This post was originally published on Live to Write – Write to Live where I blog about writing and publishing with a diverse group of literary friends. 

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of co-presenting a session at PodCamp NH with my fellow NWHN blogger, Wendy Thomas. Our 45-minute talk was called Sanity-Saving Secrets of Seriously Prolific and Successful Blogging. We enjoyed sharing some of our best tips and tricks with such a hip and fun audience. (They loved all Wendy’s chicken stories, but then again, who doesn’t?)

The flurry of tweets during and immediately following our session was full of kind words and thanks, but one comment stuck in my head. @ellenrossano tweeted, “I like the way they are breaking blogging down into manageable chunks.”

As someone who writes for seven different blogs, blogging has become a way of life. But even for my fellow writers, the thought of having to craft and publish something worth reading on a regular and frequent basis can be the stuff of nightmares. When you look at a successful blog – one that’s all grown-up and chock full of juicy content – the discouraging little voice in your head starts to sound less like your inner critic (who should be smacked down immediately) and more like the voice of reason. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and just give up.

That’s why I was so tickled by Ellen’s comment. If we were helping the future bloggers in the room to feel less anxious, we’d done our job.

We broke blogging down into four parts using the metaphor of preparing a meal for a dinner party:

  1. Building Your Platform (Planning the Menu and the Invite List)
  2. Idea Generation & Organization (Ingredients and Tools)
  3. Creating Content (Preparing the Meal)
  4. Networking & Promotion (Sitting Down to Enjoy the Party)

Taking on each aspect of a blog this way makes it feel less like scaling a sheer cliff face and more like walking up stairs. Each of the four parts builds on the previous ones, creating a natural progression:

  1. Decide who you are and who you’re writing for
  2. Figure out what you’re going to write and how you’ll serve it up
  3. Create the content
  4. Share, promote, and discuss the content

When you look at it this way, it seems to make perfect sense, right?

The most important piece of blogging advice I give people is to remember that one size does not fit all. There are as many different ways to blog as there are bloggers. If you are considering starting a blog, don’t jump to any conclusions about how it “should” be done. Instead, spend some time considering each of the four elements above. Have fun with it. Color outside the lines. Throw out any assumptions – like having to post five times a week, or only writing posts of 600+ words. Your blog is not your boss. You are the creator. You get to decide which ingredients to use, how to season them, and what the finished dish will look like. You’re in charge of whose coming to the table and how you’ll engage them. Make your blog the celebration it should be – good food for thought among good friends – prepared and served your way.

What do you find the most daunting about starting or maintaining a blog?

For a buffet of blog posts relevant to our presentation, visit the PCNH2010 page at Suddenly Marketing.

Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who, among other things, works as a marketing strategist and copywriter. She helps creative entrepreneurs (artists, writers, idea people, and creative consultants) discover their “natural” marketing groove so they can build their business with passion, story, and connection. She also blogs. A lot. She is a mom, a singer, and a dreamer who believes in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Look her up on facebook or follow her on twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.