So You Want To Start a Blog? | Where to Start.

Blogging is the single greatest thing I have ever done in my life and I think I will feel that way until I have children. I encourage everyone to start one, but how do you do that? How do you pick a niche? How do you know what you want it to look like? Where do you look for pictures that won’t get you sued? And most importantly how do you consistently come up with content. Well, welcome to my new series where we will explore all of that.

Today we’re going to start at the beginning: how do you start a blog? Well, my friends, my advice would be to pick a host site you’re comfortable with. I chose WordPress because I liked that it was really easy to follow other bloggers, something I could never figure out on Blogger, however that is a very popular platform that I’m sure has its benefits. I am extremely partial to WordPress so I would say go for that, but if you’re more comfortable somewhere else, by all means, do that too.

Then you have to pick a domain. It can be related to what you want to blog about, but not necessarily. Some people go for a username for titles, other a general theme, find something that speaks to you, anything that speaks to you. My good friend from high school called her 9to5 which I really like. It can be as simple or complex as you want within the character limit. After you have your name for your site, you need to decide whether or not you want to register it. Personally, I registered mine after I was one-hundred percent certain blogging was something I was sticking with. Some people do it right off the bat, the only thing with that is you pay for the year– so if you forget about it, you lost some money.

If you decide to take the leap first thing, I would highly recommend paying the yearly $99 for the all access WordPress site. It allows you to have complete control of your content but also the benefits of WordPress hosting. This means your followers will still get updates when you post, you have a really good support team to help you with any problems, and your phone number and address can’t be found through your web address. You can purchase cheaper WordPress plans but honestly, I think the money is worth it.

Once you figure out all of that it’s time for a layout! Back in the early days of my blog, I was constantly changing the layout because it’s really fun. However, not always the best idea for consistency purposes. Find one you like, and what I like to do is make it so it’s something I would want to read. If you aren’t having an easy time reading it no one will.

Now your blog is all set up and it’s time to move on to picking your niche (or maybe not!)

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Why Start a Blog?

Chances are if you found this post you’re on the fence about blogging, well I’m here to tell you why you should and how it will positively impact your life.

  1. It’s fun! Blogging is a good and creative outlet for all of your thoughts that get stuck in your head. You have something to look forward to when you’re bored or have an idea and you have somewhere to put it.
  2. The people and community. I have found that the people in the blogging world and the community that they hold together is simply amazing. While I may not have my own niche community (yet) I have found some great friends and people that have turned into friends, even though I have never actually met them.
  3. Learning more about yourself and the things you love. With communities, commenters, and friends you never knew shared common interests you can learn a lot about the things you love. However, in addition, just by writing consistently you can learn a lot about yourself.
  4. Remembering to write down and document all the really cool stuff that happens to you. There are things I would forget about if I didn’t blog about them. It’s like a virtual, public diary for me. It lets me remember all of the good things that have happened over the past four years (maybe some of the bad too but that’s okay) and that knowledge can help you grow.
  5. Writing helps everything. There is proof that writing is good for you. It stops you from forgetting a lot when you get old. It’s yet to work for me, but hey, it’s worth a try!
  6. Get different opinions! Tired of hearing the same things from your friends? Well ask some internet friends, get a new perspective on a problem you feel like you have exhausted your options on. Share stories of how other opinions have impacted your decision making!
  7. Peer validation!  I mean I’m not saying I need and/or crave peer validation, but it does make me feel better about myself. It helps me from feeling as if I’m the only one facing problems and that there are other people in the same exact place as me. On the other hand, it’s also nice to know people like my blog (if I’m going to get real honest here).
  8. Simple but still creative. Making a pretty website and expressing yourself in your own way can be so simple today. It doesn’t take a lot to click your favorite theme and run with it. You can still be creative with your writing and graphics, but there are very simple ways to handle it.
  9. Simply being creative. (Get it play from tip 8 I’m hilarious) Everyone should just be creative. Take the time and energy and put it into something you love. You have something you like, make it creative and put it in a blog!
  10. Share your thoughts/views/opinions! Everyone thinks, has views and opinions, so why not share them? Why not share your love of tomatoes, fashion, being a mom, makeup, or really just love of anything. There are people out there that you never knew shared the same interests.

