A Maniacal Guide to Blogging: From an Amateur to an Amateur

Top Ten Tuesday

This is maniacal. I am maniacal. I’m sure the gears in my head have twisted the wrong way therein I’ve decided to preach on something I haven’t even finished my journey with. I’m no master at blogging. That’s why I’m giving you a foreword of how I am an amateur telling another amateur what this amateur has learned so far. That’s it. Do not think I am a blogging master because, honestly, that’s not even the tiniest bit true. I’m an AMATEUR. I AM UNKNOWN. I AM UNKNOWABLE. I AM ADAM PARRISH. But, you know, whatever.

If you want a blogging guru to teach you about blogging, then I deeply suggest that you go ask Cait from Paper Fury because she is my favorite and I stalk her blog and I read every blog post she writes and basically this makes me sound crazy. Or ask Joey from Thoughts and Afterthoughts or Aentee at Read at Midnight or Jenna over from Reading With Jenna. They’re also great. And I’m positive there’s so many more, I just can’t bring them to mind right now.

Anyhoo, I still decided that I’d like to have this post as more of a review of my journey of blogging so far, as something for me to reflect on and to tell you about what I’ve learned so far rather than teach you about blogging. But I do hope I do that too, because I remember enjoying teaching my sister when we were little and I also like being called Miss Darth Veda.

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  • Start with something you are comfortable with. It’s important to set off blogging do something you know and love, rather than to just jump into blogging. If you are only comfortable with writing discussion posts about your subject matter since your blog is an artwork, then so be it. Start with your discussion posts, because that is what will create initial interest and comfort, and that is what will bring the most out of you. When you start, you need to start in a comfortable place where it will be easy for you to move forward with.
  • Blog several times a week. In order to first start blogging and to warm to having a blog, you need to get in the habit. BLOG ABOUT ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING AND JUST BLOG. Whether you post all of these or whether you don’t, write several posts a week if you can manage the time. Write frequently so you can get your creative vanilla caramel milkshakes going. Then you can get comfortable with your style and you will ease into the practice.
  • Have a plan of what your blog will be about and what types of posts you’ll be writing. This is an imperative step to take when you decide that you want to blog. You need to start your blog off knowing what it’s about. Don’t freelance the first couple months and then decide on what you want to blog about. Have a plan and be prepared. You also need to know what types of posts are relevant to whatever type of blog yours is. I’ve only ever ran a book blog, so I’m not sure I can tell you any ‘types of posts’ besides those of a book blog. But if you ran a food blog, you’ll want to have posts for breakfast dishes, lunch, and dinner. Or if you ran a news blog, you’ll need to have recent news updates and discussions about what’s going on and all that.
  • Take breaks when you need themEvery time you start something new, you need to let your brain wrap around it. Just like working out, you need to work hard and then relax yourself so you can give yourself time to grow. It’s the same situation. If you’ve blogged really hard for your first month, then take a break. Maybe a week, or two. It’s all right to take breaks. You’re not letting anyone down and therefore when you return, you’ll be fresh and revitalized. There will be times where you will feel not interested anymore, or where you’ll feel entirely tired. That’s okay! It’s really important to know when you need to take a break.

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  • Maybe make a blog schedule? I followed a blog schedule in my early months. I remember, my first months, late August and early September, I made myself a blog schedule to follow and it helped me be more consistent with my blogging and create a leveled field for my blog posts. You don’t need to have every single type of post written down on your blog schedule. For example, I don’t use my blog schedule anymore, but I do have a outline for weekly posts. I give myself a requisite number of posts per week and which type of post is mandatory per week.
  • But then again, do whatever makes you feel comfortable, and don’t stress. The only way you’ll keep your blog going is if you are comfortable and interested in it. It’s not worth it to stress over not keeping up with your blog schedule. Unless you are a professional blogger, there will be other important things in your life that must be done that will take up some of your time. Even professional bloggers take lunch breaks or have evenings where they go out with their friends. Don’t stress over not posting something and don’t stress about having to post something. That means if you don’t feel like doing a book tag this week, but it’s on your blog schedule for Saturday, don’t stress it. You aren’t publicizing your blog schedule so your followers and friends will not care if you don’t do something. The only thing they’ll care about is what you do post.
  • Try new things to make your blog and you as a blogger slightly more interesting. If you started out blogging with just book reviews, try a discussion post to bring more variety and taste to your blog. Once you’ve eased into the motion of things, try something every once in a while. That doesn’t mean starting your blog with all book reviews and then one week deciding to do a book tag, a blog award, a discussion post, and a meme. Start with one thing, and then progress.

