What I learned from blogging
My road to becoming a New York-based lifestyle and travel blogger was a happy accident–– I didn’t dream of pecking away at a laptop day and night with people around the world reading what I’d written.I didn’t wake up one day and shout, “I want to be a blogger!” Nor did I attend the “University of Blogging”–– although I think one day such an institution might exist. Rather, this part-time hobby somehow became a full-time endeavor; one I didn’t plan or seek, but seemed to find after I moved to New York City. Of all the jobs I’ve ever had – dance instructor, sales associate, secretary, cocktail waitress, interior designer, intern (yes I was one of those, too), and a few other random survival gigs on the way to Bloggerville – I’ve learned more on this job than on any other. Here’s what I learned from blogging. (so far).
Becoming a successful blogger is a lot tougher than it sounds.
Blogging is more than putting some photos on a website with a few notes. A good blogger should be all of the following:
- A competent writer
- A decent editor
- A savvy photographer
- Proficient at SEO (Search Engine Optimization or utilization of keywords which affects a website’s visibility – people need to find the blog to read it.)
- Able to learn HTML (Hypertext Markup Language or the words and symbols used to create a web page)
- Social-media savvy
- Able to meet deadlines
- Good at managing other writers, the editorial calendar, and content of the site
- Stylish with an appropriate wardrobe for an array of blogging events
- Confident enough to attend many of these events alone (Even as a social person, this isn’t always easy.)
Blogging requires time and discipline.
My mind is always at work. Even when I’m not blogging, my brain is. I am constantly looking for new ideas, fresh content, angles or titles for articles, picturesque New York scenes to photograph –– either for the blog or to share on social media. I must constantly be aware and “on” when I’m out and about anywhere, even on what should be a day off.
|Even on a day off, I’m doing activities related to blogging.|
Especially in New York where overstimulation and distraction are inevitable, a regimen of some sort is a must. Otherwise, rather than working, it’s easy to find myself watching daytime TV or shopping all day. But with focus and an internet connection, it’s possible to blog from just about anywhere, including a New York City park. And as far as offices go, you can’t get much better than Central Park on a sunny day.
You don’t need a journalism degree to be a blogger.
Luckily for me and some others out there tickling their computer keys daily, this is a fact. Many bloggers don’t have backgrounds in journalism, but rather, in a specialized field. Anyone with a career can have a blog, and blogging is more popular now than ever before. In fact, people without professional writing backgrounds have started some of the most successful blogs in the blogosphere. A proficient writer does get a head start, though, and even if you’ve never written more than a thank you card or email, you can learn to write well. In writing, I believe that practice makes almost perfect.
It’s definitely not about money.
You won’t get rich from blogging. At least, most won’t. What blogging can do, however, is open doors to other opportunities that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. But honestly, most bloggers who blog over the long haul do it because they love it and not for the money. A select few will make a full-time income if they hang in there long enough and develop a loyal following.
Everyone wants to have a blog.
From just a few short years ago, I’ve seen an even bigger increase in blogging. It seems that everyone wants to have a blog now. The positive: more people are offering more info in more places and in different voices. Variety is good. The negative: the blogosphere is as crowded as SoHo on a Saturday afternoon. I hope that eventually, the large number of bloggers will taper off.
Most blogs won’t last but a few months, or even a few weeks.
Even though everyone wants to have a blog, few will continue blogging. Most people don’t have the tenacity to keep at it. Those who find success usually have been blogging regularly (at least once per week) for three or more years.
Bloggers are more in demand than ever before.
I’ve come to realize pretty quickly with all the invitations and pitches I receive that blogging is the future. Bloggers can and do influence, and brands know this; therefore, companies want to work with bloggers to increase their online presence and strengthen brand identity.
Blogging may be glamorous at times, but more often, it’s not.
There are those times when I get all gussied up and head out for a spectacular event, or just get to hang with cool people all night because of the blog. But most days, you can find me bare-faced and sporting pajamas in a corner of my bedroom while sitting at a small, vintage desk, cluttered with notes, mail, and paperwork, in the company of a Chocolate Lab, a sleeping cat, and a Mac. That’s definitely NOT glam. But, I’m pretty lucky because I get to live the New York life, write about it, and collaborate with many fascinating and talented people along the way.
|Bogey and Mimi, partners in crime|
Will I continue to blog? For now, yes. I don’t believe that blogging has truly reached its peak yet, but like anything, blogging will be on the way out, and the “next big thing” – whatever it is will be on the way in. Until that happens, I’ll be in front of my Mac in that corner.