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 little 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’m a great researcher, but even more thankfully I was working on an IT Business Intelligence project at the time with Campbell McLean (now at Vend) who had the patience to firstly tell me about the different platforms and secondly once I had chosen WordPress and wasn’t grasping the software, steer me in the right direction.
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 was going to be my only stumbling block with getting Artful Compendium launched. 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 greater 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. That said, 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. I had settled on the “giveaway”, undertook the twenty-minute lunchtime walk to purchase them. 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 stepped out to walk across town I had one of those moments – I didn’t want this milestone to become about soliciting for new viewers, new followers – I wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to friends, family, bloggers and those unknown viewers who keep coming back.
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 also is a commitment to provide quality, interesting and insightful material, regardless of ones niche. As with any story, the facts need to be checked and the subject researched. In my case with the exception of 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 labor 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 on a regular basis i.e. “showing up to the page”…
It is very hard to be a prolific blogger, if you work fulltime and need a good nights sleep to perform well in your paid work. During the months of December 2014 through to April 2015, I was working long hours, without a blogging structure, I only published four blogs during this period.
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 not only 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…
In my bid to produce better quality photos for my blog site I joined a Meetup Photography group. Then I discovered there was NZ Blogging community.
It was with great trepidation that 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, stock piling 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 build numbers to my site, 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. With his dogs Charlie and Lola for company I would half-sit on a wooden stool at the solid wood kitchen bench and write about The Camino Way. I was staying in the canton 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 having a “treasure trove of words, photos and special moments” a year later I am questioning if this is to 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 is of the belief 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 a readers.
I’m going with Jung for now. As sometimes you just need to get out of your head and create; bring alive those magical moments, which are 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 – in lieu of money I follow geralt on Facebook – https://pixabay.com/en/champagne-glasses-abut-greeting-card-162803/