5 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Blogging
Aah, yes, blogging. It's a thing I do here at the stations. When it first came up as an idea that we were going to go with, it was very intimidating. But then we were also told incorrectly what we were expected to do. At first we thought we had to do two blog posts a day for every station we were on. Which meant, for me, thirty six blog posts a week. I knew that was impossible. Luckily it was cleared up for us. Now, I'm supposed to do two a day. Doesn't sound nearly as hard, right?
It's still hard. I bet I could have saved myself a little trouble if I had actually known anything about blogging, and how different it is from reporting or creative writing. So, here are a few things I wish I'd known before I started this whole mess.
1. Write down your ideas.
If you get an idea for a blog, WRITE IT DOWN. You think you're gonna remember, but you're not. If you dream a great idea, write it down. If you get an idea in the car, write it down as soon as you get to where you're going. Even if you don't have a full idea, just write that sherty nonsense down on a Post It note. You can always come back to it later, but you might not get it back if you don't write it down.
2. Be extra careful about photos.
You can't just pull a photo off of Wikipedia and call it good. Don't do it. There are people who literally spend their entire days looking for copyright violations.
3. It's okay to get personal.
Sometimes, people think I'm just writing things to be writing them. But that's not necessarily what I'm trying to do. I think by sharing my perspective on a topic or sharing something that happened to me can actually be helpful to others. Don't worry about people thinking it's not interesting enough. I assumed a lot in the early days that people did not care one jot about the strange little thoughts I have. But really, we have more in common than you'd think. Other people have those same thoughts.
4. Don't let the internet get under your skin.
This one is something I personally am still fighting. But I'm better at it than I was in the beginning, definitely. I would take any kind of comment so personally. Insults, reprimands, criticism (even if some of it came from a positive place)... all of it would just get to me so badly. But now, I have a little more perspective. If I see a comment and think, "Would that person say that to my face?" I take it seriously. But most of the time... they probably wouldn't, if they had to look in my eyes and say it. So they don't really mean it, they're just in an Internet Moment. A lot of the time, it's people not realizing that what you're writing is a blog, not news content.
5. If someone tries to give you an idea, listen.
In this job you always encounter people who think it's easy. They think that they could just walk in and be on the air, or write up something fascinating. It's not that easy. I've had many occasions where I've been staring at my computer, my mind just blank of ideas. I don't think people realize that sometimes the well does run dry - and That is when it is really hard. So, if someone decides to share an idea with me (even if it's the stupidest thing I've ever heard....and you'd laugh at some of them), I'll listen. Even if it's not a good idea, maybe I can work on it or change into a good idea. It might spark a different idea.
Well, I think I've managed to get better than my first year of writing, anyway. I know I'm nowhere near perfect, but I'm trying.