I Am a Blogger.

It is Sunday afternoon. The television is blaring and the ambulance sirens are racing down the street below. I am assuming my normal position at my keyboard, and my fingers are moving quickly. Today I will pen posts for three blog sites. I have done this for five years. Between reports, blogs, and client deliverables, I try to write at least 3,000 words a day. It is not something that I planned; but today, I am a blogger.

As an old gal, I never dreamed I would be a blogger, or even a writer. While I have always enjoyed reading– I spent most of my childhood on my bed curled up with a book–writing was not on the top of my list as a career choice.

Today I don’t make any money blogging, but it helps me gain influence.  I now have 114, 000 readers on LinkedIn (thank you!), 15,000 readers of my Supply Chain Shaman blog, and 7,000 readers of my Forbes blog. Also during the month, I pen two columns and three reports. Many are written on a plane thousands of miles in the air typing through turbulence while tapping my foot to music blaring in my ears through my headset, and others from my quiet moments at my kitchen table. (Sadly, I believe that I am now an expert on writing on an airplane.)

I write about supply chain, and often sprinkle a bit of life throughout the post.  In each blog format, I attempt to write in a different voice. Across the three blogs, I seldom repeat content. My writing is whimsical on LinkedIn, while on the Supply Chain Shaman blog I write for the supply chain visionary. When I pen a post on Forbes, I imagine someone from the finance team at a client. Three different audiences. Each week I attempt to pen a different blog post for a different audience on three sites. Fiercely independent, I never allow advertising.

Some History

The concept of the blog was created by a Swarthmore College student in 1994. Back then, as a single mother, I was leading Girl Scout troops in Atlanta, managing manufacturing production teams, and sewing prom dresses. At that time the concept of writing a blog was not on my radar. I was raising a child and fighting for a place in a man’s world of supply chain.

Blog adoption moved quickly. In 1999 there were 23 blogs on the Internet; and by the middle of 2006 there were 50 million blogs. When I started blogging in 2010 there were more than 152 million blogs. I was definitely a late bloomer. Gradually, I became comfortable with WordPress. It took many years, however, today I am a blogger and proud of it.

My Insights on Blogging

I am in constant amazement <and awe> that I can sit at my old white kitchen table on a Sunday afternoon and reach thousands of readers. This week one of my clients wanted to improve his reach on LinkedIn and asked me for some tips on blogging. As I shared my history and insights, he thought that it would make a good blog post. So, here I share seven basic thoughts. I hope it helps you as well:

  1. Have the Courage to Write About Failure.  Writing about personal vulnerability is uncomfortable. As you write a tough story, the words stop coming from your fingers. It is harder. It takes courage to share the uncomfortable; but when you do, you will be rewarded. My top post on LinkedIn is about being fired. I was so embarrassed about being fired in 1988 that I seldom shared it with friends. I denied it for two decades, but when I asked my boss (that fired me) to share his perspective on Linkedin, it was healing.
  2. Develop and Use Voice. My friend AJ challenged me to develop voice in my writing. He encouraged and coached me to let “Lora” roll from my fingertips. Trust me, it is easier to write in the third-person sounding like Scientific American than being yourself. Opening up the heart to strangers through a strange media termed blogging is not easy. I still work at it. Pushing my soul through my fingers to take form on a computer screen is tough. I appreciate a great coach.
  3. Write Often. Even When No One Is Reading. When I first started blogging, no one read my posts. As a result, my logical mind would say, “If no one is reading the writing, should you continue?” However, you must. It is essential. Everyone has to start somewhere. Write often at a regular cadence even when no one else is reading. Over time, you will build readership. Be patient. It takes years.
  4. Keep a List of Topics. People Love Stories. Read good writing and there will be more sparks for your brain <topics to write about>. I write them down, clip articles and wag around the mess in a well-used green notebook in my purple purse. The topics line the margin; but when I write, I try to tell a story. A good story always wins.
  5. Write. Write. Write. Write when you have an inspirational moment. Don’t force a blog. When the topic is ready to take shape and be crossed off the margin, it will happen. Get comfortable. Free your mind. Let the words flow. When writing is difficult, it is time to get coffee. Let it sit, and come back when the words flow. On Sundays I write with my feet up, in my flannel PJs, with music blaring. It is now a ritual. Making it a part of my life makes it easier.
  6. Don’t Second-Guess Yourself. I have given up. When I post a blog, I used to ask myself, “Will this be a popular blog?” I have stopped asking. Why? I never got it right, and it does not matter. Today, I never know if a post will be well received. I just write and look at the stats and reflect. Then write some more. I never get it right when I try to predict the outcome.
  7. Use Compelling Artwork. Today’s reader is visual. Spruce up your writing with artwork. Your audience is more likely to read something that is visually appealing. My favorite spot to grab a compelling visual is shutterstock.

So, these are my thoughts. If you are trying to become a blogger, I hope that these seven pieces of advice help. I also look forward to hearing and learning tips from you. Please share freely.

In closing, I am proud to be a blogger, a research analyst, a grandmother and a mother. And in my spare time run a business as a founder. Yes, I am a blogger. It is one of my hats that I proudly wear.

Lora Cecere
About the author: 

Lora Cecere is the Chief Executive Officer of Supply Chain Insights. Her career includes Vice President roles with AMR Research, Descartes Systems Group and JDA Software Group.  Lora has written two books published by Wiley, “Supply Chain Metrics That Matter” and “Bricks Matter”, and she actively blogs for Forbes. Ms. Cecere has an MBA (The University of Pennsylvania) and a Doctorate in Business Administration (Temple).  Follow her on Twitter.