How to Write a Blog

This website has not been up for very long, but I did (and continue to do) a lot of research on how to make a blog an effective marketing platform. My goal for this website is to build up its audience and content enough that it can generate some revenue for me. To be able to do this, I first needed to nail down the specifics of how to write a blog.

Setting up your site is the easiest and, arguably, most fun part of this whole process. Existing hosts like WordPress, Squarespace, or Blogger have made it cheap and simple for a person with little to no coding experience to create a decent website. They have pre-made themes, navigable customization, and fairly good customer service in case you get hung up. Getting your website out is easy. Making a website that people want to visit is hard.

Now you have to write and you have to learn to write well. Writing well will be different for everyone. It all depends on who you’re writing for. What I consider good writing today is not what my English teacher would give me an A for. It’s all about gauging your audience and tweaking your content as you go along. I have not been the most consistent in the topics or quality of my blogs, but that wasn’t my goal for this month. My goal was to blog every day so I could build up my site before I tried to sell it as anything specific.

That’s the next step for your website: set goals. It’s important to make sure the goals you set benefit your site where it stands right now. If you just made your website, it would be unwise to set a goal of getting $100 in ad revenue in the first month. It’s definitely possible, but it may not be helpful for the longevity of your site. In my opinion, most people feel slightly uncomfortable when looking at an empty website, so I set a goal that would make sure that wouldn’t happen. Although I wasn’t consistent in what I wrote about, I was consistent in that I wrote every day and that made my site look full and active.

Pick something every month that you want to be consistent in. This month, I just wanted to get into the habit of writing every day. Now that I have that habit, I can begin to narrow down what I want to write about. Once that’s narrowed down, I might start thinking about how long I want my blogs to be. When generating content, there will always be new things to work on. In the beginning, there will be a lot of areas that need help, and that can be overwhelming. Focusing on one objective will make the whole process of improving a lot smoother.

Today is the last day of my July goal and I’m very happy to say I was able to achieve it. Writing has easily become one of the best parts of my day and I am glad to be taking such a good habit with me to Montreal. For August, I want to take a good look at what I’m writing and try to be more consistent in the times that I write my blogs. If I leave them to the last second, I’ll just write about the first thing that pops into my head and publish it, usually unedited. This was fine for my July goal, but won’t work for my August goal. The process of transitioning from one aim to another is tricky, but it will get easier with practice. Happy writing.

Eloragh

 

Long Days in the Airport

Long days are inevitable, long days at the airport are just cruel. I actually enjoy airports a little bit. I think I like the busy energy that they exude. However, when I’m in a rush, catching an early flight, or doing anything that involves exhausted effort on my part, it can make my day hell.

I had a long ass day today and I was a bitch the entire time. I feel bad for my father who traveled with me, although I’m sure he’s used to this type of behavior. He leaves me be and lets me sulk until I feel like I can participate in some kind of human interaction again. Until that time comes, I’m awful to be around.

Sometimes, you have to give yourself permission to just throw a tantrum. Not often, frequent tantrums are reserved for infants, unfortunately. I think a tantrum in whatever form it may express itself can be healthy. Humans get fed up with stuff, especially our own inability to explain just how fed up we are.

Eloragh

How to Deal with the Hard Stuff

This is How to Deal with the Hard Stuff: Relationship Edition. I’m a very communicative person, so I tend to gravitate towards people who are as well. There are exceptions in my social circle, and that can lead to some complications. When complications arise, the best thing to do is let both parties air their grievances, make sure both parties apologize regardless of their feelings towards the complaints, and move on.

It’s difficult to both share why you’re frustrated and listen to why others are frustrated with you. It’s not fun to admit that things have fallen on hard times with someone you really care about, but relationships can’t always be fun. People are different, they face different challenges and experiences that can cause shifts in their relationships. Genuine care is shown when you’re willing to have an honest conversation because it means that you really want to salvage the relationship.

Thus begs the question, do you want to salvage the relationship? Some relationships can be toxic, and those are best left in the past. The specific relationship that I’m having trouble with is not toxic, so my struggle with this question is a little more difficult. I think most relationships are worth salvaging. Any connection that hasn’t been a blight on your life is worth keeping, especially if they’ve been around for a while. As I said earlier, relationships are difficult, but they’re an integral part of the human experience. One bump in the road should not be enough to make you cut someone out of your life.