Share with me why you started blogging and why you stuck with it! Don’t have a blog yet? Tell me what’s holding you up!

2017 Goals

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The yearly post. This is quite possibly the only yearly blog post that I have routinely written. As I wrote in a post earlier this week, I am beyond ready for the new year, and here are the many (that I will hopefully keep) goals for 2017. As I point out every year (I think), I make goals rather than resolutions because I don’t want to make myself change but rather just make goals to achieve, if that makes any sense. This year a lot revolve around my blog because other than Donald it was probably my biggest disappointment of 2016.

  1. Blog at LEAST three times a week.
  2. Go self-hosted, break out of .wordpress (eek!!)
  3. Get my first real adult job doing something I love.
  4. Move out of my parent’s house.
  5. Travel somewhere cool.
  6. Grow in my relationships with God and Jesus.
  7. Learn something new
  8. Eat better– i.e. eventually no more dairy or soy, the crux of all of my stomach issues
  9. Find a therapist wherever I end up post-graduation to continue positively growing with my mental health.
  10. Be creative all the time, in thinking, in daily life, constantly expanding my mind in creativity.

What are your goals for the new year?’

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2016 Goal Review

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I know I have a tendency to put the two together, but really that’s annoying long so enjoy the reflection the day before the goals this year!

So basically my goals for 2016 were fewer so I’d be more apt to complete them all, however, that was a bust and I don’t know if I completed any, but here we go anyway:

Take better care of myself- I feel like I am so weird about chemicals that I put on my body, so I need to be more careful about what chemicals I put into my body too. I eat crap. I care but I don’t. I put way too much processed foods in my body and I really do need to be better about it. 

Blog better and often- I want to blog as much as I can as often as I can. I want to be a better blogger. This is the only post besides LNBM that goes up past 7 pm. I want to utilize drafts and just be better with planning. I don’t want to be a daily blogger, but I want to be a frequent blogger. I don’t want to commit to a certain number of days, I just want it to be often. Lesson learned, I need a schedule. Without one, it won’t get done it becomes less of a priority for me because there is no pressure to do it. 

Find an internship- self-explanatory. I want to expand my professional horizons and make sure I know what I want to do. I found three! I worked at the Downtown Frederick Partnership last semester, have one at home over break, and I got one for next semester. 

Give 100% to everything- this ties in with biting off more than I can chew. I want to do a few things but put all of my effort into those few things that way I can give 100% to everything I’m doing. Well, my therapist tells me that I need to learn how to say no, and she’s right. I’m always biting off more than I can chew, it’s a real problem that I have and maybe I will get better at it, and maybe I won’t. 

Create more- I just want to be more creative, make sure I’m always expanding that part of my mind. Nope. Honestly, I would have to say that 2016 has been my least creative year. I’d like to blame it on something but I don’t know what to blame it on. 

Be more open to new ideas and things- I want to try more. I always do the same mundane things and I want to keep all of the new of 2015 going. I am proud to say that the last few months I have been really good at saying yes, and trying new things. They might also be mundane, but at least they’re new mundane. 

A year scrapbook- part of being creative and  part of keeping track of my life. I take so many pictures, I want to do something with them. I want it to be a yearly thing, so I will see how it goes during 2016. Back to the creativity thing, I didn’t take a lot of pictures this year. There is not enough to make a scrapbook out of, which is kind of sad. I guess it happens though. 

So maybe I wasn’t as successful, but I’m really looking to 2017 as a positive year. I think I do better with odd numbers and maybe that’s what I need. An odd year. How’d you do with your goals or resolutions?

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Late Night Blogging with Mary: Part 20

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I’m exhausted. Just like physically exhausted. My IT class has already kept me up until 2 am two nights ago and until 12 last night and it’s only the second week of classes.

This semester is going to be long. I just know it. Maybe this light dusting of snow will give me a delay tomorrow, I would not complain. I would like to have a week off due to snow delays and days off in total because they added a week to our calendar. We’re supposed to get this huge snow storm this weekend, but I have a feeling that it won’t happen. Also, I hate that, weekend storms are the worst. I always have to move my car through the icy campus and they wait until Sunday to actually plow/salt anything. Maryland doesn’t do snow well.

