Sunday, 14 January 2007

Your Ideas, please!

I've been asked by Edinburgh Council to teach a course on blogging starting from the week after next (as long as enough people are interested!). So I thought this week's Sunday Scribbling prompt 'Ideas' offered an ideal opportunity to ask other Sunday Scribblers and other visitors to share ideas about blogging. Areas where your ideas would be most useful are:

1) When you first started blogging, what would you have found most useful to know?

2) Why do you blog?

3) What are the best things about blogging?

4) What do you find difficult about blogging?

5) How do you keep yourself going as a blogger - how do you think up ideas for what to write about? (I will be suggesting my students visit Sunday Scribblings of course!).

Please feel free to also add in other ideas about blogging that you think may be interesting to beginner bloggers. I will of course give you credit for any of your ideas that I share with my student. Thanks!


Unknown said...

I think one of the most important and difficult parts of blogging is deciding why you are blogging, who your intended audience is, and sticking to your topic.

Good blogs come in all sorts of flavors. You can blog about your hobby to share ideas with others who have the same hobby. You can blog about politics (or most any other topic) to share your opinions with the world. You can blog about your daily life as a way of journaling and sharing your thoughts with family and friends.

But, it's a good idea to know where you are going before you start off. I'd also recommend reading some good blogs first as a way pre-blogging exercise so you can see what works and perhaps what doesn't work -- so maybe reading some bad blogs would be good as well! :)

Faith said...

1) I would have found it usefull to have done a little more research on which blog provider was best for me. Some are more geared to writing and some are easier to post pics. Once you invest the time into a blog and get regular readers it's hard to change.

2) I started to blog because I never felt I was very good at writing and I wanted to explore that a bit.

3) The best feeling about blogging is making connections with people in a safe environment.

4) Sometimes I find it hard to post stuff I want to say. The reality is you don't know who may be reading.

5) I use Sunday Scribbling for ideas. Throughout the rest of the week though I try to share my experiences.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Thanks for your ideas, good ones there and liza lee - particular thanks for the advice to visit some bad blogs, how not to do it is a good idea....

Anonymous said...

Hi Crafty,

I know that when I started blogging I had no idea how to do anything!!!! The most important thing is to decide what your blog should be about. Personal, entertainment, open, private.

Also, how to load photos, how to comment. Things like that.

Unknown said...

It seems that I learned on the job. I started up for vague reasons I did not understand, barely got off the ground for months and then discovered a community which started to inspire me. I never did figure out what my blog is about except that it is uniquely mine.
I have posted several times about blogging itself as have most other bloggers, not the technical stuff but the why. It might be interesting to see what bloggers are saying. Maybe looking for posts that tag blogging might be a good way to start.
If I were teaching blogging, I would have all my students go to a free provider like Blogger and start their own just for the experience.
Also there are two blogging books I know of, I bought the rough guide to blogging but learned more from other bloggers.
Great class idea, you are lucky to be teaching it.

Tammy Brierly said...

1. How to link your post to a club and blog toys for decor.
2. Be creative, connect with others and leave a piece of me behind for family.
3.Friendships & validation.
4.Commenting well & keeping up.
5.Other bloggers inspire me.

It can get addictive so keep priorities in order ;)

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Keep it simple. Leave the reader room to discover.

The Lettershaper said...

As a poet, I very much enjoyed my walk through your an avid reader, I think I enjoyed it even more. I'll link you, if I may.

Rethabile said...

You have got to know some HTML, more or less depending on whether you go with Blogger, typepad, blogsome, etc.

You have got to keep it either focused, or varied, but not in between. Dedicated or not dedicated. This is actually harder to do than one might think.

You have got to be regular. One post per week, or a post a day. You can't vacillate, otherwise your readers don't know when to visit.

You have got to make it look and sound serious, even if it's a comedy blog. No spelling mistakes, no four-letter words, good writing skills, no "didactics": politics, religion, etc.

Good luck with the class. It is something I would have enjoyed doing.

Anonymous said...

1) find a good provider. And I needed categories or tags from the beginning, but it took me months to move to a provider that had them.

2) It depends. In the case of the dance blog, to give information and vent out my opinions on the field. Initially I wanted to denounce bad teachers but since I'm not anonymous I can't do that diplomatically. In the case of the poetry blog, I started when I lived far away from my friends and I wanted to share with them my shock at American customs and my opinions on the creative process. Now it's more an outlet for my own poetry.

