Learning About Blogging

Looking back over the past few years, I have been learning about blogging little by little without having any clear intent to start a blog or any clear topic in mind. Blogging has been on my list of goals for several years, but I never really had the spark or courage to sit down and execute on that goal.

About a year ago I started taking some classes with a group called Girl Develop It (GDI). I heard about this group through a colleague and decided to check it out since I have always been interested in coding and was looking to broaden my skill set. GDI offers classes in a variety of software development areas and is focused on providing learning and networking opportunities to women (although all are welcome in the classes). Not having coded since college, I find this group to be a great resource for re-engaging with the technical community. When I was initially looking for some classes to take, I was very interested in SQL. However, the SQL class filled up before I got around to signing up, but there were openings in the HTML/CSS class and then the WordPress class and I took both of these with no clear intention of where I would be applying the knowledge. Around the same time as I was starting to become familiar with the GDI group, I also purchased a domain name, ToStayInspired.com. At that time, I was thinking about writing a blog about everything that inspired me. Something uplifting that I could look back at whenever I was dragged down by the daily grind. I never started that blog, as it seemed to open ended, but I am happy to be able to re-appropriate the domain name, which happens to also be a good fit for my current one-year challenge.

I am also inspired to blog by the food blogging community. I am an avid reader of recipe based paleo food blogs. For the last few years I have been experimenting with food and nutrition. The paleo food blog community has greatly impacted my eating habits and has been a great resource for recipes and tips. I’m realizing now that it has also significantly influenced my decision to start a blog. I’m encouraged by the positive community fostered by the food blogs, both between the readers and authors and between the blog authors.

As much as I am inspired by the food blogs, I’m also intimidated by their level of professionalism. Most of the blogs I read are highly polished, with high quality photos, blogging teams, podcasts, and affiliate links. A number of the authors also are highly credentialed in their area.

Even though I see the small pieces of my past experiences coming together to influence this project, I am still very much a beginner at blogging. I often hesitate to start new projects, and am held back by a nagging voice that tells me I should be an expert at whatever it is I want to do Before I Start. This is a sticking point that is making it difficult for me to stay focused and follow through with this project and leaves me with all kinds of self-doubt. What if my website is embarrassingly bad? What if my blog posts aren’t the right length, aren’t in the right voice, aren’t current? And, once I start spiraling down this avenue of self-doubt, I start thinking at an even more basic level, who am I to broadcast my project to the world? I am going to examine this perspective more closely in next month’s challenge.

For now, I am actively trying to step back and recognize that requiring myself to know everything about a topic before I start only inspires perpetual inaction. It’s an excuse really, to procrastinate and maintain only my current path. That is exactly counter to what I am trying to accomplish this year.

About the Photo

Learning

I took this photo in Acadia National Park in Maine. The path here was minimally constructed, and mostly consisted of natural breaks in the vegetation. There was, however, no question as to where we were headed. As I continue to take small steps forward and allow myself to experience both the successes and failures that come with trying new things, I am hopeful that the path ahead should become as clear and beautiful as the one pictured here.

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