“If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away.”
~Henry David Thoreau

I like to go down memory lane as it reminds me of where the journey of life has taken me.

Sometimes I’ll recall my childhood days. Other times, challenges I conquered. And today, it takes me to my why I started blogging.

Today’s Lesson

Although it was nearly three years ago, I can remember my first days of blogging like it was yesterday.

The excitement of publishing online. The challenge of learning something new. The thrill of having a platform from which I could share. The hope of helping others. The nervousness of wondering how my words would be construed. The anticipation of my first comment. And the dream of where blogging might take me.

I’m reminded I’m not alone.

Many new bloggers go through the same emotions as they embark on the blogging journey.

Although we can’t change the past, nor erase mistakes we made, I do think the knowledge we’ve gained can benefit others who are new to the world of blogging and who may be uncertain as to what to expect.

With that said, today’s lesson is about sharing what we’ve learned and mentoring to those who are new to blogging.

I’ll go first.

Although I realize it’s often our mistakes that can teach us the most, one of the things I learned is, there is no one right way to blog. Our blog is what WE make it and trying to make it a cookie cutter copy of what someone else is doing only takes away from our authenticity.

To a new blogger, I would say, “Follow your heart, be true to yourself, speak from your soul and proudly showcase your individuality”.

Now it’s your turn.

Today’s Assignment

If a new blogger chose you as their mentor and asked for your best blogging advice, what would you tell them?

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  1. I’m so honored to be your first blogger to answer. Thank you as always for making us think.

    I would tell them first of all to not be afraid. I didn’t sleep the first night I published my first post. I felt like I got on an airplane to a foreign land not knowing what to expect. You have so many decisions to make – the name, the look, the feeling, what you are going to talk about.

    For me it was about overcoming obstacles – and the main obstacle was my fear of being ridiculed. I thought, who am I to tell others what I feel? Will anyone care?

    I wondered if I was talking to myself.

    As you know I just published my first downloadable ebook Zero to Blog, another risk, and in it I described how it was through a decision I made to become the best blogger, communicator and person I can be.

    I fall often of that goal, but I think having it as a goal has been key in helping my blog grow. The more you give, the more you receive. That rings especially true in blogging.

    Finally, the most important thing I would tell them is what a positive change it has made in my life being able to share my story with people and not a pretty journal that sits on a shelf.

    .-= Check out Julie @ jbulie’s blog´s awesome post: 1 big reason I’m thankful for a blog today. =-.

  2. Great post! Today is my one-year blogging anniversary and I’ve certainly learned a LOT about blogging over the past year. One piece of advice that I’d give a new blogger is: don’t give up. It can take awhile for people to really catch on to your blog, but if you’re passionate about what you’re writing about, they WILL read it. Keep writing!
    .-= Check out Positively Present´s awesome post: celebrating one year of positively present! =-.

  3. Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

    Blogging is filled with magical moments of connection and of profound insights. You will meet wonderful and not so wonderful people in the blogosphere, but you get to choose your interactions. Blogging can be healing, cathartic, and a way to improve communication and tech skills, but like anything else, you get out of it what you put into it.
    .-= Check out Lori Hoeck´s awesome post: Tanka Bar, a snack food like no other =-.

  4. Hi ,
    Just thought I would visit from Twitter and I see your page is very good .
    Thanks & Happy Valentine Cuz,

  5. jan geronimoNo Gravatar says:

    Okay, embrace blogging with passion. Fuss over it like a baby. Treat it as you would a lover. Or a friend. But don’t forget to have a life outside of it. It’s a bit of advice from a dear blogging buddy. And it’s true, this can only enrich your blogging. You’d have lots of stories to share. So for new bloggers, get your fannies out for a walk in the real world. Live. Suffer. Chase your other passions. Then come back and share your stories.

    PS: don’t play FarmVille if you know what’s good for you. LOL
    .-= Check out jan geronimo´s awesome post: When a Question Is the Answer =-.

