It’s not so secret but a little embarrassing how long I’ve worked on this blog. In fact this isn’t even the first draft of said blog. It’s like the third one I’ve created with wordpress, each with a different title and a slew of draft blog posts that have yet to be seen with public eyes.
It’s unnerving posting online and even though you’re in charge of the sugar coating, it’s still you saying, okay this is me, this is what I like and this is how I write. There’s the joy in writing and sharing what you love and there’s that nagging anxiousness that maybe you’re a horrible writer. I am constantly scrutinizing my own writing: my sentences are too long, my posts are unconnected, I can’t seem to get my point across, I lose track of thought halfway through writing a post and end up just telling myself when I write a bit more and become less crap at it, I’ll finally get this blog up and running.
Now that’s a lovely and realistic thought in theory but anyone who knows me also should know that’s not a realistic outcome. The best time is the present and if it doesn’t happen somewhat now, it probably won’t happen.
So in search of trying to find motivation to write and post, I’ve devised some impromptu self-help tips that have helped me in the past.
1. Write about what you love
Many people these days start up blogs these days with the intention of making money from advertising and there’s a lot of success to be had out there. The problem with treating your blog like a business, is that every time you write a post, you are constantly analysing your writing through a different lens. Is this going to help gain a readership? Am I using language that will be easily searchable? Where can I cross-link this?Now I toyed with the idea of creating a for-profit travel blog but there’s some plain in sight issues. The travel blog industry is already saturated with writers, it’s challenging to get a chunk of it. Not to mention it’s hard as hell. But my main concern was that I wasn’t writing from the heart, the way I genuinely gush and ramble about things. I was trying to write more formally and it just wasn’t working. I want this blog to reflect my love for travel and my love for the beauty industry that allows me to travel.
2. Make time for writing
It’s a fairly obvious one but I think we truly get lost sometimes. I think about blog ideas, I start posts endlessly, but when it comes to sitting down and actually putting down those words, that’s another story. What has helped me is using several strategies.
The first one is simple: keep a notebook on me at all times and jot down ideas. When I don’t have a notebook, quickly type whatever I need to on my ipad or a loose sheet of paper (not losing that paper is another story). Ideas are fleeting, sometimes when they’re gone, they’re truly gone. The biggest drawback is clutter. When you have a million bits and pieces floating around in the form of physical and digital clutter, it’s hard to concentrate and use these to the best advantage.
Secondly is to be organized. This is something I truly struggle with but it helps so much. Putting your half-written blog posts appropriately titled based on what they’re about in a folder called “Half written blog posts” seems to be a bit of an obvious one. Sorting through your inspired bookmarks and even making sure your handwritten notes are all in the same place makes it easier to sift through when you need them. I’m trialing a piece of software called Evernote at the moment which is a multi-platform free app that is available on your Ipad, phone & desktop. I’m hoping for it to be my main tool in planning my travel tips and sorting through my writing. Here’s hoping!
Lastly, although it makes sense to only write when the inspiration strikes. You’re more productive and words just flow. However if you want to be consistent and if one if your goals is to be a better writer, putting away blocks of time dedicated solely to writing helps a lot in pushing things along. Practice makes perfect and becoming a better writer or creating a well rounded blog requires…writing. If I get writer’s block, I just take a walk, change my environment or make myself a cup of tea. Or several cups of tea. With a dark chocolate ginger biscuit. Several of those.
3. Don’t over-critique
It’s so easy to over-analyse your writing but if you’re doing it mostly for yourself and your passion for something, that should and will come naturally. And why should you expect yourself to be a pro? Unless you’ve studied journalism or literature or a subject where you are constantly writing and getting feedback from your peers, most people don’t have a lot of experience writing about what they love. Even in formal education setting, you’re given guidelines and you don’t always have the kind of freedom you get from blogging.I’m not against editing, spell-checking and trying to get that ‘flow’ within writing right, where one idea naturally progresses to the next. Reading blog posts for me is almost addictive, who hasn’t stumbled onto the Steve Pavlina site and watched hours from their day disappear.
But that doesn’t mean you’ll get there straight away. Over-analysing makes you doubt yourself. Most of the time it’s better for me personally to just write, do a quick edit if need be and post. If I’m too critical about a post, it will most likely end up in the overflowing “Half-written blog posts” pile which quite frankly isn’t moving forward to the “actual blog posts” folder. Ah, one day maybe.Blogging doesn’t have about to be about perfection.
4. Think genuinely about why you’re writing
I’m the type of person who loves to think about “doing it all”, I would love to be a great cook, a dressmaker, a travel expert, a facialist, aromatherapist, interior designer, web designer, a stylist, a policymaker who gets to work with a Malcolm Tucker-esque personality. The world is full of opportunities and it can get crazy confusing wanting to do and be everything. My beautiful best friend once said to me, full of honesty and love.
“Maybe all these things you want to be doing aren’t actually things you enjoy doing”
Now this is such a common-sense principle. Do what you love, not strive for a far-away version of yourself that may or may not exist.
Life is about now (okay well life is also about the future), but I truly believe that people’s priorities should be for today, doing things they love for today. That’s where the whole happy for 100 days trend is focused about yeah? I love all the concepts surrounding “happiness for today”, initiating a gratefulness diary or creating saving jars. Even if goals are in the future, thinking about them in the present gives you a sense of happiness.
This blog is totally connected to present happiness. My previous versions of this blog or even a select few of my “never to be seen” blog posts are sometimes about concepts I’d like to apply in my life but haven’t yet. They’re about a life experience I’ve yet to actually have and not something that truly relates to me.I’m genuinely writing because I love to share my passion about my travels, about skincare and aromatherapy and all things beauty therapy. I want to share my life. Writing gives me another outlet to experience the present. Writing about something you love equals double happiness!
5. Finish posts! And press post!
This was a bit of a give in. The hardest part for me is to actually finish an entire post. Somewhere part through, whether it’s mind wanting to self-sabotage or over-analysing or just sheer laziness, I struggle with getting posts written and posted online.My best way to deal with it is really a combination of all of the above. Letting go of anxiety and remembering why you’re writing. Finding joy in sharing what you love. Not over-reading into my posts. Not treating my posts as exercises in word limits and letting them naturally finish when ideas stop flowing. Making time for writing on a frequent basis and writing when inspiration hits.And of course…pressing post! Which I shall do right now!
Much Love, Sush x
P.S: Obligatory first post introduction: welcome to my blog x