When you hear the word 'blog' what do you think? Fashion? Cooking? An angry rant by someone who just likes to complain? While these are all true, they certainly are not the only definitions. Essentially, a blog is a virtual space for an individual to talk about a variety of topics, share information, and/or discuss opinions. For some, a blog is an online journal. For others, it's a virtual whiteboard to educate, learn, and discuss with the online world.
Now that's great and all, but how does a blog get started? Where do the ideas come from? When does the blog get picked up for a book of essays? These are all great questions, but let's just stick with the first two. For now.
When I decide I'm going to start writing a blog, I first take a look at my calendar. Why, Chelsie? What does a calendar have to do with this? Creating a blog is great, but no one is going to care about it unless it is maintained and there's new content on a regular basis. By taking a look at the calendar, I'm able to assess where I can schedule pockets of time to brainstorm, free write, and post. Remember to create a posting schedule that is consistent. I've created blogs in the past that have died as quickly as I've created them because of a lack of consistency and a lack of ideas.
Speaking of ideas, I like to come up with 10-15 to kick things off. Ten to 15 posts?! Are you crazy?! Hold on a sec- they don't all need to be written right now. If I've learned one thing about the brainstorming process, it's that writing down every single idea, even the bad ones, is what brings the good ones. Keep a physical or virtual notebook with you at all times to jot down ideas as they come. Another thing to remember about the creative process: the best ideas will come when they are least expected (e.g. in the car, in the shower, while eating lunch, etc.). Keeping the notebook handy helps build the running list of content ideas to help maintain the blog. Another thing to remember is don't create content just for the sake of creating content. Chances are the ideas won't be genuine and this will show in the writing. Brainstorm! Starting off on a strong foot will help!
Most importantly, don't forget the sparkle. Include images, videos, or anything else that will help the copy (words) shine. I'm always looking for new ways to capture my day-to-day and bring about a new perspective. I use my iPhone to capture moments throughout my day. Not only does this give me images to use for my blog posts, but it sometimes sparks ideas for future content (another reason to keep that notebook handy). If taking pictures is not your strong suit, no problem! Play around with different mediums to add flair to your words.
After the words have been written and the images have been uploaded, remember a blog should be something to look forward to. Don't let a creative outlet be another task on the to-do list. This won't inspire new ideas and it certainly will not help blog maintenance. Keep it light, keep it fun, and who knows... It might even turn into a book someday!
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