    • DavinaNo Gravatar says:

      I think this is excellent advice Jan. It’s so true that we limit ourselves if we are too long in front of the computer. I think that’s why we tend to read so many posts of similar themes. We owe it to other bloggers to have a life and add something new to the mix 🙂 PS. I was wondering about FarmVille the other day.
      .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: Life Coach for the Knobs =-.

  6. RUN!!!

    Ok, just kidding.

    My best first advice would be to ask them to *think about what blogging is going to cost them*.

    Blogging has cost me:
    – money
    – time away from my family
    – stress

    It has also rewarded me, but first I think new bloggers need to know what the costs involved in blogging are. Once they understand what the costs are, they can move on.

    Ok Barbara, this is inspiring a new post for me. Thanks 😉
    .-= Check out John Hoff – WP Blog Host´s awesome post: My Take On Blog Posting Frequency and Making Money =-.

  7. Hi Barbara,

    My advice would be similar to yours. Just be true to who you are and write from the heart. The passion and authenticity will shine through and people will see that. Also, be patient and never give up. And don’t let the number of comments freak you out. You have no idea how many people will read what you write. If you touch the heart of just one person, then you have done an awesome job.

    One more thing, ignore stats. It will drive you crazy just like dieting does when you obsess over the scale.

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you!
    .-= Check out Nadia – Happy Lotus´s awesome post: Accessing The Yoda That Lives Within You =-.

  8. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    Here, Here! Do not worry about rankings, do not worry about anything except your content. The rest will take care of itself. Stay true to what your blog is about and enjoy doing it.

    That’s my story and I am sticking to it! 😀
    .-= Check out Linda´s awesome post: Global Warming Is Dish Also Served Cold =-.

  9. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Here’s a good one Barbara… don’t compare yourselves to other bloggers. I was going to say ignore stats and numbers of comments, but that IS what new bloggers do look at. It is part of the honeymoon phase. I’d say watch them but with a discerning eye, not a judgmental one. Take them lightly and just enjoy the ride. Write, write, write… and read. A new blogger can build a blog, but that doesn’t mean the readers will come. They need to get out there and socialize especially in the beginning.
    .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: Take a Spiritual Bawdy Break =-.

  10. Alien GhostNo Gravatar says:

    It is so true that blogging is a personal thing and only references can be taken as guidance but not an exact copy of another blog.

    I know because I started a blog some time ago following the instructions of the gurus, and although it worked out very well for them, I got lost in a blog that wasn’t mine, so after abandon it for awhile, decided to restart it with a new direction…my feelings.

    If I was to be chosen by a new blogger to give some advice I would say get it started and tinker as you go; what seems appropriate today might not be tomorrow, so adapt as you learn, keep steering it like a car in a long trip because there are bumps and detours all the time so planning can only go as a general idea.

    This lesson allows us to analyze our trip so far and the road ahead. Thank you Barbara for another great post!

    .-= Check out Alien Ghost´s awesome post: A Room Without Windows =-.

  11. Chris EdgarNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for this post. Personally, I would invite them to notice how much they’re learning about themselves, and how they’re resolving a lot of their own issues, just by writing — no matter who reads it.

  12. Silly GirlNo Gravatar says:

    Blogging gave me a voice at a time when I really needed one. I would tell them to be true and honest about what they write. And their writings are not for readers but for them.

    Great post as always Barbara! This one made me think. My one year anniversary is coming up soon. It seems like yesterday.
    .-= Check out Silly Girl´s awesome post: Best Friday in a longtime =-.

  13. I’m still learning. I started in October 2008 on an independent blog and then moved it to my website when I launched it in January 2009. I started slowly, and took a huge break when I moved into Wausau Whitewater zone.

    When I think about it , perhaps it was blogging that led me to decide that I could no longer be two roles… Op Manager for WW and Julie at Design Resumes. And made me realize that I could resign and it would be ok.

