Baby Steps to Blogging Part 2 — How to Begin a Blog

Baby Steps to Blogging Part 2 – How to Begin A Blog

In Part 1 of Baby Steps to Blogging, I talked about three steps to help you get on the right baby foot with your blog. Today I will start with an example—my own blog.

Platform. I chose WordPress.com as my primary blogging platform. WordPress has tutorials to help you get started. You can choose from over 150 free themes. Pick one you like and get started. You can always change it later.

I chose one I could add a picture header to. I used a photo I took while on a nature hike with Joe. I enlarged it and cut out the section I wanted for my header. I made several copies of it on my computer so if I ruined one, I would still have one to work with.

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Note 1: When editing a photo, NEVER use your original, or your last copy. ALWAYS keep a file of originals to work from and make more copies as needed.

Note 2: It is not essential that you use a picture header. If this sounds like a giant step to you, leave it out until you are comfortable trying it—even if that is never.

Focus / Mission Statement. Make a list of the subjects you have written or want to write about. From my own list I discovered that I am passionate about sharing the importance of having a relationship with God with others. I want to share it with family, friends and the world. I am passionate about doing this through other things I love: writing, photography and teaching.

With this in mind, I wrote my mission statement:

Helping others find their passion by sharing my own.

I added this statement below the name of my website on my header photo.

Martha Jane Curtis

Because I am passionate about encouraging others to find their purpose and go about performing it, I have added this statement to my header:

Spread your wings and write

You can scroll to the top of this page and to see what it looks like put together. It took a lot of patience for me to get my header the way I wanted it. I am not good with a computer. I have just made up my mind not to let it get the best of me. I take breaks when I get frustrated, but I don’t give up.

If you aren’t ready to get this involved, you can simply use the name of your blog and include your mission statement. It isn’t that big a deal. There is nothing wrong with simple. In fact, simple is often better.

Begin Blogging. Finally the easy part—what you wanted to do all along. Write!

Let your readers get to know you. Tell them your passions, admit your failures. Let them know what you like and what you don’t (without being ugly about it, of course). They don’t want to know how perfect you are, but that you are a real person, just like them, or their aunt or grandma… Write stories about something funny or embarrassing that happened to you. Tell how you learned from your mistakes—or at least what you are trying to learn.

The post International Coffee Day, was about a mistake I made—one I should have learned from. You can click on the link to read it if you missed it. The very next day, I made the same mistake again! It was aggravating. I felt like a dunce.

Now, with all this in mind, make a list of all the things you can think of to write about. Jot down a few notes about each story. I like to put mine on note cards so I can flip through them when I need an idea.

Find a time to sit down for a couple of uninterrupted hours and write about one or more of those subjects. Try to do it a few days before you intend to post. Make a habit of doing this and you will always be ready with something to post. Take the time to read through it and make any needed corrections before posting.

Your goal should be to give visitors to your blog something worth reading. Whatever you write, make it interesting enough that they will want to come back for more. It never hurts to add a bit of humor, even if the joke is on you!

You are doing a great job! It is work to set up a blog. Don’t get discouraged. After all, if you had never began to blog, you wouldn’t have made it this far. Give yourself a break. Ask questions. Keep writing. Blog with confidence—in baby steps. Your story is waiting to be told.

 

This post is part of a series titled Baby Steps to Blogging. I hope it will help you on your blogging journey. I encourage you to share your thoughts and questions in the comments section of this post. You are invited to come back next Thursday for Part 3 of Baby Steps to Blogging.

Choose to follow me by e-mail if you would like to be notified of new posts to my blog.

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Teacher or Writer–Which are You?

I attended my first writer’s conference on May 19, 2012 at the invitation of my writer friend.  At the time I did not consider myself a writer, but it sounded like fun. It was a one day conference held at a Church in Cushing,Oklahoma. Donna Goodrich was the only speaker. I learned many things that would come in handy

IF I WAS A WRITER, THAT IS!

Donna taught things like:

  • How to find interesting topics to write about.
  • It is importance to use proper grammar and punctuation.
  • If you use something written by someone else, give them credit for it.
  • Construct good titles for your stories and books.
  • How to prepare your manuscript for publishing.

I learned all this and much more at that conference. In fact,

I found it to be quite interesting, 

but I was not a writer.

Since that time I began attending a group for writers in Tulsa. 

I learned many things that would be helpful if I ever did decide to become a writer.
Speakers kept talking about being called to write.

I wasn’t comfortable applying that tag to myself. 

I had many things I wanted to share with my children and the children I taught in Vacation Bible School each summer and others with whom I associated.  I home-schooled my daughter from preschool until she graduated high school except for a year and a half in the middle. I even taught my grandsons for two years. 

So you see, I was a teacher, not a writer.
I found myself writing daily. I wrote school lessons and Bible lessons and plays. I wrote a program for a three day home-school history learning activity called “Wagon Train Camp”. I wrote pages of notes every morning as I read my Bible and studied. I often thought how great it would be if I could share what I had learned with others. 

But I was still just a teacher, not a writer.
One day as I browsed through my Facebook feed, I noticed there were many posts complaining about the condition of our economy and talking about what our government officials should be doing and not doing. That day I began writing a post of my own. The subject of my post was that we as Christians need to quit griping to each other and start praying. The only way for our nation to remain Christian, is for us to be truly Christian and spend time on our knees praying for our nation and its leaders.

 As I wrote, I realized what a small audience my post would have with my barely more than one hundred Facebook friends. It needed a bigger audience to have the impact I had planned for it, so I created a blog on which to post it. A blog still had limits, I realized, but it was a start in the right direction. The more I thought about the thousands I wanted to reach with this message,

the more inadequate I felt as “just a teacher”. 

I wanted the message God had given me to impact the world, not just those who were within the sound of my voice or who would read my measly Facebook page.

It was then that I felt the gentle whispering of the Holy Spirit, “How many more people do you think you can teach through writing?”

 You can reach the world through writing!

Then I understood. God had been preparing me all along to write for Him. I am still teaching, but I am doing it through writing. I have the opportunity to share what God has given me with the whole world.

Because… I AM a Writer.

First posted on marthajanecurtis.com