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  • Ask other people of their opinion and their thoughts. Usually feedback from someone or asking them about what they think that you could evolve on can help your mind really develop more ideas and stretch them to fit your kind of blog. I remember I was first introduced to discussion posts by my sister. I started my blog with a lot of book reviews, so I asked her how I could write about something different. She told me to tell my audience why I liked said book and other things about it and how it was similar to other books I liked.
  • Visit other blogs and read several blog posts that aren’t your own. It’s very, very important that you read other blogs. Otherwise it will be impossible for the blogging part of your mind to develop and continue. You need external influence in order to develop your blog. If you never read anyone else’s blog, there are small chances you will learn how to change, develop, and advance your blog and your style.
  • Search the interwebs. This is never ever wrong. If you are out of ideas or you need a little inspiration to get your creativity flowing, it is never wrong to search up ‘ideas for an art blog post’. The interwebs are always very handy, and it has been more than one occasion on which I have searched up ‘types of book blog posts’. There is nothing strange or bizarre about searching the internet for inspiration, and I’m sure many people agree with me based on the search results you get from searching up ideas for a blog post for any type of blog.

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  • Twist ideas. If you find a post about Reasons Why I Loved The Harry Potter Movies More Than The Books (there are like millions of posts for this everywhere :p ) then you can surely post a post called Reasons Why I Loved The Hunger Games Film Franchise More Than The Books. A very popular idea like this (films vs. books) can surely be stretched and adapted without credit or reference. So don’t be afraid to take a twist on something common!
  • Write a post based on someone else’s post. But don’t copy! Copying is rude, it hurts both the person being copied and the person who copied. Copying someone else reflects on your character and your integrity. So don’t copy someone else. Writing a post based on someone else’s post is alright, if you credit them and tell why you’re doing your own edition. For example, Cait from Paper Fury, the aforementioned Cait that I referred as the person whose blog I stalk because she is my favouritest favourite blogger, has a series of posts of lies types of people tell themselves. If you want to write a post about ‘Lies Musicians Tell Themselves’ or something like that because you saw the brilliant Cait’s post and you were just like THAT’S IT I LOVE THAT IDEA IT’S BRILLIANT BECAUSE I AGREE WITH YOU, SHE IS BRILLIANT, then go ahead. But make sure you credit her and then go on and write your brilliant post.

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  • Look around you or take a walk around your neighborhood. Usually people will find inspiration in things around them everyday. I am reading the Game of Thrones series because I am a dweeb who hasn’t read it before, and just reading about Daenerys and and Melisandre and such inspired me to write a post about character’s names: Why Are Character’s Names So Confusingly Difficult And Unusual?. Or take a walk. It’s actually a really good idea, because I’m a very visual person, so often taking a walk around my green, lush neighborhood always strikes some inspirational part of my brain. I don’t know if this works for everyone, but usually when you go on a walk outside or you go somewhere, you calm down a bit and you have some time to just think. So I suggest you do.

