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How a blog can help you make a new start

BlogScreenIn the latest edition of her regular column, Network Norwich blog-watcher Heather Cracknell suggests many different reasons for making a New Year's resolution to start up a blog...
 
If your New Year's celebrations seem a long time ago, then I guess its likely that you may have forgotten what you vowed you would do more or less of as your New Year's resolution.
 
However, if it had anything to do with keeping in touch with old friends, making new ones, expressing your creativity, giving up road rage as a way of handling your stress, becoming a better writer, thinking philosophically or anything along those lines then may I suggest you start a blog.
 
It’s really very easy and it’s free with Blogger, Live Journal, Live Spaces and WordPress to name but a few. They all have ways to customise your space to reflect your interests, what you want to say about yourself, ways of categorising your posts if you want – or basic templates you can adopt and start using straight away with no hassle.
 
Many blogs are of a general nature and the writer will post on many different topics, from personal and family updates, photos, current affairs / sermons / films / books / gigs / websites / jokes / other people's blogs that have made them think, laugh or spit feathers!
 
There are lots of examples of this type of blog among the Norwich community. Other blogs are more specialised, for example Monty and Paul have a separate blog for showcasing their photos and Helen discusses environmental issues on Wastelands seperate from her general site.
 
Adam Feldman, an American blogger I read, gives some really helpful tips on blogging. He talks about knowing why your blog exists and who you want to read your blog: is it for friends and family to keep in touch, is it to give you the opportunity and space to think out loud, craft some opinions, let off some steam, practice writing and internet skills?
 
If this is the case you may feel that you would prefer to keep your address private so that search engines don't pick it up and invite people you trust (or no-one if you want it completely private) to read it and give you feedback.
 
If it’s less of a personal project and you're interested in raising and participating in debate, or just fancy being part of a virtual community that interacts together on the internet, then Adam recommends regular posting to keep people coming back, say working on your blog at least 10-15 minutes each day. The more intelligent comments you make on other people's blogs (not just “Hey, cool post”) and the more people you link to in your sidebar, more people will visit your site and may link to you, increasing your traffic and the chances of good interaction.
 
There are always times when you can't think of what to write – or you know you've been thinking about a hundred things you want to talk about on your way home but when you sit down at the keyboard you can't remember any of them.
 
Adam's advice is to keep a small notepad of sorts to write down ideas for posts, and also to write some posts and save them in draft form so you can publish them when you have what he describes as ”the inevitable writer’s 'blo[g]ck'!"
 
And if the idea of writing something regularly leaves you feeling strung out and weary, but you like the idea of reading other people's blogs but can't imagine finding the time, then a RSS feeder might be the answer. There are lots of them to choose from, and what a program like this does is provide all the blog posts you have not yet read in one place, like reading the newspaper, and completely free!
 
It would be fantastic to hear your stories about starting your blog, keeping it going, friendships and interactions that you've made since joining the blogging community, so we can share the fun together! And don't forget, if you have a blog already or start one in response to this article, let us know the address so we can add it to our list for others to read and enjoy!
  
Don't forget, if you'd like to link your blog to this site, or if you have any comments or pointers, please email me here.
 
HeatherCracknellWebIf you have a blog which you would like Heather to cover for the Network Norwich website or you see something which you think deserves wider attention, please e-mail details to Heather
 
You can visit Heather’s own blog, Driftwood
 

Next time: what's been exercising and interesting the Norwich blogging community at the start of 2007. 


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