Don’t become defensive during this conversation. Regardless of whether or not you think your counterparts frustrations are relevant or legitimate, it still frustrated them, and you should acknowledge that. Apologizing is a hard part of this process, but if done correctly each party will feel as though their concerns have been addressed appropriately. This also means that both parties should feel slightly uncomfortable and upset, but that’s natural and healthy. If relationships were always comfortable, no one would be lonely or single.

After everything is laid out for all to bear witness to, then it is time to move on. If you’re in a relationship with someone who wants to hold grudges or use past problems against you, that is a sign of something more toxic. If you reach out to someone in an effort of reconciliation and they refuse to respond, that is most likely a toxic person. You should take pride and comfort in knowing that you did the mature, responsible thing by trying to fix the problem. If they refuse to participate in the solution, it will be a much easier fix.

Relationships are not easy, but they are simple. Communicate, support, encourage, and love those that mean a lot to you. Everything is straightforward in theory and more difficult in application. Trust the process, trust your instincts, and try to cultivate a healthy relationship in the process.

Eloragh

Parties

I’m not a fan of parties. My parents love hosting parties, which has always caused me some discomfort. I don’t really know what it is about having people in my house with the objective of socializing as much as possible, but it tends to grind on my nerves.

Usually, when I hang out with a friend, I tend to have a purpose other than socialization. Maybe that’s seeing a movie or getting coffee or doing some work together. Either way, it’s not hanging out just for the sake of hanging out. We want to be around each other, but we don’t want to feel the need to entertain the other person.

Parties can be ok every once and a while. They can be a useful reminder as to why parties suck.

Eloragh

The Soo

VICE recently did a documentary on Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (aka the “Soo”), the town my father was born and grew up in. It’s a small steel manufacturing city right on the US-Canada border. I have been coming here since I was born, but only recently have I been aware of the desperate state the Soo is in.

My grandparents moved into the Soo not long along. For most of my life, they lived on an island about 45 minutes out of town. That island holds a lot of memories from my childhood – climbing rocks with my cousin, fishing with my uncle, and roasting marshmallows over an open bonfire in the dead of night with my dad and sister. When they moved, I knew it was for the better. Their health had been declining for years and traveling back and forth for care was becoming too much for them.

I did acknowledge that moving was the right thing to do, but I was also forced to recognize that the house on the island would be sold. Much like my grandparents, the small cabin they lived in had been on a downward slope for many years. The forest around them was overgrown, their dock was in need of repair, and a part of their roof was ready to cave in once the snow fell. It was no longer the house I remembered, but losing it was still painful. I didn’t want to deny myself the right to feel that loss. A lot of people told me to think of it differently, but a loss is hard enough to process when you’re taking it at face value. Seeing it for what it was meant a lot to me.

Summers on Pine Island were hot and humid, filled with mosquito bites and the smell of dirt, but they were also rich with laughter and family. Before my uncle became ill, he would work all day every day to support himself and his son, so seeing him on the island was a rare and special occurrence. My best memories are those spent with him, watching him reel in fish, teaching me how to cast, listening to his stories about work. His life was much different than mine and it fascinated me.

Life interrupts memories though. The Soo is dealing with a drug crisis, my uncle and grandmother are becoming increasingly unwell, and my grandfather is all but gone. My cousin and his girlfriend are going to leave, they’re both ready to take separate paths in life. I’ve grown attached to them, I’ll admit. Soon, they will be some of the only family I have left. Life goes on, people move, people die, you continue. It is for reasons and observations such as this that I have to trust when I feel as though I am not in the right place. If I take anything away from watching my family drift away and apart, it is that the best memories I have with them were made in moments of raw truth and happiness.

That’s why I made this website, that’s why I continued ballet when everyone told me not to, that’s why I really want to succeed without college. Something about traditional paths doesn’t feel right for me. I want to prove to myself that I am what I was always told I am – different. If I’m going to be different, then I’m going to do things differently. Many things in life are scary and sad, but feeling those emotions brings you perspective. Watching the town I used to admire and adore fall into disrepair brings me to a lot of new perspectives. Life is not always about feeling happy or distracting yourself from the bad things. Let yourself feel, it’s a beautiful thing. It means you’re alive.

Eloragh