50 first posts

Last week I sailed past a blogging milestone that I had intended to make a bit of a song and dance about – I wrote my 50th post.

Since I started this blog in February, I’ve been astounded at how blogging has become such a huge part of my life – reading blogs, commenting on blogs, writing this blog, late night chats online with friends I’ve met through blogging, going on blind dates with bloggy pals, it’s opened up a whole new world. I’m super grateful for that.

As I think about the words I’ve typed here, which must number into the thousands (brevity isn’t my strong suit) I know I’ve written some blog posts that I’m super proud of, like this one, and some that I though, geez Annette, you could have done better than that. I won’t link to those ones!

The interesting thing is that although I followed a few blogs before I started this one, I didn’t realise just how loudly the internet is pulsating with blogs, about every topic under the sun. Seriously – Google design blog or fashion blog or cat blog or GoT blog or trainspotting blog or whatever-you-can-think-of blog, and I bet you’ll find results. If you don’t, there’s an untapped blog niche for you to conquer.

To wit – everywhere you turn now, successful bloggers are running blogging courses, offering sure-fire tips and tricks to creating engaging blogs, and writing e-books and hosting seminars on the subject. While some people are busy running from street corner to street corner crying ‘blogging is dead’, it seems to me that plenty of people are clamouring to create their very own patch of green on the internet. This is mine.

This blog was created thanks to an online course. It was brilliant – challenging, informative, encouraging, challenging, empowering and astounding value for money, better than I could have ever anticipated. For that, I will always be more grateful than I can articulate to Pip Lincolne, from the heart of my bottom.

But no matter how many ace courses you do – I’ve done three this year, and have registered for a fourth – I believe that there’s something unteachable, an X-factor, at the core of all the blogs that you’ve got bookmarked.

And without charging you a cent, here’s what I think the secret to great blogging is – a great blog is all about the person at the keyboard.

Your favourite blogs may feature beautiful photographs, or have the most stunning blog design, or a social media presence that seems to know no limits (without ever being obnoxious). You may even see your fave bloggers on the telly – hello BabyMac and Woogsworld, who turn up, entertainingly, on The Daily Edition every week.

Perhaps you’ve heard about fabulous Aussie blogger Nikki Parkinson’s new book Unlock Your Style which started as a series on her fashion blog Styling You. I’m a huge fan of Nikki’s, and I’m hoping to meet her at the Melbourne launch of the book. She’s been super encouraging to me as I’ve started this venture, that’s just who she is.

Writing 50 posts, then 100, then 200, celebrating 2 years, 5 years, a decade in blogging isn’t about whether your blog is self-hosted or not, or about your killer photography skills (unless you’re a pro with a photography blog), it is about who you are. People will see through all the pretty stuff, the design, the technical wizardry, eventually. I think people actually want to see through that suff, lovely as it is – because blogging is about connection.

Any fool with a laptop can start a blog – they can download, and tweak, pretty pictures from Flickr or regurgitate recipes from the likes of Martha Stewart. And if that’s what people are into, great – more power to them.

The blogs I’m interested in, that I return to week in and week out, that I comment on and share, are blogs by people who I feel a connection with. They’re the kind of people you’d gravitate to at a party, or want to invite over for coffee. Blogging allows you to do that, without having to change out of your pjs!

What I want from I Give You The Verbs is what I see in blogs like the ones I’ve mentioned here, and others I haven’t name-checked – not TV spots and book deals, though you never know where this thing will lead… No, what I truly want is to connect with people, people like YOU – to write in a way that not only makes you chuckle occasionally, but in a way that makes you want to be part of this community – to comment, to chat, to engage with other readers. If I’m just writing for myself, this thing won’t last.

I think I can sum it up best by sharing a homework exercise from my second run at Pip’s blogging course. The exercise was to create a podcast – scary stuff – just to introduce ourselves to each other and say a little about our hopes for the course and our new blogs. As I listen back to it now, aside from wondering if that’s how I really sound, I hear my manifesto for IGYTV.

You can listen to that here.

So, after 50 posts, what do I know now that I didn’t know then? It’s pretty simple really. I love being a blogger.  And I really do want you to read and love my blog. We start out writing for ourselves, and I always want to have a platform for expression, but when I write now, I am thinking about you.

That’s why, above all else, I want every post to have a little bit of that magic power I mentioned in the podcast, magic to brighten your day, remind you that you ARE special, and creative and talented, and to cheer you on as you take on life’s challenges, celebrate life’s joys, plod through the never-ending laundry, and get your own TV spots and book deals. You’re my people, I’m cheering for you!

Don’t stop believing.

To the next 50!

Annette x