How to start and manage a blog (In the Real World)

computer cat

Image via Wilson Afonso via Flickr Creative Commons.

Day 1: Begin with the realization that you don’t spend enough time sitting on your behind, staring at a computer monitor. Then, conclude that the best way to remedy this problem is to say to yourself: “I think I’ll start a blog.”

Day 3: Figure out what the heck goes into creating a blog and spend a ridiculous amount of time deciding on the perfect shade of pink for your background.

Day 4: Become uncharacteristically indecisive and continue to tweak the background color and header image until you have them just right.

DSC04450

Maybe this one… No. Not enough color.

DSC04456

Now it has too much color.

DSC04451

Maybe this one? No. It doesn’t seem right either. Perhaps I should take a few more photos…

Day 21: Now that the blog’s appearance is finally right, you begin to think about your blog content. Hmmmm….. what the heck are your going to write about?

Day 23: Realize there are all these blog memes out there and you want to participate in all of them. Then, being the realistic person you are, you whittle it down to Teaser Tuesday and Wordless Wednesday, and then two other posts a week. You can post four times a week. It will be easy. You even promise yourself that you will keep to your blog schedule, with the hope of having your blog posts typed and ready to go ahead of schedule.

Day 25: Become super psyched about your new blog and its awesomeness. Prepare six blog posts in advance, just to give yourself a little content to fall back on, should you ever fall behind. The exercise seems a little silly, because you won’t fall behind. You’re dedicated and it will be easy.

Day 30: Click the publish button on your first post, knowing that it’s unlikely anyone will read it. But there’s a little hope, just a little, that someone will stumble upon it and see it for the masterpiece that it is.

Day 31: Feel your heart flutter the next morning when you receive notification that you have a new follower. Yes, you have a follower… and it’s not your mom.

excited kid

How you’ll look when you get your first follower. (Image courtesy Tim Parkinson via Flickr Creative Commons)

Visit their blog to see if you want to follow them, surely you will because you must have common interests. Your heart flutter will now become crushing disappointment. They have no interest in you or your blog. They want to sell you something.

unhappy kid

How you’ll look when you realize that person isn’t really interested in your blog, or they are a robot. (Image courtesy Peter Dedina via Flickr Creative Commons)

Day 33: Publish your second post and wait for the likes and comments to roll in. Keep your eye on that magical notification button on the top of your screen. You wait for it to turn orange, but it doesn’t. Maybe it’s like the saying about watched water not boiling. You decide to step away and check back later.

Day 33, five minutes later: Certain that you’ve given it enough time you check for the orange button. You’re likely disappointed, but you still hold your head high and continue your blogging quest.

Day 70: Prepare for Monday’s blog post. It’s Tuesday, but hopefully no one will notice. You’re short on time, so you scroll through your pre-prepared blog posts. Sigh when you discover you’ve already used them all. Yes, in six weeks you’ve gone through all six of them. Quickly throw something together and hope your followers still like you. Strangely, this becomes one of your most popular posts.

Day 120: You’ve now been blogging for a few months and have found some great blogging friends (Hi everyone!). Your number of followers continues to go up and you finally understand what the blogging community is about.

Day 140: Allow your hope to slowly fade away. Blogging takes way more commitment than you ever anticipated. But you will persevere. Just maybe with one less post a week. No one will notice, right?

Day 160: You’ve now gone a whole week without posting. You feel guilty, but assure yourself that it won’t happen again.

Day 174: It’s happened again. Tell yourself that it’s okay; everyone gets busy now and then. You’ll do better in the future.

Day 178: Spend a couple hours catching up on your reader. Begin to wonder if those people who post 2, 3, 4, or 28 times a day are really human. You begin to wonder if they are aliens, or a type of superhero you’ve never heard of. Or perhaps they are human, but they’ve become immune to the most virulent time wasters of the Internet. Or they don’t spend hours researching the difference between lay and lie, only to forget the next day, so they just avoid use of the words for all eternity. Anyone? Anyone?

aliens

The very prolific alien blog writers (Image courtesy Interdimensional Guardians via Flickr Creative Commons)

Day 192: Hit the publish button on your 59th post. Not only was it posted on the day it was due, it was actually written in advance. Yep, you’re back on track… for now. You consider writing a few back-up posts, in case you become swamped again in the future… Nah. You won’t fall behind again, you’re sure of it…

