Exactly a year ago, after much thought and trepidation. I finally decided to begin my blogging journey. I had a message on my heart and didn’t want it to just remain there. I wanted others to hear as well and experience the joy and freedom I had experienced. It has been a very interesting journey so far. I have learned so much both about blogging and about myself and over and over again encountered ways I could improve, grow and better use this platform. I’ll talk about a few of the things I have learned in the past year.
- Fear Is Not My Boss: This was particularly important for me to realize. I was always cautious and afraid of what people would say or think. Even more than these, I was afraid that I would say something that was erroneous one day and have people running over themselves to disgrace me in public. This initially put some fear in me and stalled my starting. But after thinking about the import of the message I wanted to put out there and how much I knew someone needed it, I slowly let down that worry and decided to dive into the water anyway. I am so glad I didn’t let the fear and worry stop me.
- Creativity is not limited to a small handful of people: Whether we admit it or not, we are all created to create. Being made in the image of God means that we have this trait in us as well. We show this in several ways daily; in the dishes we make, the stories we tell and how we tell them, the songs we sing, the different ways we find to show love, the complex buildings and mechanical structures we build, the list is literally endless. People however often limit the name ‘creative’ to the defined works of art they see and thus define only artists or musicians or even established writers as creatives. Opening our mind to the broad range that fits into this definition helps us to locate ourselves somewhere on the spectrum and advance to do things we never before allowed ourselves to do. Thus, whether it is the first time you are handling a pen to write, a guitar to play or a camera to start taking pictures, remind yourselve that you are indeed a creative and go ahead and express yourself well with your gift.
- Start: You’ve probably heard it said that there’s no perfect time to start something. This is true on so many levels. You have to start somewhere. This is not me trying to say, put your idea out as soon as you have it. Having an idea does not mean putting it out right away. Most times, you need tons of preparation and investigation on so many aspects of the idea and this preparation is itself a start. The ‘right time’ is very different from ‘perfect time’. The right time comes when you have done the preparation, when you are putting in the work and remaining committed to the course all of which are very important. In some instances, excellence comes with learning on the job, tweaking this and that and improving from the point you kicked off. The ‘perfect time’ however is usually about waiting for all conditions to be perfect before starting. The problem with this is that it may never come. One thing may be perfect today and it’s counterpart strangely out of place at the same time. To wait for everything to be ‘there’ before ‘going’ ends up being the folly that keeps many great things never attended to. It doesn’t ALL have to be perfect but to get to that place of near- perfection, you have to START. With whatever little or much, like NIKE says, JUST DO IT. If you are thinking of starting, there are tons of resources to guide you into making the great leap. START!
- Don’t expect everyone to jump on right away: After my very first post, I announced on my FACEBOOK page that I had just started a blog (to this date, it is the highest traffic in a day I’ve had), immediately people who had not heard from me in ages trooped to my blog post to take a look, falling away not long afterwards. Discouragement did creep in, and I wondered if I would get people to read the blog at all, if they would ever so much as leave a comment and if they would ‘like’ the post. After a few nail-biting days, I reminded myself of ‘The WHY’. I remembered that the message going out was what was more important, the likes and comments only frills, and then calmed down.
- You WILL get discouraged: A friend who had just heard that I had been blogging literally laughed in my face like I was doing the most ridiculous useless thing ever. This hurt slightly but I stuck with my guns and decided to keep going with it. Truth is, not everyone will understand why you blog right away, and that is okay. It may be YOUR assignment and not theirs. The key is to not spend so much time trying to justify the necessity for your blog/ podcast/ vlog, etc, to others. Just focus and keep on with it, learn from mistakes, learn from those more experienced, read, research and keep growing in it. Like a seed planted, when it starts to show green leaves and healthy fruits, it will speak for itself.
- Use Your Platform Well: You don’t just start a blog or vlog or podcast. You are a whole voice for people who could otherwise not express themselves, an example for people who are looking for it and a force for good or bad (your choice). With great power thus, comes great responsibility. This includes being consistent and diligent and particularly, studying to show yourself approved (practice, practice, practice, study, study, study and research, research, research, for short). The lengths to which this voice and power go are well beyond any you could actually imagine. It is important to understand this, to decide how you want to use that power and to proceed to use it well.
- Be Intentional: Be intentionally serious or be intentionally about the the fun only, either way, be intentional. It’s not always about getting deals or contracts but these can be great side effects as well, my tip would be that if the plan is to be noticed for deals and contracts, that some intentionality be used from the outset and not just freestyled with the hope of being picked up. If it is however only to be able to get your voice across and in the process hope that someone does recognize your work, then a full focus on the work, doing it well and enjoying it would be a great approach and that alone would be a great reward even if no one ever contracted you.
I could go on but I think this would be a good place to stop. I can rightly say that it’s been fun. I call myself a writer now even though I haven’t published a book yet. I believe strongly in speaking things into being and this is what I do with this and a many other things as well. The more I think myself a budding writer, the less likely I am to realize the power of the gift I believe I have. To paraphrase Shonda Rhimes, there is no such thing as a budding writer. I have many steps to climb and more lessons to learn but I am definitely a writer and so are you in whatever sphere of influence you find yourself in. Accept the role and learn the hell out of it to be the boss you are waiting to call yourself.
I am excited for my next year of blogging. I am particularly excited for the opportunity to use my voice positively, to tell stories that will advance society and grow people, including myself. I am excited about the communities it has given me access to and made me a part of, as well as the opportunities it opens up to me.
I hope that you are encouraged, if you are on the fence, to take the step towards using your voice and influence well as well. That you realize the power of the message you have been given and that you create the room in your life, kick out the fear and use it to the fullest. Let me know if I can encourage you personally or give you any tips and ideas AND let me know if this has encouraged you to start as well. Feel free to share your page in the comments and look forward to a follow from me. Click here read my very first post.
Happy Blogging/ Vlogging.