I started Oui In France at the beginning of June last year as a way to document my expat journey, share my life with those I left behind and connect with others while doing something I love — writing. This past year of blogging has been rewarding, eye-opening, a learning experience, a networking tool, and most of all, FUN! But what have I learned from a year of blogging?
What I’ve learned from a year of blogging
Although this isn’t my first blog, I am still somewhat new to this blogging game and am by no means an expert.
But I am a blogger and have learned a few things along the way:
Plan out your posts and keep to a schedule.
Even if you only have a loose idea of what you want to write about, get your ideas on the screen ahead of time and stick to that schedule. Readers expect posts on certain days, so do your best. I post twice a week and missed the mark twice in the past year and am still working on the schedule thing. Have no clue what you want to write about? Just write something and see where it goes…
Use spell check.
Most blogs have built in spelling/grammar checkers, so use the tools you’re given. I don’t claim that my blog is typo-free, but I do my best to proofread because readers shouldn’t have to sift through a bunch of mistakes to understand your message. And it’s just more professional to not have typos. So check your work! Then check it again! This goes double for bloggers who blog for a living and work with brands. Even if you have the best ideas, if you make silly mistakes in your writing, you risk sounding unprofessional.
It takes time to find a voice.
I struggle with this and wonder if the real me comes through enough in my blog. And if I said things the way I want to say them. This post on mistakes while speaking French, the pharmacist who talked about my vagina and quitting your job (and others) definitely had a whole lot of my real voice, but I worry that if I’m too much like my real-life self on my blog that readers might be offended or stop reading. What do I mean? Not saying I’m controversial or curse every 2 seconds in real life, no, just that it takes time to align your written voice on your blog with who you are in real life. Does that make sense? Once you get to know the real-life Diane pretty well, you might think I’m more reserved, inappropriately funny, sensitive and ? than the blog lets on… I think this comes in time.
Ask for help.
The blogging community is vast, diverse and mostly friendly, so don’t be afraid to contact someone who might be able to help you. Whether you need blogging help, have follow up questions about something in a post, or just want to say hi, go for it! (But please don’t forget to say thank you!) Oh, and speaking of help, does anyone know of a WordPress plugin that will let you embed short audio clips in the post without forcing open a new window?? Desperately need to record a few things for an upcoming post that’s been in the works for, ohhh, eight months!! I’ll be forever grateful.
Write about what you like.
It’s your blog, so don’t let other bloggers, brands or what you think you should be writing about direct your content. My blog doesn’t stray too far from France/expat topics, travel, my dog and general goings on in my life, and if I want to write a, oh I don’t know, fitness blog, I’ll start a new one. Whatever you do, remember that being your authentic self will keep your blog real and readers will know if you’re fake.
Get out there and DO something!
Finding inspiration for a post doesn’t always come easy, but if you’re in a rut, just go do something. Anything. Whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or a walk around town, there’s something that will spark an idea. You won’t know until you get up off your couch!
Alright, so I’ve shared what I’ve learned from a year of blogging. What blogging lessons have you learned? What kinds of posts are your faves?