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BLUE…or How to Get Off Your Butt and Start Your Blog Already

by Kimberly on September 7, 2011 · 13 comments

This week, Laura Crum, a guest blogger at MusicSparks, issued a challenge to the music therapy blogging community to write a blog post inspired by the word “blue.”

It seemed like fun, so thought I’d jump on board :)

And somehow I found a way to fit “blue” into the topic I wanted to talk about today: how to get off your butt already and launch your blog. I’m not talking about the technical aspect of starting your blog. I’m talking about the fearless aspect of it.

You’ve already got the idea. Perhaps you’ve even purchased hosting, installed WordPress, and bought a domain name.

But now you’re stuck. How do you fit all your wonderful ideas into a single blog post? Who’s going to read your blog? But your blog’s not really ready to go…it still doesn’t look quite right, does it?

If you find yourself in this place, then this post is for you. Below is a mnemonic based on the word–you guessed it–”blue” that will hopefully inspire you to start sharing your knowledge, wisdom, and experience with the world (or at least with your intended audience).

B – Be a Blog Reader

One of the easiest and quickest ways for you to start figuring out what you do and do not want your blog to do is to start reading other blogs. Read blogs that are part of your community (for me, that would be other music therapy blogs) and…more importantly…read blogs that are outside your online community (for a fresh perspective and new ideas).

You should be doing 2 things while reading these other blogs:

  1. Note what you do and do not like in terms of the blogger’s voice, the blog layout, and features and incorporate those into your own blog.
  2. Engage these bloggers by commenting on their blog posts. But only if you have something valuable to say or something that will further the conversation. Saying “Thanks for a great blog post!” on dozens of blogs is kind of…well, inauthentic and pointless.

L – Limit Yourself to 1 Idea Per Post

You don’t have to share all your secrets in a single blog entry. For one, it’s a waste of your time and energy and, two, why would people come back to learn more if you’ve given them everything you know already?

In general, plan to share one main idea per blog post. Take this post. Yes, I’m share four tips, but it’s all related to the one idea of taking the plunge and starting your blog.

Too many ideas = too much time you spend writing and your reader spends reading.

U – Use your Unique and Authentic Voice

My writing style is different than any other music therapy blogger out there. The style of my posts, the length, my posting frequency…it’s my blog and it gels with my personality and the type of information I share.

It’s up to you to find your own authentic voice. This will be built over time (I cringe when reading my earliest blog posts) and you will fine-tune it as you delve deeper into this blogging world, read other blogs, and get feedback from your readers (which, yes, does inform what you do and how you do it).

Don’t try to be anyone else. Find your own authentic and unique voice.

E -Expect Non-Perfection

Your blog will never be perfect. Over time, you will be fine-tuning, adding elements, deleting things, and tweaking your blog. It’s therefore pointless to wait to launch your blog until everything is “perfect.”

It won’t be. Embrace that fact: your blog will never be perfect. Own it…then go forth and launch.

P.S. The title for this post is inspired by Tina Fey, who’s book, Bossypants, I just finished last week. I hope you enjoyed this temporary change in tone. I promise to be back to my boring-blog-title self next week.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Dean September 7, 2011 at 11:41 am

This all really speaks to me! Thank you so much for posting it. I can relate to every part of your BLUE outline.

Recently I just began a new blog journey because I felt trapped by my old blog. I fey like I was missing a unique voice and that I was writing in a way that wasn’t how I really wanted to write. Everything I wrote seemed convoluted. I tried to cram everything in every post and I expected it all the be perfect.

You can’t have all of that at one time and expect no short falls. Short falls are even more evident when you set those high expectations. I can vouch for all of this.

Thanks, Kimberly!

JoAnn Jordan September 7, 2011 at 11:49 am

Thanks for taking on the Blue Challenge! Well said about starting a blog. I look back at my first post & see how I have grown in the process. I’m looking forward to your “Bossy Pants’ post!

Kimberly September 7, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I think it’s great that you’re taking a fresh start! I look forward to reading your posts from your new blog, Dean :) ~Kimberly

Michelle Erfurt September 8, 2011 at 6:05 am

I’m with you about finding and using your unique voice. This topic has been on my mind a lot lately. Not only does this apply to blog writing, but in your MT clinical work when it has to do with your clinical style. I think this goes to show how an individual MTs professional development develops through the process of blogging. And, for myself, much deeper than a 5 hour, $100 CMTE class at a conference could do. So, can I start counting my blog for Continued Ed credit?

I do have to say, though, that I don’t find comments of “Thanks for a great blog post!” to be inauthentic and pointless at all. But, I’m speaking from the bloggers point of view. If a reader wants to share a thought of any kind… and take the time to become engaged and say anything, it is of value. True, it may not further the conversation but I can’t control my readers thoughts/comments and I’d much rather prefer they say something than nothing.

Belinda Soper September 8, 2011 at 10:13 am

Thanks for this Kimberly. I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a while and this has persuaded me that I could and should if I really want to! I particularly think the focusing on one topic per blog would really help me as I often leave work with lots of thoughts, ideas and reflections swirling around in my mind. The process of focusing in on one thought for a blog would help my thinking and hopefully start a dialogue with others.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Belinda

Kimberly September 8, 2011 at 12:44 pm

The nice thing, Belinda, about having all those ideas is that you will never run out of things to talk…I mean, blog about :) And that idea list just keeps on growing the deeper you get into it. Have fun! ~Kimberly

Kimberly September 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm

That’s interesting that we have a different opinion about the comments. When writing the post, I was thinking along the lines of if you want to get noticed, contribute something meaningful to the conversation. Just writing “great post!” helps make the blogger feel good…but it won’t necessarily get you noticed and help you stand out. That said, I agree with you on the notion that it’s better to say something than nothing at all. And I agree with you about getting continuing ed credits for blogging… :) ~Kimberly

lisa September 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Ahh, you are adding to all the things in the universe that tell me that I should be blogging. It’s always an idea rolling around there in the back of my head. Just this Friday I was over one of my friend’s houses helping her with the technical aspects of her blog. Today, I read your blog and feel a little more of the push. Perhaps it’s the push I need.
Thank you!!!

Ashley Lundquist September 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Thank you for this post. I am a recent new blogger and I am still trying to figure everything out. You have some great tips that I will use!

http://musictherapyequalslove.webs.com

Kimberly September 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm

@Ashely That’s wonderful! Best of luck as you continue your blogging journey :) @Lisa How wonderful! Let us know when you get your blog up and running :) ~Kimberly

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