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55 thoughts on “How to start and manage a blog (In the Real World)

  1. Marcy says:

    Whew! You had me worried this was all leading to you were going to give up your blog, I would have been gutted! Keep blogging and yes, your blogs about ‘nothing’ are the best, sort of like the Seinfeld of the blog world.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      No, not quitting … yet anyway 🙂

      Blogging is such an interesting undertaking: the highs, the lows, the expectations you put on yourself, the addiction to the little orange button. I just wanted to share my little journey 🙂

  2. April says:

    Too funny. You know, I blogged for almost two years and the only followers I had were my daughter and two friends. Meh, I don’t really care, I sometimes have a lot on my mind, and a lot of time to think about, and spend on the computer. I could be doing something else, like laundry.

      • jennifer Windram says:

        YES!! Thank you! And now I have the WordPress App on my iPad, so it makes this little chiming sound when I have a notification. I think I’m becoming like Pavlov’s dog–without the salivation.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Ha! Laundry will always be last on my list.

      I think we all get into blogging for different reasons and this, of course, shapes our expectations. And, as you’ve probably gathered from reading my posts, I’m great at procrastination. So, when someone posts regularly and consistently, I’m impressed. It takes a lot to tear me away from Lost reruns or Buffy the Vampire Slayer 🙂

  3. Tamara says:

    Haha!! Happy to see you’re back. I’ve missed you!! Your post on resolutions made me smile. So, what’s the difference between lay and lie anyway?!?! Lol. Happy New Year to you and Logan! Keep at it; your followers love reading your witty posts… 😉

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Tamara! I’ve missed you too. I still can’t remember the difference, seriously. There’s lay, lie, laid, lain. I don’t know it depends on if it’s an object like a book or a person, and if past tense or present tense. Everyone in my book does something along the lines of reclining, relaxing, falling into bed. Anything to avoid the word.

      Happy New Year to you too!

  4. jmmcdowell says:

    Oh, yes, I can identify with many of these days! I began my third year on October 31st, and one post a week suits me just fine. I can always add the occasional special if I’d like, but there’s no pressure to do so!

  5. Jeff | Planet Bell says:

    Jennifer – so, so true. I like the part about getting followers only to find out their blogs sucks or they are crazy. And also the part about the post you throw together being the most popular. A couple of my very worst posts somehow rank high in search engines and I get a few views a day from them so I can’t really delete them. My best work has been read about 40 times.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Hi Jeff, Yeah that happened to me a lot in the beginning. I got a lot of followers who wanted to help me make millions on my blog. Then theyd’ never return again.

      I have some posts I think are really good and they just get an okay response. And I get a ton of hits from search engines on my post about how to make a mini top hat, but the post is really about how dysfunctional I am when crafting. I think these people must be so disappointed. They’re looking for a step by step tutorial and instead they’re getting insight on how my husband manipulates me into make his Halloween costume for him. Hopefully, they’re at least amused for a second or two before clicking away. 🙂

  6. M. C. Dulac says:

    Hilarious, and certainly an accurate description of the blogging roller coaster! Those 2 little kids sum up the highs and lows of blogging.
    I remember the early days well. You know when you get that email saying “so-and-so thought your post was awesome?” I actually thought that meant they thought I WAS awesome and I didn’t realise for some time it was a standard notice!
    I really ought to re-decorate my blog, because I kind of got stuck using the first template I came across. It also took a while to realise that not all my followers were Australian – in fact none of them were!
    I think the official “blog holiday” is a good idea. It makes me feel very business-like (“This Blog will return in two weeks”) I’m wondering how many holidays I can give myself. Is eight weeks a year excessive? I’m a good boss to myself 😉

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Oh funny. I remember getting super excited when I got a new follower. I thought: wow, they must think my two posts are really great. Then I realized they wanted to help me with search engine optimization. What a bummer.

      I knew I had followers from different countries, but it took me awhile to realize how that impacted their ability to relate with my posts. Like with our conversation about Halloween. Halloween in America is different from Australia. It makes sense, but when you live in your little bubble, sometimes you forget about these differences.

      I love the official blog holiday. I didn’t post a notice or anything. I just disappeared. Next time I’ll have to post something official.

      I say give yourself no less than four weeks. I’ll put in a good word with your boss 🙂

  7. cleopatralovesbooks says:

    So funny because it is so true, those early days of headiness when each like crept in followed by the panic to get the post up! The accidently publish is another pitfall that I wasn’t expecting 😉 Thanks for making me laugh today.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      I’ve accidentally published posts with no title and I’ve accidentally reblogged posts when using my iPad. Then I feel bad because I have to go and delete it after the person probably got a notice that it had been reblogged. Yikes!

  8. fudgeandpoppy says:

    I’m out to get you to buy things, oh wait you already did… 😉 I am shockingly bad at blogging regularly. Should really do one soon, however there are some cat videos on YouTube I haven’t watched yet…

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Ha! No, I don’t mean people with crafting or book blogs 🙂 I mean those people with websites that promise you’ll be living on a sailboat somewhere drinking champagne with the all the riches you’ll receive from your blog if you following their amazing program.

      Meh. You have to make time for cat videos. I’m sure they’re good for your blood pressure or something. In fact, they’re probably as good, or even better than exercising!

        • jennifer Windram says:

          Cat videos are great, but nothing like the real thing. The only problem is when they sit right in front of the computer and paw at the screen, like mine is doing now. It makes it a little hard to get anything done, but it’s cute.

  9. gpeynon says:

    Brilliant, funny post and so easy to relate to, especially the part about not posting for a week (or in my current case 3 weeks, but it’s been the Holidays).

    And completely aside, you directed me to Flickr Creative Commons, so thanks for that too.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Thank you! I think a lot of people took time off for the holidays so there were a few missed posts out there. But I’m sure you’ll get back into the swing of things, right??

      Since you mentioned creative commons, there was a post a little bit ago by WordPress daily post on how to properly attribute your pics. Seems I was supposed to be linking to the original content. Oops. Here it is in case you’re interested:

      http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/source-and-attribute/

      • gpeynon says:

        To be honest, I don’t think you even posted a link; I simply picked up on what you said in your post and did my own research..

        Having said that; the link you’ve given me here is great so, thanks again.

  10. Carrie Rubin says:

    This sounds very familiar! After two years, I’m down to posting once a week, and that suits me fine. And if I take a longer break? That suits me fine, too. As for following other blogs, there are so many great blogs out there, I can’t possibly follow them all. But the fact that you only post about once a week, too, makes it much easier for me to do so. Looks like you’ve got a great blog here. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by my site as well. Much appreciated!

  11. librarylady says:

    O.K. I’m jealous. I’ve never had anywhere close to this many comments on any of my posts. I loved what you said about reasearching some kind of word usage – I can never figure out whether to use which or that, so I just avoid the words altogether. also, I noticed cleopatraloves books say she’s accidently published things which weren’t ready yet. I intentionally publish things that aren’t ready yet. I think they’re fine, but then I see it up on the reader and am horrified by something glaring problem, and have to hurry and fix it. Unfortunately my email followers never see the fix and must think I’m the worst. Sigh. ( But blogging is so fun!)

    • jennifer Windram says:

      I think people just identified with the post…

      Which and that are hard. I think my WORD program corrects me most of the time (but who knows if it’s really right).

      Oh yes, me too. Sometimes I have to fix it within 2 seconds of pushing the publish button. Somehow the proofreader in me doesn’t come out and play until the post is already public. The worst is when it’s with something like their vs there vs they’re and people must think I don’t understand the difference…

  12. mvj says:

    I have only been blogging since September, but I agree with ALL of these things! I feel like blogging is this rabbit hole I am tumbling down and I still feel like I am “doing it wrong”.
    So thank you for offering commiseration and encouragement to us newbies!
    (And there is nothing more satisfying/confusing than getting a plethora of likes on that thrown-together post.)

  13. elainecanham says:

    yep, me too; I agree with all of them. I sometimes think I’m the only person who feels like this, ad then I read your post and I realise I Am Not Alone. Which is nice. Really great post, thanks.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      It seems we are all on the same page. And I still struggle with some of the same things–like today’s post was just thrown together at the last minute… so much for staying ahead of the game 🙂

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