This year, I'm going to be focusing on one blogging related aspect each week to help me really develop my blog. By develop and grow (in the title), I'm referring to quality (content, photos, interaction), not quantity (followers, statistics).
Week Three: Embracing the Title
I have so many blog friends who constantly comment about what a confident blogger I am. Many of you have sent me emails asking how I've been able to approach companies and get my blog out there. I want to set the record straight by saying that it did not come easily. I was a bit unsure about this little space of mine. I liked it. I had a feeling that most you liked it too. But I was very unsure about how it would be received generally.
Like all my other written work, I take a lot of pride in my blog. I want to produce content that I can be proud of. Once I focused more on this and was determined not to be swayed by all the link ups and giveaways that everyone else seemed to be partaking in, I found that I was producing material that I was really happy with. And the material that I produce is constantly extended on and developed and furthered into bigger and better things - by you, my dear friends. I see this in the comments you leave, the discussion it creates, the way you take an idea I present here and create something bigger and better...It was at this point, when these things started to happen, that I became really happy to say "I'm a blogger". It is definitely one of my most favorite titles.
I know there are a few of us who are shy about our blogs. Some of our family members and friends have no idea about this little life we have going on behind the scenes. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. My immediate family know about my blog, so do some extended family members, my friends know. I didn't make a grand announcement yet I've never denied it. If I'm taking photos, I'll ask if can put them on the blog. Because I'm constantly taking photos, I often look sheepishly at everyone and say "you know, for the blog". I feel comfortable that if anyone in my family, from my grandparents to my little cousins read this blog, I could still hold my head high and be proud of what I have in it. And stand by it.
Now. Now I'm so proud to say "I'm Vanisha, I'm a Canberra based blogger" - in appropriate situations, of course! It no longer scares me to scribble a quick message on the the back of my blog business cards to thank the service staff for a lovely meal at a restaurant and leave it with the bill. Often the manager will come up and we'll have a chat. It's such a small gesture but often leads to many wonderful friendships and partnerships. And at the least, nothing happens. They read it, they throw it away...I'm not at a loss.
I take having a blog seriously. Seriously in that, I'm going to have fun and work at it. I'm not going to do it if I'm going to be selective about who I tell and who I don't. I'm not going to let myself feel shy, silly, stupid or small because I blog. I'm doing a PhD and sometimes it probably is a bit weird that I have a blog that's more travel and lifestyle themed but it's merely an extension of me. It doesn't define me entirely, like my doctoral degree doesn't define me entirely either. So I'm going to be as proud to say that I have a blog and that I'm a blogger as I am to say that I'm doing a PhD, that I'm teaching or that I'm married.
Having the mindset that I am a blogger means that I pay attention to what I do here. It means I think through the link ups that I might take part in. It means I think about the companies I work with. That I think about the blogs that I partner with. Embracing the fact that I am a blogger, a 'real' blogger, means that I'm purposeful in what I do here on my blog. This purposefulness means that I try to keep my content meaningful and genuine and that I try to keep my interaction with everyone the meaningful and genuine too. It might not result in greater followers because I refuse to do the whole "follow me, and I'll follow you" or leave a comment for a comment, very tit for tat behavior. Instead, I have found that what I've been doing has led to greater interaction. More communication. A greater sense of community. And that for me, is growth.
So even though I do it a fair bit already, I'm going to work on being even more confident in handing out my blog business card and saying, "hi I'm Vanisha and I'm a blogger..." I'm going to work on embracing my blogger title a little more...
Are you happy to tell people you're a blogger?
Is it easier to tell strangers you blog compared to telling people you know?
What brave thing will you challenge yourself to do for your blog this week?