My classes thus far are interesting, yet I know they will be challenging. I’m already learning new things in nearly all of my classes, which is great because usually it’s still a review. I’m glad that I’m finally getting interested in what I’m learning about. Advanced Reporting is probably  my least favorite class, but Online Journalism is probably my favorite, we all know I have a little obsession with the internet.

This weekend I have a lot to do, and I would like to do some scrapbooking. I know I live a fascinating life and you were all dying to know that I just want to scrapbook. I want to try and get a head start on my homework that way I’m not procrastinating. This week when I tried to get ahead on my IT homework, the site was down, so that didn’t help my procrastination at all. My philosophy is this semester the farther ahead I get the easier life will be in the long run. We’ll see how that works out.

I really want to get into being more creative. I feel like I’m just letting all of my creative energy fall to the wayside while I don’t do much with my free time. I need to devote more of my free time to creative things and less to Netflix and doing nothing.

I don’t know if I’ve written this anywhere, but I’m very glad to be back at school with my friends, but it does take some adjusting. I hardly recognize anyone and all of last week I just felt like I had to leave soon. I think it’s just starting to sink in that I’m not going back to Ireland anytime soon, however, I am glad to be back. You can’t dwell on the fact that you’re back in the US, otherwise you’ll never move on in life, so I’m just accepting it and moving on.

Everyone seems to just be going back to school, but how are your semesters going so far? Or jobs? Or just life in general?

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2015 Goal Review and 2016 Goals

2014 was a whirlwind of a year a year. It’s now time for me to reflect on last year’s goals and set my goals for next year.

