F: Face your Fears
I felt so strongly impressed to start a blog, but was also terrified!! I knew that I didn’t know anything about blogging. I worried that others would think I was silly or misunderstand my purpose. I wondered if they would see it as a ploy to get attention. I worried that others would disagree and possibly say cruel things. But, the thoughts and promptings about starting a blog wouldn’t go away. It kept me up at night. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
I decided to face my fear. I went ahead anyway. I spend hours late at night setting up my domain, deciding on my blog name, and developing blog post ideas. I had pages and pages of notes and the ideas kept coming. I still didn’t have a clue. I began looking into social media and setting up my accounts. I still remember the first day I put my blog out there. I had articles, a question of the week, and two blog posts up before I published. I had to push “post” on Facebook and let my friends and followers know I was now a blogger.
Courage means facing the fear. Go ahead. Face your fears. Be vulnerable. We can do this together.
E: Extend Yourself
I truly didn’t get this at first. I thought if I wrote great content that magically the people would come to me. Yep…waiting…hoping…writing. Wait some more.
Yep, still waiting.
I soon realized that blogging is a lot more than writing. Blogging is truly about connecting. You have to read other blogs. You need to reach out to others. You need to be gracious. You need to seek out others blogs that are doing well and take notes.
Attend and link up your content at link parties. Connect on social media. Leave messages for other bloggers. Be supportive of their endeavors. Blogging cannot be self-centered.
I must admit that I made a huge mistake in the first couple months of blogging. I was nominated for the Leibster award. I had no clue what it was, and when I looked it up, I thought “That isn’t my style. I don’t want to reveal that much personal information.” I ignored that nomination (Aaarrgghh!!) and now I feel terrible about it. I am sure that I offended the blogger who nominated me and I lost the opportunity to connect with other great bloggers. It was an opportunity to extend myself, but instead I pulled in. I was afraid. I thought I knew better. I made a mistake.
Hopefully, I have learned better now. I am trying to extend myself. I continue to make mistakes all the time, but I am working on it!
A: Assess Continually
Another lesson learned: I believed once my site was set up, I had it made. All I needed was some great posts and people reading them!! Very quickly I learned that I need to constantly assess and evaluate my site. Change. Change. Adjust. The only way I can do this effectively is by assessing regularly. I need to update. I need to add and delete. I need to learn.
As I learn from other blogs, I find that most bloggers want to share. They are willing to share their knowledge for free!! Wow! If only I had more hours to do it all! I have set a goal to assess my blog once a week, read an article on blogging from another blogger and apply it. As I do this, I add widgets, make adjustments, get ideas for future posts, and learn about photography, SEO, html, etc. All of these things will only add to my blog, but, it takes a conscious effort to be willing to assess and change.
R: Risk Constantly
Not only do I have to face my fear, but I have to continue to risk. This article, for example, is a risk. I know that I am a newbie. I know that my knowledge of blogging is limited, but I am taking a risk. I am putting myself out there to share what I have learned so far and how it has helped me.
I risked when I posted on Facebook that day months ago. I risk when I share personal, heart-felt stories that make my heart cringe. I risk every time I share a post, but without risk nothing would change. I could stay in my comfort zone, not stretching, growing, or learning. I am sure that my blog wouldn’t change, grow, or develop either.
Four baby steps: Face your Fears, Extend Yourself, Assess Continually, and Risk Constantly. Sounds like a challenge to me!
Are you ready to use FEAR? Can you be brave with me and take some risks?
Let me know what risks have paid out for you!