My blog is two years old today.
I know, the present’s in the post, right?
There have been moments during the past two years that haven’t been amazing.
Moments that made me sad, parts that made me worried, parts that made me guilty or angry or freaked out – and sometimes just plain old depressed. But when I look back at Sally in July 2010 and where I am now…
Blogging really can change your life, kids.
This blog has completely changed the way I earn a living, for starters – 90% of my income today comes through blogging, in one form or another. That’s a huge thing after 12 years of earning a crust in journalism.
Blogging can bring you new friends. It can make you a better writer. It can even change the way you parent – clarifying some choices and prompting you to look at others with a fresh perspective.
If you’re lucky, once you find your feet, blogging brings amazing new opportunities into your life. Yes, you can review washing powder or clothes or whatever, but more than that, blogging allows you to travel to new places, gain new experiences and meet new people. Whether it’s cooking with Annabel Karmel, getting a sneak preview of a new rollercoaster or sipping water on the roof of a Land Rover in the middle of the desert.
It’s been quite a ride.
And now that I am OFFICIALLY a blogging elder (or Overlord, take your pick) I shall share with you, my readers, my great blogging wisdom. Feel free to leave tearful thank you messages in the comments.
- Don’t use your high school crush’s full name on your blog. Ever. It will only end with you revisiting the humiliation of him not realising you even exist.
- One day someone will offer you free stuff. If the free stuff doesn’t immediately make you think, “ooh, cool” then turn it down. Seriously. Don’t even accept it thinking, “Oh, I’ll sell it on eBay afterwards.” You’ll be struggling for days to try and find something entertaining to say about it, you’ll give up and publish some crap or other, and every time you look at that post for the next year, you’ll feel dirty – and not in the good way.
- You can love someone’s blog and you can hate someone’s blog. But until you’ve met them and had an actual conversation, try to hold off on making a judgement on them as a person. I’ve hated blogs and then met the authors – who almost all turned out to be beyond lovely. Or at least not completely evil.
- Some days you won’t know what to write on your blog. So don’t write anything. You’re not the sun – the universe doesn't end if you take a day off. Take several days, in fact. Let your readers miss you a bit. They’ll be more grateful when you do return to share something funny you did while you weren’t hovering over the keyboard trying to think of 10 funny things your kid said this week.
- If you want to make a living blogging then you’re never going to do it if people can’t pick your blog out of a line-up. The best possible way to make your blog unique is to write in your own, unique, authentic voice – write about what makes you laugh, use the words you’d use with your friends, choose pictures that mean something to you. Don’t worry about the technical or design stuff too much – that’ll come with time (or at least that’s what I’m still telling myself)
- Reply to your comments. It’s just good manners.
- Sometimes you read something on the Internet and think, “That’s about me” and then you get all upset and you cry and you want to delete your blog. Here’s a tip. When you find yourself thinking, “That’s about me” try also thinking, “Or one of the other 6 billion people on earth.” Realistically? It’s probably not about you. So don't waste your precious time and energy being upset about it. And even if it is about you, it just means someone on the Internet doesn’t have the courage to actually have a conversation with you. Who cares what THOSE people think?
- You can read the above tip, know in your heart of hearts that it’s true but still want to cry when someone is mean to you. That’s okay. But give yourself a day to be upset, then pick yourself up, dust yourself down and get on with it. Nobody likes a cry baby.
- Never spend more than 10 minutes writing a post. It's a law of blogging that the post you write in between tying your shoes, in five seconds flat, will get the biggest reaction and the most comments.
- When in doubt, everyone loves pictures of puppies.