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Blogging Tips & A Big Surprise

by | Jan 27, 2008 | blogging

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Blogging Tips & A Big Surprise

I was tagged by the ever-wonderful Felicity at All Things Bright and Beautiful to share a tip for new bloggers. I have to chuckle when asked for tips like this because I usually have no idea what I am doing. No technical tips will flow from my lips (be glad about that!). But, in order to play along, I’ll share a couple of my thoughts, for whatever they are worth:

As I myself am stumbling my way along, trying to figure out what in the world I am doing as a blogger, I think that in itself is a lesson I have learned from blogging:


Not sure who you are yet or where you are going? Blogging can help you define who you are, what your purpose is in life and can connect you to others who can inspire you, challenge you and pull you up to experience all you were created to do in life. It is a process, so let it unfold naturally. Everyday you can be encouraged to live more fully and purposefully than you did the day before. And most importantly, if you let it happen, you can learn to care more deeply about others in the midst of learning about yourself.

There are wonderful, supportive, creative and talented people swarming around us, willing to be an encouraging part of your life every time you enter Bloglandia. If you are true to yourself, and don’t try to redefine yourself into someone else’s idea of a “great blog,” you will find contentment and purpose as you find your own voice. My guess is that trying to be a great blog is much less rewarding that trying to be a great person.

I’ll admit sometimes I look at someone else’s blog and think “Why am I not doing that?” And while my focus might waiver for a moment as I ponder what they do, I must always come back to this. I am not doing THAT because THAT is not ME. While I may be in awe of what you do and impressed by your efforts, I don’t need to do what you do in order to find happiness or contentedness. Nor do you need to be like me (collective AMEN there!). There is room for everyone so just be yourself. If it means less comments, less frequent posts, less popularity or less page views, so be it! If those statistics are your main goals, you might be missing out on the true joy of blogging! I’m just sayin’…

Most importantly, and this applies to new blog writers and blog readers alike:


If blogging is taking too much away from your daily life, if you are neglecting your personal or spiritual life, your husband, children, home or your health, you likely have an unhealthy addiction to blogging (yes, I am speaking to myself here)! Enjoy blogging for its benefits, but know when to STEP AWAY FROM THE BLOGS and experience real life. We’ll be here when you get back, don’t worry.

KEY: Blogging can give you inspiration, but it is what you do with that inspiration in the real world that will truly change your life.

Blessings to you all! Now go forth and share some tips on your own blogs or in my comments!

Oh, on the surprise

Don’t worry, I’m not one of those girls who can keep a secret for long. If I have amazing news, you’ll probably know about it the minute I do! LOL! So here is your first peek at my news: Let’s just say I am walking on cloud nine after being contacted by one of the most inspirational women of all time on the topic of living a beautiful life…can you guess who she is?

Here is a hint: she does not have a blog and she doesn’t email (don’t tell if I have already spilled the beans to you…). Eeeek……I get to speak with her on the phone! I’m absolutely bursting with glee and utter disbelief…. more details to come! xoxo

photo: my kitchen, where I should be right now… I’m signing off!


  1. rosieswhimsy

    Great tips! My Christmas break from blogging put me back in a proper frame of mind. I am back to enjoying the process and I make sure that there are days when all I do is read, don’t post, and don’t allow myself to make any comments. After all, that’s how I first started enjoying all the wonderful blogs I have found. Other days, I just do comments and don’t post. I feel more balanced now. I love blogland :-)

    You have really peeked my interest with your surprise. Can’t wait to hear more details……….((hugs)) Rosie

  2. the farmers wife

    Very excellent advice. I started publishing my photoblog almost three years ago and overly concerned myself with visits, page views and more importantly what other photographers were doing. Some of their great successes made me feel a little inadequate. One of the most successful photobloggers contacted me expressing admiration for my work. I was on cloud nine. He asked me a fabulous question – – would you still do your photography and post it if NO ONE was reading? The answer – yes. I did it for the pleasure of creating art.

