I'm a member of Toastmasters, a leadership and communication development club. When I reached the blogging assignment from Toastmasters, I knew this was going to be straightforward. The task was to create a blog or continue an existing blog, writing at least eight posts during the month, and then share my experience with the club.
Luckily for me, I've been blogging for more than four years on this site, so the project was a cakewalk. I wrote not eight but sixteen articles in the last thirty days. I also created several products for our shop, writing 19,294 words in the last week alone according to Grammarly (for reference, a typical novel is 80,000 words).
Here are a few things I've learned from blogging over the past four years.
1. You Get Faster With Practice
When I first started, it took me weeks to publish my first article. When Ryan recently invited me to do a guest post on his blog? I knocked out a 500-word piece in about twenty minutes.
Like anything, it takes time and practice to get faster at blogging. If I had never done this before, the assignment of eight posts in a month would have been quite intimidating. After writing for four years? It almost felt like cheating.
2. You Get Better With Practice
I look back at some of my earlier works and cringe. Many times I end up rewriting the articles altogether. That article I created for Ryan? I felt it was a solid piece of work.
It takes time to get good at anything. You don't see babies stand up and start running. No, they roll around, then crawl a bit, then fall a bunch of times trying to stand, then walk, and eventually start running (and then you can't catch the slippery guys).
It's the same with blogging. It takes time to get better.
3. You Can Still Produce Trash
I wrote a little while back that a random person told me that a new page I had created looked like “an overconfident white guy gives spammy advice.”
I got a bit defensive over that one, but it admittedly wasn't my best work. I had the right intentions, but I got lazy and threw up a laundry list of suggestions that ended up looking like a really poorly written ad for a bunch of companies rather than my honest recommendations.
You always need feedback, especially when you get comfortable. It's easy to get sloppy, but a kick in the rear like that one can help correct that. Sometimes you have to grow thick skin though and learn to ignore comments if you want to play in the public space, there are a lot of jerks out there too who will trash anything that you try to do.
An occasional thank you and great job is nice to hear too and helps with keeping you motivated to keep going. Either way, most of the time, feedback is a good thing and can help keep you from getting too complacent.
What I've learned from blogging for the past four years can be applied to most areas of life. If you want to get better, you need to practice. No amount of theoretical research is going to help, you need to actually do it. You also need some feedback from time to time, as that is how we get better.
If you're interested in starting to blog, check out my recommendations page which includes the hosting provider and theme I've used for this blog. You might also want to visit with Ryan, who is our resident blogging expert.