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  • Find a styleI can’t stress the importance of this enough. FIND A STYLE YOU WOULD LIKE TO FOLLOW. For some people, it’s all bows and cute line art, for Cait it’s ARROWS EVERYWHERE LET’S TAKE OVER THE WORLD, for me it’s all feathers and swirly words, and some people just like visually busy designs. They like designs that create a visual rhythm and create lots of movement. THEY LIKE OPTICAL ILLUSIONS. Because everyone is individual to their own, so everyone will be partial to their own style. I, right now, like the more clean, easy, simpler flow of things, whereas my friend loves patterns and more patterns and turquoise and lines and LOTS OF STUFF EVERYWHERE AND COLOR EXPLOSIONS.

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  • Know what is your preference and what is not by looking around the blogosphere and at other blogs. If you are a lovely and kindly rat who hates simplicity in things and loves business, then make your blog a busy thing. Make it full of color and pattern and a whole eyeful everywhere. It is incredibly hard to design something that you don’t like, or that you don’t prefer above others. Make sure you know your preference of design and style and stick to that. It’s always okay to try something new, and see whether you like it or not, but it’s a whole new thing to completely do something you hate. Right now, if I stepped back into a cluttered, entirely full, busy style to everything, I’m sure I would despise the way my blog looked and I would have a very hard time making my graphics. When people make graphics, they usually end up finishing the design or finally downloading it because they like how it looks. Make sure you like how it looks, or you truly will never get anywhere.
  • Ask around. Ask. ASK. I believe that you should ask someone what tools they use to make their graphics or how they make them or what different things they use. I think it’s way better than looking at lovely Aimal from Bookshelves and Paperbacks and her blog and first thinking that she is entirely super pretty and then thinking that she must be an artist because everything on her blog looks drawn. Then you’ll end up searching the internet for tools to draw graphics on and you won’t get your ideal results. ASK PEOPLE AND DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS. Like, if you are starting a book blog and then you know another person from work/school/university and you see them one morning designing a graphic on Piktochart and you’re just like “oh, you use Piktochart for your graphics?” and then you’re like “AH! I WILL USE PIKTOCHART NOW TO MAKE PERFECT GRAPHICS LIKE PERSON X’S FROM WORK.” That will make you look bad, because you don’t know that they take their Piktochart things and switch them onto Photoshop and then you again don’t get your desired result. I would be very annoyed and disappointed if someone saw me doing something with some tool and suddenly decided to use it because they liked my style rather than asking me about it because they might not know that I combine several tools to create my graphics, and if they do that, it makes me sad. This has happened before, very recently, which is why I think many bloggers will appreciate it if you actually ask. This too reflects on what kind of person you are. I like it when people ask, personally, because then I can actually help them and that benefits both the people in the situation.

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  • Create a format that is easy to remember and can associate with your visual style with HEADERS and have much visual stuff. Formatting your blog right is a vital thing in blogging. If you have a different format for every single post then it becomes hard to remember how to format a type of post when you write it. Unlike having a variety of graphic design layouts for different posts, have a single format that you follow for every blog post. When you format your post, it becomes more organized and can associate better with your choice of style. Formats can be having a bunch of pictures in a mosaic grid first, followed by all of your commentary or discussion or content. Or it can be pictures besides the content with the header underneath. Notice how I mentioned pictures in everything. HAVE PICTURES SO PEOPLE DON’T HAVE TO STRUGGLE TO READ ALL TEN THOUSAND WORDS. Formats can vary greatly and often a simple format can be the most organized. USE HEADERS. CREATE A STYLE FOR HEADERS. Mine involve floral things and arrows and pastel colors and simple line designs, at most. Most of the time. Create a broad style that you can stick to with your headers so that it helps your format have a sense of connection and relativity. Also, headers are fun to make and can organize your post and make it look real neat.