2015 Goal Recap

  1. Study abroad. One of my big goals for the year is to study abroad for the fall semester. I really hope this works out, I’ll keep you guys posted once I find out if it’ll work out or not. Well, I’m going to IRELAND. I’ve booked my ticket, I register for classes in about a month. This does seem to be working out. I went to Ireland, it was great. I never registered for classes, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be, but I did it. Check! 
  2. Take care of self– mind and body. I need to start eating better and caring more of myself rather than just filling myself with crap. I don’t want to set a goal like lose ten pounds or anything, I just want to be a healthier person in general. Well I gave up fried food for a while and I felt good but that was for lent and then I stopped. I need to do it again. I don’t think I’ll do it as extreme but definitely cut a lot of it out.  Making my own food when I was away really helped me just be healthier. I knew what I was making and I knew what was going into my body. However, there is always room for improvement when it comes to my personal health mostly because I don’t care enough about it, it’s something I want to strive to get better at. 
  3. Get shit together. Sorry about the swearing, I just feel like I need to get my life organized in way that makes it more maintainable and less stressful. I would say I’ve been a lot more organized. I’m not waiting for answers, I’m getting answers.  I think I’ve been way more organized recently. It’s helped my mind a lot and it’s something I want to continue with. 
  4. Do not take anyone’s crap. If someone is treating me badly my goal is not to take it. I can be a pushover sometimes and I don’t want that to happen anymore. I am standing up for myself. I’m not letting people take advantage of me. Okay that might not be fully true, but I am stopping a lot of it. I think I’ve definitely did a lot better with this in 2015. If I’m uncomfortable with something I’m finding myself more likely to say something about it. 
  5. Develop a plan of somesort. I don’t have a life plan, a five year plan, or even a one year plan. I want to have a plan that I can help guide me so that I feel like my life has some order to it, or at least feels that way. Still don’t have one of these. I have a more clear idea of what I want to do. I have my classes for the rest of college planned out too if that counts for anything. Sometimes you can’t have a plan.
  6. Be more creative. I want to inspire my own creativity, craft more, paint more, just create more. I would say that I have been. Being creative really helps me to relax so the more creative I am, the less stressed I am so I’m really trying to do this more and more. I think I’ve been more creative. I go through spells of creativity. 
  7. Blog 3-5 times a week with good, strong posts. I don’t want my blog to slack like I feel like it has this year because I blogged everyday. While it had it’s advantages I don’t feel like I was very good at finding a post everyday that was strong, I hardly planned ahead and there were some days where my posts were just bad. I also want to spend the few days off organizing and elaborating more of the blog itself in addition to the content I produce. I don’t want to talk about this haha. I know that I have not done this. I know my blog is lacking my personality. It’s really making me ask myself a lot of questions about my blog. I am considering going back to daily blogging. It’s a very touchy subject for me that’s hard to find people who can relate with it because I feel like most bloggers are comfortable with 1-2 posts a week, maybe three. I don’t know. I need a schedule or something, so if anyone has any tips, I would be glad to take them. I think since I wrote the update I did it most weeks. It’s just part of my personal problem where I’m an all or nothing person. I either have to have a set schedule or I don’t really do what I’m supposed to because I’m a procrastinator. 
  8. Positivity- I don’t have to be the most positive person but make an effort to be a positive person in people’s lives. I don’t need to be an optimist like I said before, I just want to be a positive influence in the lives of the people around me. I would like to think that I have been more of a positive influence on the people around me. I think it’s really important to be the positive light in someone’s day. You never know when all someone really needs is encouraging words. I think I’ve done a lot better with this recently. While my nickname is still Debby Downer, I think my influence is more positive than negative. I just have a lot of depressing fun facts. 
  9. Surround myself with people who truly care. I don’t want to waste my time with people who only want to be with me when I’m the backup option. I don’t have to be the first, but I don’t want someone to hangout with me because they don’t have anything better. Check, check, and check. I don’t think I have to add anything to this because I could hand you a list of names of people who I know care about me. I guess if I could check this off six months ago, it can still be checked off. 
  10. Care more. I care about people a lot, probably to an annoying point where I always ask what they need or what I can do for them and I constantly make sure they’re okay because I worry but I need to care more about myself. I need to care more about what I do and how everything affects me long term. I do care about myself, but I think a lot of times I put other people’s needs above my own. I don’t want to say that’s a bad thing, because as a Christian, I think it’s very important to take care of the people around you before yourself, however I do think there’s a point where if you don’t take care of yourself you won’t be able to help anyone else. Every now and then I get to that point and I need to say “Okay, yes you should help your friend, but if you don’t do this, you won’t be able to do that.” I hope I accomplished this. I think I did. 
  11. Develop a passion for something. I have a passion for my blog but nothing else. I want to have passion for something I can do long term and maybe for the rest of my life, more than just a hobby. I don’t know if this just comes down to something as simple as just not being a passionate person. I wish I was but I’m not the kind to just be passionate, I don’t know why. I am passionate about travelling, and blogging is allowed to be a passion. Social media can be my career, maybe not for me, but it is a job and it can be my passion. 
  12. Work and try harder. I do a lot of things very half-assed. I want to do things in a way where I give it my all. Everything I do should be my best efforts not my an attempt or a try it should be great. This semester definitely showed me that if I put forth my best effort in everything I do I can succeed and I really am trying and working harder.  I think I succeed in this. I’ve put a lot of effort into everything I do, so maybe I’m not doing as many activities, but I’m putting so much more effort into everything that I do.
  13. Don’t waste time. I feel like I waste so much time just laying around and doing nothing I should do something effective with that time. Ehhhhhhhhh…….. I don’t know what to say about this.  Well, I think I use that time more effectively. Lately I’ve been using it to read. While I was away I used it for homework time or blogging time or picture editing time. Just time. 
  14. Be more self-confident. I don’t want to look in a mirror and see things I don’t like about myself or want to change, I want to walk out the door confidently and happy with how I am. I mean after last nights blog post I would say that this answer is more complex. I am content with how I look but I am not confident enough not to care what other people might think when they see me. I lost weight, so I think that helps. I’m not 100% happy with how I look, but I am usually 100% happy with who I am and that definitely helps the confidence.
  15. Be more receptive of compliments and criticism. I don’t take either of these really well, compliments tend to make me feel uncomfortable because I question the motives and how genuine the person giving them is. I tend not to take criticism well because I think I’m always right and that’s how I like to live life, but I need to take into account other people’s opinions when it comes to what I say and think. I’m trying. Like there are certain things that cause me to basically shut down and be unable to think  about anything else, but I’m still trying. I don’t know, can I just say yes? That would be lying, and that’s not what New Years is about. I don’t like compliments or criticism. There we go, honesty.