    I had another blog for WW too… and would have put more time in it but I got absolutely no feedback from the board. They didn’t understand it and why it could help. It is still out there but it never quite went where I could have taken it.

    Now my blog is focused on the career industry but because I can’t help telling stories, I try to find a way to tie my stories to the industry. I think there will be a time when I add one more blog for Julie to just write what feels like the right thing.

    You made me think out loud… and for that I thank you for letting me think.
    .-= Check out Julie Walraven | Resume Services´s awesome post: Cultivating Networks —> Right Place, Right Time =-.

  14. Hi Barbara.

    I write because I must. And I paint for the same reason. I love the feel of the pen against journal paper, and the sensation of drawing a brush across a canvas.

    And I have so many questions to explore. I explore them through these two mediums. I must.

    If I were to mentor a new blogger, I would ask what is it he or she MUST do? And then listen for the answers. As many as she can give.

    Then I would ask how best she thought she could share that? Through informing others? Through inspiring them? Through sales of some sort? Through community participation? Through teaching?

    I’ve come across so many types of blogs — and you’re right. It’s not a matter of right or wrong, but what best expresses what it is the blogger must be about.

    Thanks for asking… 🙂
    .-= Check out Barb Hartsook´s awesome post: How to Paint a Portrait from a Casual Snapshot – A Tutorial =-.

  15. JeanneNo Gravatar says:

    I almost can’t answer this, Barbara — if a new blogger came to me for advice, I’d have to say “what, you want the blind to lead the blind?!?”

    Still, I’d also say “write your passion, speak your heart, reveal yourself, and just DO it; and if you don’t even know what your niche is, don’t worry, it’ll find you.”

    By the way, your new look is TRULY AMAZING! (I may have already told you that)
    .-= Check out Jeanne´s awesome post: Two Lives, Unmet =-.

  16. George AngusNo Gravatar says:

    Advice? Stick to it. Don’t give up. Don’t be afraid to shake things up a bit now and then in terms of design, niche or whatever. I’ve seen quite a few worthy blogs go by the wayside and I guess I think that they didn’t have to.

    .-= Check out George Angus´s awesome post: Jazzed About #MOJOtweet: A Book Review =-.

  17. I like “be true to yourself.” Good advice for life, not just for blogging. Personally, I would tell them to figure out why they’re blogging. Figure out a goal.
    .-= Check out vered | professional blogger´s awesome post: Another Perfect Post Baby Body! (Kendra Wilkinson) =-.

  18. My advice would be – write about what you’re passionate about. Don’t force a subject. Blogging won’t become a chore if you write about what is important to you.
    .-= Check out Heather Villa´s awesome post: Weekend Reading: My fav’s from this week: 2/12/10 =-.

  19. Hi Barbara – Everyone is giving great advice! Mine would be: Forget the rules. When you put a ‘should’ on something that makes it someone else’s idea of a goal. Strive for quality in what you post. And, finally, be in it for the relationships.
    .-= Check out Betsy Wuebker´s awesome post: Roaming Through Michigan =-.

  20. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara! Great advice on this blog so my FIRST suggestion to a new blogger would be to read YOUR blog!!!! Seriously now, I’m not just schmoosing you! Everyone seems to agree in writing from the heart – I certainly raise my glass to that!

    Ok, that being said (from the heart!) I would tell them to be consistent in a blog schedule but NOT to blog daily. Who can keep up with that as a follower? I know a few bloggers I follow are hell bent on daily – I think I safely say I make it to only 50% of their blogs, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Give your readers a break already!!!! Give YOURSELF one. Daily is nuts!

    Also, this could be just me reacting to this, but I’d say PLEASE put the in depth analysis of icky long drawn out personal marital fights in a journal, not a blog – euuuw TMI. Just sayin…….

    .-= Check out suzen´s awesome post: Discoveries in Being Hip – It’s CODE =-.

