Over the past 7 months, I’ve been doing a weekly challenge on a new blog called ‘Find Your Spark’.
My goal with it is to write a new ‘prompt’ blog post every week for 52 weeks on the topic of helping people ‘find their spark’ (and to help me find mine too).
In this post, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned (and relearned) through doing this challenge.
1. I’ve loved starting something new
While I love ProBlogger and Digital Photography School (my main blogs), it’s been refreshing to get back to writing something I’m passionate about.
2. Having a ‘challenge’
Committing publicly to write a weekly post for a year) has been very motivating for me and has helped me stay on task.
3. I’ve really enjoyed using the Ghost blogging platform
While I usually encourage new bloggers to start their blog on a platform that they control and Ghost is a hosted service – there’s also something quite freeing about not having to work out the tech challenges when starting something new. I don’t think I’d have started this project if I had to do it on my own server, with my own design, etc. I decided when I started that I would not spend much time ‘tweaking’ design or features and invest 99% of my time into creating content. I think this has paid off big time.
- Ghost not only provides you with a blogging platform but a newsletter. Having the ability to hit publish and know that the new post automatically also goes out via email in a newsletter is pretty cool.
- While I’m not monetising what I do, you can also have paid membership tiers to offer premium content to paid subscribers, which is pretty cool.
- While Ghost is new(ish), it is great to see that they’re continuing to develop the platform. In the last few months, they’ve added new features, including comments, new stats/insights, audience feedback etc.
4. I’ve loved the process of researching, gathering ideas and creating content again
I’ve tried a number of types of styles of content over the last 29 weeks (different lengths, curating some content, using quotes etc) and have loved the pace of one thoughtful post a week. I’ve probably gone longer/deeper into the content than I had expected when I started the challenge, but I have really enjoyed the long-form approach
I’ve taken the approach with this blog of reporting what I’m learning rather than trying to come across as an expert. This voice has served me well in the past, but particularly with the topics I’m covering (which I guess border on personal development), I think it’s been important.
5. Starting from scratch is hard!
I had forgotten how hard it is to invest so much time and energy into creating content only to hear a resounding silence after you hit publish. Starting from scratch with building an audience and then getting engagement from that audience is hard!
While I’m writing mainly for my own development, I think I’d perhaps taken for granted the wonderful community I’ve grown over the years on my other blogs.
I suspect that with my approach of investing all of my efforts into writing, I’ve fallen short in promoting the content as much as I have with previous blogs in the early years. I think I need to tweak this approach.
6. I’m glad I brainstormed topics before I started the challenge
Before I started, I used mind map software to create 52 topics that I could write on over the year. I’ve since come up with other ideas and discarded some of the original ones, but it has been very handy to have that bank of ideas to draw on when I have had weeks where I’ve not felt as inspired to write, or recently when I travelled with the family for a few weeks. Here’s a podcast episode I recorded about using mind maps in your blogging.
All in all, the challenge has been a very rewarding process for me so far. I’m learning lots about blogging and the topics I’ve written about.
For those wanting to follow along – the new blog is at https://find-your-spark.ghost.io/
If you do want to start a blog, I would recommend signing up for my FREE Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog Course.