Thoughts on blogging: three months in

January 7, 2015

Thoughts on blogging #3 |

What with the Christmas/New Year hiatus, our three-month blog anniversary seems to have crept up on us rather quickly. My blog insights are different to those of Rose and Rachel in that they’re mostly about the writing process – it’s what I do for a day job and it’s the aspect of blogging that excites me most. With most of our other (equally important) blogging duties, I’m a little at sea – luckily weโ€™re a team. Anyway, here are my thoughts on the art of blogging:

1. Sub-editors go unnoticed – and that’s the idea.

Because I’m a stickler for clear copy and am used to working in a team with a sub-editor, it seemed natural for me to offer my services to our blog. As such, I proof all the posts before they go online. It’s a journalistic joke that sub-editors have a thankless task because their work is only noticed when they slip up. But the fact is that no writer would sound half as good as they do without the secret support of a good sub – I’ve often seen subs rewrite entire features. When it comes to blog posts, there’s a lot to be said for re-reading your own copy, but a totally fresh pair of eyes is invaluable. A sub-editor’s raison d’etre isn’t just to hunch over copy and award marks for spelling and grammar (although they do pick up a lot of typos). They also untangle tricky sentences, check facts, put things in a logical order, and ask questions on behalf of would-be readers – all to make it as easy as possible for you to digest whatever you happen to be reading. In an ideal world, every blog would have one, and I think ours works all the better for it.

2. Blogging isn’t a day job.

A reminder for myself, this one, as I’m liable to take everything I do – even hobbies – a bit too seriously. Since blogs are personal by their nature, writing posts involves a lot more freedom of expression than the day-to-day journalism I’m used to, where an (often sociopathic) editor lays down the law on how the final version of your piece will read. I’m used to delivering work and turning the other cheek when some of my lovingly – and lengthily – crafted sentences are mercilessly culled (unlike some people – mentioning no names, Giles Coren). I’m trying to recalibrate my hard-wired tendencies and throw caution to my in-built style guide to try to keep my own tone as honest and personal as possible.

3. Blogging is hard work.

When we started this blog, one of our aims was for it to look and feel professional. I like what we’ve achieved so far, and it seems you do too. However, approaching a blog in a professional way is a double-edged sword, because after a few weeks it can start to feel less like a hobby and more like another chore on my to-do list. Team meetings, deadlines, and an overflowing in-tray can all get on top of you. Friendly get-togethers have a habit of turning into informal blog meetings (meanwhile, our actual meetings tend to veer alarmingly off-topic…) Still, it’s worth it for the thrill of posting something I’m really proud of.

4. Organisation is still key.

Do you notice a pattern forming with these posts? With so much goodwill from all three of us, it’s a wonder we struggle with this one as much as we sometimes do. My spare time is so scant that I’m writing this on the bus to and from work, so random passengers – not all from our target demographic – are getting a sneak preview of what you’re reading! As my dad says, the important thing is for the blog to remain swan-like: only the bits that can be seen need to appear serene and in control; no one has to know that we’re actually paddling furiously, out of sight…

5. Patience is a virtue.

It’s important not to lose sight of the big picture, but I’m conscious that we can’t conquer the blogosphere in three months flat, however hard we push. It’s difficult to know whether to pace ourselves and let time create its own momentum or whether to ‘lean in’ firmly from the get-go. Tips for building an audience is definitely something weโ€™d love to hear about from other bloggers out there.

How was the third month of blogging for you? What tips do you have for developing your blog?

