Writing Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the book “So You Want To Start a Blog” by Jennifer West for review purposes, and because I wanted this book very badly.
Dorky Photography Disclosure: Many of the photos in this post were taken in a highly low light setting, with bright green tones, and tons of fast motion. For a paid job and not just personal use, I would have brought lighting and other special equipment. I did what I could in low light and while distracted, but please know I still favor sharp and rich photography above all.
Sometimes I wonder how my blogging journey would have gone if I had taken the time to learn more about blogging before I began. Or even less than three YEARS into it! Would my design be the same? Who would I have found along the way? Would my “voice” be the same? That last one, I can say, would be the same. This is the voice I was born with, and the voice that begged me to start blogging, and it is the voice I speak with along the way. It’s been a long, continuous ride, and it’s not ending.
Where do I want to go from here? How can I shake things up? What is my end game and do I know how to get there? These are all questions I asked myself while reading, “So You Want to Start a Blog: A guide to blogging your first year.”
Lately I’ve been having a blogging existential crisis. I feel like dust in the wind, to be honest. I feel like I don’t know exactly what I’m doing and where I fit in, when at other times in life, all of this came/comes so naturally. In Jennifer’s book, she at first discusses the kinds of bloggers out there – personal bloggers, home and family bloggers, hobby bloggers, etc. I am a personal blogger, or at least I was. It’s morphed in ways. I have a touch of parenting blogging (I despise the word “mommy” said by adults so I’ll never say “mommy blogger”) and I have a touch or more of photography blogging. And I’ve been syndicated and hired to write articles so I believe I have a touch of business blogging too – more than a touch when you factor in that I do discuss/share snippets from my photography business too. Sometimes I love that I’m all of these things – I wouldn’t change it.
And other times, I feel a little lost.
Personal blogging is generally not meant for the masses, and it is meant for family and friends. My blog is meant for family and friends, and it’s also meant for the masses. Jennifer also delves into the who, what, where, when and whys of blogging – with a lot of detail. I know my why. I have been reading blogs since the dawn of blogging time – livejournal and the like. I started blogging four years ago, with no awareness of tribes, designs, monetization and niches. Jennifer suggests making a plan and I agree with that. I didn’t have a plan and I’m still not entirely sure I have one. You can probably tell my blogging priorities – they’re not unlike the ones I have always had, and the ones I also have for my in-person life. My blogging priorities are connection – hence the comments/commenting, and I prioritize content. I treat each post like an assignment for school or work. I treat each post like I’m getting paid a lot of money. Each post has to have proper(ish) grammar, spelling and structure. And pretty photos. And each post has to have feeling – as if I’m talking to my loved ones. And often, mostly, I really am.
Jennifer says that you can either plan out your blog or fly by the seat of your pants, but by doing that, you miss a lot of things. That describes me very much! The planning and the who, what, where when and why can help you with a name. I remember sitting at my computer and asking Cassidy for help brainstorming a name. Within five minutes, I just blurted out “Tamara like Camera” which is a play on how everyone mispronounces my name. When I was graduating high school, we were asked to write out hints to help the people who would be calling out our names during our graduation ceremony. I wrote, “Tamara (rhymes with camera) Klein” and she stumbled over that and totally pronounced it like, “Tah-mara”. Nope! However, I had a blog name.
And I like cameras. I do. It’s true.
So why did I start a blog? To make money? To write a book? Well..yeah, I guess. That’s not why I started but those are goals I picked up along the way. Ultimately, I’m already at my end game of blogging to express myself so I want to gain and maintain momentum, make changes with the times, and GROW. You start a blog because you LOVE it and WANT to do it. I did.
I catch on slowly, but I do catch on. I use Bloglovin. I am learning all social media platforms. I still have a long way to go and Jennifer’s book will help clear up a lot of mysteries. She was very in-depth about Google Authorship and Google Plus – more so than I knew by far! I learned about RICH pins for Pinterest and using vertical photos (as vertical as possible) and story pins (collages). I learned about using Instagram better, and not clogging or spamming the feed, by giving a 30-60 minute window in between posts. I made notes to try Statigram (Iconosquare) and All In One SEO pack plug-in as well.
I’d tell you more but I can’t give away her wonderful secrets. This book definitely made think more about blogging than I have in years, but it’s in an inspiring way. For more info, visit her site HERE.
And because..appropriate(ish) photos with my posts and all, here are some photos from a local trampoline park, Launch, that we visited in the winter. We also went again in March to meet Allie and her twins. It’s called Launch. (launching blogs, launching ideas, launching your body into trampolines, all of that good stuff in life that makes you think and makes you act.)
Yup. That one’s mine.
I just adore the strange things going on right in front of him, on that trampoline basketball court: