May 26, 2012

Community and Knowledge Go Hand in Hand: ReRun Saturday

Last year's Blogathon was a huge kickstart for this blog. Prior to it, I had blogged very little and had no clue what I was doing or wanted to do.

The following post originally ran 5/29/11 as the first Blogathon was winding down. Just after, I share some things I learned this year.

originally posted 5/29/11

When I committed to WordCount Blogathon’s challenge to write a post-a-day-in-May, my goal was to focus on our blog and my writing. After two years of heavy writing for Depression Cookies and a cross-country move, I lost my energy. Now I feel renewed. Initially I was going to set a 500-word-a-day goal for writing starting in June, but now I know I can do much more.
But this knowledge was only the tip of the iceberg. This is my feeble attempt to quantify what I’ve learned:
How to better define what I want our blog to be: our blog started as a way to promote and discuss our novel, Depression Cookies. Now, thanks to seeing so many wonderfully diverse blogs, I realize Mom and I have so much more to say. We are a mother-daughter team who wrote a mother-daughter book . . . there's a wealth of topics for us to cover.

Respecting Copyrighted material: Don't get me wrong, I would never steal another's thoughts or hard work for my own use. Still, I didn't get the nuances of using images or "selected pieces" of blog posts. Now I do. When I wanted to pass along some great information from a discussion I attended, I contacted the speaker and asked if I could paraphrase what I learned. She was thrilled and I've formed a bond with her. I wouldn't have thought to contact her before.

Simply Ask: I never thought to do guest post exchanges and contact other people for help! I've found it only improves my blog to have others' thoughts and opinions featured, and I've been astounded by how many people are willing to do this if you simply ask.

Twitter: Before Blogathon, I had only dipped my toe into the pool of Twitter. Basically, I signed up kicking and screaming. I'm still a Twitter-newbie, but I'm starting to appreciate what it has to offer.

Links: It never dawned on me to put links within my posts. Such a rookie mistake.

Community: I am a better blogger when surrounded by a community of bloggers. You get what you give. I’m updating my Blogs We Love sidebar come June 1 to reflect this new and growing community. I became a better mother when I surrounded myself with mothers, the same has been true of blogging.

Then there’s the invaluable advice I’ve received on Feedburner, Google alerts, blog stats, freelance writing, writing techniques and inspirations, and the list goes on and on.

Thank you Blogathon bloggers and our ring-leader, Michelle Rafter. Although it's been a crash course, I now have reliable sources to use as I continue to learn.


This year, I've also learned...

Time Management
There are only so many hours in the day. No matter how many new blogs I'd love to read, I simply can't. I tried to sample several Blogathon blogs and visit old favorites from last year. I hope to visit even more in June.

And, unlike last year, I wrote most of my posts ahead of time. I didn't even know how to schedule a post last year.

Importance of a Genuine Challenge Host
I've learned, from doing other challenges in the past year, to appreciate Michelle Rafter even more (and her lovely helpers. You rock, Jan Udlock. Thanks to Jackie Dishner and Jennifer Willis, too). She's not out to sell you anything, instead choosing to help us all find our way along the blogging path.

Challenging Myself
Whether it's Haiku or looking at my blog objectively (If I started blogging today, I would...), I learn by challenging myself and trying new things. 

Again, thank you to Michelle and all the wonderful Blogathon bloggers.

What did you learn this Blogathon?

(Now if I could just learn more HTML code. And someone PLEASE tell me why I get the occasional paragraph with different line spacing! UGH! See 2nd paragraph of this post.)


bookworm said...

What did I learn from this Blogathon? First, that I am "really" a writer, and that there are a lot of supportive, caring bloggers out there. Second, that this year's Blogathon was too big for me-information overload! I hate to say it, but it is only now, towards the end, that I have relaxed enough and don't feel overwhelmed, and I can start learning. (It didn't help that an antibiotic I had to take for an infection had some uncomfortable side effects and dragged me down for almost a week). I am starting to read all the information being presented for self-publishing, as one example. I don't have anything to publish yet, nor do I have any idea of what I would publish, but I do want to learn all I can about this possibility.

Liz said...

I've loved being a little ahead of schedule this year, too. Writing posts in advance is a key to blogging happiness, I've realized :)! Fun to read your re-run Saturday.

Kate @ Teaching What Is Good said...

Wow, you learned so much, both last year and this! I'm excited for you. And I'm excited that we got to be friends! YOU GO GIRL!!!