blah, blah, blog (a guide of sorts)
There are customers who come into my work and play trivia at the bar, and I get a good view of the televisions that line the wall from the host stand. Even though I’m not allowed to have one of the tablets to play trivia on while I work, I sometimes secretly keep score of how many questions I get right. Surprisingly enough my AP European History class has come in handy more than I thought it would three years later.
The other day I just happened to look up at the right time to see that the trivia TV had a question about blogging:
By modern standards, the definition of a blog is….
My eyes were locked on choice C.
A personal website.
I smiled at this, because here were my two worlds colliding in the most bizarre, unlikely way. I’m a blogger (in the most modest sense) and a hostess at a sports bar, two completely unrelated components of my identity, and I was present for the only moment in which they would meet.
Although the concept of a blog is rather simple in actuality (see above bar trivia question), its definition has evolved into something much bigger. Blogging has rose to prominence in the last couple of years, creating a sense of intimidation for newcomers. People use blogging as a marketing tool now, and turn themselves into a powerhouse - “Blogger” is now an option for when you make the switch from a personal Instagram account to a business Instagram account. It’s amazing to see what Millennials are doing with blogging, and how quickly their platforms grow. There are food blogs, fashion blogs, beauty blogs, book blogs, baby blogs, travel blogs - you name it. Like with all other social media - blogging has become more about showcasing a certain lifestyle - the lines between idealism and materialism, private and public, have been blurred, depending on a blog’s subject matter.
When I tell people that I have a blog, they immediately follow up with “Oh, what is it about?” And believe it or not, I’m at a loss for words when this happens. It would be narcissistic to say “Oh, it’s about me!” but it would be lame for me to just mumble something along the lines of “Um…..just writing stuff about life, you know….”
I don’t have a brand. I’m just me. I can’t imagine turning myself into a brand, like so many other modern day bloggers have been doing. I can’t see myself writing about the avocado toast I ate at brunch because that’s not what I’m here to do. I don’t even eat avocado toast, let alone have a solid opinion on avocados themselves - I just know that they taste really good on a grilled chicken sandwich, a fact that I learned on my nineteenth birthday and am sharing with you all now (you’re welcome).
I started this blog because I consider myself to be a writer before anything else. I came here to write. And the beauty of it is that I can write about anything I want here - so when the day comes that I do form a solid opinion on avocados, I can write about that, but I probably won’t. I feel like enough white girls my age already have.
If what I've written already hasn't scared you off from starting a blog, here are a few tips from a seasoned pro*
*disclaimer: I cannot promise a spike in Instagram follower count
Create a good title
The title of your blog is like the opening line of a novel - it’s meant to keep people wanting more. For example, the opening line of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: “It was a pleasure to burn.”
But in most cases, your title should somehow relate to yourself or the content you plan on creating, because the communication in a blog is more intrapersonal than a novel.
Grace, Uninterrupted? Bingo bango. I’m a small girl with a lot to say. I talk so much to the point that when I’m out to eat with my best friend she says “Grace, finish your fucking food so we can leave.” I have this blog because journaling clearly isn’t enough.
Pick your poison
What is your blog about, and who is your intended audience? If you’re making a blog, it is obviously about you to a certain extent. I once read on a website that you have to write for your audience. I’m going to clear something up for you: that’s bullshit. It’s your blog and you should be writing for yourself, but in a way that’s relatable. And remember, a blog isn't a diary - there is a line to draw between public and private, but you get to decide where that line goes. Be careful with what you put out there for others to read!
Personalize, personalize, personalize
What you put into your blog is what you get out of it. If you really care about what you’re doing, then you want your website to look good! There are so many platforms to use for blogging - Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr, Wix, etc. I use Wordpress, and I upgraded my account to Personal which included the purchase of a domain, which I have to renew in September (but you’re not at all obligated to spend money on your blog). I put a lot of time and effort into writing posts, updating my pages, choosing which photos to put on my blog, and customizing the layout.
Have fun with it
If you go into blogging thinking that you’re going to be popular right away, then this is not for you. In the early stages it’s normal to not get a lot of readers, and over time your blog grows into something much better compared to when you first started. I didn’t create a blog for business purposes - if anything, blogging is a hobby for me, and I’m passionate about it. I love coming up with new ideas for posts and creating content, and I get a satisfying feeling when I finish writing something for my site. I try not to focus too much on my stats, because I don't want to get discouraged - I'm thankful for the audience of my blog, however big or small it may be.
When you’re writing, be honest with yourself and your intended audience. My life isn't glamorous or put together - I'm not ashamed of the life I have and I like being as real as possible with anyone who reads this blog. Make sure to stay true to yourself throughout the entire blogging process, and don't focus on what other bloggers are doing. Develop your own style, and stick with it.
For anyone reading this who is thinking about starting a blog, I hope I was able to provide at least a little bit of relief. Blogging should be easy and enjoyable for anyone who wants to give it a try - but that doesn't mean that you don't have to put work into it to see some results.
If you have any questions about blogging, theme customization, or anything in general, leave a comment below, or shoot me an email - I'd be more than happy to help.
What are you waiting for? Get out there and start creating.