I was in a fast dwindling relationship when I first met him- my current lover. I was at that point where you know that your current relationship is rushing downhill at a rate that no one can save. And so, you are just there googling on the easiest way to break up with the other person. My new lover looked into my eyes and saw the emptiness that was lodged inside of me, the broken mess I had become. He saw beyond the part of me that kept yelling, ‘I am fine’ but returns to toss in bed every night.
My new lover, took me, held me close and told me I could rest at his bosom. That I could trust him. That I could tell him whatever it was making a young girl like me ache that much. You guys, I was at that point you are in so much pain that you start not to feel anything at all. I was hesitant, at first but not because of my elephant-sized trust issues. Rather, because they say good girls ought to hesitate before doing something crazy. Clearly, I have more issues than you and I thought. I am a bad girl trying to convince of my nonexistent goodness. But my lover was convincing. His good looks and wide chest that made feel some typa way served in no way to aid my resistance. I am a sucker for good-looking men in possession of wide chests and kind hearts. Before such men, my armor falls, my heart seems to make bigger, and faster steps than my brains.
There is a problem though. My lover and I fight almost all the time. It has not gotten physical yet and it probably never will for reasons you will understand later. But that does not make this bearable in any way. When we are not sleeping or away from each other, we are fighting. Even those dinner dates that I dress up for, we spend every minute of them, interrupting each other’s sentences. Trying to outshine each other. It is crazy. This lover of mine goes by the name, blogging/ writing.
Frankly, writing and I have had this love-hate relationship for a while. Say, 2 and a half years? We have parted ways, vowing never to get back together because only weak people do that. But then this cunning lover of mine goes and cleans up really good, I can do no more than fall back into his arms. But even in these two years, we never got the hang of talking our issues out. Because anytime we try it, we find ourselves ripping each other’s souls out. If this is not that thing they call love, then why can’t I seem to let him go? I have done a lot of digressing but let us now focus on what we were looking at today.
Starting to write or even blog can be challenging for a first timer. Not because one is not gifted but mostly because of the fear we harbor inside of us. The fear that we may not be good enough. The fear that people may not like our content. The fear that we will not stay committed.Now, fear is not a bad thing. More times than never, such fear is what keeps those who are already into writing/blogging on their feet. It motivates them to generate great content. It is the same thing that pushes those willing to start writing to get into it. So, let fear, push you ahead instead of holding you back. And tell you the truth, if you have had that nudge to write in you for a while now, I get the feeling that it is not going to go away anytime soon. So, you may want to start as soon as now! Having said all that, let me share a few of the things that I’ve learnt from my short relationship with writing.
1. Consistency is key. There are a lot of creatives out there who produce great content just like yourself. The best way to make your community to grow is by being consistent. Make sure to post at the same time and day every other time. That way, your audience knows when to expect your next post. Always remember that no matter how talented you are, some other brand could easily beat you to it because of consistency and hard work.
2. Read a lot more than you write. What we write is often a recreation of what we have read alongside with bits of our experiences. That is why you need to read as widely as possible. Personally, I love fairy-tale novels, but they are not the only genre I read. I am teaching myself to read anything that has good content in it. At the end of the day, what makes the difference is the voice of your pen. Some pens are playful, some artistic, some satirist, some wise and some even funny. Embrace your style of writing and build on it because it is your brand. It is what brings people back to your blog. Did you know that there can be 1000 writers saying the same thing, in different voices and ways, and all of them still manage to capture an audience? Well, it has everything to do with their individual voices. And no voice is better than the other. You just need to master yours and how to use it best. Therefore, be confident in your voice.
3.Ask for help when you need it but if no one wants to help that is also okay. There are a good number of bloggers out there who generate really amazing content and from whom you can learn things you are not very familiar with. Be bold enough to ask those already in the industry on how to go about it. They will surely help you in the best way they know how. Yet, much as there are several nice and kind artists out there, keep in mind that there are bad ones as well. And so, if your emails or direct messages go unanswered, try not to take it to heart. We have Uncle Google at our disposal. Uncle Google is not only generous with information, but also very kind. He always answers our questions in good time, doesn’t he?
4. Know what kind of criticism to take and what to ignore. As a writer or a creative of any kind, feedback is important to us. It not only gives us ideas but also helps us learn our audience and what they like. And once you know what your audience likes, then, generating content becomes easier for you. Word of caution though. Regardless of how amazing your content is – and I’m sure it is- there always will be a few buzz killers here and there. People who just do not ‘feel’ your craft and are not afraid of throwing stones. You are not to blame for that just as much as they are not. Surely, we do not expect billions of people in the world to share similar tastes in the kind of material they read. Do we now? That is why you need to give your best and stay happy. Please, remember, you do not have to respond to negativity (every negative comment you receive) unless it is absolutely necessary. And rarely is it necessary. Like a gambler, know what to keep and what to throw away when it comes to taking advice or feedback.
5. Do not let yourself or your craft be misused in the name of exposure. With your great content comes the expansion of your audience and most definitely, the offers to do promotions or partnerships with different brands. Some may not want to pay you not because you are not good enough but because people love free things at any chance they can get. Unless your gut tells you to do Pro bono work, then do not. Unless that brand will grow you, why would you want to invest your time and resources and not get paid for it? Exposure is not a form of currency in any country. And neither is a cup of coffee. Know your worth. Please, know your worth to avoid being conned or used. But at the same time, do your research and know what rates to charge for your craft. This is a very wide topic but please allow me to post some links below of YouTube videos you can watch to know all about marketing yourself, building your brand, how to charge for your services, etc.
- How to start making money as a blogger/content creator (by Joy Kendi)
- How Do We Pay Our Bills??? (By the Green Calabash)
- Money VS Exposure (By Frankie Just Gym It and Maureen Mwaititu)
6. Focus more on quality than on the likes and shares. When you begin writing, you may not have a large audience but that does not in any way imply that you stop playing your guitar. Some validation is good, but validation may not be enough to keep you going on the days you find yourself wondering as to whether you want to keep writing or not. However, do not think that feedback in terms of likes and shares are not important. They matter A LOT. And more, especially in the partnerships you will get into with different brands.
7.There is nothing wrong with taking a hiatus. As a creative, there comes a time when you just feel drained and writing no longer seems to hold the appeal it did to you before. You want to write but the spirit I just weak. Or it may not be that. It could be you got a new assignment that is taking up all your time and writing becomes difficult. There is no harm in taking a hiatus. A break to find yourself. It has happened to me and to many others. Spend that time reading and researching stuff to do with your craft. However, in the spirit of consistency, write as many posts as you can when you are feeling inspired in preparation for such times so that you never run out of content to post on your blog.