As an ex-community worker, probably what I love most about being a trainer is helping people move from terrified to excited.
I love creating a safe space where people can be honest and trust me enough to laugh and push through the scary bits. Because training should be about empowerment.
One of the courses I run is Blogging for Beginners. I only got into writing as a result of blogging and now 3 books and a weekly newspaper column later I LOVE helping others find their blogging voice.
Last week we had session 2 of the latest course (session 1 was just before Christmas in the middle of storm Desmond and the power cuts). One of the terrified members is Sally and she turned up on Tuesday with her first blog.
Despite Sally writing that she hoped I was ill, this blog just touched me so deeply that I am totally delighted to present Sally Wilkinson’s debut blog…
The Terrors of Writing Your First Blog Post!
Hello and welcome to my blog!
I have never written a blog before, not ever had really much idea on what they are, or the point of them. I have always thought it is people just writing about stuff, but never quite understood who would be bothered to read them.
As this is my new website, I felt a slight amount of pressure (from myself!) to start a blog as this seems to be the fashionable thing to do, and it makes me feel like I might look like I know what I am doing!
The trouble is…I actually don’t think I do know what I am doing when it comes to starting a blog…do I just write? What do I write about? Who is going to read it? and worse of all what the hell will people think after reading my diatribes??
My spelling isn’t even that great…although I did get an A in my O Level English, and that was before spellcheck…in fact, that was before computers
So what to do? I am part of a ladies networking group on Facebook, yes really..I still surprise myself. They have monthly meetings and have coffee and share ideas. I forced myself to go one evening and it was great. I tried not to feel too self-conscious sat there in my sweaty gym kit, after rushing straight from teaching a spinning class!I listened to ladies talking about business plans and strategies, at which point I realised I have never had either of those, but somehow I have managed to end up with a successful retreat business. I just sort of did it and it just sort of happened!
I felt slightly awkward when I was the only one who didn’t possess a business card and so couldn’t join in the ceremony of swapping them at the end of the meeting…I just sat there, conscious that my sweaty clothes were going to start giving out an unpleasant aroma!
I did however meet Jane, a social media expert. It’s an area I think I need help with. I have managed to sort of understand Facebook…taught myself as I have gone along, which has resulted in me somehow attracting over 5000 followers. This is apparently quite good, but not in my world where I compare myself to people who have over 500,000!
( I am afraid I simply can’t let this point past without sharing with you a great piece of advice I was given…..NEVER COMPARE YOUR CHAPTER 1 TO SOMEONE ELSE’S CHAPTER 20!) This is etched in my brain every time I find myself thinking that I am not quite good enough yet.
Anyway, back to Jane. As I knew my website was almost ready I signed up to her blog writing course. No idea what I was going to learn, surely it’s just writing, but I remained open minded. I persuaded my husband Simon to come along as he is really good at writing, but doesn’t really focus on it. I actually persuaded my husband Simon to come along as I didn’t want to go on my own!
I am so glad I committed to it. A few people pulled out at the last minute so there were just 3 of us, so it felt like we had Jane, the social media expert (sorry Jane, but that is what my brain says every time I say your name!) all to ourselves. I listened and learnt. It was reassuring to be told that no one will probably read it to start with but you just have to start and you have to be consistent. I can do both of those. It turns out that much to my surprise and Jane’s amusement that I have accidentally written a few blog suitable posts already. I engage a lot with my followers on FB and often write long, conveniently blog length posts at the drop of a hat and without any fear it or thought. Why is it when it starts to feel all official and blog like you lose the ability to write? (I do worry that this post is now getting too long for blog etiquette, I can’t remember whether Jane said 350 or 650 words…I don’t even know how to count them!
Then the big question…
What do you write about? Don’t ask me! Well Jane did ask me strangely enough…so I gave her a list of a few things that sort of just appeared. I felt mildly chuffed with myself that I had any subject matter at all! Jane then asked what is our FIRST blog post going to be about…Don’t ask!..but she had done already! I decided that my first blog post was going to be about writing your first blog post!
Then the homework…
Write it before we meet again…this was a couple of months ago and our next meeting is tomorrow and so here is my homework! It reminds me of the feeling when I was at school, doing all my homework on a Sunday night while hearing the theme tune of The South Bank Show playing on the TV downstairs…that tune always did give me the feeling of a sense of doom when you leave everything to the last minute and the fear that you won’t complete it in time. (Sorry for that long sentence…I know it’s not the done thing, but you will get to know that I often don’t do the done thing…and the irony of writing another long sentence about the original one!)
So my homework is complete…what if Jane hates it and thinks it’s crap? I am hoping that is the idea of a blog…I am going to see it like I do FB. Some people will love it and others will hate it, but the most important thing to me is that I just want to be myself. I want to be real, even if it gets on some people’s nerves. This approach has worked for me and it is one I am comfortable with.
So to let you know some of the future subject matters I spouted out to Jane…
- Health and fitness
- Self doubt
- Law of Attraction
I am hoping that will keep me going for a bit.
Am I fearful and apprehensive? (hate rhetorical questions by the way, but sometimes they serve a purpose!) Of course I am.
I know I use too many exclamation marks. I am surprised I still have a full stop on my keyboard as I use that many ellipses! I worry I can be too direct and ‘Northern’ and it may offend people. It worries me that people who read my blog don’t just come from ‘Up North’ they can be from all over the country, even the world, and so may misunderstand me! I worry I will be judged and criticised for my views and beliefs. I am sure this is all normal though.
My main worry is showing this to Jane tomorrow. Will she mark it? Will she make points in red pen in the margin? Part of me is hoping that she develops a sore throat or some other mild inconvenient condition that would force her to postpone.
I guess the best advice I can give myself is the same as I give to others, “Get Over Yourself woman and just get on with it!”
I would invite you to leave comments but I honestly feel I would rather you didn’t!
See you soon. Xx
P.S. For those of you who have read this till the end and fancy a challenge…would you mind counting how many words there are and letting me know! I have a feeing I may have exeeded the recommended word allowance!
P.P.S. Apparently I had to add some photos to my blog. Found this a bit difficult as I wasn’t actually writing about a tangible subject. So I have just put a couple of pictures of me on and one of my dog Luther…he has confidence issues!
P.P.P.S. I have added the photos, but can’t get them to be central…that is my homework for next time!
That is what Danny Brown would call pure blogging. Sally isn’t selling anything, she is speaking with her own voice and I don’t know about you, but I was right in there with, feeling all the emotions and totally entertained.
So now you want to know more about Sally don’t you? Well as it happens you can do that by clicking -> here
And if you would like to do a blogging course (or any other course for that matter) with me please leave a comment below or email Jane@janebinnion.com. Just in case you’re wondering i do not mark your work or leave comments with a red pen! 🙂