Developing a hobby or interest is as much about social interaction as is it is about self-development. When I took up the suicidal-like idea of running, I found that the running community was incredibly supportive even to those slow as molasses, 1980’s headband, sweat suit newbies like me. Friends offered to share running books and tips. I got help in setting up a training schedule. And you have to love the friendly nods and waves along the running trail at 6a that say “I feel your pain and I love it!” Runners are a different breed that’s for sure. I was running for beer and pizza, they were running for things like endorphins and runners high. Good for them… those little go-getters!
Writers are no exception to this rule. They are an incredibly supportive community. I finally gave in and joined the blogging world a couple of years ago. I decided it was time to get back to writing, a task that I had always enjoyed. As a new blogger, it can feel like a daunting task. First, you may not know what to say, or fear that what you write will be regarded as “stupid” or that your words might be misconstrued. These are valid feelings. What I have read over and over again is just to get started. It is like anything else… the more you interact with it and the more time you spend devoted to it, the better you will become.
I don’t spend enough time trying to hone my skills, but my interactions with other bloggers have been overwhelmingly positive. It is great to see the fresh ideas and experiences shared by others. For example, I’ve learned about wine, nature, recycling, parenting and surviving cancer by bloggers who shared their personal experiences. I think one of the neatest things is that writing, more than any other hobby, can connect you to the broader community. People sometimes share secrets, mistakes, or scary experiences with their audiences and it gives the sense that we are all in this together. Through the sharing of stories we pass knowledge, experience other cultures, and spark conversations that can open our minds. This is what makes the writing community the cool side of the pillow 🙂
If you poke around WordPress, you can find many tips and tricks for developing and managing your blog. One of the most useful ones I’ve read is to spend time getting to know the blogging community and interacting with them. They are an excellent source of help and positive energy.
Another great tip I read along the way is to just write. Do not be focused on your stats or if anybody is reading your stuff. It’s like that cliche – a watched pot never boils.
I also found this very pointed article written by Anil Dash. He says, “If your website’s full of assholes it’s your fault.”
It’s a great read and a reminder to us all that trolls exist, however it is our duty to manage the feel of our websites and blogs. Our sites can be a wonderful community for sharing diverse viewpoints!
Any other advice? I’d love to hear it!