Blog. Blog because it is reflective. Blog because we need you to share what you know with us. Blog because it is good to remember how it feels to be judged by others. Blog because you have a unique view on the world and by sharing it, we all have another piece of this puzzle that is life.
From iLearn Technology
Who knew when we started our blog five years ago what blogging would do for us? When we began our blog A Year of Reading in January 2006, we weren’t really sure what we were getting into. We just knew that we wanted a place to have a conversation about the books we loved. We wanted a place to record our thinking and our conversations, but we soon realized that having a blog is about so much more than writing. Blogs are about becoming part of a larger community of people who are interested in things that you are — building or becoming part of a new network of learners.
We started by learning from others. We had favorite blogs, such as Read Roger and Fuse #8, which became our mentors for writing about children’s books. We found Jen Robinson and her Cool Girls of Children’s Literature Blog. Her list inspired us to create 100 Cool Teachers in Children’s Literature. Once we created that, we seemed to find our voice and we began to write for the dependable audience that was emerging, people who were visiting the blog regularly.
Blogging is one of the best tools for collaboration that we know. Not only do we work together to create the blog, but we have connected with so many other people who love children’s books. These connections help our thinking about books, teaching, and reading grow.
How to Begin
You’ve been hearing about blogs for quite awhile now, and you’ve caught yourself thinking, “Maybe I should start a blog.” That’s the first step you need to make if you want to blog.
1. You need to want to blog. This breaks down into the smaller steps of sharing your stories and thinking, learning from others.
- You love to write, or you at least want to work on your craft and you’re not afraid to go public with your work.
- You aren’t afraid of work, because keeping up a blog and building a voice, a blogging identity, and a readership are hard work.
We know that blogging often becomes addictive. When you get into the habit of writing regularly, you need time . . . and you need a topic that you won’t tire of eventually.
After you’ve decided to start a blog, there are a few steps to take before you jump in and get started.
2. Find your niche.
Your blog doesn’t have to be connected to your teaching. Maybe you have something else that you want to blog about — a passion, an interest, a hobby. If you are going to blog about children’s books (or teaching or coaching or cooking or whatever), what will make your blog unique? To help you figure this out, move on to the next step:
3. Read lots of blogs of the type you want to start.
- Find yourself some “mentor blogs.” Read them with a writer’s eye. What is it that you like about them?
- Start commenting on blogs so that bloggers from the corner of the blogosphere that you plan to join will get to know you.
- Gather contact information from the blogs you like so that when you launch your blog, you can let your potential readers know.
- Start a Twitter account and follow your mentor bloggers. Twitter is a great place to get links to new blogs, and it will be a great place for you to publicize your blog and build a readership and find your place in the blogging community you’ve chosen.
4.When you know what you want to say and how you want to say it, you need to choose a blogging platform. Try Tumblr, LiveJournal, WordPress, or one of the many other blogging host services. Do some research – some are free, and others charge nominal fees.
5. Name your blog.
Choose several names that reflect what you’re planning to be the theme or focus of your blog. You might not be able to use your first choice – you’ll need to do a search on the web of the names you’ve chosen to make sure there aren’t any other blogs by that name.
All of this background work will pay off in the end. It’s just like painting a room. Choosing the color, buying the supplies, moving the furniture, masking, laying down drop cloths, and priming all take upÂ wayÂ more time than actually painting the room.
If you are not quite convinced, listen to the recent words of Kelly Tenkely in a post entitled “On Blogging” and we’re sure you’ll be inspired.
Now that you’re really ready to start your blog, it’s just a matter of following the directions, writing the first post and hitting the publish button.
Welcome to the blogosphere!