Write a blog, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. And they were right.
I was casting around for things to do that would make some money – mostly because my husband walked away from our marriage – and amongst all the other stuff (get a job, sell on ebay, sell on Folksy, get a lodger…), one of the ideas was to start a blog. Some people make lots of money from it, so why not me??
41 people (so far) follow this blog – not as many as Stephen Fry has on Twitter, but you’ve got to start somewhere. There must have been a moment when he had 41 followers too. And you‘re here, reading mine and not his…
In the first month (May), my posts were viewed 699 times. In June that figure was blown out of the water with nearly 4 times as many views. 2,662 people somehow found the time to have a little peek at my corner of the internet in June. Or possibly one person has viewed it 2,662 times… Which would be weird.
I blog about my life as a newly single person. I’ve blogged about issues that are important to me (happiness, plastic waste, loneliness, body image), and I’ve blogged about rubber chicken, and stress incontinence, and making butter. I’ve blogged about my favourite chair and changing my name.
It’s a rule of mine to not blog about other people. There’s the risk of my blogs becoming all about Me, Me, Me, but I don’t feel I have the right to tell other people’s stories. That’s for them to do. So, tempting as it is to give you an in-depth account of why my husband left, it isn’t going to happen.
I post every other day – which I now realise is a bit intense, but I have a routine and I haven’t missed a deadline yet!!
My posts are scheduled to publish at 8 in the morning. And after I’ve published, I see ‘posting day’ as a bit of a day off – I check for comments, and I like to see how many visitors and views I’ve had, but I don’t feel that I have to write.
That feeling is wearing off by evening, so then I decide what I’m going to write about the next day. I have a list of stuff that I think you might be interested in, and try to have a few ideas put by for the next few posts.
And I start writing. This isn’t the finished article by any means – it’s really just the start of working out what I want to say and why I want to say it.
The next day is when the fun begins – I make the final decision as to what I’m going to write about, and I write about it. Sometimes I’ll spend ages writing something, then change my mind completely and write something completely different. That happened with ‘It’s OK to be Happy‘, big time – just about ready to publish something else, then I felt the need to swear loudly and completely re-think what I wanted to say. Twice. It was emotional.
When it’s just about finished (and I’m never totally satisfied with it), I copy it into WordPress and start fiddling. This is the stage I’m at now with this blog post. Although by the time you’re reading it I’ll have finished the fiddling and it’ll have been published. I need to think of a title and find suitable photos. For this post I’ve taken my own – you can see that I changed my mind about the title after I’d taken the photo!! You can also see that I’m in my favourite writing position, laid on the sofa.
Doing the writing is only part of the story. The next job is to work out the keywords – those are the words that people might type into Google if what they were looking for was my post. In other words, if my post is the answer, what’s the question? And you can take it a step further and think, ‘what questions are people asking at the moment, and could I write a post that might be the answer?’
And then finally I preview it – I look at a screen that looks as it would appear to someone reading the blog, with the pictures and without all the extra paraphernalia down the sides. This is my chance to proofread it too. It usually results in a few more changes, because what looked good in the draft version often doesn’t quite work in the ‘real’ version.
When I’ve done all of that, I schedule it – I basically set things up so that it will publish automatically at 8 the next morning. It means I don’t have to remember to do it the next day, and it wouldn’t matter if I slept in (not that I ever sleep in!!). What normally happens is that I wake up ridiculously early, and have one last fiddle with it before it goes global.
And it really does go global – countries reached so far: Sweden, Ireland, Australia, Canada, the US, the Philippines, Bermuda, Israel, Germany, Switzerland, India, Thailand, Finland, Spain, Kenya, Barbados, Bahrain, Italy, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, France, Malaysia!!!
Hi everyone. *Waves and blows kisses.*
And then it’s out there, fending for itself. I check the analytics now and again. And again. Once it’s posted, I share it on Facebook and Twitter (because if it’s worth writing, it’s worth sharing). You can share it too, using the Facebook and Twitter buttons way down there at the bottom (keep scrolling), or you can email it to a friend. And then I have a bit of a day off before I start thinking about the next one.
I made it into Feedspot’s ‘Top 20 bloggers for women over 50 to watch in 2019’ list a couple of weeks ago – which is a bit niche, but I’m ridiculously chuffed about it. And I’ve had a few people visit the site as a result. Amazing!
The whole ‘making money from it’ thing is a long way off. But who knows? People do make money – so why shouldn’t I be one of them? In the meantime, I’m finding it very cathartic. It helps to put my thoughts in order and to work out how I really feel about things.
It’s nearly two months since that first tentative post on the 8th of May. That post was viewed by three people! One of them was my son – he helped to set it up. One of them was me. And one of them was Someone Else!!!! Thank you, Someone Else! Thank you to all the Someone Else’s who’ve joined us (more than 200 people viewed my last offering).
Thank you for coming along with me to find out what the hell happens next. We’ve come a long way in two months. I wonder what the next two months will bring?
If you’re reading this, and you live somewhere in the world, could you write a quick comment saying which country you’re in? Just for fun? Ta!!
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I always reply to comments from nice people. Stephen doesn’t. But then, he’s got 12.7 million followers. Maybe I’ll be the same when I have that many, so make the most of it!!!