Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Blogging Q&A

Today I'm answering your questions about blogging.  If you have any more questions that weren't answered, you are welcome to ask them or send me an email at emilytheperson(at)

How do you keep from feeling obligated to blog all the time?

This is such a great question.  After blogging for a while, it is easy to become focused on needing to blog to keep up a schedule instead of blogging because it's enjoyable, or wanting to write in a way that pleases others instead of writing in a way that pleases yourself.  There have been so many times that I've had to sit back and think, "Wow, I've had no passion in what I've been sharing on here lately.  This should be fun, but it isn't."

Sometimes, all it takes to fix what's wrong is the realization that you need to focus on writing what you want to write and what others need you to write.  Sometimes, you need to take a few weeks off.  Sometimes, you need to loosen up your schedule.  Instead of putting on the pressure to blog every day, blog once a week until you're feeling inspired again. 

When you're blogging out of obligation and not because you love to blog, you're cheapening the experience.  Every few months, stop and evaluate your motives for writing what you do.  And if your heart is in the wrong place, don't be afraid to take some time off, even if it means losing some readers.

Through part of 2012, you may have noticed that I took a lot of time off.  When I first decided to take a break, I stressed out a little bit.  I was blogging to please other people and it killed me that I was going to lose viewers, which I knew was going to happen.  And guess what?  I did lose readers who tired of waiting for me to return to the right frame of mind to keep blogging.  But looking back, the decision was worth it.  My desire to please everybody else had drained all of the joy from my blog.  Now, in a way, I'm starting fresh, writing in a way that brings me joy and hopefully encourages others as well.

So how can I remember to blog consistently? 

Many bloggers struggle with feeling obligated to blog.  Others have trouble remembering to actually post anything.  What I'm about to share is a trick I've used since I very first started blogging in 2009. Print out calendar pages.  Mark the days you'd like to post something on your blog.  By no means do you have to write something every day, but let's say you choose to post every Tuesday and Thursday at first.  As you get ideas of things to share, write them down on your calendar.  Now keep your calendar nearby, on a desk or tucked inside your planner, so you'll see it often and be reminded.

Don't be afraid to write multiple posts at once and schedule them in advance.  This isn't cheating.  Some days, you're going to be more inspired to write than others.  Use your bursts of inspiration to write as much as you'd like, and then schedule your thoughts to be posted throughout the next couple of weeks. 

Can I link to one of your posts in my blog?

Every few weeks or so, I'll receive an email from someone asking if it would be okay if they linked to one of my blog posts on their own blog.  Let me answer all of you right now: YES.  I'm fine with you linking to Emily is Smiling.   I welcome new readers.  I'm encouraged by anyone who shares what I write with their friends and viewers.  You are welcome to link to my blog from your blog.

Can I copy one of your blogging ideas?

I receive this email occasionally as well.  "Is it alright if I use _______ idea from your blog on my own?"  It's usually something like my "5 Things on my Mind" or "Currently" posts or a 30 Day Blogging Challenge.  When it comes to these tools used to inspire blog posts, I don't mind you using them on your own blog.  After all, I borrowed the "Currently" ideas from multiple bloggers; I have no idea where it originated.  If you use one of my blogging challenges, I would love for you to link back to my blog, but you don't necessarily have to, as long as you don't give yourself the credit for creating the idea.

On the other hand, copying something like a poem or writing from my blog without permission and credit is not okay.  Don't do that.

What made you start blogging?

I've always loved to write.  Since I was twelve or thirteen, I've had various "blogs" that are all pretty awkward and embarrassing to look back on now.  A few of them are under the username "emilytheperson," so you are welcome to go find them for yourselves.  The things I wrote before the summer of 2007 were before I loved Jesus, so keep that in mind.  At first, I never really understood what a blog was, but if there was a resource to share my writing with my friends and anyone who was interested, I was up for checking it out.

When I was sixteen, I started actually blogging for the first time when I went to Kenya, Africa in 2009.  I received quite a bit of positive feedback from my friends.  I took a break for a while and then resumed blogging that November, right after I turned seventeen.  I was hooked.  For a long time, I wasn't sure if anyone was reading what I had to say and I wasn't sure if I wanted them too, but I liked having a place where I could write my thoughts and have them out there. 

If you wrote less about your faith, you would probably get more readers.

Maybe I would, but if I didn't write about my faith, there wouldn't be much left for me to say.  My faith in Jesus is my identity.  I can't hide that.  It's not worth getting more readers to lose what gives me passion and joy.

Do you have a blog?

Two years ago: Girls love weddings (and tea) and Jack the Stalker 
One year ago: College Q&A Day (Part II)


  1. Emily, I love your story about how you started blogging! I also love the idea of allowing posts to come out in a burst, then scheduling them. Thank you for those ideas. You light up my life! You and Jesus.

    My mind is clearing up a little bit about how I want to use my different blogs, and how to grow them. I haven't really gotten any of them off the ground yet. Too many jacks spinning, too many irons in the fire. Trying to learn to be a better friend to people in my life, trying to practice and promote nurturing the spirit of faith and the love of God in myself and others, trying to practice and promote better conduct on the Internet, posting like crazy on facebook in a flood of inspiration, just to name a few.

    "The things I wrote before the summer of 2007 were before I loved Jesus, so keep that in mind." I'm laughing, wondering what we'll see if we go there!

    1. You are always so encouraging to me, Jim!