2016 Goals.

2016 is a year of a few big goals, I just want to accomplish a lot and one of them is kind of not biting off more than I can chew, so I’m going to start that with my goals.

  1. Take better care of myself- I feel like I am so weird about chemicals that I put on my body, so I need to be more careful about what chemicals I put into my body too.
  2. Blog better and often- I want to blog as much as I can as often as I can. I want to be a better blogger. This is the only post besides LNBM that goes up past 7 pm. I want to utilize drafts and just be better with planning. I don’t want to be a daily blogger, but I want to be a frequent blogger. I don’t want to commit to a certain number of days, I just want it to be often.
  3. Find an internship- self-explanatory. I want to expand my professional horizons and make sure I know what I want to do.
  4. Give 100% to everything- this ties in with biting off more than I can chew. I want to do a few things but put all of my effort into those few things that way I can give 100% to everything I’m doing.
  5. Create more- I just want to be more creative, make sure I’m always expanding that part of my mind.
  6. Be more open to new ideas and things- I want to try more. I always do the same mundane things and I want to keep all of the new of 2015 going.
  7. A year scrapbook- part of being creative and  part of keeping track of my life. I take so many pictures, I want to do something with them. I want it to be a yearly thing, so I will see how it goes during 2016.

What your goals for 2016? I know I did about half of 2015 but I think that makes it more attainable and more focused than when they’re all over the place.

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Creating.

I wish I was artistically gifted. Like sitting down and just painting an amazing scene. I can sit down and paint “modern” art. Which really means that I pick colors I think look good together, or if I’m feeling wild, all the colors just in lines or squiggles or whatever because it’s very therapeutic. Those people though who draw or paint or make these amazing pictures I just think it’s great and wish I could do it.

While I’m not artistic I would say that I’m creative. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out ways to create things. Like I love to take pictures, which in my opinion does take a creative mind. I love to color, crochet, paint canvases, paint pottery, blog, I love to create. Being creative is seriously one of my go-tos when I’m stressed. I think being creative, or creating is something that everyone should try and do.

Creating is something that is so important for your mind. We are often forced to use our left brain for school and to make logical decisions (I mean who wants to make logical decisions? Not me, but I have to, thanks for that left brain), I think this also forces us to forget about our creative side. There’s more to being creative than making little art projects and DIY’s. Blogging is being creative. I’ve seen some very creative snapchats, Instagrams, even Facebook posts. I think even just writing down your thoughts and ideas is creative.

I believe that everyone should just try and take some time this week to be creative and see what you can do. Let me know what you like to do to be creative, I’m always looking for more ways to be creative!

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8 or 20?

With my quarter-life crisis, a term I thought I created but didn’t, I’ve noticed that I’ve been experience childish tendencies. I’m not sure if this is a product of not wanting to grow up or just enjoying childish things.

Honestly, I’ve been spending my evening (with the exception of a meeting and a walk) coloring, eating cheetos (because I’m out of fruit snacks), and drinking Capri Sun while watching The Office. At first I was kind of like embarrassed, but why? It makes me happy. If I’m clinging to any type of childhood inside of me that’s okay I suppose. I did watch a rated R movie today, does that make me more agely advanced? I’m not sure.

Last year at this time I was crocheting up a storm and this year I’m coloring. I go through phases. I also want to go and paint pottery tomorrow, so if anyone from school is reading this let me know if you want to join me. I’m either doing that or going to Michaels to do some painting. Staying creative is very important to me. It’s a good release from stress and homework.

Is it okay to be childish? I’m going to go with yes, right now I have time to be before I have to grow up and do other things like work at a real job. This is fun and it makes me happy. Creativity and Capri Sun (water of course I don’t do too much sugar) go very well. If anyone wants to think I’m childish that’s okay, I’m happy with it.

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