I renewed my old domain today. Since I’ve still seen some people linking to me at 6birds.net, I request it be changed to hej.gay. I didn’t want to renew it, but I felt it was too early to let it go after I’ve had it for so long. Not only do I ask because my URL has changed, but I also ask because I don’t want to be associated with 6birds on that level; my blog now is different, or at least headed in that way. ?
I know I said last year I wanted to start a tradition of sharing what I’ve learned from blogging over the years, but I want to reflect on some things first.~
I found my high school blog
It’s not a complete blog, but I’d started a Livejournal because Xanga was starting to bother me with all the spam it collected (I wanted the ability for public and anonymous comments). I read over it and looked at all the posts—20 maximum, shorter than what I write these days; no big—and I realised how much I’ve matured, both in personality and in my writing. I was such a kid back then, during my senior year of high school.
I wasn’t as self-aware of myself as I was then, and I was overcompensating for a lot of things so I wouldn’t look weird, but it only made me look weirder in the end.
I almost didn’t graduate.
(I’ll tell the story in a future post.)
Seeing my ancient posts made me realise how little a deal my old, embarrassing blog posts on my current blog are.
Of course my posts from a year ago—even sometimes a month ago—are going to seem completely different from the me I am now.
The important factor is whether I learned from my mistakes, my immaturity, my faults—it’s whether I worked on being a better person, the best version of myself; it’s whether I’m still working to be the best version of myself.
Anyway, enough cheesiness.
What I’ve learned from 7 years of blogging
I’ve been blogging longer than seven years—at least 15 years—but calculate my legit blogging length by the age of my current blog home. I feel time spent blogging consecutively is a better estimate over “I’ve been blogging for over 15 years on and off.
1. Develop your own blogging style.
If you want to hold yourself more accountable when it comes to blogging, create post series. If you participate in memes, though, make them your own. There is a huge difference between copying someone and being inspired by someone. When too many people follow the same trend or want the same song played on the radio, people become burnt out. A cool, hip thing is easily turned into a boring, typical thing.
By the way, there is a difference between “post series” and “memes”; the latter is something which goes viral because many people participate in it, while the former is a regular/sporadic column.
Be your own trendsetter. Don’t not do something because no one else is doing it. Four years ago, I went sidebar-less because I wanted to focus visitors’ attention on my blog posts. I was ridiculed by some other bloggers who felt I “needed” a sidebar for various tidbits…Two-point-five years later, they were changing to sidebar-free themes, too.
Readers remember their favorite bloggers by styles; you start doing something regularly and memorable, and it becomes your trademark.
2. It is not a competition.
I don’t understand the constant competition in the blogosphere. I’m not saying everyone needs to get along—if this were possible, we’d have world peace instead of war—but rather how the idea of competing in this community is ridiculous. We’re all different people. We can work together instead of wanting to be better and “steal traffic” from our peers.
I know this is more a thing with non-veteran bloggers, but it’s just something I don’t understand.
It’s not a competition. Even if you created a business online, our first responsibility is to respect the community. The minute we don’t, chaos ensues.
3. Live your life.
Make time for yourself. This should go without saying, but you can’t exactly have a lifestyle/personal blog and…not…live your life.
4. Genuine blogger friendships are on a whole different frequency.
We’re friends, but there is an intimate, mutual understanding at play—we see into each other’s lives in a personal way people outside the blogging community never may; we feed the relationship in small doses over time, thus developing and mastering the camaraderie which comes to exist between us.
We seem so close at times it feels like a threat to others, but the difference is the amount of time put into the relationship. To expect to be able to come in to a friendship with someone so easily is insulting to the friendships already at bay; it’s definitely not kindergarten.
5. If it’s not fun anymore, stop.
Obviously. I dropped some post series because I didn’t have fun writing them, they felt like a chore, and/or I just didn’t see the point in doing them because I had another approach in mind.
The same goes with blogging. You can take breaks or quit altogether when it’s no longer fun. People may miss you, but at the end of the day, your happiness is of utmost importance.
