What has blogging taught you?

23/01/2015 Blogging, Discussions 18

What has blogging taught you?Six months ago this week, I launched Boats Against The Current (which makes it sound like I set out on a long, arduous sea journey – I actually just started a blog!) and entered the big wide world of book blogging. Back then, I had no idea just how big or wide a world the book blogosphere was, and so becoming a part of it has been pretty incredible!

Prior to that I had toyed with the idea of starting a blog for a couple of years, ever since doing a module for Creative Writing at university about Creative Non-fiction writing, which is where I first heard about blogging. It became one of those things I definitely intended to do one day, but kept putting off and putting off because, well, it looked like a lot of hard work, and to be honest I can be kind of lazy! And you know what? Blogging is hard work, really hard work, in fact. But it is also one of the most fun and most rewarding things I have ever done, and I have learnt so much along the way!

That’s why two months into my blogging journey I did a post called ‘What Two Months of Blogging Has Taught Me’, and I said I’d do a catch up post six months down the line…and here we are! I thought this topic would work quite nicely as a discussion post, as I’d love to know what other bloggers feel blogging has taught them, whether they’ve been doing it six weeks, six months or six years!

Blogging has taught me…

  • …how to write better

One of the most common pieces of advice on how to improve your writing is ‘actually write’, and creating and maintaining a regular blog makes you do just that. I for one have done way more writing than I have ever done before (except during NaNoWriMo!) and on a much more regular basis since starting my blog, and I’d like to think that doing so much of it has improved it. I definitely find writing posts so much easier than I did in the beginning anyway, which I think is a good sign!

  • …that non-fiction writing is just as fun and creative as fiction writing

Although I have always loved writing, prior to starting Boats Against The Current I mostly wrote stories, and if I’m honest I used to kind of think of non-fiction as the less fun, less creative cousin of fictional writing (possibly because of its association with essays!). I now know how untrue that is! It takes a hell of a lot of creativity to come up with a certain number of post ideas per week/month, and executing them well is a whole other matter!

  • …to write what I would love to read

When coming up with ideas for blog posts, I’ve recently learnt to ask myself, what would I like to read? Whilst having a blog with a readership obviously requires you to write what your readers want to read, I have found that the posts I have been the most excited about writing and publishing have often had the best reaction. I think you can always tell when someone is really passionate about what they’re blogging, and whilst people certainly have preferences with blogs (as I discussed a couple of weeks back), I think as long as you love what you’re writing, someone somewhere will love it too!

  • …how to use social media

To be honest, prior to starting my blog, I was totally clueless about social media. I had a pretty stagnant personal Facebook page gathering dust somewhere in the recesses of the Internet, and that was about it. I had never even heard of the likes of Google+ or Pinterest! And whilst I’m hardly a social media wizard now, I’ve definitely got more of a grasp of it, and have found out how amazing it is for connecting with other people. Twitter and Google+ in particular have been huge breakthroughs for me, as I love the ease with which you can communicate with others through Twitter, and the Google+ communities make it so easy to quickly find people with similar interests to you! Which leads me on to my next point…

  • …how many other lovely people share my interests

Unfortunately, in real life, I have very few reader friends (and by that I mean one – one solitary fellow book nut!), so discovering such an enormous community of like-minded people has been one of the best things about blogging.

  • …that it’s OK to put yourself out there a bit

My blog isn’t exactly personal – at the end of the day it’s about books! But at the same time, every time I click ‘Publish’ I do feel a little bit nervous, because I’m putting out into the world both an opinion and a piece of writing, and therefore opening myself up to potential criticism. For example, last week I did a post about the genres I don’t read, where I detailed why certain genres weren’t for me, and I was kind of nervous. If someone loved one of the genres I didn’t, would they be insulted? Would they tell me I was wrong, or leave a horrible comment (I know on the whole the blogging community is lovely, but you never know!)? Well no one did, and it actually generated a really great discussion! In fact, in my six months of blogging, I haven’t had a single negative interaction with anyone yet! ‘Putting myself out there’ as it were, has been a really positive experience so far, and as someone who is a major introvert, it has been a huge learning curve!

So how about you? What do you feel blogging has taught you?

