If you want to start a blog, I think you should do it!
Blogging has allowed me so many amazing opportunities. I have honed my speaking, writing, photography, and story telling skills in more ways than I can count.
I've sharpened my brain and encouraged the pursuit of constant learning. I think everyone should set out to be a life long student. If we're not growing and learning, what are we doing?
You're not going to find professors and syllabuses forcing your to learn after you graduate so consistently writing about a topic is a great way to hold yourself accountable to the pursuit of knowledge.
Beyond all of this awesomeness, I've met some of my best friends! In fact, I met my Maid of Honor through blogging.
This is a photo from our first meet-up, and here's the overly prose-y blog post I wrote about it to give you an idea of where I started.
And, here is where we're on the way to City Hall where I got married almost two years later! You can read more about my zero waste wedding!
Back to blogging.....
I get so many emails from people asking me if they should start a blog and my answer is always YES!!!!!!
I hope there are a million zero waste / eco-friendly / ethical bloggers. Let's spread this message all over the world.
Blogging is an ideal platform because everyone is online and you can spread a message and idea quickly. Even better when that message is about saving the world!
Who loves breathing, eating, and shelter!? *This girl*
1. just start:
My first piece of advice is just start. I spent weeks, weeks agonizing over my name. I love my blog name, it all worked out just fine and dandy, but honestly... I wish I just went with KathrynKellogg.com (PS I own that domain so don't get any tricky ideas. ;)
The thing is when you first start blogging, you're not going to have a ton of readers. Don't worry about the name right away. Don't worry about design right away. You can always change.
The most important thing, is that you're writing and getting into a consistent routine.
I had 16,000 people on my blog in the first six months. Now, I have over 16,000 people a day. I could have EASILY changed my name at any point in time in those first couple of months.
Don't get caught up in everything being perfect or you will never start.
2. get clear on your POV:
Why are you starting your blog? Get really, really clear on your "why" and your point of view (POV).
Once again, you don't have to start out knowing exactly why you're blogging, but you should be able to figure it out after writing for a couple of months.
We all start out referential. Our photographs look like someone else's. Our writing sounds like someone else or pulls from similar ideas. It's just how the creative process works.
But, after a while you should be able to create new, original content, true to you and your message.
I found my very clear point of view after writing a couple of months. I really was able to nail down my core message, "It's not about perfection; it's about making better choices."
When I chose this motto, there was a huge gap in the zero waste movement. Everything felt very extreme, very all or nothing.
Growing up in Arkansas, I know what it's like to not have access to recycling, bulk bins, and other "zero waste" things. Even in that scenario, you CAN make a difference.
That's how Going Zero Waste was born.
For more information check out my about me page and my back story.
- Maybe you're a marine biologist and want to write and share the pollution you see first hand.
- Maybe you're a mom in middle America who's doing the best they can with what they have.
- Maybe you're a rockstar on tour trying to do zero waste while traveling.
- Maybe you're in college.
- Maybe you still live with your parents.
Whatever "it" is, we all different experiences and points of view that we can share!
3. determine motive:
This differs from POV because this is about why you're blogging. Why do you want to write? Why do you want to share your POV?
- I want to help people
- I want a non-judgemental place to educate friends and family memebers
- I want to build credibility to enter into a career in sustainability
- I want to make new friends
- I want a creative outlet
- I want to hold myself accountable
- I want this to be my full-time job
- I want fame and fortune
There's nothing wrong with wanting any of these things. Although, fame and fortune in this setting is going to be a little bit harder to achieve.
And, if the last two are your goals, blogging is not a get rich quick scheme. It is grinding. It is working long hard hours, so I really hope that you're doing it because you love it and that you want to help people.
However, there's nothing wrong for wanting to be noticed for all of your hard work.
4. don't do it all at once:
Don't jump into blogging and think that you have to be producing content on every platform at all times. That is SOOOOO overwhelming.
I'm three years into blogging, and I'm still working on getting my YouTube channel up and running full time.
