Friday, 11 February 2011

Trish Shares the Stresses of being a Newbie Blogger!

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Another day and another blogger....  and you won't be disappointed, this lady will make you laugh, she has a fabulous talent for it!  Or maybe it is just me who finds her funny?   Leave a comment and let me know.  So here is Trish from Show and Tell Ideas introducing herself -

I am a mother, lover, blogger and former professional CV writer. After falling asleep on my computer keyboard several years ago….and accidentally mass emailing the CV of a major bank executive to everyone in my email address book….I decided I needed a fresh challenge. As luck would have it, I found myself wading chest-deep in a muddy lagoon gathering frog spawn for my daughter’s kindy “Show and Tell” the very next day. Aha! A lightbulb went off inside my head. So I subsequently set out on my own personal mission to turn “Show and Hell” into “Show and Tell”. I now author my own website, offering fun and easy Show and Tell Ideas for kids and busy parents. I blog because I love writing about life, making people laugh and meeting new bloggy friends.

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Now Mich has invited me to guest post on her blog to cast a little insight into some of the more stressful aspects of life as a newbie blogger. “Wow, what a gig!” I hear you say. And, yes, you’re absolutely right. What a gig indeed. So thank you Mich for inviting me into this special space you have created at Mummy from the Heart.

I started blogging in early January 2011. And what follows is my story so far.

Now, let me start by saying that when it comes to some aspects of life (like blogging), you could call me a little naive….Okay, very naive….Okay, I still believe that my daughter didn’t eat that last chocolate biscuit in the fridge last night even though her face and hands were smeared in some suspicious brown, sticky, delicious, sweet stuff. (Well, actually, yes I do believe it. I just had trouble accepting it. Tears were involved….Mine not hers. Well, she got to the biscuit first, damn it!).

But I digress…..cravings for sweet things are another subject entirely.

Where was I?…..The stressful perils of being a newbie blogger and being naive.

Now, when I first walked out to the edge of the diving board of Blog World….and peered down into the lustrous, aquamarine depths of the Blogging Pool below….I was overcome with a very unfamiliar feeling. I poked around inside my head for a while trying to figure out what this unfamiliar feeling was. Eventually, one of those very useful little light bulb thingies went off inside my head.

Confidence. Yes, that’s what I was feeling. Confidence. Confidence that I could leap high into the air off the Blogging Pool diving board, execute a couple of extraordinary Bloggy acrobatic moves, and slip effortlessly into the Blogging Pool below….(all to the muffled sounds of the crowd cheering and applauding my incredible Bloggy success, of course). Seconds later, I would triumphantly emerge from the Blogging Pool to see Bloggy Judges holding scorecards, every one of them perfect Bloggy tens.

So, armed with my Bloggy confidence, I decided the first thing I needed to do was form a Bloggy Action Plan (BAP for short). Now this took only a few seconds.…but my BAP was very sophisticated nonetheless. “Build it, and they will come. ”What do you think? Pretty original isn’t it?

Still, I had to get this just right, so I decided to break my BAP up into two very important parts. The first part was “build it”. So I immediately went in search of free blogging software. Aha, success. Within a matter of minutes, I stumbled across numerous sites offering such software.

Now, apparently any trained monkey can get a blog up and running in a matter of minutes. And this actually turned out to be very true. What they failed to add, however, is that if you’re a newbie blogger with zero technology skills (such as moi), your new blog will also look like it has been put together by a trained monkey.

Now I call this phase of implementing my Bloggy Action Plan, “Serious Setback No. 1”. And it was a very stressful time. I mean, given that I had so much confidence when I first set out on my Bloggy Adventure, I had immediately made my blog public to “the world”. Now I couldn’t find the damn button to make my blog un-public. And that glaring bloody great “PREVIEW” button had somehow escaped my notice as well.

So, “the world” watched on as I fumbled around with my standard template, adding and removing gadgets, trying to upload pictures and hyperlinks and generally stuffing things up a good 80% of the time.

