Why do I blog?
1st May 2015 was my two-month blogiversary (blirthday?). As such a blogging baby, I know I still have a lot to learn. However, due to my current circumstances I have posted practically every day since starting, so I already have a fair amount of content under my belt.
I started writing as a diversion, a sort of therapy. Having been sucked in and spat out of a whirlwind of cancer diagnosis and treatment within two months, I was left to recover at home, trying to piece together what had just happened to me. My boyfriend suggested I do some baking to focus on something productive, yet relatively untaxing. This quickly turned into a blog idea. Being a fan of Breaking Bad, I noticed that the parallels between my story and Walter White’s were undeniable(!). And so Baking Better was born.
Forcing myself to revisit the events of the past few months has helped me to come to terms with it all. Writing it in a blog has various benefits, but the two main ones for me are these: first, people who know me can read all about it rather than me having to explain things over and over again; secondly, telling my story is helping to raise awareness and support others who are experiencing the same issues, as well as promoting the importance of cervical screening.
What I’ve learnt so far
• Plan ahead: I always try to write posts at least a day before I want to publish them. That means that I can go back with fresh eyes to read over what I’ve written before putting it out there. There are always a couple of typos or repeated words, or parts that just aren’t clear enough, so it’s well worth doing!
• Keep it snappy: although I’m guilty of breaking this rule, I know that it’s best to keep writing short and sweet. Don’t use five words where one will do. Keeping sentences and paragraphs shorter makes posts easier to read (especially on a phone). It’s easy to be put off by a very long post before even starting to read it. Subheadings and bullet points are useful for breaking up blocks of text.
• Use photos: sounds obvious, I know. A few well-chosen photos bring posts to life though. I’m still working on the best size and positioning for pictures, especially as it changes depending on what size screen you’re looking on.
• Be honest: the posts I’ve received the most feedback from have been the ones where I have laid everything out there. I think that comes across strongly in your writing, making your reader feel instantly connected to you.
• Check your grammar: as a primary school teacher, I am a touch pedantic. I bet that I’ve made mistakes in my own writing, but I do try to read through my posts two or three times (including once out loud – you’d be surprised!), to check they actually make sense before posting them. I’ve given up reading several blog posts where the grammar just makes it too much like hard work!
• Know your motivations: it’s easy to get caught up in the stats of your blog – how many followers, page hits, likes, comments, etc. Although it is interesting to see which posts are popular, and to try and get your ideas out there, I think it’s vital to keep focused on why you are writing your blog at all. In my opinion, the blogs that people are writing for the love of it are always more appealing to read than those who are just trying to force content and get as many followers as possible.
Blogging has been a therapy, an escape and a true source of positivity for me in these last few months. Other people reading and enjoying my posts has just been the icing on the cake! Long may it continue.
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