It takes time. Just pick the platform you like the best and focus on that platform for 3-5 months. Once you get the hang of it and have built a small following, then add on another social platform.
5. forget the numbers:
Numbers aren't everything. Would you rather have 100 true fans or 1,000 followers? You'd probably rather have 100 true fans!
In fact, in the eco world, my numbers are so big that I've priced myself out of a lot of collaborations with eco, zero waste companies. Which is why it's important to diversify your income as a blogger, but that's another post on turning your blog into a business.
Really learn to enjoy writing, taking photos, and talking with people. Forget about the numbers, especially in the beginning, and focus on the process.
It can be disheartening to feel like you're not growing as fast as you'd like to, but I promise it will come if you're doing the work.
It took me 8 months to get my first 500 followers on Instagram. Within the next 8 months I went from 500 to 20,000.
The more you grow, the easier it is to grow. It's like a snow ball, and the hardest part is always the getting started so forget the numbers and focus on your skills.
6. don't do it alone:
Find a community. The best thing I recommend is plugging in. I'm a member of the Ethical Writers and Creatives group and it is fabulous!!
It is so nice to have a supportive group of bloggers who truly understand what you're going through. There are also so many opportunities to collaborate with other members.
Once of the fastest ways to grow is to share!
Honestly, I wish I would have shared more in the beginning. I come from a theatre background and when you're auditioning only one person can get the part.
It's a competition because only one person wins!
And, that's amazing! We all have different POV's and they're all valuable. We only add value to each other; we don't detract from it.
7. write and create stellar content:
I think this one speaks for itself, but you have to write and create stellar content. Currently the market is oversaturated.
There's a lot of people who want to do this full-time. (And, why not!? It's awesome! ((but it is a lot of hard work))) And, the way to stand out, the way to get noticed, is to write and create really, really stellar content.
Now, don't let this give you a perfection complex. A lot of my early work is NOT stellar content. But, at the time it was my best work!
Over years of honing writing and photography skills I am still OK. I still have so much room for improvement. But, I improve by consistently showing up every single week and working at it.
Get started, and if you want to get more help, take a class! It's A-OK not to have the answers to everything. I took a photography class in college. I'm currently in another photography class.
One of my reasons for writing a blog was to continue my education. What better way than improving a skill like photography?
8. don't neglect local:
It's really exciting when you start gaining followers and you get to talk to them every week about creating a more holistic, eco, green life.
In your quest to empower others, don't forget to empower your own town. Have you heard the phrase "Think Global, Act Local"?
I still make a point to host community clean-ups and work with my local government on projects. I do pro bono talks and events around my town because that is how I am really going to grow the zero waste movement locally.
We all need to be making a concerted effort both at the global and local levels.
9. own your domain:
Buy your own domain!
You do not own YouTube.
You do not own Instagram.
You do not own these platforms!
I cannot stress this enough.
Do not put all of your eggs in the social media basket. You need to have a place where algorithms don't matter.
It's perfectly fine to use these platforms, just make sure you have a home base.
10. get a pen and paper:
If starting a blog has been something in the back of your mind, I want you to grab pen and paper.
Set a timer for 10 minutes and write down, everything you dream of happening when you write the blog.
- What are your goals?
- What do you see?
- Who are you helping?
- What colors are seeing?
- What emotions are your feeling?
Set a timer for 10 more minutes and write down a list of blog post ideas and topics.
- Every challenge you've faced
- Every change you've made
- Anything you've changed in pursuit of a more hollistic, eco, green lifestyle
These are all blog posts. These are all leading you to your point of view.
Set a timer for 10 more minutes and write down all of your fears.
- What's holding you back?
- Why are you afraid?
- What's stopping you?
Compare your fear list to your dream list. I'm going to guess that once you achieve the goals on your dream list you'd feel pretty silly if you let those fears hold you back.
So crumple up that fear list and recycle it.
I am working on more content to help others start blogging. I would love to know if there's anything you'd like to see!