It’s a lovely sunny day today, so naturally I’m sat in writing a blog post. Since last writing, I’ve been busy job hunting and have found little time to post. I’ve had a few interviews and signed up to many recruitment agencies. I’m glad to say that the effort has paid off and I have a job as a locum OT starting in a couple of weeks. I must say I did get a little excited ordering my ‘OT stripes’ (the white tunic with bottle green piping) on the internet yesterday. Student no more! In addition to all the job hunting I have enjoyed some much-needed downtime as I didn’t realise how much pressure I had put myself under in my final year and realise that I had neglected my wellbeing at times. Its graduation next week, so I really feel like I’ve got lots to celebrate now.
Last week was the blog’s first anniversary so I thought that now’s a good time to review what I’ve learned on my blogging journey so far, 12 months and 13,000 views on. I think I need to add the caveat that I am not saying that I am the professional blogging expert and you should all hang on to all my pearls of wisdom, these are just personal lessons that I have learned about blogging.
Write down blog ideas as they come to you.
Most of my ideas pop into my head unexpectedly, usually when I’m in the shower or before I go to sleep. Much like my essays, words never come when I stare in front of a blank Word document. I’m reminded of Richard Carlson’s ‘backburner’ idea in ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’: where our mind works on a problem in the background and brings an insight and when we are relaxed.
I’ve learned to write ideas as they come to me (although I do wait until I’m out of the shower) and stick them on my notice board and then write a post later when I have the time to blog, avoiding the blank screen scenario.
Post regularly but not excessively
I wonder how many blogs have been abandoned after just a couple of posts? I think the trick is to regularly post and views will eventually snowball. I just plugged away with my blog every month and before I knew it, I had people pinning things from my blog on Pinterest-I mean, my blog! That must mean you’re a proper blog, right? Other social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin help to alert people that you’ve posted and grow your audience. If you’re short of time, a feature like Publicize on WordPress can publish your fresh blog post on your other social media accounts. Hootsuite is also a good tool for simultaneously updating feeds to keep things ticking over. Conversely I read that posting too much can be detrimental, that posts can lose value and quality control as readers assume that less thought would be in each post. Readers may also start viewing excessive posts in their feed as an irritation and unsubscribe. More about this here, although this wasn’t the original article I read.
Avoid the “it’ll do” post
I’ve come to regret these: where I’ve written something quickly, just to get it on the blog and now every time I see one of my posts like this, I cringe and wish that I had spent more time over it. If you start thinking “it’ll do” about a post, save it and come back to it later. Get in the shower, you may come up with an idea to make it better.
Think about the tone
Think about how you want to come across to your audience. I tried to create something that I would like to read. I didn’t want to read something very formal and technical after I’ve had my head in textbooks and journals all day. Also I didn’t want something over personal where there’s not much OT things to be learned and it feels more like reading someone’s personal journal (again this is just my taste, other people may like that style). I wanted something easy to read, light-hearted but informative but some personal information to be able to relate to the person and see how the theory applies to real-life. I hope I’ve achieved that. This won’t be the tone that everyone wants to set, but that’s just my style and we all find our own.
A blog is a transaction
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I view a blog post as a transaction: I want someone to read what I’ve written but I need to give someone a reason to read it-something that’s going to benefit them. I ask myself: what am I giving to people in this post? For example: information on the Kawa river model, advice on getting onto an OT course, or how to write a reflection. Although I have written one self indulgent post so please feel free to compare and contrast.
That’s all for now, I’m going to write a further post about personal lesson learned from studying an OT course, although I won’t write it too soon otherwise you may think I’m not following my own advice. I know when I start my new job there are going to be many lessons to learn so it’s a good time to reflect how far I have come and help people prepare for their courses.
Good luck to anyone starting at or returning to university in September! Thanks for reading.