    Now I’ve created an offshoot to the photoblog where I come inside and show people our lives on the Illinois prairie. Guess what? I had to remind myself all over again that I’m doing this as a creative exercise and not to build some blogging empire.

    Your post is very timely and very helpful. Thanks.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  3. Alison Gibbs

    Look forward to hearing about your surprise!!!
    You are so right with the blogging tips. Just be yourself and enjoy blogging. There are so many friendly inspirational people out there.

  4. all things bright and beautiful

    Oh you gorgeous woman you – I should have know you would share pearls of wisdom here. You are a legend :-)

    Hugs bug.

  5. all things bright and beautiful

    Ok I’m guessing here!! Your surprise is …….


    If I’m right you HAVE to say!!!! :-)

    If not I’ll have another guess

  6. Aimee

    Thanks for those thoughts – you are so right. Sometimes I get too focused on blogland and need to pull myself back into my real life!

    I can’t wait to hear who contacted you!! You MUST tell!!

    And your kitchen is SO beautiful! That chair makes me smile every time I see it.

  7. Ruth Welter

    Hi Melissa, I couldn’t even venture a guess on this one…I think I’ll just wait for your reveal.

  8. janet

    Okay, I am thinking that her initials are A. S. and she writes with a lovely pen ( I can’t think of the brand, but it is not a BIC.). You have to tell me if I am right. I am 99% sure that I am!! How sad is this?? But if I am right what an awesome experience for you!!

  9. Lisa & Alfie

    I am addicted to your words of wisdom. This post really spoke to my heart and head. I know I sometimes overthink my blog and worry about its universal appeal versus my own enjoyment. I have to keep reminding myself, if I enjoy it, then it is right. Thanks again for your clarity.
    P.S. It wouldn’t be Oprah would it?
    Lisa & Alfie

  10. Mary Issabella

    A good post. Thank-you…Mary

  11. Cottage Contessa

    Very good tips! If you get a chance sweetie, would you mind stopping by my blog, I’m in need of your wonderful advice! Looking forward to your big reveal! Hope we don’t have to wait too long! lol
    Amanda (aka Cottage Contessa)

  12. the feathered nest

    Is it Alexandra Stoddard?!! Good advice – I think people get very caught up in the whole popularity aspect and it (blogging)takes over their lives! Keeping blogging in perspective is key!


  13. Kathleen Grace

    Great words of wisdom, Melissa! I am afraid I can’t tell what yur surprise is though, I have a name in my head but how can I tell if she is who you are talking about? O! I hate it when I’m left in suspense:>)

  14. Adla

    Great advice on blogging Melissa…we all need to be ourselves, all unique individuals with something to share :) I wonder who the mysterious person is, Is it OPRAH?can’t wait to read more on it :)

  15. Catherine

    Thanks for the tips. I have to admit that I get caught up in the rat raise of wanting people to like my blog and then I feel like I’m back in high school and it’s a popularity contest! That’s pretty shameful at my age. Wish I could figure out who your surprise is. I’m just no good at waiting!

  16. Tamara

    You kitchen is GORGEOUS. I thought your post was excellent advice. I’m still trying to determine what my blog voice is, and I sometimes stress over the fact that my posts are not frequent enough, but then I remember that I’m doing this for me, for fun!

    I’m guessing your guest is Alexandra Stoddard….whoever it is, I’m excited for you & will stay tuned!

  17. Vee

    Now those are great tips! That’s why I am so glad that I didn’t limit myself to discussing one thing. I couldn’t possibly. Too many things intrigue me. But I admire all bloggers who are doing a more focused work.

    Ohhhhhhh, I am trying to imagine whom you are speaking of and running out of ideas. It can’t be Martha because she does blog and she does email…hmmmmm….

  18. Mockingbird Hill

    What a great post and one that many of us can identify with…at one time or another in our blogging life! Always enjoy visiting with you!

