In which the new blogger asks advice from experienced bloggers

Hi There, O Experienced Ones!

As you’ll note from my very short archive list, I’m awfully new at this blogging thing.  I’d really like to make a go of it so I’m looking for advice, help, to-do’s, warnings or general whatever-you-do-don’t-do-that sort of assistance.  I’m not necessarily looking to make into the big time here – I have a great job that is mostly rewarding – but I am looking to create a true outlet for myself (think: sanity preservation) and hopefully, some enjoyment for those who share it with me.  (Naturally, I’d like to have folks actually share this with me – i.e.: readers).  So, I’ll get the ball rolling here with a couple of questions and I’m hoping that this post will come to the notice of a few of you with some time under your belts who won’t mind giving me a few pointers.

1. Etiquette question:  I write about my life, stuff around me and quite often, my family.  When I’m writing about myself, it’s easy to know where the line is between what I’m willing to put out in public and what I’m not.  That’s the easy part.  When it comes to my family, that’s tougher.  So far, I’ve refrained from using their names – not that I’m under any illusion that that affords them much in the way of privacy.  I haven’t yet written too much that either child would be embarrassed by – at least, no more than the natural level of association-with-mom embarrassment innate in any teen.  How do you handle what’s appropriate and what isn’t?  Do you use photos of your kids or family in your blogs?

2. Content question: So far, the topics I’ve covered run the gamut from the viola to my cat’s ass – and a few stops in-between.  Now I’ve read a few posts out there on “getting started in blogging” and many of them caution that the burgeoning blogger should choose a theme or a topic area and stay somewhere within those boundaries.  Okay, I get this.  And I’ve seen this on many a blog I read as well – where the content is centered around the writer’s career, for example, or a favorite hobby.  Mine seem to center mostly around my family but I absolutely don’t want to be bound by this.  Maybe I’ll talk about my work life (it’s absurd enough to qualify as interesting, that’s for sure) or other things I find interesting.  How do you determine what is blog-worthy or not?

3. Audience question: No, I’m not a professional writer and no, I don’t fancy myself one of those so-called mommy bloggers with sponsors elbowing each other out of the way to get to first.  I would, however, like to have an audience, however modest.  Folks who might find what I write interesting or entertaining and might even be driven to comment, like, or even – gasp – follow this blog.  When I write about issues I’m wrestling with, it’d be great to hear from others in the same situation.  I haven’t done a lot to really publicize this blog yet.  Sure, it’s hooked up to my Facebook and Twitter accounts so every post is pushed to at least that audience.  I’m also seeing a bit of traffic from WordPress itself, also appreciated.  I haven’t started truly pestering friends and acquaintances to please read and share – frankly I’m still feeling a bit insecure about my writing and whether it’s of interest beyond immediate friends and family (who have to say nice things).  I’d like to bring in a wider audience – how have others done this?  How did you reach beyond your immediate circle, bring in the readers and build a loyal base.  Did any of you use paid media to jumpstart things?

Those are the biggies for now. But there’s more – I’m new enough at this I don’t even know what questions to ask!  Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated!

And as an advance thanks, here’s a gratuitous photo of my cat Mac in a too-small shoebox:

Kitty in a shoebox too small for him

Mac is never one to turn down a good box sit.