  21. katinkaNo Gravatar says:

    I would say – and often do – find a niche and stick to it. Also, have some fun & please, PLEASE, put your keywords in your title.
    .-= Check out katinka´s awesome post: Free will, karma and reincarnation =-.

  22. DotNo Gravatar says:

    I’d say don’t expect too much, don’t expect to get rich, and when people talk about how much work it is, triple the amount of time you think they’re talking about.

  23. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    In addition to all the other wonderful advice already given, I’d tell them to take it slow. One day at a time. Blogging can be overwhelming, between trying to write a post and learn the platform you have chosen. No one can learn it all overnight and it takes time. A lot of time, and a lot of trial and error.

    One other piece of advice, don’t forget your family. Especially if you have young children. It’s easy to think you will be on the computer for only 5 minutes only to find yourself still on it an hour later or more. Family first. I learned that lesson the hard way and won’t make that mistake again. Even if my blog has to suffer because of it. Of course, that’s my personal blog and it’s a hobby. If it’s business, then keep it in the work hours and “go home” when the work day is over.
    .-= Check out Debbie Yost´s awesome post: Hi, May I Help You? =-.

  24. Dennis EdellNo Gravatar says:

    Very intersting. I recently had a new blogger ask me to coach her. The first thing out of my mouth was question.

    What are your goals/ambitions…where do you mean to go here?
    .-= Check out Dennis Edell´s awesome post: I’m Looking For Launch Partners – $20 OR Three DoFollow Links For You! =-.

  25. WalterNo Gravatar says:

    Blogging is a test of character. If a newbie wants to succeed he/she must take the challenges inherent in every road to success. 🙂
    .-= Check out Walter´s awesome post: Love eternal =-.

  26. CarlaNo Gravatar says:

    I would tell that person not to worry or obsess with numbers. Write for yourself and your audience, not for numbers and ratings. It really depends on why they are blogging for and what they are trying to accomplish.
    .-= Check out Carla´s awesome post: Naturity Organic Babyhood Products – As good as it gets =-.

  27. I love what you’d say to new bloggers, Barbara. Helping them bypass the cookie cutter thing – so important. I guess I’d also say just concentrate on the writing in the beginning, don’t worry about the rest of it. Develop a writing practice and find your voice. You know, Anne Lamott says, “write sh*tty first drafts.” I sort of think of my first six months as one long first draft. Yet I learned so much from it. And I didn’t even expect anybody to read it back then. Ultimately, though, if the writing is good, readers will find you. Kind of like, “If you build it they will come.” But it takes some time to build it. So be patient.
    .-= Check out Patty – Why Not Start Now?´s awesome post: Meaning Mondays: The Clouds Edition =-.

  28. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi All,

    As I was reading the replies to this post, I noticed as the comments were stacking up they were creating a unique conversation that automatically flowed from one comment to the next. I could envision all of us sitting together, each sharing our thoughts one by one.

    I didn’t want to “break up” that conversation by using the threaded comment feature, therefore, I won’t be answering each comment individually, but instead say thank you to all of you who have participated thus far.

    By reading these words of wisdom from those of you who have already put time into your blogging adventure, I can see how your advice will truly help a new blogger put blogging into the proper perspective and possibly save them a headache or two.

    Again, I say thank you for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate your input.

    Feel free to keep ’em coming.

    Or, if you’re a new blogger, please let us know how this information has helped you.

  29. Heidi LynNo Gravatar says:

    So . . . I’m sort of a new blogger and stumbled across this site today. I’ve blogged for friends and family for years. I even blogged for my clients sporadically for years, but now I feel pulled to blog regularly and to expand my audience and I feel a little lost in doing so. I’m so grateful for what I’ve read so far and will be back for more. Thanks!
    .-= Check out Heidi Lyn´s awesome post: Lies We Tell Ourselves =-.

  30. FriarNo Gravatar says:

    If I was a mentor, the first thing I would tell a blogger is that you don’t need a mentor.

    20 years ago, people wrote diairies. And yet we somehow managed to survive without “Diary Mentors” and “Written Media Consultants”.

