Blogging, ‘Expose Yourself’ Edition
Due to the Covid19 pandemic career paths shifted significantly although not entirely unpredictably. Pop-culture mentally prepped us for a world deprived of technology filled with hand-to-hand combat and dog-eat-dog competition for resources like clean water and secure undisclosed locations.
Then reality rolled in all casual and was like, “Nah y’all. Stay at home, drink lots of water, work online and wash your hands.” Then it rifled through your fridge, ate the leftovers you were planning on having for dinner and crashed on your couch without asking.
For many people divining how their skills and knowledge in the real world translate to a life online is not at all intuitive. I can’t swing a cat-meme in a forum without hitting dozens of posts from new would-be freelance writers asking:
- Do I need a website or blog?
- Will a hosted free option work?
- What platform should I use?
- Can I monetize my website or blog?
- What will I write about?
- Is my niche saturated?
- How do I overcome anxiety/fear of rejection?
Let’s take each question head on.
Do I need a website?
Yes. Blog is a portmanteau of web log, a more or less chronologically ordered series of entries maintained online. A website is a page or a collection of pages on the internet.
Your website should pull together your professional presence and serve as a portfolio, profile, cover letter, resume and business card.
Will a hosted free option work?
No. Domain names are cheap, hosting is cheap.
Your website is a reflection of your professionalism.
What platform should I use?
Use whichever platform that you like the most. This site is built on WordPress. Most allow you to import and migrate from other platforms. Play with customizing your templates, editing pages and posts, changing settings, uploading and inserting media before deciding which works best for you.
Can I monetize my website or blog?
Globally, across your entire site: No. Don’t do it.
I’ll give you a qualified: Maybe, if you’re super selective and it works with the kind of writing you do. It could hurt your professional image if the main point is to sell your services as a writer, even if somehow it’s relevant to your topics (like SEO or affiliate marketing.)
The safest route is to create a separate website to monetize.
What will I write about?
For the love of all that is good in this world don’t write about how much you love to write. What we love to do is often not what we’re best at doing and it certainly won’t sell your writing skills.
Your first task is going to be sorting out what kind of writing you do well and how to pitch it. Then you’re going to do that kind of writing. Then you’re going to write copy to pitch yourself as the person to do that kind of writing. You’re going to write about projects you’ve contributed to and link to them. You’re going to tell your market why you are the best writer to fit their needs.
You’re going to write about how you managed to interview a great subject on a great topic. You’re write about working with a web development team to create content for a business. You’re going to write about going to a workshop at a rare breeds dog club so that you have a better grasp of your niche.
Is my niche saturated?
How do I overcome anxiety/fear of rejection?
Anxiety and fear of rejection are hard to overcome. I’m not sure I have overcome either. What works for me is to accept anxiety as excitement. Being afraid of rejection just reminds me that I have to work efficiently and just get it done and out into the world.
Fiction especially can be finicky. I received a rejection where the editor wrote, “I’m not in the mood for this.” I think I agonized over the meaning for almost a year before it ever occurred to me that I should take what she said at face value. I wish I had a cooler ending to the story, I don’t think I ever did have it published. It would be so much more inspiring if I submitted it to another publisher and made a fortune laughing on my way to the bank as I passed by that editor lady all broken and sobbing and I bought her coffee not knowing who she really was and talked about my wild success– thereby making her feel really very bad because I’m such a nice encouraging person and the story was so awesome.
Yeah, but that didn’t happen did it? My deep insecurities made me shove that file in some folder and forget about it and I can’t tell that awesome story now because I haven’t perfected time travel.