By Guest Author, Charlene Shannon-McCallum blogs at http://leisurethings.wordpress.com/
I consider myself to be a newbie blogger. I started my blog All Things Leisure in August 2013. I am an academic who does research in the area of recreation and leisure. I would argue that my work reaches a very small and specific audience – other academics in my field and some practitioners.
Often, I have felt frustrated that valuable, practical information about recreation and leisure was not accessible to the general public. For example, I do research on parents’ influence on children’s leisure, but I was fairly certain that the only parents who were reading my work in academic journals were other academics who also happened to be parents. Sure, I was contributing to a body of knowledge in my field, but that alone has never felt overly satisfying to me. The knowledge I had wasn’t being translated to or shared with those who could use it.
At the same time I was experiencing this frustration, I was following a number of blogs. I had the chance to experience for myself how blog posts were opportunities to become educated on a variety of topics. I began to wonder whether blogging about things related to leisure was an opportunity to translate my knowledge related to leisure in a more meaningful way.
Getting started was difficult. So many decisions to make – what platform to use, what to title the blog, what WordPress theme to select, what widgets to add. The next challenge was finding my blogger “voice”. I was fairly familiar with the “formula” for writing research papers to submit to academic journals, but developing a blog post was completely different. I had no training in or experience with this form of writing.
I also had no plan – no idea how often I would post or what topics would form my posts. I was not sure how blogging would fit in with the other parts of my life – my work life, my family life, and, of course, my leisure life. I decided that perhaps the best thing for me to do was to start and then figure things out as I went along. I figured I’d be in a better position to follow tips on blogging once I had some experience and could relate to and more meaningfully apply the advice.
And so I started. I was surprised how vulnerable I felt with my first few posts. Finding my voice has been hard and even with 33 posts under my belt, I’m still working on getting comfortable and finding my rhythm. But I have discovered a few things in my first year of blogging.
First, there are lots of things I am interested in thinking and writing about related to leisure. For example, my interest in minimalism and simple living ended up being developed into a post on the relationship between minimalism and leisure. In September when the news was filled with discussion about a pro-rape chant being recited at universities during Frosh week, I was inspired to write a post on the relationship between fear and leisure.
Second, blogging is the most satisfying knowledge sharing experience I have had in my career. In some ways, I would argue it is “leisure” for me. I have so enjoyed each of the topics I written about – even the ones that I struggled to develop the posts for.
Now that I have things rolling, I feel I am ready to be a bit more intentional. I am reading about post planning and am spending time working out ideas for topics for the next year. I’m reading other blogs with a different purpose – I’m examining how they group posts together and how they make use of guest bloggers. I’m thankful for blogs like OneCoolSite which have helped me move from wanting to blog simply out of a desire to share information to wanting to blog to share relevant information well. My evolution into a blogger will continue.
Visit Charlene’s blog at http://leisurethings.wordpress.com/
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