Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Why, When and How I Blog...

Blog...short for web log. It's a noun and it's a verb and we all do it!! Whether you write a blog or read a blog...you are a blogger and you are blogging.

The actual definition of a blog is...

blog

  [blawg, blog] noun, verb, blogged,blog·ging.
noun
1.
a Web site containing the writer's or group of writers' own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other Web sites.

I started reading blogs in 2007...mostly crafting, quilting and cooking blogs. I just read them and enjoyed them, never commented. I truly loved the inspiration!



Then in 2008, I left my first comment. You remember the feeling...

  • am I doing it right?
  • why am I doing this?
  • will they think I'm crazy?
  • I'm not part of the "in" crowd, because everyone seems to know each other
  • I live in Rhode Island and I swear all the blogs are out west, so I'll never meet any one.

After that first comment, I guess the rest is history, as they say. I started my own blog in January of 2009 and have never regretted a single moment. Well, maybe a few...when the old Blogger was a bugger to load pictures, when I cried when whole posts would disappeared and God only knows where they went or when I thought HTML codes would send me to an early grave etc. Thankfully, blogging has changed so much for the better and for my sanity too!!

Blogging has changed and I have changed because of blogging. It has created an outlet for me to share the ideas that flow through my head on a daily basis. I love the "sharing" aspect of blogging. However, the most important part is really the friendships that I have made over the years. Friendships that last for just a moment or friends that will last for a lifetime (even though you live 3000 miles away and I still owe you an email!!) Jodi from Pleasant Home is my very first blogging friend I would have never met if it weren't for this little thing called a blog. Hi, Jodi!!

Why am I writing all of this. Well, my husband asked me yesterday as we were driving in the car..."do you ever feel obligated to write something on your blog, like it was a job?" Absolutely not. It has become second nature for me and for my family as well. My husband and my 2 daughters are always saving something and asking...could you use this for Tool Time or is this idea good for a post? (chocolate cream pie idea from hubby, for example) They also know that if I am snapping pictures of them, there is a chance it will be on this blog. 

I've also had many emails asking how do I know what to write about, do I plan things, what inspires me, do I write posts ahead of time etc. With all that in mind, I thought I would write a few things down from what I have learned along the way.   

To begin, I am NOT an expert on blogging. I am a 100% self taught, many mistakes along the way, blogger. We all start out with zero followers and that first post that no one is reading. You have to start some where, right? My best advice is to blog what you know and love and the rest will come on it's own. 

"If you build it and they will come" 
~Field of Dreams~

Here's what I've learned...
  • Blog about what you love. If you don't, it will become a chore and not a pleasure. My blog is about pretty much everything, because I love a little of this and a little of that!!
  • Don't blog because you "have to", do it because you "want to".
  • Just be yourself. If you try to be like other blogs, you'll lose that special something that you have to share. Your blog is about YOU...what you think, what you make, what you do.
  • Almost everything you do in life can be a post and helpful to someone. Any moment in your day can be blogged about. For example, I was baking one day and sprayed the pan with cooking spray over the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, like I always do. Hmmm, I thought, this is a quick post that might be helpful for even one person out there. There are people out there just like you, so mention one thing in your life and someone can connect with it. You'll be surprised! Which brings me to my next point...
  • Take pictures of everything...from the dog walking on the beach to how you fold your fabric. If you have pictures, you have a post. You may think the way you fold your fabric is pointless and mundane, but it may be a "light bulb" moment for someone else and change their lives for the better!! 
  • Keep your pictures organized and stored on your computer and they will be there at the ready. Pictures are worth a 1000 words. People love pictures and with busy crazy lives, they can browse through your blog and look at pictures rather than reading a 1000 words. (this post is not a good example of that! Holy mackerel, I think I have 2000 words and NO pictures LOL)
  • If posting every day is too much for you, take one day and write all your posts and pre date them. Having a regular posting schedule keeps your readers involved, your content fresh and visitors stopping by your blog often.
  • If you have a question about blogging or your blog...research, research, research. I am constantly learning new things all the time. Whether it be about blogging, photography, computer questions etc...look it up. Use your search box on your computer and type in whatever you want to know. There is an answer out there somewhere. If you can't find it...ask someone, email, comment or blog your question. Someone will listen and will be willing to help. 
  • Have an "About Me" section near the top of your blog. People need the connection to the blog. They need to see you and know you. I know people have fears about the internet and creepers out there, but give as much as you feel you can. The connection is where it starts.
  • Don't be afraid. Just do it!! Start that blog, leave that comment, write that post. You can do it...I just know it.
I know I could write forever on this, even breaking down each topic into subtopics, but I think I've broken my 1000 words with no picture rule. Ok, here's one picture I had "at the ready".




If any one has more to add on the topic of blogging, please share it with us in the comment section. Sharing is what it's all about!!

Happy Blogging,
~Karen~


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48 comments:

  1. I started my blog in March 2011. In fact I mention you in the second sentence of that first blog. I became a blogger several months before that because someone introduced me to Tool Time Tuesday. I followed regularly and used your blog as a jumping out point to so many others. You are my blogland hero.
    Thanks

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  2. It is weird that when I clicked on to your blog t from Google Reader, I was thinking of the pressure you must have to perform!!!
    And there you write a little about that ... I love my few followers and don't feel that I have to post unless I'm in the mood. I am all over the place with my topics too.
    I am a total fan of yours as you may know. A short, sweet post to read with photos does it for me as I read so many. I leave yours and Tipnut's until last to saviour. Eden Riley of http://www.edenriley.com/ is in fine form today. She's a brave lady! xo

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  3. I never thought I would be a "blogger!" I started my blog this year. Being military, we move around and have to say good-bye to our friends and family and sometimes find ourselves in a place where it's hard to make a new connection. My blog became that connection for me. I sew but hardly any of my friends or family do. So, I wanted to reach out to a community who does sew, people I could share with, inspire, and be inspired by. It's been really good for my mobile life....something that is going to stay the same no matter where we go. :)

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  4. This was the post I needed to read today. I've pretty much followed the outline you have written about. My topics are all over the place because of my varied interest. I started my blog last year around Thanksgiving. My goal was to prove I could write one. Now it has become part of who I am....and I love it. It has allowed me to grow in ways I never dreamed I could do. Thanks again.

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  5. Great post! I am trying to find that comfortable zone with my blog...have lots of good ideas, but rarely post about anything outside of my makeovers, thrift store finds, etc. Trying to figure out what to include, what not to!
    Thanks!

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  6. Blogland has given me new ideas, new friends, countless blessings...

    It is a significant part of my life, but has not taken over my life

    Your blogging tips are great, well thought out.

    I would just add- revel in the positive affirmative comments- and leave any negative anonymous ones and move on.

    Many blessings to you and your lovely family xx

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  7. Great post, Karen. Your tips and insights are really thoughtful. I, too, have found that blogging has enriched my life in many ways. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  8. What a great post, Karen. Wonderfully said and written. I absolutely love to visit your blog. It is always full of ideas, and great tutorials (the first tutorial I used when I started sewing was the one on the coasters. Same technique you used for the pillow the other day.) I also use your blog as reference when I need help with blogger!!!
    You are giving great advice here. Being oneself I think is very important. It is nice to feel there is someone just like us on the other side of the screen.

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  9. Wonderful post! I need to do better about having my camera handy! We went to the beach this weekend and I did not take a single photo!

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  10. Thanks for this post. I am a new blogger and this came at kust the roghtomemt
    I needed the encouragememt.

    Thanks
    Jenny

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  11. When I began my blog the idea was to have it as a personal journal of my experiences and day to day activities. Having others be interested in what I had to say was a bonus and totally unexpected. Your post today has been very encouraging and inspirational. Thank you Karen

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  12. There are so many blogs out there on every topic under the sun and tons on each topic that it is hard to find the time to read or even glance at them all every day. I am glad most of the blogs I follow don't post every day or I would never get anything else done!

