Ileana’s Guide to Starting a Blog

typing girl

Now that I’ve been blogging for about three years, people have started asking me for advice on starting their own blogs. Apparently people have started thinking of me as an authority on blogging, which is pretty cool. So here are my tips on starting your very own blog.

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You have to actually LIKE writing.
If you’re planning on starting a writing-heavy blog, you should enjoy writing. If you never fell in love with an academic essay you wrote, or jotted down random ideas on post-it notes or napkins or whatever was laying around, or spent hours looking at notebooks in bookstores, then writing a blog may not be for you. You might be really funny and you might have some amazing ideas, but if you don’t like writing, then writing a blog is going to feel like work.

Read some other blogs.
If you want to start writing a blog, it’s a really good idea to read other people’s blogs. You can get inspiration, see cool designs, and read some really great writing.

You don’t have to know exactly what you’re going to write about. 
It’s okay not to have everything planned out. I took a class this spring about making websites, and we were required to make site maps and wire frames and detailed descriptions of everything we were going to write, what photos we were going to use, etc. I really don’t think that’s necessary for starting a blog. You can plan and plan and plan, but if you don’t have any content, your blog will be nonexistent. When I started my blog, I had no idea how I was going to structure it, what categories I would have, or what my menu bars were going to look like. I didn’t organize my blog until at least a year in, and that worked really well for me. Starting a blog is different for everyone, so if you want to start with organization, you can, but don’t be afraid to just start somewhere.

platforms

Choose your platform. 
There are so many blogging platforms out there – I didn’t know about that many blogging websites when I started writing, so I just kind of stumbled on WordPress, but there are so many platforms for you to use. You might want something different if you’re planning to post a lot of photos, or upload videos, or use gifs, or write a lot. Do your research and choose wisely. Here’s a list of just a few, make sure to poke around and see what’s going to fit your needs best: WordPress (my fave, obviously), Blogspot, Foursquare, Wix, blog.com, Blogger, Weebly, and Tumblr. Be aware that some of them are free and some cost money, and some of the free ones have deluxe options if you want to pay for certain themes.

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Just start writing. 
There is nothing as important as just writing things down. The hardest part about writing is often getting started. So just bite the bullet and start somewhere. You don’t have to love every sentence you put on the page; you can always edit later. But you have to just start.

Share it with people. 
If you want people to read what you’ve written, share it everywhere! Post it on Facebook, Tweet about it, email it to your mom – do whatever it takes to get people reading. If they like what they see, they’ll read more and share it with their friends!

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Quick Life Update (Excuses for Why I Haven’t Been Writing)

Hi everyone! I know it’s been approximately, well, forever, since I’ve actually written anything here, so I want to explain why:

Chicago trip #1: When my mom broke her clavicle so I flew out the next day to

Chicago trip #1: When my mom broke her clavicle so I flew out the next day to “help” her and we ended up walking around the city for the entire day… oops.

Excuse #1: In the past month I have traveled to Chicago twice, so two of my weekends have been filled with family and Chicago (and not having a computer with me).

Chicago trip #2: The one where the whole Paules side of the family got together in Chicago for the first time in forever and had a great time.

Chicago trip #2: The one where the whole Paules side of the family got together in Chicago for the first time in forever and had a great time.

My last day at Columbia; that campus is incredible.

My last day at Columbia; that campus is incredible.

Excuse #2: Things have been super hectic. During the second to last week of the Columbia Publishing Course, we had our magazine workshop where I was the publisher of our mock magazine. The magazine was for career-focused women and it was called “Bossy.” It was amazing. My group was made up of seventeen women and one man and we had an incredible time spending eighteen hours a day creating a fake magazine. As tired and stressed as I was, it’s kind of also exactly what I want to do with my life. On top of that, I had multiple job interviews that week (more on that in the next excuse). A week later, the course ended and I moved back to Brooklyn and tried to relax for my last week of summer vacation. I slept in really late, went to the gym, and watched a ton of Netflix (if you haven’t watched “Grace and Frankie,” you should).

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Excuse #3: I joined the ranks of the employed! One of my many job interviews panned out and I am now officially a full-time employee at a publishing house. Last Monday was my very first day as a Marketing Assistant in Higher Education at Oxford University Press. I got a free mug and a tour of the coffee machines on my first day, so I think you can assume I’m enjoying it (in all seriousness though, it’s been really great – my coworkers are awesome, my boss is the nicest person ever, and I’m learning a lot). In my free time at the office, I’ve been trying to decorate my cubicle; so far I have Christmas lights and some cloths from South Africa – if you have any brilliant cubicle decoration ideas, I’d love to hear them!

Look, my Oxford mug filled with iced coffee. What could be more perfect?

Look, my Oxford mug filled with iced coffee. What could be more perfect?

You know you're an assistant when......... Coffee run #1

You know you’re an assistant when… Coffee run #1

Coffee run #2 (same day)

Coffee run #2 (same day).

Excuse #4: I didn’t realize that time management was a hard thing when you have a grown-up job. I was always so caught up in worrying about finding a job that I didn’t even think about the fact that having a 9 to 5 job might be hard… it’s not that my job itself is insanely challenging, but managing my time throughout the day has been a bitch and a half. Let’s start with the fact that I have to wake up at 6:45 (Okay, 7:20). I’m trying to go to bed earlier and earlier but no matter how much sleep I get, 7 am doesn’t get any better. Then there’s trying to go to the gym, the 2+ hours of travel time to commute to work, making dinner that isn’t fast food (I had Burger King for my celebratory dinner after my first day of work… it was a shameful moment), etc. It’s way harder than I thought, although I guess I hadn’t really thought about it much.

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Excuse #5: I’ve decided it’s about time I get paid for my writing. I’m sick of writing blog posts and articles that appear all over the internet (some of which have gotten over a million views, for the record) and only getting a pat on the back and some “congrats!” emails from my parents. Not that I don’t love those emails, because I do, but I could be thousands of dollars richer if I was even getting just $10 for the things that I’m writing. So I guess that’s one of the real reasons I haven’t been posting my normal content here… I’ve still been thinking of ideas and writing them down, but instead of sharing them with all of the internet for free, I’m trying to get paid to freelance. That being said, if you have any connections I can use, HMU (PLEASE, I’m desperate).

So that’s my life in a nutshell! I promise I’ll try to write more. Love you all <3