…it’s a bloggy world: make it personal

I heart all music from the 70s. Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac, of course the Beatles, and…Cat Stevens! I must have some type of telepathy going with Cat Stevens because I literally heard in the car this morning on NPR that he is singing at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame this week. I bring this up because the title of my series this week was a play on his song “It’s a Wild World.”  You know it,

“Oh, Baby, Baby it’s a wild world.

It’s hard to get by just upon a smile.”

So true, Cat.

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Cat Steven has a really interesting background and I would venture to say that his music would not be as impactful if it was not so personal. That was my attempt to segue to blogging. How did I do?

I understand that opening ourselves up to strangers is not always comfortable. We are subjecting ourselves to criticism and judgment. But, there is also love and admiration and more importantly a sense of community if you choose to.

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I try to come from an attitude of “We are all in this together. Life is hard and we don’t always have the tools we need to get through it. Let’s lean on each other and lift each other up as best as we can.”

I knew from the beginning of my blog that I wanted to display an honest Christen. I said the same thing when I started dating my Dear Husband. I think when we come from a place of honesty we really honor ourselves. We are saying, I’m  not trying to be anyone else but who I am. We are all snowflakes. Precious and different. Why would we want to hide that?

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This is why you see my kids, me in my painting rags, me laughing at myself and me ranting when I’m upset in my posts. It is very cathartic to be open.

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If we walk around with our guard up all the time on we are not protecting ourselves, we are imprisoning ourselves. There is freedom in laughing openly when you are on the elliptical at the gym watching Hoda & Kathy Lee say something ridiculous. There is freedom letting yourself cry with your neighbor on the way to the bus stop because her dog has just died. There is freedom in pulling the car over and screaming because you’ve just heard of another school shooting and you still cannot figure out why we are allowed to carry guns in our country! ROAR!

Oh, Baby, it’s a wild world. If you are going to blog then make it help & honor you. Let others in so we can see the good and the bad and relate to it all. We are just as messy over here. I have found more friends and readers here because I dare to be vulnerable. Even when just discussing paint 🙂 Thank you, God.

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…it’s a bloggy world: share

One of the main things that I have learned about blogging is that it is absolutely necessary to share what you know.

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When I first started writing I felt very proprietary about my techniques, methods, and ideas. This kind of attitude will only go so far in the blogging world. Readers are reading to gain information. They want to learn and try what you are showing & teaching for themselves. This is why they are not taking a class, but reading your blog! You must teach to acquire readers.

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You will find out quickly whether or not a blog is successful if the writer teaches. If a blog shows off his/her doghouse or cow pasture or shoe shop or bbq pit (you get the idea) in every post then a reader may tire of the site and not want to read and/or not want to share it with friends. There must be something in it for the reader.

I think a blogger can certainly show what they are working on to inspire others to do something similar in their own lives and show that it is achievable.

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There’s a bit of “If I can do it, so can you” attitude.

There are also blogs where the reader may never be able to do what the blogger is doing, say, build a cottage in the mountains, but it is still appealing and enjoyable to witness and read about.

Then there is the type of blog that educates. I think these are the blogs that become the ones that are most talked about and end up with the most readers. I have noticed my readership climb and climb the more I offer techniques & concrete ideas.

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Yes, this does mean that you are showing more of your cards to your readers. You are letting people you do not know into your space and into your world. Yes, this can be uncomfortable at moments. It can also be a way to grow your business and readership, however.

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If you show your carpet and talk about how much you love it, your readers want to know how much it was and where they can have one just like it. You must get used to sharing information & having your readers engaged enough that they want more.

Certainly, if there are things that you’d rather not talk about you don’t have to. I never reveal the name of my mover or prices that I give to clients. These are things that may hurt me and my business. Otherwise, I try to be open and share honestly so that I can have the blessed position of teacher and writer.

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There is a freedom in being open and willing to share what you know. You will find that you are not losing anything by doing so. Just as we are all snowflakes everything we product is unique and different from our readers and neighbors.