My first blog never got past the design stage. My second blog never made it past the third post. My third blog – the one you’re reading right now – has thankfully surpassed both of these milestones and is currently celebrating month five poolside with a fruity drink. And while I realize this does not constitute blogging longevity (or perhaps it does? ha), I’m pleased to see my early efforts and preparation have given it a strong start.
So what’s been my secret this time? Two things: topic curation and Facebook cover photos.
The main thing my earlier blog attempts suffered was the age-old question: “But what will I write about?” For me, that was an even more perplexing question because I’m not the sort of person who enjoys writing in a niche. (You may have noticed this.) I need randomness. My interests are too far-reaching to do otherwise. However, simply deciding I wanted to embrace randomness as a theme wasn’t enough. I still needed to have some idea of what I was going to write about. Gone were the days of assuming I could just sit down at my computer and something would magically occur to me. That’s fine for day one. Perhaps even day fifteen. But day one-hundred and twenty? Not likely. I needed a plan.
Enter: topic curation.
For over two years (after the slow demise of my second blog), I kept notes about things I wanted to blog about. In the beginning, there were just a few, but that quickly became several, which eventually became a small list – and then a longer list, and then an even longer list – until finally I had amassed over 150 topics. They have since been sorted into a binder I keep for my blog, which houses one tab for each of my twenty categories. The downside of having this is that it can be slightly overwhelming to peruse. The upside is that I don’t ever have to sit around scratching my head, trying to figure out what to write about. That had already killed my two previous blogs; it wasn’t going to claim a third.
Which brings me to my second secret: Facebook cover photos. Many of you are aware that I change mine out monthly, and have for about two years (I always enjoy the comments or discussion they inspire, too!). This practice was directly inspired by one of the blogs I follow. Every month, this woman designs a new masthead for her site – usually some goofy graphic or photo with her logo on it – and then adds the month and year to it. I was drawn to the concept because it’s a great way to routinely freshen up a site without having to overhaul it (like anyone has time for that). It also showed discipline and intention; it said, “This project has my attention.”
That is how cover photos became my precursor to blogging. I knew if I could stick to doing one every month, without exception, then I would be ready to give blogging another try. Sure, some months I’m more inspired than others, and occasionally I have to force one, but mostly I’m delighted by how they turn out. The point is, I did it. I proved to myself that it could be done, that I could stick with a routine month after month and still find enjoyment in the process. Now when I look back on this series of graphics I’ve created, I just see it for what it is: accomplishment, expression, creation, entertainment, community.
Sounds a lot like a blog to me.