6. Not everyone needs a blog.
There are so many microblogging services nowadays. If all you like and want to do is share photos and talk about them sometimes, Instagram may be less of a hassle than a full-fledged blog. If you enjoy sharing GIFs, Tumblr is where it’s at.
You needn’t, and shouldn’t, commit to something like a blog if you’re not totally passionate about it. Put that time elsewhere and stress less.
7. Just do your thang.
Stop reading how-to-blog posts and do your thing. They all tend to say the same things after a while, and you can even read a “For Dummies” book on everything related to blogging, but you’ll still find everything is situational and relies on experience. You learn via trial and error how to blog. Stop being a baby, stop being a scaredy cat—curiosity is the best way to learn. I mean, that’s how I imagine “they” created wine…because who would have thought “old” grape juice could taste so pleasant after being cursed at and cut off in traffic?
‘Till next time.~
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Seven years is a long time! Congratulations on keeping up with your blog this long.
My high school blog is part of my current blog, sooooo I still have all my embarrassing entries, haha! I’ve thought about making them private, but I decided to just keep them up for now because embarrassing they are, they are still a part of me, and I don’t feel like I need to hide my younger self in shame XD;
All of your rules are on point. I agree on doing your own thing (but without copying and stealing and being a nuisance), and to do what you want to do on your blog. For me my blog is a place for me to share what I want to share, and that’s one thing I’ve not deviated from since 2001. I’ve become more picky about what I share, but I still write and post topics that are of interests to me.
Happy 7 years of consecutive blogging! I still remember the relatively early days of 6birds.
How long have I known you for again? XD
Oh man, looking at my stone age posts makes me cringe @___@. In a way, it’s good that we made some cringe-worthy posts back then because it’s a way for us to improve ourselves (and have the ability to say, “hey, I definitely matured over the years”).
I agree with your lessons. Doing what you’re comfortable with is always a good thing. At the end, you’re really blogging for yourself. Blogging is definitely not a competition. Being in a community means you’re sharing with each other!
Oh yes, not living your life leads to not having some cool things to blog about.
Hope you’ll have another 7+ years of blogging success ;).
I love how you used old fermented wines as a closing comparative point. ? Grape me up, bro. ?
I am fiercely nodding to this. People think they can instantly be friends with someone but that takes time. You can’t force it. I don’t know why but I have seen people become jealous of how close some bloggers are because they want something like that. What’s worse is they try to intrude instead of just working on their current, good friendships.
You have learned some awesome things that I agree with as well, and have learned from my past years of blogging. I believe I blogged consecutively from around 2004, the two years before that were a little intermittent and I feel like posting the graphics I made was not really “blogging” (a graphics blog? IDK).
I totally don’t understand why blogging is seen as a competition as to who can have a popular blog and people just comparing themselves with others. It makes them egotistical ?
I agree with you that blogging is not a competition and each person is different. Sometimes it’s hard to accept people when their views are different than yours. We just need to understand more by asking why. Apart from being who you are, I miss reading blogs where they write about their inner thoughts and opinions in a way they sound like novel. I noticed that more and more bloggers write about where they’ve been and what they’re doing, it get’s a little old. Like I said, I care more about people’s thoughts more than what they’re doing. It shows their beauty and that’s why I enjoy reading your blog because it’s different.
HAPPY BLOGGING BIRTHDAY!
Oh my, if I could look back and find any of my old blogs I”d probably have to facepalm. I’m sure they’re terrible. While I miss remembering how to properly use photoshop(I suck now lol) I do NOT miss my sporadic, crazy posts I thought were “cool” then. You have a lot of good pointers here for bloggers as well!
Developing friends with bloggers DOES take time, simply because as bloggers, we sometimes share very intimate and personal aspects of our lives. It’s hard to really understand a person if you haven’t already developed some sort of relationship with them. It takes time. Then again, don’t all true friendships that are meaningful take a while to fully get that way? It’s not something that happens overnight.
I also agree with the fact that if you do not enjoy it, don’t force yourself into doing it. Blogging should be an enjoyable experience. Not something you feel like you HAVE to do.