Castlephile Travels recently celebrated its first birthday. That’s an important milestone for a blog – it should be a sign of determination and commitment. However, over the past year I haven’t been a very good blogger.
My blog stats say that I’ve published 56 posts since I first started this blog. Fair enough, you might say. That’s an average of almost one per week. But in reality as time goes by I’m publishing less frequently. This time last year, posts would come out at least once a week. Now, I manage one post a month. That’s not good enough.
So what bad blogging habits have I picked up, and what do I need to do to improve?
Being afraid and procrastinating
It’s true – it’s been a month since my latest post about movies that have inspired me to travel, a post that I’d been working on since February.
Obviously I allow myself to procrastinate. A lot.
It’s hard to admit, but the main reason for my procrastination comes down to fear. What I call writer’s block is just a term for covering up my fear of failure. I worry that the time I put into this blog is not worth it, that my posts aren’t interesting and that my writing is not good enough to the point where I can’t make myself write anything.
Blogging regularly should be easy for me. I have hundreds of random ideas, half-drafted stories, and almost-finished blog posts stored away on my computer, however I am not ready to press ‘Publish’ on them yet. I should be sharing with you about my struggle to get to Neuschwanstein Castle, or how falling in love with the Loire Valley inspired me to learn French, or the time I went inside the magma chamber of an Icelandic volcano, but this irrational fear I have doesn’t let me. Instead, I tell myself excuses about how I can catch up on my writing later. By giving in to these fears I am doing both my blog and my writing a disservice. I need to believe in myself again.
Forgetting about social media
I appreciate everyone who shows their support and follows me on Facebook and on BlogLovin’. It gives me a creative boost and puts a smile on my face knowing that someone likes my work enough to want to see more of it.
However, I need to improve my use of social media. If you look at the Castlephile Travels Facebook Page, you’d think it was abandoned. There’s a couple of recent posts, and some likes, but I’m definitely not posting on there as much as I would like to.
While it’s okay not to be on all forms of social media at once (The idea of simultaneously running accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Trover, Snapchat and Periscope seems like it would be overwhelming for me and take up all of my time – I’ll get one social media account under control first before looking into any others!), if you are on social media, then you should make an effort to keep it updated. So in the coming weeks I’ll be paying more attention to my Facebook account (follow Castlephile Travels on Facebook and keep me accountable!).
Staying in my own bubble
One of my worst habits is lurking on the Internet. I read inspiring blog posts all the time but rarely comment on them. I’m in a Facebook group for travel bloggers but have never reach out to them for help.
Connecting with other bloggers provides you with a support group when things go badly. They understand what blogging means to you and can commiserate with the lows and celebrate the highs with you. I need to connect with other bloggers rather than keeping myself isolated.
Comparing myself with others
I have been an avid reader of travel blogs since 2010, when I found all of these blogs written by women my age who had the courage to travel solo. However, now that I have my own blog I find myself comparing Castlephile Travels to their blogs.
Comparing my blog to someone who has been working on theirs for five or more years is just crazy. There’s no way I should be comparing the success of my blog to theirs – I haven’t had the same time to build my following, work on my writing or figure out what I want Castlephile Travels to be.
Even comparing Castlephile Travels with other blogs around the same age as it is not great – their owners have been regularly posting content, making connections, reaching out to companies and promoting their work.
I need to forget about comparing my blog with other blogs. Instead, I need to focus on creating a vision for what I want it to be, and then work to align my blog with my vision.
Forgetting why I’m blogging
A sure sign of being a bad blogger is forgetting why you started blogging in the first place.
My main reason for starting this blog? I wanted to provide a place to share information about travelling. While planning my travels over the years, I’ve had many questions for which I couldn’t find detailed answers. What was the best way of getting to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich? Was the Paris Museum Pass really worth it? How could I get from the Steel Rigg carpark to Sycamore Gap by following Hadrian’s Wall? This blog is the result – my place to share my travelling stories; my love of castles, history and fairy-tales; and the information I would have found useful during my trip research.
The other reason is to give me an outlet to practice my writing. I’m in a place now where I’m ready to commit myself to a consistent writing practice. I want to improve myself, my blog and my writing by letting go of my bad behaviours and fostering better blogging habits.
What struggles have you had with your blog?