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When I started blogging a year ago (yeah, the blog’s a year old. Yay!) I did it rather reluctantly. I’m sure my first post showed that clearly.

birthday mosaic montage

But as with a lot of things, the way you see something is how you’ll experience it. Just take the different experiences of Raoul, Gustave and Christine in Love Never Dies (the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera – both by Andrew Lloyd Webber). Raoul saw everything as miserable and as an attack on his aristocracy, so he experienced Coney Island like that. Gustave saw everything with wonder, searching for the beauty underneath and that’s what he found. Christine saw everything as a gift, not really sure she deserved it and that’s why she always felt pleasantly surprised when something good happened to her.

So with that in mind, I learned everything I could about blogging. The best way to do that is to read the blogs of other authors. Through their blogs I also learned of different blogging and writing challenges on the web. I’ll confess that I was a bit of a Luddite before I started blogging.

I did learn something from my favourite magazine a year ago: the secret to success is networking.

secret to success image texturised

Joining writing platforms (back then it was just WOES, but as you know I’m now on other platforms too – Wattpad, INK and writing.com) and Twitter fulfilled this need outside of my blog. I’ve also joined Google+ this year. Once I’ve figured out how to work the last mentioned social media platform properly, I’ll probably add something new.

During #platchal (the October platform challenge created and hosted by The Writer’s Digest and Robert Lee Brewer) I learned a few things about how to: utilise hashtags on various social media platforms; use images in my blogposts; operate on different social media platforms.

In November I did NaNoWriMo. Because of all my networking, my novel writing had taken a backseat. I was really glad to learn of this month dedicated to writing my novel. The best part of NaNoWriMo? Making a new writing friend who’s on all the social networks I’m on.

carin marais twitter profile – Carin is currently publishing some of her work on Patreon.

NaNo-2015-Winner-Banner

February came and I realised that blogging once a week wasn’t really cutting it. I found #FolkloreThursday on Twitter and I just knew that this was what I needed to make my blog better. This also pushed me to publish one story a week on one of the writing platforms I’m on and then explore the folklore therein on my blog with a link to the story. This pushed me to explore the Fae creatures I haven’t looked at yet because I haven’t used them in a story yet. The Origin of the Fae page looks much better now that there are more Faeries on it. And my writing has improved. (More on that in a later post.)

folklore thursday image

Was it late February or early March that I signed up for the #AtoZChallenge? *shrugs* Anyhow, I found out about it on another blogging friend’s blog and immediately signed up.

damyanti biswas twitter profile – Damyanti has recently snatched a literary agent and shares tips on querying.

Not that I was sure that it was a good idea. But I was going to challenge myself anyway. It turned out wonderfully. I even made new friends.

One of my new blogging friends, Trisha Faye, nominated me for a blog award.

Though I had nominated a couple of other bloggers for the award, I’m not sure they’d accepted it. C’est la vie. (If you’d like to answer the questions I posed them, feel free to do so in the comments on that post.)

blog award pic

In May I started competing in Cracked Flash Fiction Competition. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at this extremely short story. And it was quite rewarding. My first attempt actually won… Not that I know how. As Bill Gates said: “Success is a terrible teacher.” I have won others in the months since, but not fairly regularly. Judging a story is rather subjective… Anyhow, I decided to publish my flash fiction on my blog under a new hashtag: #TwistedTaleTuesday. Since I started doing this in July, my blog’s been visited by quite a few new readers (they’ve liked the posts, that’s how I know they’re fairly new to my blog).

twisted tale tuesday image

The newest challenge I’ve taken on was the Cherished Blogfest. Though not as extreme as the A to Z Challenge, it was still difficult. For a lot of reasons. Writing my post was emotional and rather painful. Reading some of the others… It’s rewarding, informative and emotional all at once. Check out my post and the others by clicking on the icon in the sidebar. You’ll know what I mean once you’ve read them.

cherished blogfest 2016

The most important thing I learned in my first year of blogging is this: always be polite. Whether that means answering comments left on a blogpost/story on Wattpad/etc. or visiting back after someone liked/commented, the point is not to anger the people who were kind enough to leave a comment. You never know when that person could be your new BFF or the one deciding your novel’s future…

always be polite image and words

I hope you enjoyed this whirlwind tour of my first year of blogging. I learned so much; some of it without realising. If you’d like to find me on other social media platforms, check out the sidebar. Any experiences in blogging you’d like to share? Or perhaps using other social media platforms?

 

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison

 

*A footnote: I entered Die Avonture van Saphira die Feetjie Hond in #Wattys2016. It went from #6 in Fantasy to #1. It’s been at the top since the 31st of July. This wouldn’t have been possible if I had stayed a writer cut off from the rest of the world. If you’d like to read it, click on the image in the sidebar. The Adventures of Saphira the Faery Dog is the English version.*

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