3) Being respected for your opinions or work in the field. It's a big self-confidence boost.

4) Finding interesting things to say. Some people find it hard to stay on-topic: that's easy for me, the hard part is to keep finding tings to say on it. And dealing with trolls.

5) Dance: I just give my opinions or tell what happens in my class. I very rarely research before posting. Poetry: I either post my latest poem or my latest discovery.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Thanks everyone for all your ideas, I'll put them all together and have agood read of them in a day or so! If the course goes ahead, your contributions will be a great help!!!

Hammer and Tong - I'll be delighted if you link to me!

Karen Travels said...

I am a fresh, new blogger, so I would love to take your course!

1. The comments on this post REALLY helped me! Thanks Amy!

2 and 3. I blog to practice my writing. I blog to communicate with other creative people. I blog to share my travel experiences. One of the best things I found so far is that blogging makes me want to be a better person - for example I am dieting/working out for many reasons, but I sure do love to write about the experience online. I can be as honest as I want. It makes me more accountable.

4. The most difficult thing is NOT telling my friends about this blog. They have seen my MYspace blog and have asked for more...I feel like I am cheating on them with this private blog. I can share things on here I might not tell them, and I am sure they would be hurt by this if they were ever to discover it. Does that make sense?

5. I have no problems finding ideas because they are all over. I write about everything under the sun. Sure, people might not care about my new sneakers or what I had for lunch, but if it is important to me, then I write about it.

Can't wait to hear about your course!

Anonymous said...

Blog about things that really interest you, that way you will be able to maintain momentum; it does not hurt to have the occasional rant, but a background interest will prevent boredom...

Larry Kollar said...

Begin at the beginning. The answers to all other questions depend on how one answers the first and most important question: What do I have to say?

But I'll try to take a stab at each of your specific questions:

1) Most useful to know: whether my friends are blogging, and if so, where (Blogger? LiveJournal? Yahoo360? elsewhere?). That's probably the most important criteria for choosing a host, at least at the beginning.

2) I started my Tales blog as an exercise in Primal Whine Therapy. :-) I got over that fairly quickly, but it's still good mental exercise. Now I pretty much write about what I feel like writing about. Readers seem to like it that way.

3) Best things? It's a good way to let people know what's going on in my life. I've also used it to pinpoint dates — "When did X happen?" "Um..." clickety clack "October 16."

4) Difficulties... probably the thing I've found most difficult is figuring out how open/anonymous you really want to be. There are things I don't say, or say in a different way, because I know my mom reads the blog. Semi-anonymity gives you a little breathing space to talk about the less flattering characteristics of family members — but if you start publishing fiction, you'll want to use your real name (or, then again, perhaps not).

5) Since I write about my life, I just talk about what's going on. If nothing's going on, I don't write on the blog. I have to disagree with the advice that you have to write on a particular schedule — that's what RSS feeds are for. Don't turn it into a chore.

Photographers would probably be interested in things like Flickr's blog support. Others might be interested in mo-blogging (i.e. blogging from cellphones). You'll have to figure out what their interests are; don't confuse the issue with stuff that nobody is interested in. :-)

Good luck with it!

Cynthia said...

Wonderful questions. 1. I started blogging to get back in the habit of almost daily writing. I thought the chance of having readers might help with that. 2. I blog now in part to keep up the writing discipline, in part for cheap therapy, in part to clarify my own thoughts and now that I've been at a few years, to keep up with friends I've made through blogging. 4. The biggest challenge about blogging for me is finding that line where I'm very honest (which is what I think is the best quality in my writing) but still protect my privacy. 5. Since I don't have a themed or niche blog, the world is my inspiration. Current events, the events of my day, something that struck my eye or fancy could all become a blog entry. At the same time, the occasional meme is fun, and I've come to love writing prompts that come from other blogs, like Sunday Scribblings.

Anonymous said...

I particularly enjoy trading comments with other bloggers and discovering unexpected things from reading blogs from all over the world.

Almost anything I do in daily life can turn into a blog post, especially if I have strong feelings about it.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Thanks for all your comments. Unfortunately this term my class has been cancelled due to lack of interest but hopefully next term with extra publicity..... I'll let you know how it goes and will credit you with your ideas in the class.