And speaking of stuffing things up, I am also here to tell you that there’s a damn good reason why so many of those “text colour codes” start with the letters “fffff”. Because that’s how many times you’ll say “the f word” before you finally hurl yourself on the floor in tears and accept that you’ve ventured into the “Advanced” section of your blog template designer way too soon. Unless, of course, you have tech skills, in which case all the “fs” might stand for words like fun, fantastic and fabulous!

Now, after enduring many days of incredible stress and humiliation over the fact that “the world” was so publicly watching me learn to master the technical aspects of setting up my blog, I then encountered Bloggy Action Plan “Serious Setback No. 2”.

Yes, this was the moment when I realised that in fact “the world” wasn’t watching me fumble around after all.
In fact not even my own family was watching!! This was indeed a serious setback, because it threw the whole second phase of my Bloggy Action Plan into serious jeopardy. Remember, “build it and they will come”? Well actually, no, they won’t come. Because no-one even knows I exist!!!!

Okay, I need to rectify this situation quickly if my BAP is ever going to work. How do I let “the world” know I am here….toiling away writing incredibly important and meaningful stuff that they simply must not miss another second of?

Now, somewhere in the depths of my memory I remembered that the words “Twitter” and “Facebook” had
become pretty popular in recent years. But what were these things? I decided to Google them to find out. A few hours later, armed with a wealth of new found knowledge, but with my stress levels still escalating, I decided it would be wise to take on only one of these new things at a time.

So I opted for Twitter. Yes, I signed up for my Twitter account….walked to the edge of the Blog World diving board….and dived right in. Holy crap!! Clearly I hadn’t paid enough attention to language classes at high school. Suddenly I was immersed in a world of English-speaking people fluently speaking to each other in another language. And, what’s more, once I’d figured out this new “secret language”, I realised that they weren’t always talking to me. They appeared to be talking to each other. Was I being rude? Should I listen in? Was it okay to interrupt the conversation with my own thoughts?

Now I have to be honest and say that while I’m still not always doing a great job keeping up with my tweeting, I’ve actually come to quite like Twitter. It allows me to plug my blog so that “the world” does know I exist. More importantly, through Twitter, I’ve met lots of great new friends around “the world”. Friends that do actually pop into my blog and read my latest blog post and leave lovely comments that make me smile.

Which leads me into “Serious Setback No. 3”. Now that “the world” is finally reading my blog, “the world” actually expects me to write something. Go figure!! And here’s the thing. Not just once. No. “The world” actually expects me to keep writing. In fact “the world” expects me to write something new at least 3 or 4 times a week. Every day even! Hell, what do they think I am? A blogger or something?

So, here I sit….only a month into this blogging gig….with everything just starting to come together rather nicely thank you very much….but with a mild case of “Post Traumatic Bloggy-Action-Plan Syndrome” nonetheless. Yes, sadly, I am feeling a tad stressed and overwhelmed from trying to keep all my Bloggy balls in the air all at one time.

And I know it could have so easily been avoided. I mean, I could have decided not to set up my blog and post my first bloody blog post 5 minutes later. I could have learnt the technology of Blog World “behind closed doors” instead of revealing to “the world” (okay, my cat) just how technologically inept I really am. I could have taken a night course in how to speak “Twitter” so that I understood that RT stands for Retweet and not Railway Timetable . I could even have pre-prepared a few incredibly witty, insightful or poignant blog posts about my life, all ready to upload at a moment’s notice, lest I feel under any pressure.

But did I do any of this? No. Sadly I’m a “fools rush in where angels fear to tread” kinda gal. So, instead, I walked right up to the edge of the diving board of Blog World and I dived straight in. An act of foolishness? You betcha. But I’m here now. And I am gradually starting to unwind and enjoy it now that I’ve clocked up my first month.

But if I had my time over again, would I do things the same way? Are you kidding me?? Hell no. I’ve almost driven myself insane in the past month just trying to keep up.

So you see, while it’s definitely too late to save myself, if you are about to jump off the diving board of Blog World and become a newbie blogger, I can almost certainly save you.

Thank you Trish.  Tomorrow will bring you another great guest post as part of new bloggers fortnight here at MFTH... Tomorrow we say hello to Ghost Writer Mummy who will talk about being honest and finding your own blogging voice.
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