    Can’t wait for the BIG surprise…ooohh…I love surprises ;)


  19. anne

    Love your kitchen, if it was mine I would be in there most of the day!!!

    Your tips about blogging were great, will keep them in mind.

    Who is this woman??? Can’t wait to find out. Maybe someone like Oprah….no idea otherwise. :-)

  20. Neutral Dwelling

    Great post! and I can’t wait for you to be able to share the secret!!

  21. Dawn-Hydrangea Home

    Hi Melissa – Great blogging advice and all so true too! Your kitchen is absolutely gorgeous! And congrats on your news, my guess is also Alexandra Stoddard. Can’t wait to hear!

  22. Teresa

    My guess is also Alexandra Stoddard–from what I understand, she still writes her books out in longhand on a legal pad with a fountain pen…

    I’m loving the blogging advice found on so many sites lately. Last night, while goofing with my laptop, I did a little html (who, me?) and turned my blog into 3 columns, following directions explained on another blog. Way cool.

    Love reading your posts…they ring so true.

  23. Jan

    Thanks Melissa!! Your advise was great for all of us Bloglanders! I really believe that scheduling time for certain things on the internet is maditory! An hour or two can go by so fast and you say… “What have I been doing this last two hours… Also, I just read an article on how women need association of other women. I think that Blogging somehow fills this void that many us us lack. We just have to keep it under control. Perhaps that void could also be soothed by having a lunch date with some neat friend that we have lost time for.. Or iviting a group of ladies to our home. Then is where Blogland becomes a true reality for you and your friends. Just an idea…

    I’m anxious to hear about your surprise!!


  24. Terri Steffes

    Alexandra Stoddard????? If so, you have to say my name to her. I have longed to be her for many years!

  25. Polly

    You’re so, so right about keeping it in perspective! It’s been nearly 8 months since I started. I’m closing in on 300 posts and I’m just now getting to a place where I’ve refined my blogging (both what I post about and how long I spend reading others). And now about this secret… =) Blessings… Polly

  26. Mara of ::the simpler things::

    ::giggling at “step away from the blogs”::

    Girl, you are too funny. I love, love, love your kitchen. Let’s trade, shall we?

  27. rochambeau

    Hey Melissa,
    Couldn’t agree more!
    Have a creative night!

  28. Lynn

    Melissa, Excellent post! Those would be my tips too….just be yourself and take a break from blogging too. No need to post everyday. Can’t wait for your surprise. Come visit. I am having my 100th post give-away. ~ Lynn

  29. Brandie Kajino

    How exciting! Alexandra was the first to pop into my head as well. I LOVE her Time Alive book! Best of luck and congratulations. I look forward to reading about it, whoever it is! :)

  30. Debra W


    Congrats in advance as to whomever has taken an interest in you! I keep telling you that you are a true delight.

    The first person who came to mind was Alexandra Stoddard. I was at a conference for Fibromyalgia and she spoke there. The room was absolutely packed! I am brimming with excitement to hear your news! My insides are jumping up and down shouting, “Hooray for Melissa! You go, girl!” You deserve all of the good things that come your way.

    Big hugs,

  31. Debra W

    Oh and I adore your kitchen! I am going to pay mine a visit right now as there are three hungry daughters and a hubby waiting for my grand entrance!

    Happy Monday!

  32. Lorrie

    Your red toile chair and the red tulips on the table beside it – mmm beautiful!

  33. Kathy

    It HAS to be Alexandra Stoddard! Melissa, what a thrill that would be! She is truly an inspirational voice for living the beautiful life. I’ve met her (twice) years ago and she was so warm and friendly! Please reveal soon……If it’s not Alexandra, I’m sure it will be someone wonderful! Thanks too for YOUR inspirational voice. I appreciate the comments on creating a blog and will take those very thoughts to heart.

    P.S. A.S. uses a Cartier fountain pen with Waterman cartridge.

  34. Vanessa

    Excellent advise. Well put…and so very true. You are always an inspiration to me. Keep it up!

