Should You Take The Training Wheels Off Your Blog? (Growing & Stretching!)

baby-photo-with-computerIn 2014 I was a newborn blogger and WordPress was my comfortable, cozy crib where I felt safe to kick, cry, and reach out to bat my hands at my colorful dashboard to learn new tricks. Getting “Freshly Pressed” was the only playpen I wanted to hang out in and every day I delighted in adding a couple new followers with names like Strained Carrots and Creamed Corn.

Now that I’m a toddler blogger, crawling around and getting into everything — I think it’s safe to take down the child safety (2) Okay, the creepy baby analogy can only go so far.  But the point is there’s a whole big Blogger park out there to explore!

I frequently get questions from people inquiring how I started publishing outside of my personal blog. I can give a long, detailed answer that will probably seem boring and circumstantial because it happened in a very specific way based on my particular lifestyle and personality type. Or I can just say this . . . absolutely NOTHING ever would have happened if I didn’t stretch outside of my comfort zone.

My fear of rejection was keeping me small. But somehow I developed a new tolerance for taking risks when I turned 50 years old in 2014. (Yes, I realize I was just wearing diapers and shaking rattles three paragraphs up!) My new mantra was suddenly, “Go big or go home!”  After all, what was the worst that could happen?

I hope everyone will ask themselves that same question as they begin to stretch out, reach up, and SUBMIT!  Yes, there is a life of “Submission” outside of Fifty Shades of Grey. Please don’t wait until you’re my age to try!

If I could recommend just doing three things to start out, they would be:

1.  Start going to any and all blogger conferences.  (I went to BlogHer 2014 because I was named a “Voices of the Year” in the humor category and Arianna Huffington was the keynote speaker which eventually led to my getting on The Huffington Post!)

2.  Go HERE and read anything and everything you can. Take a deep breath and email some words you’re proud of to one (or more!) of the places mentioned. I live here and on the Facebook page she moderates, which you can request to be a member of.

3.  Write as if you already have a HUGE audience of readers. There’s something about feeling like you have lots of people waiting with bated breath for your next piece that elevates your writing and makes you rise to the occasion.

Here are four recent categories of publication I’ve ventured out into trying:

1. Pitching:  Did you know that you don’t even need a finished post to submit –you just pitch them your idea! Sell it and make it sound good. That’s what I did to this major online magazine and was astounded when it was accepted and I had to go write it up. Gulp! And it was a serious article about growing up with large breasts, too. Ugh…What had I done? You can see how it turned out right here.   XO JANE

2. Guest Posting on Another Blog: This is a terrific way to gain exposure and you never know what else it will lead to! Here is just one blog I adore and admire and was thrilled to write something that actually went up. It’s my adventures as a Snoopaholic!  Ripped Jeans & Bifocals

3. Syndication:  There are many big websites that you need not write something brand new or original for.  You can simply submit some of your best (or favorite!) stuff that’s already been on your own personal blog. Or do what I do and send posts that are older and perhaps went up before you had many followers.  It’s a great way to breathe new life into them. Here is one such place where I am able to recycle some of my older stuff.  Midlife Boulevard

4. Anthologies:  I used to think you had to be a famous writer to get your work into an anthology.  Uh, nope!  There are tons out there that publish according to themes.  Find one that correlates with what you like to write about, then think to yourself — “If the theme does fit, you must submit!” Here’s an anthology book I just found out I was published in from a website called Story Shelter which is a great website anyone can have their writing appear in right now.  I AM HERE!

Good luck and let me know when you take those first steps or eat solid food!