked 4/5 years back is now the sort of thing that gets posted on Instagram.
However, a newsletter is a great way to keep readers or followers updated in a way that feels personal. This blog is now in it’s fourth year and my intention is for it to expand beyond just blogposts.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking to create a newsletter. However, I currently only have one email subscriber (the majority of readers follow this blog via WordPress) so I’ll hold off for a little while. I’m waiting until I reach the first 10 email subscribers before putting out my first newsletter.
It’ll be a monthly summary with extra bits and pieces that don’t get shared on the blog. My newsletter is for all my readers but mainly those that find it hard to keep up. I think a monthly email with links to top posts, recent content and recommendations will be much easier to keep up with.
I look forward to putting out my first newsletter in the coming weeks or months. I hope you look forward to reading it, sign up below:
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Often when it comes to periods where I’m less inspired to write, the problem has nothing to do with writing.
For example, if you’re busy and overwhelmed throughout the day, when it comes to sitting down to write in the evening it’s difficult. It’s not that you’re not inspired but instead that your mind is frazzled. You can’t focus because you’re distracted by everything else that is going on.
When you put pen to paper or fingers to keys, the words don’t flow because your mind isn’t clear. But it’s not writers block, your simply just blocked overall. And as soon as things are no longer overwhelming or you spend time to get yourself back to a more harmonious state, the writing starts to get easier again.
Thats how long it took me to read through one of last weeks blog posts.
For quite some time now I’ve been thinking of creating audio versions of my blog posts. There are various reasons I have resisted, from not having any equipment to wondering whether I’m taking on too much (I’ve written over 800 blog posts). However, one of the biggest reasons is that I think they would be too short.
We’re in the season of audio content and even though there are people that listen to short podcasts, I can’t help but wonder if under 5 minutes would put people off. Of course, one may argue that my work isn’t for the people that would be put off. However, when you’re just starting out you want to know that there is a market for what you have to offer.
A solution I’d considered was to have a weeks worth of posts per episode almost like a sort of story but I wasn’t sold on the idea enough to proceed with it.
I’m still in limbo with whether or not this podcast idea will come to life and even what the format will be. But I do think that now is the perfect time to be experimenting with audio content, even if it ends up being temporary.
So, I’ve recently been reflecting on how I can make this site better. The things that came up were adding categories and adding a search bar.
Categories give the reader a good idea of what they can can expect. Catergories also give the blogger structure as if you have to ensure what you write fits within your chosen areas. I think what stopped me creating categories was my worry that the structure may be limiting.
Also, even though there are clear recurring themes in my blog posts they might not be able to be fit into 3-5 catergories and having more than that might look messy.
But despite all that I’m now realising that there are benefits to having structure.
Having a search bar is simple and gives the reader the option to specify what they’re looking for and that could in turn help me to improve my site.
So, expect to see these 2 changes on the blog soon. Use this as a reminder to do a little audit of your own site and figure out if there’s something missing.
From November 17th, you may have noticed a new feature on Instagram, Guides.
Guides allow users to ‘find, curate and share the products, places and posts you love’. They can feature your own content or the content of others. Tech Crunch have a good article that explains things in more detail.
Aside from captions this feature is the first that allows users to create longer form content similar to a blog post.
It could be considered as an easier way to create blog posts that are based around shopping, pictures and recommendations. In fact, it’s likely to become what many creators will turn to and what many brands will start paying creators for.
On the other hand, for a blog that is focused on the words, where the images aren’t the main focus, guides won’t work as an alternative.
It will be interesting to see who uses this new feature and how. It will also be interesting to see the blogs this feature may end up replacing.
You buy more books, attend more events and enroll on more courses.
You think these things will give you the necessary knowledge and tools to pursue the thing you’re interested in.
But how much is too much?
When will you stop gathering information and just start?
We’re often relunctant to accept that we’re ready to jump in and really do the work. Instead we hide behind this great online course that will teach us what we need to know. You probably tell yourself, you’ll start once the course is done.
But then you just end up finding something else to distract yourself.
Of course, there’s no point starting something if you have no knowledge of what you’re trying to purse. But it gets to a point where you’re better off starting with some knowledge and learning along the way than simply consuming more information.
In the moment missing a day of daily blogging feels like failure but in the grand scheme of things I know it’s not that bad.
If you look at it one way missing 8/365 days isn’t much at all.
But on the other hand can you really call yourself a daily blogger if you don’t post every single day.
When I first started daily blogging it really bothered me when I missed a day, mainly because it was never intentional. It frustrated me that I could forgot to post and not realise until the next day and by then it was too late.
Luckily, I’ve now realised that when you make a mistake if you focus on learning from it instead of getting mad at yourself it’s much less likely to happen again.
And of course this applies to so much more than just blogging
Over the past few weeks I’ve been reflecting on how what I write about has changed.
Firstly, I’ve found that a lot of my posts have been about the pandemic whether it is about working from home or the way our day to day lives have changed. Secondly, there is much less playfulness in the way I write because everything going on in the world is quite serious.
Overall I’ve been quite current, writing about things happening now. But at the same time I also want my posts to be evergreen so that they’ll still be useful to the person reading them 6 months from now.
However, the posts I’ve written about this pandemic are something I’ll probably be glad to look back on as a reflection on this current time. To know not necessarily how I was feeling but instead what I thought mattered at the time. That’s what I’ve been writing about.
Shortcuts might be enticing but you can’t escape doing the work.
Write more than a post a day
You’ll have days when its easier to write so take advantage. I’ve had days where I’ve written a weeks worth of posts which is a stark contrast to the days where writing a single post feels as difficult as nailing jelly to a tree.
Dedicate a set time in your day to write
If you make it part of your routine it’ll find it’s way into your subconscious and then you’re set. My writing time is the journey to and from work. It’s around 90 minutes daily and I find it easier to use that time than make time before or after work to write. Granted I can and often do write at other times in the day but never as consistent as I do on my journey to and from work.
Don’t aim for perfection
You have to put more importance on having something to publish instead of it being perfect. I often refer to this blog as a writing practice because that’s what it is a place for me to practice writing. It isn’t a place for me to be perfect. I understand that perfection is a falsehood. Focusing on trying to make every piece perfect is a waste of time when you can just write something better tomorrow.
That’s all you need to successfully daily blog. There’s no trick to it. Sure, it might he hard to come up with ideas sometimes but the more you do it the easier it gets.
… I’m still going to do it.
I find it easier to write down my words by hand, perhaps because I write quicker than I can type. I can never manage to keep up with myself when I’m writing from my laptop.
The keyboard and screen of a phone, computer or laptop is no comparison to a Biro in hand scrawling away on a sheet of paper in a notebook.
At times the words are barely legible but that signifies the urgency to pour out all the words within.
That feeling is a beautiful thing, it’s one of the things I love most about writing, seeing my handwriting and the words I’ve written.
But I’m also aware of the very present environmental crisis on planet earth, so perhaps I should be more willing to go paperless.