I am always trying out new things; I don’t like repetitive work and always chose unusual jobs, often ones people say are difficult. I took up blogging because I didn’t understand it; in truth I didn’t understand the power of social media back then either.
I started blogging because I couldn’t talk about social media without a broader experience of what it was all about. It was good to be on Twitter and chat away but I wanted to do more than that and gain some reflective space beyond 140 characters.
So back on 9th September 2012 I posted my first blog.
I wrote about having a tooth out and reflected about stoicism and how it might affect the way we nurse. I read it now and cringe – but I also do that for my later blogs. But what has happened is I have gained confidence in the writing, I can now work out more easily what I want to say and the points I feel I want to make.
You can read that first post here:
Since then I have added 29 more posts and am amazed to say I have had 12,000 visits to my blog. I know this is a crude measure as many people just click past but I have also had more than 200 comments – all of which are part of the conversation. My blogs have also stimulated many discussions on Twitter.
I sometimes enjoy blogging more than tweeting. It’s different – it has created a space for me to think out loud and enjoy the conversations and responses I have had as a result. The most popular blog has been this one which got such an amazing response. The people who responded to it recounted a similar experience to mine – a shared history of experiences in nursing which I seemed to tap in to.
But another blog got an unexpected response was about my diabetes where I wrote about something that made (still makes) me feel uncomfortable but again high numbers of visits. POMPOM days also seemed to resonate and the responses I got from people made me cry.
I have blogged about 3 themes; nursing, diabetes and leadership. All three topics seem to have people who read them but I suspect I’m diluting possible impact through the eclectic nature of my blogs.
So what have I learnt? Here are ‘anniecoops’ top blog tips!
- Write about something you genuinely love or feel passionate about – let the reader feel that through your words.
- Be yourself – don’t try to write ‘posh’ just write how you express yourself or how you talk in your mind.
- Don’t try to be too ‘clever’ expressing thoughts and feelings and recounting experiences has its own magic too.
- I always try to have a beginning, a middle and an end.
- Check your spelling and grammar over and over again (I always miss something).
- Respond to comments and encourage people to comment on the blog (I’m getting better at this).
- Pimp your blog – I learnt this from @therealbaglady – basically if no one reads it there will be no conversation! So point people at it in any way you can.
- Try to use photographs and illustrations where you can. I now try to take ‘interesting’ shots with my iPhone that I can use as I don’t want to break copyright law by using images that I don’t have permission to use. Just click away 🙂
- Learn about Creative Commons – look here http://creativecommons.org/
- If you are not sure ask a trusted person to read a draft of your blog. Let them tell you if it’s OK or not – it’s easy to blog without thinking and then regret.
- Practice makes perfect (or improves at least) – learning how to write down your thoughts doesn’t come easy but it does get easier!
- Blog regularly if you want to build the number of people who read your blog.
- Watch the stats – its gratifying once you get going to see people reading your blog but don’t be obsessive!
- Be patient with yourself – some of the blogging sites are harder than they look to use!
- Show your personality. I have found that ‘anniecoops’ has suddenly got a life of her own. I was never called Annie till Twitter – not that long ago someone I had never met stopped me in the street and said ‘You are anniecoops’ – so be prepared for possible impact if you blog as yourself.
- Finally read other peoples blogs and respond to them too.
Blogging has been a great experience for me and I will be continuing. I have re-discovered a love of words and writing that had got lost after leaving school. Long may it continue!