This is part one of a three-part series on how I got started on my venture into blogging.
Documenting my journey has inspired many of my friends and readers to do want to do the same. Honestly, if I can help just one person with a post, I feel like I have accomplished my blogging mission. Because of that, I feel obligated to divulge how I got started, how I did it, and ultimately, how I was able to follow through – so that others can share in the joy of starting one. I have always loved writing – I have written hundreds of military awards/medals/decorations/performance reports during my active duty career; in addition to, poems, scholarly papers for college coursework, technical white papers, and detail designs for software. When I finished my Bachelors and Masters (my last semester for Graduate school I was going through chemotherapy), I felt purposeless when I finished my degrees. I was disappointed that writing – even though it was not always solely on a creative level – would not be part of my daily life, other than the technical writing I do at work.
The first things you need to do before starting a blog is ask yourself:
- What is my subject matter?
- Who is your target audience?
- What are your credentials: are you an expert in a particular field or do you have a life experience you want to share?
- What do you really want to say – and what are the limits you do not wish to cross?
- How committed are you to post at least 2-3 times per week?
I want to talk about writing style for a minute. A lot of people think they can’t write, but that’s simply not true – everyone can write (they just don’t know it). It is a “skill” which means it takes a little practice. While in college and graduate school, and even through tutoring folks, I came up with a 5/5 rule; however, it needs to be modified for blogging. 5/5 means 5 sentences per paragraph and 5 paragraphs per essay. Blogs usually work out to 3 paragraphs, instead of 5 like a tradition essay. Your blog posts should be no more than 600 words (400 is ideal from what I found – this post is 530). If your post goes beyond 3 or even 5 paragraphs, the rule still applies. For blog posts, it is very simple; you should plan on 3 paragraphs with 5 sentences a piece:
- The first sentence is the introduction of what you plan to talk about.
- The second to fourth sentences form the body of what you are talking about.
- The fifth sentence is your “lead in” to what you plan on discussing in the next paragraph, or you use that last sentence to “close”.
You should also read your blog post aloud to yourself, after you have walked away from it for a while. Some readers will get hung up on typos or bad grammar, which will cause them to pause and not continue reading your post. Also, it never hurts to have a friend proofread your blog post. You have read it a hundred times; therefore, your mind will subconsciously glaze over any mistakes. I do this all the time and rely on a friend and my husband to be my final proofreaders.
Stay tuned for next time when we discuss promoting your blog…