Advice to Young Bloggers

advice to young bloggers

Why should I give advice to young bloggers? Heaven knows I’m not a techy person. I’ve grown up in the computer age, but my experience with electronics has been a lot of trial and error, learning from mistakes (or just continuing to make them) and doing things the long, hard way.

In other words, this post couldn’t be a techy post if I wanted it to be. I started blogging in 2007 when I was fourteen years old. I used Blogger and my focus was on appearance. I now realize that blogs have innards too. There are important things to be kept up and tinkered with on the inside of a website. I really didn’t know that when I started, and I still understand very little of it. I have since made the switch to a self-hosted WordPress site (viola!) If you want to know more about getting started on WordPress, I highly recommend this series by Gretchen Louise. She is a techy person. As a matter of fact, I sometimes think she’s my guardian angel. She just knows stuff and doesn’t cry when she’s working on my blog. Unlike me, who does. Cry.

But on the other hand, I’m only twenty-one and I’m already sort of a veteran blogger. There are some downsides to starting so young. I will be writing soon about the “spiritual puberty” the whole internet watched me go through. People saw me change and go back on my words and say things that I disagree with now, and that’s uncomfortable. But it’s not wrong. I will always be changing, even in the realm of beliefs. I don’t regret having published my thoughts at such a young age.

So this post is for the young bloggers. The bloggers who think that maybe they’ll regret what they say now when they’re, ya know, old. For the bloggers who are just jumping in and feeling a little scared and very much addicted. This is my advice to young bloggers:

1. Consider using a pen name

This may seem like a funny place to start, but I really wanted to make this point. I started using a pen name because I was young and the internet was a scary place in 2007. The truth is, it’s still a scary place in many ways. Pen names, when used as actual anonymity, can help protect your identity online. Other ways to do this are to name your house (ahem, Eyrie Park) instead of listing your town and never post pictures of the front of your house, your license plate, identifying information, etc. However, this isn’t the main reason I recommend pen names! 

The reason I still use my pen name after all these years, even though most people know my real name, is because Everly is so much easier to remember. Everly catches your eye when I comment on your blog. It’s unique. If your name is already unique, you might consider using your real first name and leaving your last name off, or something like that. For me, as much as I love my real name, I know that my pen name gets me good recognition and helps create online friendships.

2. There is techy help to be had

If you have a technical question about your blog or your online presence, don’t just throw in the towel! The blogging world is made for ordinary people. You are techy enough to blog. I promise. :) You can always use the “help” bar on your blog, google your question or visit sites like gretchenlouise.com for help. You might even consider hiring a VA (virtual assistant) to get over a bump in the road. I recommend Chantel Brankshire.

3. Promotion isn’t selfish

This might be the hardest lesson I’ve had to learn as a blogger. Has God given you knowledge and wisdom on certain subjects? Does your story need to be heard? Are you unashamed of your message? Then promote it. It’s not about “me, me, me!” It can be very much about Jesus. Be prayerful and sincere in your promotion. Remember that your favorite writers promote their work. If they didn’t, you’d never have the pleasure of reading their words. Hide it under a bushel, no!

4. Think before you speak

With that said, remember that your words are very powerful, even if you feel small. They are pebbles in the great lake, creating ripples somewhere. Be careful what you say. Don’t spout off. Don’t ever address something publicly that should be addressed privately (in otherwords, your blog is not your diary, your method of revenge or a place for personal confrontation.) Anne Lamott is often quoted as saying,

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

In theory, this is true. But there’s such a thing as mercy. You don’t have to air  everyone else’s dirty laundry just because it has stunk up your own room. There is mercy and grace and forgiveness and patience. Jesus didn’t rise from the grave and go this friends and say, “Did you see what those Romans did to me?!” He moved on. Sometimes we need to do that too.

5. Controversy isn’t everything

Don’t write about something solely because it’s controversial. Controversy dies after a while. Write out of your own real passions. Write what needs to be said, yes, but don’t make a career in ruffling feathers.

6. Authenticity is gold

“Aim at authenticity, never at style, originality, or “creativity.” -Elisabeth Elliot

We want nothing more than to hear your real story, your real heart, your real message. The blog world used to be a place of facades and fake lives. We don’t want your glossy magazine life. We want you.

7. Own your work

Learn how to put a watermark on your images. Use your own graphics. I love picmonkey for this. Don’t let other writers use your words without permission or recognition. This is just common courtesy.

8. Stick with it

There is definitely a time to take a blogging break, but don’t give up entirely. Change your writing style if you want. Create a new blog. But don’t think that because of one technical issue (or a lifetime of them, if you’re me!) or one negative comment or one bout of writer’s block that you’re not meant to be a blogger. There’s room here for you. What do you have to tell us?

9. Join the beautiful community!

This is probably the #1 greatest advantage to blogging while you’re young. The community is like no other. I have developed relationships here that I would’ve never had if I hadn’t been blogging. Relationships that are strong online and then become strong offline! Older bloggers have taken me under their wings, invited me in and validated me as a writer. I have been given opportunities to learn and to teach. I have grown so much in my faith because of the words that I’ve read, spoken to the world at large and to me personally. Find a community. Do a link-up. Leave a comment. Tag a friend. Join a group. Start a mastermind group. Submit guest posts. Ask for guests posts. Offer critique. Encourage one another. You are not too young, too small, too new. Reach out and I promise, you will find a hand to grasp.

15 Responses to Advice to Young Bloggers

  1. Swetank July 26, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    Thanks for these great tips. I am just starting out and these tips are sure going to help me a lot. Please visit my blog, I have great things to share for everyone.

  2. Julianna Tate May 16, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    Loved your point about self-promotion not being selfish. The hardest thing for me is recognizing that it’s okay to want people to read my work – especially since I do think God has given me important things to say and the ability to say them well. Great stuff!

    • Everly Pleasant May 19, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

      Julianna,

      First of all: I love your name! Second of all, I think “self promotion” is THE hardest part about being a writer. It is just very different (at least in feeling) than putting out an ad for your window washing business or a billboard for your clothing line. There is something deeply personal about our words. Promoting and selling them can feel wrong even when it is very, very right.

  3. omnom2 January 5, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

    Thanks for this! I’m 13 and just (re)started a blog of mine. This was really helpful!

  4. Melinda November 20, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    Loved this post! Wonderful tips. I’m not a newbie blogger, but this still benefits me tremendously! Thank you for sharing. :-)

  5. Rachelle Rea November 6, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    Love this. Especially that last line. :)

  6. Sarah Holman November 6, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    Great post! Every young blogger should read this. I went by Sarah H. online until I was 21 and had a book published. I made me feel a lot safer.

  7. Kim Adams Morgan November 6, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    Such a great list and sound advice. And with that, I would like to keep good on my promise and ask you to guest post about adoption from a sibling’s viewpoint. I will send you an email. So great to meet you at Allume.

    Kim

  8. Elisabeth Allen October 31, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    I think these are really good tips for bloggers of any age! :) Thank you for sharing, Everly, I appreciate your words!

  9. melissa October 31, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    I loved this post. Love seeing you at your computer and loved hearing your words…I feel like we are having a conversation when you write…That’s a wonderful thing :)

  10. Natasha Metzler October 31, 2013 at 1:15 am #

    excellent list.

  11. Gretchen Louise October 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    Great tips!

  12. kalynbr00ke October 30, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    Loved this post and you made so many good points! In my earlier days of blogging, I know I aired dirty laundry that should have stayed hidden….live and learn. :)

    • Everly Pleasant October 30, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

      Yes ma’am! And there is more dirty laundry to be aired in my future! But mostly my own. ;)

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