Things I’ve Learnt From Blogging

I was directed to a post by the lovely Meg who posted a link to a blog called London Bakes, I don’t think she was hinting at anything but still I took a look…the lovely lady at London Bakes wrote about the things she learnt about blogging (note from the comments – not learned – we are English and use the language properly).

So I thought I would steal her idea shamelessly and write what I’ve learnt from blogging myself. I’ve been at it a few years now, first on a family blog which I wound up a year or so ago, and here at Weight Wars seriously for about a year, maybe 18 months. Obviously this is my personal list based on things I’ve experienced.

There is more etiquette than a tea party with the Queen.

Yep, everything from using pictures to commenting on other peoples post comes under blogging etiquette. The reason is there are a lot of talented people out there who put their work out for free and they don’t want to be bombarded by idiots with no manners lol. So under this heading there are several things I learnt along the way, often the hard embarrassing way:

  • There is no need to put a link to your blog in your comment, your name will hyperlink back to your blog anyway. Putting a link in just makes you look a bit desperate for hits which isn’t what blogging is about.
  • When commenting always ensure you’ve read the whole post, not just got indignant half way down the post and reply to that point without getting the overall tone and point of the post.
  • When commenting, if you don’t say something relevant to the post and just link back to your post you are just spam, and for many bloggers you will be treated as such.
  • Speaking of spam, if you have word verification on your blog, there are a whole host of people who won’t be able to comment. Many workplaces block the soft wear which creates word verification, people with any kind of sight difficulty or reading learning difficulty will find it incredibly difficult and frustrating, and the rest of the populous may give up due to lack of time/amount of effort needed for a single comment.
  • Correcting spelling/grammar – just don’t be that guy.
  • If you don’t reply to comments on your blog ever then it’s like talking to a brick wall. People will give up soon enough, and really blogging should spark conversation which generally goes both ways :). I reply to comments that I feel require a reply, I don’t reply to every one but around 80% because I really appreciate the feedback!

Some of these I learnt the very hard way, some I’ve just read on other peoples blogs, and some I’ve been irritated by. I’d love to hear peoples ideas on etiquette too. I tend to think if I wouldn’t say it in real life to the person I won’t say it online either, I think you kinda automatically keep your manners if you are looking at the person.

Being Vulnerable is Good

I’ve been burned in the past, in real life and online, with being open with people I considered friends only to have the pack of bitches turn on me at a later date. I toughened up a lot over the years and started to be a better judge of character. That said, this blog is my own little place and I wouldn’t be honest if I wasn’t vulnerable. I AM vulnerable when it comes to things that I talk about here. They are the very depths of me at times if you wanna be dramatic about it.

I can think of so many times that I’ve posted a post full of hope and determination just for a few days later for it all to come crashing down in disappointment. It’s so easy to do but the reason it happens here is because I’m genuinely blogging how I feel on that day, or what I’m doing on that day, so it’s real and real people lose motivation, lose hope and fall face first in to coffee and walnut cake for no apparent reason. If I was just being my blog I’d be at my goal weight by now and living completely clean while running marathons! These people exist, for reals, they are so inspirational, but obviously that isn’t me.

So I blog what I’m up to, what I’m doing, what I’m losing and gaining, and I’ll continue to do so because really who wants to hear something that isn’t real? I’ve read blogs that are so clearly disingenuous. I don’t want to read your highlight reel (that’s what facebook is for ;) and I’d never expect you to just read mine. Part of my learning curve is  Blog what you are doing don’t do what you blog.

For every crazy on the internet there are at least five really awesome people.

I have met some amazing people while I’ve been blogging, people who inspire me, people who make me smile, people who’s creativity has me in awe, people who are friendly and people who are so supportive.

There are the odd bad apples, most aren’t really bad just maybe a little socially and etiquette unaware, others are plain crazy. Some even lull you in to a false sense of security and then bam! Crazy comes out. Those people I cut ties with as soon as I realise what’s happening.

Pictures are important. They also come with etiquette of their own. 

You may have noticed that I like pictures. If you haven’t then you are not paying attention! If  you are making a super cool point about something or other and you decide you need to illistrate your point, not everyone has a stock photo library at their disposal so off to google image they trot – or pinterest or somewhere else public – then in 3 clicks of a whiskers tail they have the perfect image posted in their blog. Marvellous. Images are really important for making people like me – visual learners – pay attention long enough to get whatever point you are making.

