Why should we all use our creative power…? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money. –Brenda Ueland, Author, If you Want to Write.
The journey begins with a bit of help from my friends…
Three weeks before embarking on my guest to walk The Camino Way, I decided to start a blog. It’s easy, was the constant reply when I broached the subject with friends. Yeah, No! Not for someone with zero knowledge. Thankfully, I got some help from a work friend, Campbell McLean.
Timing, of course, is everything. A writing group member and friend was also setting up her blog –lovewordsmusic.com. Although Caroline was about to depart on her Continental sojourn with her husband and two girls, she offered assistance in the form of her husband, Jez. Inspiration and comfort, though, came from knowing we were simultaneously embarking on our blogging journeys.
Mistakes…I made plenty
And I might add still making them.
Given I spent six months training for the 784.9km Camino Way walk and took only three weeks to set up my blog, I was bound to make mistakes.
As I grabbled with my pre-walk fitness level, I naively thought Pages vs. Posts would be my only stumbling block with getting Artful Compendium launched. Instead, it was a roller coaster of learning, trying to nut out Widgets, back to Goggle for help, nutting it out again. The blog theme I originally went with had limitations. Changing the theme bought even more significant challenges. Yes, I am still travelling the arc of the learning curve, now trying to get my brain around SEO and Google analytics.
Despite all the hard work and frustration, I am very proud of my blog site. It is a work in progress; I am not ruling out more theme changes in the future.
Giveaways versus heartfelt THANK YOU…
A lot of mental debate has gone into the subject of Artful Compendium first milestone. Finally, I had settled on the “giveaway.” Only to find the item was temporarily out of stock; due date Friday week.
Friday came around; after a week of rain, the sun finally appeared, making it a beautiful day for a walk. As I walked across town, I had an epiphany. My milestone moment was not about soliciting new followers; it was a heartfelt thank you to everyone who had read my posts.
Thank you, blogging like writing, is often a solitary existence. Your words of encouragement, comments, and likes have made this journey worthwhile.
Blogging – nobody tells you that it is hard work…
Blogging is a labour of love. It is also committed to providing quality, exciting, and insightful material, regardless of one’s niche. As with any story, the facts need to be checked and the subject researched. In my case, except for the photo used for this blog, I am the photographer. As I’m not a professional photographer or writer, it is a challenge to keep motivated and focused.
Darren Rowse @ Problogger states, “You need to take the time to become a true expert. If you’re passionate about your subject, this should be a labour of love – not a burden. Read widely and keep up with the latest news so that you have your finger on the pulse of your subject.”
Blogging regularly, i.e. “showing up to the page“…
It is tough to be a prolific blogger if you work full-time and need a good nights sleep to perform well in your paid work. From December 2014 through April 2015, I worked long hours. As I hadn’t committed to a blogging calendar, I only managed to churn out four posts.
In retrospect, there were two underlying issues, which caused this hiatus. One was my tendency to give all of myself to my work and deplete myself of all energy. Whereas it is the act of being creative that gives me balance, it also diffuses work stress and restores my energy levels. The second issue was not having a clear idea of what I was going to blog about post-travelling.
After the start-up company contract, I went to Australia and started blogging again. Back home, I took time out to read books about blogging. I still felt passionate and committed to blogging, but I needed direction and community.
Blogging community – if you’re serious about blogging, join one…
To produce better quality photos for my blog site, I joined a Meetup Photography group. Then I discovered there was NZ Blogging community.
With great trepidation, I attended the first meeting; would I be the oldest there, a complete novice out of my depth. Instead, I found a group of supportive and talented people of all ages and blogging abilities. Within this group, there is a genuine interest in other people’s blog sites. NZ Blogging monthly meetings have guest spots for experts to bring us up to date with technology, offer up tips and tricks.
Some of the great tips I have learnt from this community include having a blogging calendar, stockpiling articles for those busy paid work-times; have revolutionised my self-management process.
Also, by joining this blogging community, I got the chance to do a guest blog series; Blogging everyone says just do it. http://bloggersnetwork.nz/blogging-everyone-says-just-do-it/ Throughout the four-part series, I have reached back to my writing journey, tackling the subject from a creative point of view.
I’m not sure if the series has helped grow my site numbers. It has, however, built my confidence and love of blogging.
Best blogging moments of Year One…
Without a doubt, these moments are the day’s post-Camino, barely able to walk, feet swollen and minus a few toenails, staying at my friend’s house in the South-East of France, I got to forget about the pain and discomfort by blogging. Dogs Charlie and Lola hung out nearby as I sat on a wooden stool at the solid wood kitchen bench and wrote about The Camino Way. I was in the canton of Lucq de Béarn, surrounded by olive green rolling hills; out on the horizon was the every changing backdrop Pyrénées and living the dream of writing in France.
If you want to learn more about this beautiful place, read my blog: https://artfulcompendium.com/2014/09/13/lucq-de-bearn/
Blogging; heading into the next year…
The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play, instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves. –C. G. Jung
I started my blog with the idea of having a “treasure trove of words, photos and special moments” a year later; I am questioning if this is too generic and does not engage viewers. There is a sense that people want to go on a journey, not just an outer journey but also an inner journey.
Darren Rowse @ Problogger believes that every wanna-be blogger should ask themselves two questions before starting.
- Who do you want to read your blog?
- How are you trying to change your readers?
This, he states, is a powerful exercise to:
- Create trust
- Create loyalty
- Create word of mouth
as he believes great blogs leave a mark on readers.
I’m going with Jung for now. Sometimes, you just need to get out of your head and create; bring alive those magical moments buried beneath the debris of our daily lives.
Fair use of Image Picture from card deck I purchased – The Power Deck, Magic Card of Wisdom. Painting 1991 by Rob Schouten.
Featured photograph: free download from Pixabay – instead of money I follow Geralt on Facebook – https://pixabay.com/en/champagne-glasses-abut-greeting-card-162803/