Hello SimplyMei readers!
My name is Cheyenne Dunbar and I’m so excited for the opportunity to guest blog on my sister’s very popular blog! From the moment she asked me to do a collaboration, which then turned into letting me run the show, I was honored from the start.
A little background about me: I am a fellow blogger and all around creative personality. I dabble in almost all things creative from graphic design, photography, and painting to pottery, writing, and event planning. I’ve just got a special knack for it all.
My personal blog is called Beyond Your Window. Its focus is Travel. Experience. Live. - which relies heavily on my personal experiences exploring the Charlotte area with a few national & international trips mingled in AND SO MUCH MORE.
Back to what you’re here for. Meisha asked me if I would write about my struggles as a blogger, and I ended up narrowing it down to three big obstacle that I've faced so far:
Finding Your Focus
1. Self Doubt - “Well Everyone’s Doing It…”
Once I started blogging I began to realize just how many people I know actually have a blog. Like a lot of people have their own blogs. It was almost the same as when you get a new car, then you start to realize how many other people in the same city as you drives that same car. Either a newer or older model, but now you finally see it because you’ve got one too.
I’m glad people are blogging though. That meant they found an outlet for themselves, but at the same time are we not just writing the same old story over and over again - just from varying experiences? And that’s how I began to feel. Like my writing didn’t really matter to anyone because my blog was nothing new. Nothing different. And I get it. You’re supposed to be writing for yourself at the end of the day, and that’s what I was trying to do, but I also wanted my blog to mean something too.
Don’t get me wrong. If writing about post graduation blues is what you need to write about because you need to be heard, then do it. Blogging isn’t always about becoming some big hotshot blogger. Sometimes it’s just a place to lay all of your thoughts, feelings, frustrations, desires, and etc all out on the floor. Sometimes you don’t want to talk to family and friends so you write anonymously. Sometimes it's just a phase because you’re bored. For whatever reason that you decide to blog: DO IT FOR YOU. If you become really serious about it along the way then great. If you decide you’re ready to hang up the towel, then don’t feel bad about it - most likely it served its purpose for you.
2. Finding Your Focus - "What To Write About..."
For my semi - serious bloggers this was and still is my biggest struggle as a writer. It’s been almost a year since I started blogging in general - writing for the public eye. When I started, the only thing I knew was that I wanted to write and get all of my frustrations out to the world. I didn’t think 140 characters, at the time, was enough. I’m not into doing videos of myself; like how people use Snapchat or even IG Story to convey whatever message they have to the public. Not to mention, no one was going to sit and read a long Facebook post about my woes. So, I started a blog, which is meant for writing anything over 2-3 sentences, and I had a lot to say. AT FIRST.
Eventually I started saying the same things in my posts. Some drafts got started, but never finished because they sounded too similar to something else I had already wrote. I was losing momentum and writing was my only solitude that I got to dictate. I didn’t have to wait for anyone to let me write or give me a writing opportunity, it was all based on me and I wanted to keep doing it.
Then it hit me. I took a 3 day trip to D.C. and I couldn’t wait to blog about it. Made it into this big ole 5-6 part series. Talked about my day to day itinerary. Added in some travelling tips and how I made the whole adventure happen. Instead of getting my frustrations out I was writing about something I enjoyed. Something that brought me a bit of sunshine.
And that’s what you need to do!
"If you want to keep a blog going with content material then you need to find out what you’re interested in or passionate about, and talk about it."
If someone were to ask me about graphic design or painting I could talk to them about a mile a minute and still not have even scratched the surface on the topic. But if someone asked me to talk about let’s say health and nutrition - detail my diet and give food tips or varying exercise advice, I’d have a very limited amount of words for that topic. In case you forgot: blogging is usually based on personal experiences. So if your life doesn’t reflect it then it’s probably going to be hard to keep coming up with content. Which goes hand in hand with my third and last struggle of being a blog writer….. CONSISTENCY.
3. Being Consistent - "Your Readers Count On You..."
Being consistent can mean a lot of things. Being consistent can mean consistency in being able to publish blogs on a regular or scheduled basis. Then there’s being consistent in your writing so that you're not all over the place rambling. I have had issues with both as a writer. Especially, when my blog didn't have any type of focus - my readers really had no idea what I’d post about next.
I tried to tell my readers they could expect a new blog post from me every Thursday, but it wasn't realistic, at least not for me. I think it’s great if you choose a specific day each week to release a new post but you have to remember that means posting 4 blogs a month. Do you have that much content stockpiled? If not, you’re going to feel pressured to write something and it’s not going to be as good as you would probably want it to be. Not to mention, the point of blogging is to do something fun and relaxing.
As mentioned previously, consistency in writing is my other hard one to do for the simple fact that you're writing and you end up going off script. Instead of talking about ABCD, like you wanted to, you end up talking about ABTW - all the way out in left field. AND THAT'S OKAY!
Honestly, my writing approach is to:
Open a Google Doc
Write the title or short description
Then write all my thoughts underneath
After that I go back and tweak, tweak, TWEAK!
I believe in what I like to call “word vomit” Just write. Once you’re done you can go back and analyze what you wrote. Move sentences around to fit together better. Take parts out, and who knows. Maybe your original lesson, take away, whatever was one thing but based on what you wrote you change the topic/title and not the content. Or you find that you wrote two blog posts in one and split apart the content!
Well guys, I hope you enjoyed the read, and that you didn’t find it to be suuuuuuper long - tried my best. I hope what you took away from this is that basically you’re not alone. I think the struggles I decided to focus on are pretty common for beginner bloggers, and even some of the more experienced ones. Your writing is always evolving, and as life goes on your vision and focus may change too. Just remember who you’re doing this for: YOURSELF, and remember it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just be you.
Feel free to visit my blog site: www.beyondyourwindow.com
Or stay connected on one or all of my social media sites:
Facebook: Beyond Your Window