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  • Visit other blogs to catch up on trends. Dang, this post is getting loooooooong. Anyhoo, everyone here knows that when they started, they cared one heck of a lot about all the attention they got. Everyone here had a time when they checked their stats like heck because they WANTED MORE MORE MORE. Even I did. But now, when I go to write a post, I simply go to WordPress, and go straight to my blog post draft. I don’t even check my stats anymore. They are important to me, but not as requisite. Anyhoo, it is quite important that you keep your blog looking somewhat modern and are up to date with some of the more common trends so that you give a good first impression. When I see a blog and it looks super cool, all bright but simple but full of energy, that first impression is great so I definitely click ‘follow’. Usually I try to see what everyone else is doing and whether my blog looks 60 years behind, and if it doesn’t, I feel good.

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  • Comment on other people’s posts and reply to your own. Don’t be a stuck-up Mary Sue. Be open and willing to comment on other people’s posts. If you want people to comment on your posts, then you have to comment on other people’s. Practice what you believe and want, right? Like, I blog maybe 2-3 posts a week, four at most. Mostly I blog 2 posts, but sometimes it can be 3. So what do I do the days that I don’t blog? I dedicate some of my free time to going through all of my blogger friends and the people I look up to like Cait, so I can catch up on stalking her blog, and I go through and comment on people’s posts. You must have some thoughts about a post you just read, yes? Let them know! It’s always nice to see a comment on your post, and even though it can get quite ordinary, as it has somewhat become for me and many people, people appreciate it.Also, reply to your own comments! THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Even if someone comments: ‘Nice post!’, or ‘Great blog post!’, or ‘Amazing choices!’ for something, you can always reply by saying: ‘Thank you! I liked yours too!’, or ‘Thanks so much, yours was pretty great as well’, or ‘That is very kind of you! Thank you!’, or even just ‘Thank you! <3’. Replying to your own comments can create the outline of what kind of person you are. Remember, before people read your posts, they have no idea who you are in person. Your blog represents you and your passions and beliefs. So if they want to talk to you, that means they like your blog somewhat and they want to talk to you about what you wrote! It’s nice of people when they take time to comment on someone’s post, so make sure you reply to your comments.
  • Like other people’s posts. As important commenting is on someone’s post, liking it can also mean something. It doesn’t always mean as much as a comment, but liking someone’s post can also represent how much you enjoyed their post. Liking and commenting are two ways of showing someone that you appreciate their hard work in writing a blog post for their audience. Everyone would like to be appreciated and admired and everyone works hard when they write a real up blog post, and they want someone to notice that. So when you notice that someone has worked really hard on a post or you somewhat enjoyed it, then like the post. If you don’t want to comment, fine. But atleast like the post.

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  • SOCIAL MEDIA. Fine, fine. I’ll say it out right now. I’m scared of social media. I don’t like social media very much. I know it can be dangerous because of the INTERWEBS ARE EXPANSIVE WITH SEVERAL DANGEROUS MEAN PEOPLE. But I admit it can help you get popularity. In my opinion, I don’t prefer to use social media to get popularity. But it’s anyone’s choice and it’s anyone’s opinion what they prefer. And remember, you don’t have to use ALL the social media platforms to get followers. That’s stupid. Only create what you can maintain, and balance, just as much as you can maintain and balance your blog. I only have an Instagram and a Pinterest, and a Google + if that even counts. I don’t have a Twitter. I don’t have a Facebook. I don’t have some flipping Snapchat. I’m probably not ever going to make a Twitter or a Facebook or any of those things, because I, personally, am not comfortable with that. But, once again, it’s anyone’s choice, because it’s anyone’s own blog.

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So there you go! There’s my super long maniacal guide to blogging.

There is no perfect/right way to blog. You can only do your best, and your best is often what pleases you. So please yourself with your blog, not your audience. Pleasing myself with Crown Print will be a constantly changing thing like Cabeswater. Blogging is a wild, wild journey. And I blog where the wild things are.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 5.17.20 PMRemember, this is just suggestions, not commands. Do you use social media for your blog? What social media might you have? Did you ever have a blog schedule that you followed? What is your signature graphic style? Do you simplicity or business? Where do you find your ideas for posts? Who is a blogger you might look up to?

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