    I think photos are more important than what you write because people are so busy and may only have a chance to glance and not read the posting. I did read yours here Karen, ha, ha!

    I tend to focus on my quilts, knitting and sewing on my blog and not write about other things like family, vacations, etc. I know when I see a blog about what interests me such as quilting and knitting, if my first visit to their blog is all about other things then I tend to not go back there. I think first impressions are important when following a blog. If however, it's a blog I had been following for a long time and I kind of got to know the person then I don't mind hearing about other things once in a while. So if you are new to blogging, I would stick to what the true focus of your blog is all about. If you jump around on too many subjects you may not get new followers or keep the followers you have. (some do stop following for whatever reason?) If you state your blog is about all kinds of things, then at least your readers know this from the start.

    Sharing what you love and know about is what keeps them coming back. Thanks to you Karen, I have had hundreds of people visit my blog. Some stayed and followed me and some didn't, but you really helped to open the door for me and I have been blogging longer than you! Makes you wonder how you can be found out there in cyberspace with so many blogs floating around. Word-of-mouth is the best way to hear about anything on the internet. Plus your linky days helps for new bloggers too.
    Thanks for all your great posts Karen.

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    1. I must admit that I am a lurker for many blogs I read. I have a blog about my quilting and other things happening in the studio. The problem that I have is that I don't blog every day. In fact, if I blog once a week I am on a streak!!!! The fact is, I get so busy creating that I don't blog as often as I could. I make promises to myself that I will post regularly (whatever that may be) but try as I might, creating takes precedence. I do like doing it however and your blog and the comments are really inspiring.

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  13. I came across your blog because of your craft room. While I do sew (not as much as I did growing up), I'm more into the paper crafts these days, mainly scrapbooking. I'm always on the hunt for new ways to decorate my craft room or innovative ways to store my [ever-increasing] stash of supplies. I love your room and all the cool changes you've made to it. I'm pretty sure yours is one of the first blogs I started following! I started my blog almost 2 years ago. I think I have 14 followers, and that's fine by me. I like that it's MY blog, and I can write and post anything I want...and whenever I want! I do hope to become more consistent about my posts, not so much that I hope to increase interest and followers, but because I like getting all those random thoughts out of my head - ha ha! I've seen a lot of people's blogs turn into SPONSORVILLE - you have to sort thru all the ads to even find their posts anymore. I don't care if I ever make 1 dime off my blog, and I like sharing about products/stores/resources I come across without anyone feeling like there's any strings attached!

    Anyway, you're doing a great job! Thanks for taking the time to share your sewing room, your ideas and your life with us! Doris

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  14. Great post. Very helpful as I will think or do something I want to blog about but shen I can get the time in a day, the idea is gone. Or maybe it's just that I can't figure out how to get started. Who knows.

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  15. I just want to say that of all the blogs I follow, your's is my favorite!

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  16. Thanks Karen for this blog post, I too have struggled with my blog. Sometimes it semms like I am really getting the hang of it and then other times I think - who really wants to know any of this. I appreciate your encouragement and your Find a Friend Friday, your Sew Crafty because sometimes I put my blog on but most times I read others and then finding new blogs I want to follow. Yours, of course, is at the top of my list to read. Thanks again.

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  17. And that's just the way I feel too!! Only difference?? I have "only" 27 followers, you a whopping 6860!!! Wow.... I would feel pressured with that many people reading me daily...

    You were my first blog I came back to regularly. Thanks for that,you had so much good tips for me. Now working on that great organizer for my threads I saw here. Hope to find much more to come.
    Thanks so much for all your advice and great ideas!!
    Bianca

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  18. Thank you Karen! Your blog was one of my earliest inspirations to comment on a blog, to connect in a personal way with a blogger, to say thank you for sharing a part of your life with us. I finally took the plunge last Christmas to start my own. It has been so much fun and has become a vital part of my life, as well as all of those who share my life. Whenever I have a question about how to do something on my blog, your Blogging Tips are the first place I go for answers! You are a big part of opening up the world of blogging for me, and I hope to return the favor to someone else someday =^..^=

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  19. Thanks Karen for sharing! Your blog and bigbgsd@blogspot were the first 2 on which I ever left comments. My purpose for creating mine was to keep track of hand made gifts I was giving away. I could never remember what I gave to whom! That's when my blog was born. I still only have 4 followers, and that's okay too. It is still great fun AND serves my purpose - keeping a forgetful woman sane! I love your tips!! Keep them coming!

