Thursday, January 28, 2016

6 Tips to Get You Blogging Again......No Matter How Long it's Been

This month is the first time I've blogged in over a year. Six posts in and it feels like I'm catching up with an old friend.

Even though it feels comfortable to be back at the keyboard, my old insecurities still creep back in. What if I'm not funny or interesting? What if I have nothing to say? And worst of all, what if no one reads my posts?

But I'm learning to have a different mindset now.

I'm learning to say, "Screw it. Just write."

Shakespeare quote about self doubt and fear holding a person back
Yeah, Shakespeare...that's me. *snort*

I was thinking about why I went so long without writing. It started with my back problems, but that eased up over several months. Finding time to write was always an issue because I worked full time...but I've been part time now since last August.

Then I thought, maybe I only want to blog when I'm happy, when things are going well in my life. I think that's partially true because I tend to clam up when I'm depressed or overwhelmed. I retreat and hide and wait for things to be better.

But then again, I've blogged about some pretty unhappy things happening in my life too, like dealing with my daughter's addiction (a story I really haven't finished because of events that were too painful to put out into the eternity of the Internet).

This past year though, I have to say that I've been pretty happy. There were some unsettled feelings and stress when we decided to short sell our house and we had to move and didn't know where to and didn't know if we could find a rental that would let us take our zoo with us. But in the big scheme of problems, that's not an earth-shattering one.

But still, I didn't blog. And even though overall, I felt happy, I did feel like there was something missing.

Then I had an epiphany.

It's not that I blog when I'm happiest; It's that I'm happiest when I blog.

Huh. Who knew? It only took me 6 years of  blogging to figure that out.

Quote about how blogging  makes me happy.

Here's a few other things I've learned (and am learning) this month that have helped me get back into the groove of blogging. Actually, they're helping me carve a new groove because the old one really wasn't working too well. Maybe they can help you too.

Or not. What do I know, I've been away for a year.

Blogging tips to help you get back to blogging, even if it's been a while.

1. Just start

When my husband asked what my post was about I told him it's about how to blog again after not doing it for a while. First he said, "BOR-ing." He's only interested in posts where he or his dog play a prominent role.

Then he said, "You just said how - you just blog again."

So there you have it. Just blog again. Just start blogging. Just sit down and type.

Give a reason why you were away, if you want. Or don't. Write about what you did yesterday, last weekend, what you're thinking right now, how you're now known in your neighborhood as the crazy Christmas cracker doesn't matter. Just get something out there. Trust me, it will feel good.

2. Focus

This one is a problem for me. I sit down to blog, get sidetracked, then run out of time to write a post and it doesn't get done. Here's what happened yesterday when I tried to work on this post:

1. Picked one of Mama Kat's prompts to write about.
2. Typed one line.
3. Tried to block cat from walking across keyboard.
4. Tried to block cat from walking back across keyboard.
5. Took picture of cat walking on keyboard for Instagram.
6. Spent 5 minutes deciding which filter to use and another 5 looking for hashtags.
7. Studied picture before posting and realized how messy my desk was.
8. Went on Pinterest and looked for pretty desk organizing ideas.
9. Put junk from desk onto floor and went looking for cat (who had completely lost interest) to put her back on keyboard for a new picture.
10. Gave up on wrangling cat and tried to think of next line for post (even though I'd completely lost interest).
11. Decided maybe this prompt wasn't the best one for me and looked at the rest of the choices.
12. The cat returned.Tried to block her from walking across keyboard again.
13. It's time to get ready for work.

I'm still working on this one, but I'm going to start by taping the word "Focus" to the wall by my computer. And by locking the cat out of the room.

3. Make a Schedule

I thought that working part time would give me all kinds of time to blog. This has not been true. I have a lot of things to squeeze into a morning before I go to work for 5 hours, like Pinterest, T.V. and making comics. No really, it's important stuff. (Important. Stuff. Top. Men.) I realized I need to have a schedule in order to blog consistently and not drop the ball on all the other things.

4. Walk Everyday

One of the things I squeeze in to my mornings is walking our dogs. I know all the health benefits of walking and all that, but I really was just walking them because they needed it, not because I did. But I can't believe how much more energized and efficient I feel when I get back from a walk. Triumphant, even. Like I'm ready to tackle anything, including blogging. It must be the Serotonin rush.

Cute chihuahua holding a leash.
She's not mine. She's clearly better trained than my dogs.

5. Write the Unhappy Stuff

Like I said earlier, I'm not very good at this one. But I have seen where writing during difficult times is therapeutic. Also, the blogging community is very supportive and you may find some unexpected words of wisdom that actually help you through your situation. The reverse is true too - your experience may help someone else going through the same thing.

After all, there's not an experience out there that someone else hasn't gone through too (for the most part). Blogging about it and finding those others makes you feel not so alone. As humans, we all relate to vulnerability. This was overwhelmingly true for my experience with my child's addiction.

So, instead of retreating when the bad stuff happens, try to write about it. Not every detail, because some things are too personal...but some of it. Just to put it out there. It will help you remain consistent with your blogging too.

6. No Cooking on Blogging Nights

Lastly, for heaven's sake, plan to have leftovers on the nights you need to get a post out in time for a link-up! All that time I spent cooking dinner tonight, I could have spent finishing this post so that I could be watching American Idol right now with the hubby instead of listening to him calling me from the bedroom, "Honnnneeeee, it's oooonnnn!" Refer back to the scheduling thing.

(And can someone put me in a class on how to write shorter sentences?)

7. And Speaking of Link-Ups...

Here's a bonus tip for you - if you're hesitant to start blogging again because you're worried about coming up with ideas to write about and don't want to just write about what you did today (and I can't blame you because most of my days are snoozefests) then find some blogs with link-ups. (Does that have a dash, or not?)

These are blogs that have a weekly prompt or theme that you can write about, then you link up your post and everyone else who links up reads and comments on all (or at least a few) of the linked posts. You have something to write about, you get a little exposure for your blog and the comfort of knowing at least a few people will read your post, and maybe you make a few blog friends. Win-win-win.

On that note, this post is for Mama Kat's Workshop link-up for the prompt "Write about something I learned this month."

And oh, have I got a doozy of a post for one of her prompts next week: Write a post inspired by the word "shocked."

A-Learnin' and a-bloggin',

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