    It’s just a blog. You write what you feel like writing. End of story.

    It’s NOT that complicated, folks!
    .-= Check out Friar´s awesome post: Rejected Offerings =-.

    • LisisNo Gravatar says:

      I love this man! 🙂

      Brilliant advice.

    • DavinaNo Gravatar says:

      Friar, I understand your perspective as you write a personal blog that is very much like a diary. However, there are other perspectives about blogging. A blog is more than a “diary” to many people. It is a business. And in that case I can see the value of having a mentor.
      Anyway… I see a diary as equated to floating your rubber ducky in the privacy of your own bathtub. Float that rubber ducky in the Pacific ocean (Internet) and then you might need a mentor 🙂
      .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: Life Coach for the Knobs =-.

      • FriarNo Gravatar says:


        Good point. I agree there is more of a committment if it’s a business blog.

        But I think there are way too many of us who see ourselves as big players floating their duck in a large ocean. When in the Real World, we’re just small fish in an even smaller little pond.

        (Disclaimer: I’m not referring to anyone specifically here…I’m just referring to “us” as bloggers in general.) 🙂

        But an interesting experiment would be to pick a “succesful” A-List Cool Kid Blogger, who’s 100 times “Cooler” than you are

        Now, go to downtown Vancouver, and ask 1000 people off the street if they’ve ever heard of them. Or if they even blog.

        I bet you the numbers aren’t as great as we’d like to think.

  31. Oh my goodness, great question. I’d tell peeps if they are looking forward to getting comments, to get out and comment on blogs they enjoy. You may have a wonderful blog, but chances are you have to get out and “meet” some folks to be read. And be prepared for a LOT of wonderful friendships. Blogging is The Best!!
    .-= Check out Jannie Funster´s awesome post: 5 More BIG Photos — Whoo-hoo. (and a poll, in case you’d missed it in the sidebar.) =-.

  32. beeNo Gravatar says:

    Experience is best teacher
    .-= Check out bee´s awesome post: Sinar My Hero* =-.

  33. Ah, This is awesome! Puts to bed
    a few misnomers I’ve heard

  34. YashNo Gravatar says:

    I just wanna say “live the life as if you gonna die tomorrow” ..!!

  35. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I would say I must write and I was in need of a community and wanted someone to read what I wrote. I figured out that I must write on other blogs in order to develop community…I was hoping to learn how to make some money – well that is happening a bit too, but I am so pleased with the community – where I seem to fit in and belong- that that is the most important function of blogging for me

    Also blogging keeps me current and in the game…I keep learning new programs and techniques and keep my brain working top of the line…

    and I would agree with Dot we need to let folks know that it takes more time then they thought it would 🙂

    Nice lesson and I hope you are feeling better – all well?
    .-= Check out Patricia´s awesome post: 192 Books =-.

  36. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. great post .. I think I would say – find your passion, a thing that you’ll be happy to build your life on, or your business on – just do it to start with – but the right subject matter = passion, or something that you’ll still enjoy in a year or two.

    Just write – do a post a day .. you can always up or alter slightly the number of words, add pictures etc .. once you’re comfortable – after a month’s posting (30 or so) the habit is there .. yes it’s tough .. but worth it.

    Find some blogging friends you enjoy – who’ll comment back – comment on their blog – pertinent comments .. you’ll be picked up in due course .. don’t rush – just do.

    Keep at it .. keep an eye out on other blogs, what they’re doing, how they’re structure is etc ..

    Enjoy and it’ll come .. a book, an ebook, an excellent blog, and knowledge from all directions ..

    PS I’d recomment a WP blog over others – start with the free version .. go for it .. and love it.

    Thanks – Barbara great thoughts .. Hilary
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Collop Monday , Shrove Tuesday, Amazing Grace and Ash Crosses =-.