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  20. Hi Karen, thanks for this great post, I have been bouncing the idea of a blog of my own around in my head for a little while now. Your tips are great and I just may take the plunge! Thanks! LOVE LOVE LOVE your sewing space, so jealous!!

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  21. Some excellent tips!Thank-you

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  22. I started my blog in 2008. I am not a consistent blogger and really use it to just journal my feelings, ideas, and the basics of what is going on in my life. I love your blog!

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  23. Karen, thanks so much for stopping by my blog and letting me know about this post. I really enjoyed reading it and Lord knows I can use all the help I can get in figuring out blogging. Also, thanks for the tip on turning on my no reply, I had no idea. I think I fixed it...hopefully. Have a great night.

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  24. I jumped in the deep end of the pool (blogging) in January of this year. Very scary. I blog once a week and post it on my etsy team's blog event. I also post it on my facebook business page. I'm having fun just talking to the wind. Not many readers or commenters - just the teammates.

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  25. Great post!

    I used to snap a lot more pictures than I do and put them on my old blog. Then I ran out of room and didn't want to pay for more room so I started a new blog. Then the energy ran out of me. I should have purchased more.

    My in-laws can't keep up with us as much because I am a slacker.
    I work full-time and by the time I get home and done with stuff and dinner it is too late to post. (Why is it easier to read others though?)

    I just went back and looked for a post from last year to get some race times....IT'S NOT THERE!!! I didn't post it? This is my only "journal". I turn my blog into a book. I should ground myself!

    I somehow have GOT to get back my energy and MAKE time to post.

    Finding blog friends is a bonus!! I have met a few and it has been GREAT!

    Just keep swimming....I mean blogging, Just keep bloggin...

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  26. Your thoughts on blogging are perfect. I started blogging in 2007 and have fallen into a rhythm. I write posts on the weekend and schedule them to post during the week which gives me time to read other bogs. I've made some wonderful people through their comments and through commenting on other blogs.

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  27. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this. I've blogged off and on for a couple of years now, but I've really tried to make an effort to be consistent in the last couple of months. Sometimes it feels like the only people who read what I write are members of my family, but then out of the blue I'll get a comment from someone I don't know it and will make my day. I've tried to do more of what you say for scheduling posts ahead of time-that really seems to be the key for me!

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  28. Great post Karen, I think I found yours from the beautiful pictures of your wonderful craft room and always enjoy your blog! Blogging does really connect us with a lot of people!

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  29. As a relatively "new" blogger...I thank you for this overview. It gives me hope that my thoughts and words on my posts are not in vain. It is slow getting new followers. I am learning and trying so I hope my blog will succeed. If anyone out there wants to visit my blog is http://kwiltypleasures.blogspot.com. I'm pretty excited to be on the upcoming WICKED Bog Hop that begins in late October. I need more blogging friends! Thanks.

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  30. Wonderful post - very encouraging. Thank you! blessings, marlene

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  31. Thanks for the advice! I started my blog earlier this year and I love learning from those more experienced. I actually started my blog before I left my first comment anywhere. I was missing such a critical piece to the blogging experience and to being a part of the blogging community. All of that to say, thank you for your advice and for your posts! :)

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  32. I love all of your posts and subjects but this one is above all the rest. Because i started blogging this june and i'm like you; my subjects are mainly crafting and decorating but i also write about my holiday or how i feel etc. As you say; it's just me. I love to write whatever comes to my mind. I can't tell you how good it feels for me to see how many hits my page got or how many readers i have.. I'm typing something here and out there somebody's reading it and maybe learning something.. As you say, i update my blog almost everyday, if possible, not because i have to, because i just want to. Everday something comes to my mind or i see a good idea and i say "hey i wanna share it". I've been reading blogs for a veeery long time and always wanted to start one. Now finally i've got my little world and everyone's wellcome :)
    Thanks againg for your precious ideas and thoughts.
    Lots of love,
    http://craftanddecorate.blogspot.com/

