Exactly a year has passed since I was sitting in Chapter One Books, avoiding French Literature revision by writing the ‘Manchester Coffee Crawl.‘ It’s only right I should reflect on this year’s blogging journey and perhaps inspire others to join me. Today I am yet again procrastinating by writing this post, ignoring tomorrow’s French exam. I guess things don’t really change.
- Just do it.
A lot of people have asked me during the year: “Vic, how can I start writing?” The simple answer – just start! What can you write about? Anything you like. On saying that, sometimes it can be difficult to conceptualise concrete ideas. Before creating your blog or reaching out to a magazine, begin by keeping a notebook. It’s really useful to jot down thoughts, aspirations, experiences and let your creative juices flow. From these brief thoughts, you will be able to build articles.
- Don’t be afraid.
A big reason why I avoided writing a blog in school was because I was afraid of what people would think. The dreaded: ‘No one cares about your thoughts.’ At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what other people think. If it’s fun and you enjoy it, then why not? It can be scary publishing your first article, but with time your confidence will grow and producing articles becomes a more fluid and faster process.
- You don’t need a theme.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a theme in mind when writing engaging content. Finding the courage to start a blog is enough so avoid the pressures of overthinking a theme. Now isn’t the time to be a perfectionist. For beginners, blogging offers the opportunity to write about what you love, learn how to express yourself and develop skills in website design. A year into my blog and the ‘theme’ is still all over the place! What a blog should reflect however, is a personal touch on what you feel is important. Begin with what you love, the traffic comes after.
- It’s not a platform for bragging.
In a virtual world, surrounded by the constant pressures of social media, everyone wants to leave their digital footprint. Blogging can be misconstrued as an egocentric hobby. It shouldn’t be a platform for boasting about how amazing you think you are. My objective through writing: to make even one person think a little differently about a topical issue, consider travelling to a new city, or feel inspired to write. Only then can I say I have succeeded.
- Look for opportunities.
If the creation of your own blog doesn’t appeal but you still want to write – be proactive and pester! In a highly competitive industry, opportunities might not slap you in the face. You need to look for them. Contact magazines, newspapers, contribute to others’ blogs – someone might take an interest.
The past year has presented me with some exciting writing opportunities. Decorating the walls with my newspaper articles from The Mancunion has been rewarding, as was seeing published articles in One-Manchester, The Manchester Historian and in Northern Woman. I’ve also enjoyed the project of founding and editing a French language blog. While I might never make it as a top journalist or a Nat Geo Travel Writer, I guess it’s important to start somewhere and enjoy what I’m writing… And try not to fail my degree along the way.
Whether you want to write, make music, learn a language or start a new sport, I recommend you begin right away. Give it a go, you might discover you really love it! Whatever your idea may be, make it your summer goal to JUST DO IT.