Do you know those parents that refer to their kids age in months rather than years? Excuse me while I’m that parent for a second…My baby is 26 months old give or take a few months! Three cheers to my lovely child for making it this long and may it live on for many years to come! Alright, in all seriousness The Freed Sparrow blog (my baby) is a little over a year old and good grief…what a ride! If I’ve been doing my job right, I hope you all can tell how much I adore telling a story, even if they’re insanely raw at times or total means of making fun of myself! Better yet, making fun of myself to complete strangers all over the Internet. But don’t be fooled by the growing content, my Instagram feed, or my intense love of sharing my ups and downs with people. This journey hasn’t gone without the casual temptations to just stick to the status quo and mold into the fake side with many other lifestyle blogs. Had I not turned a blind eye and accepted the truth of my frankly put glam-free, regular-degular life we wouldn’t be here! And yet, here we are!
I think that a lot of people think having a blog is easy, when it turns out to be a hell of a lot more stressful then you’d think. Looking back, it almost makes me physically cringe when the early stages of The Freed Sparrow were all thought out to be as simple as typing out my thoughts and clicking Post. When in all realness part of me would love to have the same, carefree optimism. The same optimism that had no idea as to the amount of work it would really be to not only get my foot in the door, but then plant myself in a seat and say, “I am here for a reason and my thoughts, opinions, and story all deserve to be heard.” Now, I’ve still got that undying optimism, without it I wouldn’t have made it six months but tied with it is an underlying sense of determination and need for the community I’ve nestled myself into. With that said, here’s what I’ve learned from spending a year of pouring all my thoughts and opinions into my little corner of the internet. Enjoy!
1. Research, research, research and a whole lot of love!
First things first, this whole operation takes heart! I’ll be the first one to tell you to find the key reason as to why your blogging in the first place. Is it to find community in an ever growing universe of billions of people trying to be heard too? Do you want to offer people a service only you excel doing? Or are you just looking for a place to vent about your problems to people who may feel the same as you? Either of these are perfectly valid reasons to take the leap! Plus, finding your reason will save you amble amounts of time that would have been wasted stressed out about keeping up something that you aren’t in love with. Second, research! Once you’ve found your nichè it’s time to soak up all the information you can on the topic and then some! Read up on other blogs, read articles about it, and be brave enough to reach out to bloggers within your topic with any questions or concerns you may have! Trust my Mom when she says, “You have not because you ask not!”
2. Find a support system that will keep you accountable!
The main thing I’ll say about one of the second most important keys to starting a blog is having a support system, because your reason for starting won’t always stop you from giving up and throwing in the towel. When I started The Freed Sparrow, I hung strong to my goal in starting it but the stress of keeping up with this idea while maneuvering everything that came with trying to get my name out there, and the growing stress that came with it started to really put everything I wanted into question. For example, trends (no matter how stupid they maybe most of the time) get tons of views and response, which is what I wanted. Yeah, there would be all these benefits, but I’d be trading my mission for recognition. At the end of the day that reality was not about to happen! Looking back though, none of that would’ve happened without my support system. Without it my authenticity would’ve been compromised by now. If left to myself I’d overthink myself to a pulp!
3. Don’t be afraid of prompts
Now, I’m not going to lie to you coming up with interesting blog post is difficult enough especially when you’re in the thick of things and you’ve word vomited all the content you’ve had in mind in the beginning. Eventually you’ll be sitting there looking for something to say just to say something. That’s when prompts are like a holy grail! Trust me, prompts don’t make you less than, because if they did there wouldn’t be sooo many! It’s a simple goggle search and you’ve suddenly got thousands upon thousands of things to write about! None of which make your words any less valid, because there is no one in the whole world that tells your story better than you.
4. Don’t follow trends, be yourself!
Don’t be a shadow of someone else! Trends come and go faster than any of us can keep up with. So, to be honest can we finally admit how futile they are? If you want your blog to be all about dogs in pageants, different designs of vintage airplanes, or the mystical whereabouts of mermaids. There will always be someone out there who’s interested in what you’ve got to say!
5. Don’t let your blog hold you captive!
A moment of realness, ya’girl is still learning this one herself! Especially being new to blogging if I had it my way I’d have an extra brain that either refreshes with new ideas or checks the stats on my blog, but I’ve only got one and it’s easy to become chained to something that is also meant to a freeing, explorative environment to express yourself in. This doesn’t mean compromising consistency, but it also means allowing yourself to take a sick day! Taking a mental health day to refresh your senses doesn’t make you a “bad blogger” because at the end of the day you want to produce the best possible content to your readers! Compromising that will lead you down a path of getting burnt out much faster then you’d think, and it will only leave you disappointed in yourself.
6. Finally, Get Your Name Out There
I’ve saved the best for last! For some of you this might be the scariest part, but the more you do it the less scary it will be each time! When I first started this blog, I was determined to tell no one close to me. Let alone a stranger who’s already made their own preconceived notions about with even getting to know me. First, it was because I wanted followers who hadn’t known me since birth and could judge my work without bias. Secondly, I shied away from sharing because of the crippling fear of being judged. I already live an out-of-the-box lifestyle and I didn’t want to hear what people had to say about something that I loved doing.
Funny enough, now I openly ask for people’s opinions! Anyway, thanks to my parents, I tell anyone who is willing to listen to me go on and on about my blog wherever I can squeeze it into a conversation! I shamelessly promote my Wonder Kid in Progress then continue like nothing happened. My parents were the main two to realize I wasn’t mentioning it to anyone, and so began the hunt to find new ways to mention I had a blog. It even got to a point where my Dad was telling his co-workers in casual conversation when they’d talk about their family’s. My Mom would make it a point to bring it up so then I’d have to talk about it in public. When I started becoming more confident telling complete strangers, I challenged myself in the beginning to tell five people closest to me without questioning whether they’d even care or not! Allowing yourself to have the confidence to share what you love with people will ultimately give you the confidence to continue sharing your story with the world! You deserve to be heard, but the first step is believing that truth!
See, the followers will come if you’ve got the patience to wait for the good ones. The good one’s that read your content, like your posts, and interact with you through the comments. I know that after these few steps blogging will become as dear to your heart as it has with mine!
That’s all I got for you lovely people! And a quick disclaimer for you guys, these tips are simply all I’ve learned from my perspective. Whenever I share tips like these, I never want to come across like I’ve got it all figured out, because I don’t! These are totally subjective! If you want some in-depth beginner blogger content, I highly recommend YouTube University! I’ll catch you guys next Friday! Thanks for tuning in!