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  33. Karen thanks for sharing this post! As I read the first part of your post I was like "yep that was me" LOL and it is very true that we all start out somewhere. I never in a million years thought that I would start my own blog! But I have had my blog now for about six months and went from zero to over 100 followers in that short time. I managed to take part in challenges as my blog is mainly related to my crafts and from there I landed on a couple design teams. I LOVE blogging!!! I follow many blogs, I leave lots of love, and I enjoy posting to my own blog. I will say though, your blog inspires me so much. I get very happy when I see your blog post come through my email because I look forward to hearing what you have to say or sharing what you have made, or different ideas on how to use recycled items. So thank you for being YOU and taking the time out of your busy life to reflect upon certain things You have done and sharing it all with us. =)

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    1. I guess it would of helped had I left my blog infor for you LOL

      www.jwscrapshack.blogspot.com

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  34. I've read blogs for a long time without following or leaving comments. Then, in June I decided to just do it! It took me the entire day to create the blog page and another full day to write the first post! The best advice for me is just to blog what you know and what you love. A very sweet lady named Abby at Little Birdie Blessings encouraged me greatly by giving my blog a "plug" on Pinterest.
    www.daytreasures.blogspot.com

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  35. Thank you for posting this. Very inspiring. I just started my blog 3 days ago about doing my favorite thing. Buying stuff from thrift stores and turning them into something new. When I read we all start with zero followers it gave me hope!! Even though I am currently writing to myself, I still love it. I have someone making me a background right now so maybe by next week it will look better. Love your blog!

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  36. I have been following your blog for some time now. I enjoy reading your posts...you have a very lively, friendly way of expressing yourself. I wanted to thank you for the amazing work you place into your blogging tips. They have helped me greatly ! I have just started my blogging road and your website has been incredibly helpful. Thank You !!
    Rose

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  37. Thanks for this! I have been reading your blog for a while now, and me and a friend have just started ours. I told her she had to read all of your tips!!! We haven't published yet but I have found it really helpful to write a load of posts at once and keep them as drafts, tweaking them here and there until they're ready to go! When we get brave!!

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  38. Thanks for the wonderful post. You asked what 'we' would like to see; I would love if you did a block of the month. I am in one already but I'd love another. I love your daily emails!

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  39. Glad I found your blog. I've been blogging since 2009 but hadn't started reading other blogs until the past month. I can't believe what I am finding. It's also an easy way to entertain or inform myself in short bursts, unlike reading a book, which I never have time for during the school year (I teach).

    I am slowly working my way through your blogging tips. My biggest concern with my own blog is how to improve the look of the picture layout. Wordpress is not very user friendly for that. So I end up just putting my pictures at the bottom of the page, out of frustration and impatience.

    Any advice on that?

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  40. Thanks for sharing this! I love hearing why other bloggers write what they do! :)

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  41. I'm thinking this is as good a space as any to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. I have referred your blog to other friends, especially the ones needing blogging tips. I am one of your followers....I do hope you have a chance to take a peek at my blog. I started blogging because I wanted to prove that I could do it...even in my late 60's. It is never a chore....

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  42. Hi Karen,

    I love your blog and have been following for I don't know how long any more! One of the things I really appreciate from your blog is that you have a new post every day, unless something has happened. I am partially disabled, and it is too difficult for me to go places, so my computer keeps me connected to the world. Your imagination and talent never cease to amaze me. 8-) Tool Time Tuesday is terrific. Keep up the good work.

    One question. Who's the young man in the family picture? I know your dad lives with you, but neither guy looks like he's old enough to be your dad, and the younger one looks too young to be your hubby....lol.

    xo Linda

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Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment...I just love hearing from you!

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