|Mita-san's father's awesome chopstick rest.|
I started this blog to prove to myself that I could still write a series of paragraphs in a compelling and meaningful way. I worked at a non-profit back then where most of my writing consisted of bullet points, brief emails, and letters to donors and volunteers. It was good work and I loved it, but I worried that I'd lost the one skill I truly loved: my ability to write. Since that day more than three years ago, I find myself writing nearly every day either here or in my journal. Articles, reviews, and more come pouring out and I'm grateful for each word as it emerges. I learn something new every day. And if I were to start today, here are a few things I might do a bit differently.
1. Use photos with every post.
My earliest posts didn't always use pictures, and looking back over them now they simply look dreary. The information is pretty good, but without an enticing visual the posts lose me almost immediately.
2. Create a schedule and write regularly.
Writing is hard work and ideas don't come in a flash. Yet, a blogger needs to post regularly to get readers and keep their attention. Sporadic posts don't exactly inspire or impress. Even the most dedicated readers will stop checking back if the posts become too infrequent.
3. Schedule topics.
This Blogathon felt particularly daunting as my schedule is busier than ever with farming, other writing assignments and Japanese lessons. Let's not even think about the various fruit and vegetables ripening even as I type and crying out to be pickled, jammed, or shu-ed. I made a schedule that kept me focused, allowed me to write ahead, and didn't leave me crying out for my Muse in despair.
Honestly, I still struggle with this one. I write about gardening, farming, food, and travel, which is about three topics too many. I should choose one and run with it, but then I always find something intriguing to write about in regards to one of the other three. I'm learning to narrow these things down, i.e. travel writing here about gardening and farming places I visit, but I still remain a bit scattered. If only the world wasn't such an interesting place!
5. Move to a more professional look.
I'm in the process of shifting things to a more official looking and sounding website, which is something I should have done much earlier. Better late than never.
6. Spend more time networking.
I know I'm only supposed to do five, but I always like bonus tracks. If I were starting out today, I'd spend more time reading and exploring other blogs. The Blogathon is quite good for that, but I should be doing it more the other eleven months of the year, too. I never regret it, and I often meet people and learn things I never would have discovered otherwise. Plus, it gets them reading and commenting on my blog, too. Heavens, what's not to gain?