April 7, 2022
Greetings fellow readers and writers. I have been receiving some feedback in the comments regarding website issues authors are facing when attempting to put themselves out there. They know how to write, but navigating through a website and marketing oneself online are not taught in writing courses. Instead, they look to other blogs, YouTube videos, books, or even hire a professional to help. However, finding the best resources can also be daunting. Below, I have detailed my four-year writing journey to give a peek at the roadblocks I have faced, and discussed how I get through most of them.
Roadblock 1 – Where to Start
In Summer of 2018, I took time off from my teaching career so that I could pursue writing and other small businesses I am passionate about. I did not know any writers I could ask for guidance, so I created my own author/businesswoman journey. I am not an expert on writing, far from it actually, but here I will detail the steps I took to get where I am today. This will help in documenting my learning process and refining my skills in writing, maintaining a couple websites, and managing a few businesses.
- Start Small – Getting started seems to be the roadblock to pretty much any task. However, when I really do not know where to start, it is very difficult to get moving and motivated to complete the task. All my coaches say to start small, complete one task a day that will compound into something bigger, and you will gain more momentum to keep going.
- Create a Roadmap – To know where I am going, I need a map. Maybe it’s not an actual map but a list or mind map used in brainstorming. For me, I create digital mind maps on my Google Docs.
- Pack Grace and Gratitude, Use them Daily – Be flexible and grateful for the roadblocks teaching the right detours.
Roadblock 2 – Stalling
Fall 2018 – To get started, I researched how to build a website, found a good blog, and followed the steps like this:
- Created an outline of the website I envisioned so that I could figure out what types of tools I would need to build a functioning website.
- Found I wanted to build a blog website.
- Came up with Brainnerblog.com and purchased the domain name.
- Got confused with the next steps and avoided moving forward.
Fall 2019 – One year later, I am still stalled, and the domain name is gathering dust.
Fall 2020 – Have not done anything in two years, Covid hit, stuck at home, might as well try to get this website moving.
- First, I asked a couple friends to help me and watched some YouTube videos on how to build a website for blogging.
- Next, I also wanted to customize and maintain the website myself, so I found I needed a decent (not free) builder and host.
- I am not sure how I exactly came to my decision of why I chose the builder (WordPress) and host (Bluehost), but I think it has a lot to do with Google Ads and Google supported blogs.
- Finally, my website was up and running!
- Then, I got confused on how to navigate WordPress, so I stalled, again.
Spring 2021 – Still in the middle of Covid, still stuck in the web building process, and I decided it’s time to get back on track for writing.
- My writing coaches said that authors should have their names as their website so that people can find them, so I changed my domain to: drjaimebrainerd.com, and let the other domain expire (3yrs was up in Fall 2021).
- In the private writing group on Facebook, authors were posting about a blog challenge that can help new and veteran writers.
- In April, I registered for the May UBC Blog Challenge and made a plan to begin Dr. Brainerd’s B.R.E.A.T.H.S. blog.
- I had one month to figure out WordPress, so I watched YouTube Videos and just started practicing.
- May 1, I had a blog written, but I encountered issues with inserting images and figuring out how to post, and I stalled.
- May 4, I figured out the kinks and published my first blog post.
Fall 2021 – After completing a few more UBC blog challenges, I started to get a hang of blogging, and I was back on my writing journey. That is until I have some small business issues that take my focus away from blogging for a few months. During that time, there was an update on WordPress. When I went back to try blogging, my theme was all messed up, I didn’t recognize the format, and it felt like I was starting to learn WordPress all over again. This caused another stall.
Spring 2022 – I have not written in four months, I am experiencing depression from all these stalls, but remind myself about grace, gratitude, and this all being part of my glorious writing journey. If I figured this out before, I could relearn how to post blogs, and so I signed up for the April UBC challenge and started practicing WordPress again.
Roadblock 3 – Knowing When to Hire Professionals
Although I did get back on my journey, I want to be sure to keep my momentum going. After practicing with WordPress, I have a list of questions, and I am still getting stalled on moving forward. However, I am not letting that stop me from writing every day, and continuing to post on my blog so there is no more stalling. That leads me to my next task, finding the right resources to help keep a steady pace on my writing journey. Here are the professionals I have have hired so far:
- Spring 2020, I hired a business coach to help me understand how to get my small businesses started and promoted.
- Winter 2021, I started a writer’s community with several different coaches to help me get started with the writing and publishing process.
- Winter 2022, I started the Kwik Reading program so that I can research faster and soak in more business building books.
- Spring 2022, I started an online course on how to build email lists.
- I have all this hired help and tons of knowledge, yet I am still struggling with managing WordPress. So who should I hire next?
Asking for Help and Tapping Into Resources
Throughout my writing journey, I have asked friends for help, read tons of books, took dubious amounts of notes, watched countless hours of how-to videos, attended several online courses, and hired a handful professionals to assist me. There are thousands of resources we can tap into to help us. Likewise, authors can be great resources by blogging or writing a book about their experiences that can help other people on similar journeys.
Survey for Veteran Bloggers
Yesterday, I discussed the Google Workspace tools that I use, and today I am going to demonstrate how to use Google Forms. I created a survey for veteran bloggers to ask them some questions about how I can improve my website. This survey is actually open to anyone who would like to take a few minutes and pass on some web building knowledge.
Please click the link above to go to the survey. Instantly, the answers will be generated in a Google Sheet. In a few days, I will post the results to add to my blogging resources list and to keep moving forward on my writing journey. Thank you for participating and following along!
Sending lots of love and gratitude,
Dr. Jaime Brainerd