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    Reply Kate January 8, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Great post – I’m new to blogging too, only been writing my site since the end of summer, although I’m a journalist by trade. Like you I’m finding it hard not to treat it as a hobby! Some good points here – and I look forward to reading more from you in 2015! I’m visiting from #BrilliantBlogPosts

    • Reply Nicky January 13, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      Thank you Kate! Do you think we journalists are perfectionists when it comes to blogging? Or is it just me… :0

    Reply Laura Evelyn Bee January 8, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Hi happy 3 month blogging!
    I have only been blogging for just over 6 months and I have to say these first months have been such a steep learning curve! I wasn’t even on Twitter!!!
    Wishing you all the best for your blog for 2015. x

    • Reply Nicky January 13, 2015 at 8:04 pm

      Thank you so much! Good luck for your blog in 2015 too x

    Reply Isabella January 8, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    This is a very pertinent post. I’m in the same situation, have been blogging since mid November and I’m trying to find a balance between growing my blog – and not sure either whether to let things happen organically or push it – and actually treating it like a hobby, which is what it was supposed to be. But I got completely sucked in and it’s slowly taking over my daily schedules. And taht’s while I’m still on maternity leave! Not sure how I will cope with the hard work of a blog when I go back to work. But good to know that there are other people in the same boat, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply Nicky January 13, 2015 at 8:04 pm

      Thanks Isabella – yes, I was on maternity leave too when we started and life has certainly gone up a few gears since then! There is time, though, you just have to use your imagination to find it – typing on the bus was a revelation for me! x

    Reply HonestMum January 10, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    Some lovely reminders here. Blogging can become a full time paid job and quickly too if you want it to be, it’s my career but I’m strict with my work hours and boundaries. Love your blog, can’t believe it’s only 3 months old, keep rocking! Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

    • Reply Nicky January 13, 2015 at 8:02 pm

      Thanks so much, glad you’re enjoying our posts – and we can’t believe it’s so young either! x

    Reply Adventures of a Novice Mum January 11, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Congratulations on your 3 months blog birthday. My blog is under 2 months old and I’m enjoying the blogging process. I agree with your points; it’s such hard work. Patience and persistence are key, especially in finding the balance between writing good quality posts and working on building an audience. All the best as you blog on. #TheList

    • Reply Nicky January 13, 2015 at 8:01 pm

      Thanks for your lovely comment! I hope your blog goes well, too, and that we both find that balance! x

    Reply Janette Davey January 12, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Been three months for me too and I’m learning something new each day. Linkys and twitter are the latest things. Hard to juggle work, kids and blogging but I am enjoying it, which is the main point of doing it.

    • Reply Nicky January 13, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      Yes it’s true – we are enjoying it too, but there is SO much to fit in around the rest of life. We are actually lucky because we have three pairs of hands rather than one ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply Joy January 12, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Happy 3 Months Blogging! I agree with you especially on the last three. Many don’t realise how much work blogging requires

    • Reply Nicky January 13, 2015 at 7:57 pm

      Thank you! It’s like anything – what goes on behind the scenes tends to stay there, and everyone assumes it all comes naturally/easily. We wanted to keep our blog a bit more real, so that’s why we’re sharing how we’re getting on rather than pretending it’s a total breeze!

    Reply Mumma McD January 13, 2015 at 4:43 am

    Happy 3 months ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m just 3 months in too, and having a great time with it but also finding it is encroaching on other aspects of life too! So yes, I need to make sure it remains a hobby too – otherwise I’ll have nothing to write about! #thelist

    • Reply Nicky January 13, 2015 at 7:56 pm

      Ha, I know! It is so hard to keep perspective with something like a blog, which is so personal and open to judgement from anyone. I’m finding it very cathartic that we’re charting our journey – hope we have it all worked out in a few months!

    Reply leandra January 13, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Some great advice here, I love your writing style.

    Visiting from #thelist

    • Reply Nicky January 13, 2015 at 7:53 pm

      Thanks Leandra, that’s so nice to hear! Hope you come back for our month four instalment (or before then!) x

    Reply Hannah Mums' Days January 16, 2015 at 7:19 am

    You’ve only be doing this for 3 months?? I feel like such a failure. I’ve just had my 3 year birthday and I’m still learning some of these lessons. You guys are doing a great job, such a beautiful blog with some content that I’m regularly jealous of!! Keep it up and stay patient. As I always say, blogging is a grower not a shower ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks for linking up #Thelist xx

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