When can I call myself a writer?

As someone that has never written for a publication or written a book, I have a hard time calling myself a writer.

I’ve always thought that having my words published in a newspaper, magazine, website or a book etc. would be the validation that I need to claim the label of writer, yet they are not things I actively pursue.

I think this is because when you do something for the love of it, trying to make it anything more is scary. There is also the fear of not being good enough, of my writing not being good enough for someone else to want to share it with a wider audience.

And part of having fear and being scared has resulted in me not putting myself in a position to receive feedback.

So overtime I have come to realise that the issue is not that I can’t call myself a writer, it’s that I didn’t meet the criteria of what I thought a writer should be. But further to that I am not yet the sort of writer that I aspire to be.

Commitment to the writing practise

My favourite thing about this blog is that I’m driven by my commitment to writing more than anything else.

If I write something that gets 1 view, I’m just glad that I committed to writing something another day.

If I write something that gets 102 views, I’m glad that a bigger number of people got to read my words. That is a bonus on top of me committing to sharing something for another day.

When I started this daily writing practice it was not only because I wanted to challenge myself and wholeheartedly commit to something new.

I’m committed to doing the work as a priority, anything that comes along with it is secondary. That mindset makes posting daily 101 times easier because I’m not focused on getting my numbers up or having the most likes, comments or views.

Writing through writers block

When you feel stuck and don’t quite know what to write, instead of shying away from it, follow it.

Start typing and just see what happens.

Don’t focus on how good or bad it is. Don’t focus on whether it’ll be worth sharing online or what people will think. Just write and then write some more.

Keep going until the words start to flow with ease. It might get easier after a few sentences or a few hundred words but keep going and just write.

When you finally decide to stop, you might find that you love what you’ve managed to write but that isn’t the goal or the purpose.

The purpose is to write through the ‘writers block’ because doing so teaches you that maybe it’s not as big of an obstacle that you think it is.

Out of office

It’s getting to that time of year when the Out of office goes on with an automatic reply that goes something like:

‘ Hi, I am currently on leave until 4th January and will respond upon my return. If urgent please contact name@company.com in my absence.’

However, for daily blogging there is no break or time off unless posts are pre-written in advance.

And sometimes that can be challenging when you want time to plan what direction to take things in the future or just want to take a break.

There is no out of office for daily blogging and once you start you commit to never being able to take time off.

It can feel daunting but it isn’t all bad because there is so much to gain from committing to a writing practice every single day.

300 and counting

Last week, I noticed I was getting close to 300 followers, a few days ago I reached 300 followers and now I have surpassed it.

I don’t allow myself to pay too much attention to the number of followers I have on this blog. Followers doesn not equate to views, likes or comments and overall watching the numbers go up (and and in some cases down) has little benefit.

However, it’s nice to know that there are over 300 people who came across my site and thought it was worth following.

But what makes it even better is that because there are no pictures, I know that you are simply here for the words.

Daily blogging isn’t always easy

…but it’s worth it.

In a recent post I shared some thoughts about quitting daily blogging and I laid out some plans for what I would do moving forward.

At the time I thought it was a good idea and I thought that it would make things easier.

But in the weeks that followed I really started to enjoy daily blogging again. The writing process had become less difficult than it had been at the weeks prior.

Now, looking back I realise that the changes I planned to make wouldn’t have made things easier, they’d have remained pretty much the same. I’d have gone from posting short blog posts daily to posting slightly longer posts a few times a week. As much as daily blogging doesn’t always feel easy there is something quite special about making a commitment to posting everyday.

There is something special about the way I choose to see the world because I know I have to write something, even if it’s only 167 words.

What’s the use in blogging?

Over the past few years with the way that the online world is changing, people are regularly asking whether there is any use in still blogging.

There is no set answer, it just depends on what works for you.

If your blog is used to advertise and sell you might find other platforms more advantageous. But if you used your blog to simply just write, I don’t think any other social media platform can quite compete.

It also depends on what you prefer. Some people see a blog as the main focus whilst everything else is supplementary. For others the focus is what is most popular and right now that is Instagram.

2 things your blog might be missing

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.

Could Instagram Guides replace blogging?

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.

7 Reasons to quit daily blogging

I’ve been daily blogging on this site for 22 months now, almost 2 years.

It’s something that I enjoy doing and I love that I’ve created a space to share my thoughts on various aspects of life and my experiences.

However, I’ve recently started thinking about what changes I could make to this site and how I can make it better.

One of the first things that came to mind was posting less. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve found myself not enjoying posting so often. I began thinking about how much I could improve the site if I was no longer sharing a new piece every day and I relaised that maybe it’s time for me to quit daily blogging.

Perhaps you’re in a similar position to me or maybe you are just curious. Either way, here are a few reasons to quit daily blogging:

  • You’re no longer enjoying it
  • Your audience is overwhelmed
  • The quality of your content is decreasing
  • You’re posting out of habit rather than because you have something worth sharing
  • You want more time to work on other projects
  • You’re not happy with your content
  • Posting daily no longer feels beneficial

The beauty of a blog is that you can create your own schedule. You might quit posting daily and realise that all you needed was a break and so maybe after a month you’ll go back to it. However, you might also realise that you’re much happier posting less.