18 Responses to “What has blogging taught you?”

  1. L.

    Great piece! I am also closing in on the 6 month mark of starting my blog and I can totally relate! Blogging is such hard work, but, at the same time so rewarding. Not because I get a comment or two once in awhile, but because I for one have such a sense of accomplishment when I learn something new that I have to do for my blog!

    • Laura

      Congratulations on reaching the six month mark too! I just checked out your blog and it looks really interesting!
      And I definitely get what you mean about the sense of accomplishment you get when you have to do something new for your blog. I recently changed my blog design and I actually had to use code a little bit, which is something I had always avoided beforehand. Although it would probably be simple for some people, it took me ages, but I definitely felt like I had achieved something, and had learnt something new when I had finished!

  2. Ardelia

    Hi Laura!

    I just started my book blog, and I’m also amazed at the size (and diversity) of the book blogosphere. I had no idea that there were so many awesome bloggers talking about so many different genres. I also had no idea how hard it would be to start and run a blog, but I’ve found that I really enjoy it. Congrats on hitting the sixth-month mark! 🙂

    • Laura

      Hi! I’m glad you’re enjoying blogging so far.The book blog world really is huge, and I definitely love the diversity and the range of genres covered too. I have ever heard of a few genres I didn’t even know existed through blogging!
      Best of luck with your blog! I just checked it out and it looks great, by the way!

  3. Litha Nelle

    “…how to use social media.” Precisely what I’ve learned as well- I never (ever) dreamed I’d have a Pinterest or an inane Twitter account, but I definitely see the benefits. Along with stalking my favorite authors and making friends with other bloggers, if you’re in a readathon, there’s often a Twitter chat involved. If I didn’t evolve as a person and learn new (and slightly intimidating) technology, I probably wouldn’t be blogging.
    Great post- and good luck with your blogging in the future! It definitely seemed to get easier (and more intuitive) for me once I hit the six-month mark.
    ~Litha Nelle

    • Laura

      I never dreamed I’d get on Twitter or Pinterest (and love it!) either, but I agree that it’s definitely worth learning how to use them because you get so much out of it! I haven’t tried a Twitter chat yet, although I’ve been meaning to, so I will have to give it a go.
      And good luck with your own blogging! I’m glad to hear it gets easier as you go along. I feel like it is becoming more intuitive, but I’m hoping it will become even more so. Thanks for commenting!

  4. Terri M., the Director

    I’ve been blogging for a little over a year and I’ve learned to share what I love. I didn’t share much of my photography when I started, but I dumped a meme that was beginning to feel like a grind and created a weekly post to share a favorite photo and quote.

    I also learned that the HTML I learned back in 1996 to build my first website on Geocities wasn’t a complete waste. A lot has changed, but it is still very familiar.

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews

    • Laura

      That’s great! Sharing what you love is so important, and I think anything that starts to feel like a grind just isn’t worth doing. And I personally would love to learn more about HTML and coding, as I’ve only used a little bit so far. Hopefully I will do more in the future, as it would definitely be a useful skill to have!

  5. Gemma

    A great post! I found myself nodding along with everything you said! I’d say that, for me, blogging has helped me feel more confident in my opinions on books – I didn’t feel confident talking about books and used to be really nervous about publishing a review, but now I feel more confident in what I’ve written. Glad to hear that blogging’s been a positive experience for you 🙂

    • Laura

      Blogging has definitely made me feel more confident about my opinions on books too, and it has kind of made me more sure about my opinions on books, if that makes any sense. I never used to really think too much about why I did or didn’t like a book before, and often when I write a review, I realise I liked it/didn’t like it as much as I thought I did, which is kind of weird!
      And I’m glad blogging has been a positive experience for you too!

    • Laura

      Although I have gotten a lot better with the social media, I think it’s still the area I need to improve on most as well!

  6. Roberta R.

    Hi – I read your interview on BBI, decided to have a look around and liked what I saw. I love the title, and the design is very unique ( my own blog looks so different from yours, colourful and almost cartoonish – but I do appreciate different styles when it comes to other blogs). Also, your voice sounds interesting. I’ve just become your new email follower ;). Keep up the good work!

    • Laura

      Thanks so much for stopping by, and I’m glad you like my blog!
      I just checked out your blog and I love your design! I went pretty simple with mine mostly because I’m not too great with web design and didn’t want anything too complicated, but I love all the bright colours and cool fonts on yours. Your posts look really interesting as well, so I’ve also followed you by email!

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