  37. HulbertNo Gravatar says:

    One of the things that I was scared of or I didn’t take much consideration was to get myself out there. I thought all it would take would be writing good content. Well, almost 1/2 a year went by before I got my first comment! If I could give advice to a newcomer blog, it would be to write good content but make sure your voice is heard outside of your blog. Don’t be afraid to explore and communicate with people that you don’t know.
    .-= Check out Hulbert´s awesome post: Do Your Blogging Struggles Still Bother You? =-.

  38. Saw this on Facebook and had to share in the fun!

    Like Nadia, SuZen, and Hilary, I think some sound advice for new bloggers would be to:
    – Ignore statistics
    – Network & comment on other blogs frequently — it builds your traffic
    – Write about things you know & love
    – Have snappy, short titles that include keywords (for search engine purposes)
    – Write consistently, but not necessarily daily (as SuZen said, give readers a break!)
    – Notice what you like about other blogs, and model yours similarly (but perhaps, if you’re copying something really closely, email the person and let them know you admire them enough to follow their lead; ask for permission, in a sense)
    – Be 10x more generous with people than you hope they’ll be with you. Mention other blogs in your posts, link out, etc. “We can never receive what we’ve never given.”
    – When it stops being FUN, re-evaluate.

    Great post, Barbara, and you were right – great comments & advice here!
    .-= Check out Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s awesome post: Underwear in the Jungle! =-.

  39. This is so beautiful, Barbara!! 😀

    As for advice, I’d tell a new blogger to just share their heart and be real, raw, and not only true to themselves, but true to their readers and just shine in their corner of the blogosphere. We’re all different – that’s what is so awesome!


    P.S. LOVE the blog design, the way! 😉
    .-= Check out Michele | aka Raw Juice Girl´s awesome post: Recipe: Inside-Out (Coconut) Peanut Butter Cups =-.

  40. EvitaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara

    Wow – 3 years already! Congrats 🙂
    And I love the words of wisdom and advice you give – so very true and I agree 100%.

    I also really like what Davina said and others about not being too concerned with stats, and just doing what you love for you authentically!
    .-= Check out Evita´s awesome post: On the Pilgrimage of Life: Talking With Bernie Krausse About A Special Journey =-.

  41. EvanNo Gravatar says:

    It would depend on why they wanted to blog.

    If it is to make money then they need to find the overlap between what they care about and what others care about.

    I would say, whether they want to make money or not,
    Learn to write well
    Write about what you care about (as you do this you learn more about your self and your interests)
    Story telling seems to work for almost everyone if you can learn to do it
    These are the best ways to develop your voice – writing to develop your voice is difficult, instead focus on what grabs your attention and write about it as well as you can, and your voice will develop
    Keep tweaking
    Try stuff, keep what works and junk what doesn’t (in a situation as complex and dynamic as the blogosphere there are no certain rules and no sure answers)

    If you care about the audience
    Answer questions like: What is the one thing that would make the biggest difference to their lives? What is the most important thing that I could imagine to say? What is it that I most want to say? What is my biggest frustration?

    That’s about all I think.

  42. Be authentic in what you write. Visit other blogs in your niche and also how to blogs and leave comments. Leaving comments invites others to come to your site and check it out. I have met some wonderful blogging friends that way.
    .-= Check out Patricia – Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker´s awesome post: Fear Of Rejection Makes You Afraid To Ask For Help =-.

  43. Tony SingleNo Gravatar says:

    If a new blogger chose me as their mentor and asked for my best blogging advice, I would gently point them to other bloggers who would make far better mentors than I. 🙂
    .-= Check out Tony Single´s awesome post: Do Over =-.

  44. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi again,

    I can’t thank you all enough for the fabulous advice you’re offering up to others. As I was reading the comments I wished I had access to this kind of advice when I first started blogging.

    Hearing these words of wisdom from bloggers who have been there, not only shows others what works, but also shows the kind of support that can be found in blogosphere.

    Again I want to express my appreciation to all of you for your input.

    You are AWESOME!