The Inside Scoop About Blogging: Three Key Things To Know Before You Start
Today's post is for anyone who's a fan of blogs. And anyone who's ever thought about starting a blog of their own. (You have considered it, righttt? I mean if I had a dollar for everyone who asks me about starting a blog...) I can honestly say that after my first full year of blogging, updating a Facebook business page, Instagraming like mad (more about that in a sec), and everything else that goes along with (aka, red tape like creating spread sheets or sifting thru email after email), these are three of the things that no one ever really preps you for, but that are a huge part of living - at least some of your time - online. So, with that in mind, here's my updated, no BS guide to blogging circa right now.
1. Find someone to take candid looking photos of you that are anything but. Like the pic above. (Sunglasses and pointy toe heels are always flattering. Tensing up is...well, not.) Because, first and foremost, almost no one looks good in selfies*, unless they're wearing lots of makeup (artfully applied so that it doesn't look as though they're wearing lots) and they're talented with the filters and apps. (For the record, I am definitely NOT so great with filters and tend to look a lot like Jodie Foster's pre-teen prostitute character in Taxi Driver whenever I've been on the receiving end of too much eye and face makeup.) You'll also need plenty of these pix for your blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Speaking of which, are you one of those people who couldn't care less about checking your phone? Can't wait to unplug? Or do you secretly dream about living in a cabin in the middle of nowhere? (Seen the post making the rounds on FB this past weekend that asks if you could go a month without your phone or WiFi for a million bucks?) Well, none of that's happening if you're trying to get a blog off the ground, especially during that first oh-so-crucial year of late nights editing and writing. Or realizing the audio on the hour long interview with that local rockstar restauranteur that you were so excited to post is crap because you used the wrong microphones. **Shakes fist**
*If you're a fan of Halle Berry or James Corden, then you may have heard her say as much on his CBS late night chat show last fall. And she's Halle Berry!
2. So, ready, set, go live your life online. Or a big chunk of it anyway. Translation: You'll never be far from your smart phone (Invest in an extra charger or two while you're at it.) or laptop. You'll end up stalking most of your FB friends, your real life ones, and your IG follows/followers about being featured on or contributing to your blog. (Blogging isn't for the timid wallflowers of the world - Get over it!) You'll also wind up taking pics of just about every meal, coffee, and cocktail. Provided the lighting is good and the restaurant doesn't wrap their menus and table tops in that freakin' shiny, reflective plastic (Shiny is glare city and the bane of my existence! I've found that matte, as in the marble top tables at The Duck & Bunny or the weathered wooden ones at The Shop on Wickenden, is best for photos.). Because people out there IRL love, love, LOVE food. Pictures of food. Stories about food. And of course, those restaurant reviews. (Btw: If the food or coffee is subpar,, instead of posting a negative rant, I simply won't blog about it. There's enough negativity already floating around, don't ya think?)
3. Forget that ongoing quest for clear, glow-y skin you're probably on because once you start blogging and self-promoting, you're actually going to need some pretty thick skin to deal with the haters who don't like you, your look, your opinions, your writing, and God only knows what else. And you won't find anything at your local Sephora to help either. Now, my nieces had forewarned me about sh*t like this, but truth be told, nothing can ever really get you ready for seeing strangers trashing you on FB, via email, or (Horrors!) in person. Let me tell you that it can be a challenge to keep from resorting to the middle finger emoji (one finger, two words), but I strongly suggest some serious self-control, taking the high road, and not responding to (or engaging) any of it. What I will say here and now though is that someone I won't name was apparently trashing a PattyJ.com blog from the archives (that I had reposted over on the FB page) this past weekend and it ramped up the overall views on the site in a big way. Majorly in fact. So, remember aspiring and current bloggers, haters = more views and to paraphrase lifestyle demi-god Martha herself, that's a good thing.
Ciao For Now,
Photo Credits: All photos are courtesy of the PattyJ.com Instagram, except for the cat drawing which I found on IG.