  35. tracy

    great post & great advice, Melissa. I often find myself comparing my blog/writing style/photos to other blogs I find especially wonderful, which only makes me feel bad about what I’m doing….or not doing. So, I’m trying very hard not to compare, but rather find inspiration for leading that more meaningful, creative, & inspired life. If I write my blog for myself, as a little journal of the good and the bad things in my life ~ the things that make me ME ~ and to not worry about whether people are judging me, then that’s good enough for me. I love the practice of writing, of trying to take great photos (without turning everything into a photo shoot), and if people don’t like it, they don’t have to read it!

  36. JO

    Not sure how I missed this … checked yesterday and it wasnt here… apparently my browser doesnt keep up with others posting…


    well since I have already seen who it is… I wont comment on who I THINK it is



  37. Paris Parfait

    Well with that beautiful life hint, I’d say it’s Alexandra Stoddard. As for the blogging bits, I agree with you. And sometimes I just have to turn off my laptop and walk away, because otherwise we could spend the entire day reading blogs! :) xo

  38. megan duerksen

    you are right.
    be myself…thank you for the reminder.
    i need it sometimes. :)

    i love that picture of you kitchen.
    you capture the coziness and beauty at the same time.
    i want to have coffee in that chair!

  39. Esther Sunday

    Yep. Good tips. You are definately true to yourself! Can’t wait to find out who it is? Martha Stewart? Love, Esther

  40. Jasmine Esbach

    I love that advice…I am new to the blogging world and it can be a bit overwhelming, wondering if you are doing it “right” and if there is anyone out there interested in what I have to say?
    But – I do believe that we are all interesting people, with different lives, living in different places and with unique dreams…
    I agree that blogging should not get in the way of family life…as hard as that may be especially when you have just discovered the world of blogging…….
    thanks for the lovely advice.
    NICE to come across your blog, its gorgeous!

  41. Lynda

    Wonderful advice, Melissa. I sometimes find myself feeling pressured to “keep up” with writing/reading/commenting then realize that blogging is something I do for “me” not for everyone else. It helps get me back on track.

    I have to take a guess … is it Alexandra Stoddard?? Whoever it is I know it’s going to be a wonderful week!

    ~ Lynda xo

  42. Things that Inspire

    Hello Melissa! I love this post, and am dying to know the mystery person! When I first started blogging, I would get sad if there were no comments, then I started to focus on the purpose of the blog (for me) – not to sell anything, not to promote a business, but to provide a place for me to capture the things that inspire me all in one place. I have found it to be very helpful in distilling my thoughts about things, and clarifying what I really like. If others react and are inspired too, great!

    The hard drive of my laptop crashed last weekend, and I was SO concerned because of the possibility of losing the hundreds of inspiration pictures that I store on my laptop. My one consolation: I have so many of my inspiration photos on my blog that all was not lost! Luckily, they were able to revive my laptop, and I signed up for a Flickr pro account so I can store all of my photos with no risk of losing them!

  43. joanna goddard

    that is really great advice, esp about being yourself. xo

  44. Memrica

    WOW!I like this chair!!!!!Best Regards Memricahouse in Sweden

  45. julie

    very, very good blogging advice…”be yourself” is probably the most important. thanks!

  46. Penny, Mosaic Artist

    Yep, I am thing A.S. too! You go girl!!! WooooHooooo!

  47. Penny, Mosaic Artist

    Oh! I also want to say, I want your toile chair!

  48. Sue

    I am catching up here and oh! It must be AS as I know she writes long hand on a pad. OH you lucky lady! I am green with envy!
    I am excited FOR you!

    Thank you for your sweet advice…as always, it is right on the mark!


  49. Mari-Nanci

    Ohhhhhhhhh, that red toile couch………


  50. Jenn and Jacqui

    Hi Melissa, great post, now the secret is out!!! WOW! And your thoughts on blogging we concurr :) J & j xo

  51. laissezfaire

    I love to hear your surprise! Am happy for you already! =)


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