Photography on blogs doesn’t have to be amazing, of course not everyone has an eye for photography (I refuse to say a good camera cause that has the most minimal impact, and when you compliment someone who makes you a meal do you comment on their oven or the product from it? – Sorry, photographer rant). I use my husbands point and click as much as I use my DSLR and 50mm lens. I like to think my pictures are of reasonable quality but I’m always always learning something. 

Can I point out one teensy thing? Google isn’t a free stock photography service. It’s a service that finds images that other people more than likely own – be it logo’s, cartoons, or pictures from other blogs, so using them without referencing where they come from is a big no no. I’ve had my images used without permission or referencing and it is kinda a bummer because I spend time on my images and someone else has just about claimed them as their own. I heard a blogger dies every time someone uses an image without referencing too. Really, it’s just good manners.

 Pushing Yourself Is Fun

Being a trail blazer has never really been my thing, once people have had the idea I can run it in all different places than it started but I’m not a great “ideas” person most of the time. Replication is a huge form of flattery, and with pictures, when referenced back to the original source is a great thing to share and enjoy with fellow bloggers.

The other side of this is that blogging has opened up a lot of doors to me to try new things and get involved with people and projects all over the world. It’s inspired me to do things I wouldn’t have tried if I hadn’t found this blog community. I’m not a particularly brave person and I’ve been so so nervous doing things like running a 10k event but I actually relish the challenges that come along to me now, I really hope I can do more in the future too. Also my blog has pushed me to try new things, some of the things I have planned in the future I would probably never have even considered without pushing myself for here. It’s a self for filling prophecy, this blog has opened up my life a great deal.

What other things have you learned from blogging? Let me know if you do your own post I’d love to learn from you! 

Monday: Make the Bed.

We got up early, more like 6.45am than 6.30 but it’s a good start, I practically had to drag husband out of bed and we were both up way before the child. It felt like hell to start with but as the morning went on I felt energised, I was productive at work, really focussed on what I was doing and it was fab. I felt good about it. I wore my new red courts, and a skirt, the shoes were super comfy. I was not comfy in the skirt but that’s a work in progress :)

I wasn’t afraid today, I went out and saw people, worked hard, pushed myself to concentrate and focus. I felt tired when I first woke up but we didn’t get to sleep until gone 11pm so that’s hardly a surprise, it quickly passed though. I felt great, by the time we got in the car I was totally awake, by the time I got to work (nearly an hour later after dropping off both boys) I was totally switched on and alert. It was fab, I sat down, straight on with work. I achieved so much today and am really pleased.

I am changing the way I think. I used to think that a positive mental attitude was just a place that hippies and other equally mental people had. It was unrealistic, foolish even to dream and get damaged. It’s totally different though. Being positive isn’t about being free loving or walking around with flowers in my hair,  or even just looking on the bright side being optimistic, it’s actually very practical – which really appeals to me – and it’s all about the solution. Positivity has been a revelation. I have been reading loads of things, particularly The Happiness Project, and really thinking about how my life should be what I make it. No one else can make my life for me, I have to drive myself in to it.

There are several little things that the Happiness Project has taught me, they may seem like nothing to other people and they are incredibly simple but have been so important to changing my brain. Things like make the bed in the morning, it’s an achievement to start the day with, it makes your bedroom look nice, makes it more inviting at night. Revolutionary? Not especially but it’s really struck a chord with me. I have made the bed (or DH has) every day since I read it. I am very much an outer order inner calm kind of girl. I can’t concentrate if I know there is clutter or untidiness around me so it really struck me as a great idea to just make the bed.

I have also been mindful of the emergency energy boost ideas today. It’s really surprised me how well they work. I am naturally cynical but trying to change. I can feel it in myself. I don’t know really how to explain it but I feel my whole demeanour  changing. I am looking forward, not focussing on what has happened before but what is going to happen this year. A solution focussed year. A year that we take control, a year that I finally understand happiness and change our lives. It’s no one elses fault, it’s in my control.

I haven’t been looking after myself. I am ashamed to admit it but I have been slack on personal hygiene, I didn’t care about my body, how I looked or felt about myself. I am taking control of that now. I won’t say how or anything because, really, who needs those kinds of details? I will be treating my body better, keeping it clean, painting it nicely, dressing it with care.

I guess all of this is leading to one thing, I am changing. I can feel it already. I feel more active, more driven, more focussed already.