Congratulations, new bloggers!
You are over halfway through the month! I’ve read some great blogs the past couple of weeks, and I look forward to reading more. My reader’s already starting to get heavy, but I’m not complaining!
When I signed on for the NBI, I agreed to do at least one post that gives blogging advice. I struggled with this, because I don’t try to be a popular blogger (I know, shocking, right?) and there are many things the great bloggers do that haven’t even crossed my radar. I guess my issue is this: what kind of advice can I give?
I decided the best thing to do is to tell you what I would want someone to tell me if I were back at the beginning starting TLBC all over again.
1. You don’t have to be perfect. In the very, very beginning, I had no problem admitting I didn’t know everything. The whole purpose of starting this blog was to get help as a moonkin. Once I felt like I understood my class, though, I suddenly started thinking I wasn’t allowed to admit there were things I still didn’t know. Bloggers are supposed to know everything, right? Just go ahead and wipe that thought out of your brain.
If you’re like me, you’re terrible at math and a little slow on the uptake sometimes (okay, that’s probably just me, but you get the idea). You’re human. Keep that in mind.
2. Take yourself seriously. This was advice that was given to me a long time ago, before blogging. It’s still great advice. If you want other people to take you seriously (and you might not, that’s fine too), you need to take yourself seriously. Put thought into the things you write. Use spell check. Proofread. Look things up you don’t know. Verify your facts. Keep learning.
But if you make a mistake, fix it, then refer again to #1 and move on with your life.
3. Get involved in the community! Sooner rather than later, too, guys. The blogosphere is monstrous. The WoW blogging community alone is h u g e. It’s also very supportive. You’re only doing yourself a disservice by keeping the rest of the community at a distance. In the beginning, I felt like good bloggers were aloof. PFFFFT. Egotistical bloggers are aloof, maybe, but it’s not a measure of quality.
Get involved. Read other blogs. Comment on other blogs. Refer to other blogs. Link to other blogs. Support other bloggers. (Are you getting the theme, here?)
And for heaven’s sake, join Twitter. When I got involved in Twitter, it was like I’d found the entrance to the secret Blogger Cave, only it isn’t a secret. Unfortunately, there’s also not a cool car or Alfred. But it’s just about that good! When you read a blog you like, chances are that blogger is on Twitter. Follow them. Get into the conversation. This community rocks, don’t miss out.
4. Blog because you love to blog. For a long time, I was tired of blogging. I was barely playing WoW, I had a heap load of personal family stuff going on, and I didn’t have the energy to put into TLBC. I kept doing it anyway, but for all the wrong reasons: because I felt like I had to keep it active, I wanted to be noticed, I wanted my blog to be popular, I wanted to be thought of at least semi-knowledgeable/entertaining/attention-worthy by the bloggers I respected so much.
When I stopped playing WoW altogether to focus on my family, I closed the doors to this blog. I was heartbroken, but I knew it was the right thing to do. When I returned, I didn’t immediately start blogging again, but soon I found myself missing it. This time, it was for all the right reasons: It was because I like to write. I like to write about the game I play. I like the discussions and the community and the way a blog post forms in my head.
If you’re blogging for some concept of fame you have in mind or because you feel like everyone expects you to, stop. It will show in your posts and in the way you carry yourself in the community. Blog because you can’t help smiling when you think of an idea or when you finish writing a post. Do it because you find pleasure in finding the right screenshots and organizing your ideas. Do what you do because you love to do it, and stop when you don’t.
5. Don’t measure your worth as a blogger by your hit count. If you’re blogging because you like to blog, that number just doesn’t matter. Sure, it’s a great feeling to get hits, and I would highly suggest that you publicize yourself. We’re writers, after all, we like for the things we write to be read.
But don’t quit because you don’t have as many readers as you think you should. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Keep writing. Keep improving your writing (see #2). Get involved and get your name out there (see #3). Give yourself some time!
I’m sitting here reading this now thinking that it’s way too Saved By The Bell. I should be giving advice about thinking of good topics and how to publicize yourself. I said at the beginning, though, that I would tell you what I wish someone had told me, and I would have traded all the nuts-and-bolts blogging advice in the world to have just been told it was okay to make a mistake. Just call me Mr. Belding.
That said, there are lots of great brass tacks-type posts out there for NBI. I’ve learned quite a few things myself from reading through some of them, so go check them out at NBI HQ!