Recently, I decided to try (again) to learn to cook. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time.
But, learning to cook can seem a little overwhelming at first. It’s hard to know where to start, what you will need, what ingredients go well together, and the proper techniques for things like folding, mixing, and kneading.
Let’s not forget about mustering up the motivation to actually cook something, especially when it’s far easier just to order a pizza, make a quick sandwich or throw some hot dogs into the golden goodness of a box of Kraft® Mac n Cheese.
The same can be said for learning to blog.
A few years ago, I started to write the occasional post. It was a little bit terrifying. I was going to be representing the company, online, where other people can read my thoughts, opinions or recommendations. I was concerned how my posts would be received and if my writing skills were sufficient enough to convey my knowledge on a subject.
Like cooking, I didn’t know where to start. I wasn’t taught how to blog. I wasn’t sure what would make a good post and I needed to do plenty of research to learn about creating topics and titles and how to write in a way that was easy to read and sometimes even entertaining.
Surprisingly, there are quite a few similarities between learning to cook and learning to blog, especially when it comes to excuses.
There’s not enough time
It’s easy when thinking about learning to do something to squash the idea due to time constraints. But, if it’s something you want to do or something that will contribute to your business’s success, you need to prioritize. Look at what you do each day and identify which activities may be of lesser importance to you. Prioritize your blogging and commit to spending a certain amount of time each week to your research and writing. You may actually find that as you practice, you’re increased confidence and improved skills will make you more efficient and reduce how much time you spend preparing to blog or writing your blog.
I was never taught
Depending on your home environment, you may not have been involved in the preparation of family meals, learning some of the smallest tasks such as measuring or mixing ingredients, eventually building the confidence and skills to tackle more complicated recipes.
Similarly, with blogging, you may not have had the opportunity to do a lot of writing, especially for the purpose of educating readers and trying to attract and engage website visitors.
In cooking, you might choose to steam a fresh vegetable rather than nuking a can of green beans one night. Eventually, you can build on each skill and develop good habits to create an entire meal. Remember, you don’t need to get fancy or create a culinary masterpiece every meal.
In blogging, start with topics you know intimately. Plan your post and the ingredients it must contain such as a title and keywords. Do some research on the topic to help you codify your ideas. Don’t try to be William Shakespeare.
I don’t know what to cook (or write)
When you haven’t been cooking regularly, building a repertoire of dishes can be difficult. Researching recipes can inspire you. But learning to cook involves knowing what you can swap and change to suit your needs and tastes using basic formulas and techniques.
Bloggers often have trouble formulating ideas and topics. Knowing what to write about and what readers will respond to is matter of trial and error and A/B testing. While blog ideas generators may help you get you started, good keyword research will help you develop topics that matter to your readers.
I don’t know the right way
Rest assured, you’ll learn the best practices often associated with blogging. But with all best practices, they aren’t all necessarily best for you. Just like basic cooking techniques, you’ll develop your own methods for handling the tools and the ingredients. And, as you write more, you’ll learn tips and tricks to speed up your research and improve your writing. You don’t have to know everything – about blogging or cooking – to get started. As with anything, your process – and success rate – will evolve over time.
I just can’t do it
I come from an Italian family that loves to cook. In fact, my brother and my cousin are both professional chefs. I’ve always felt cooking was just something I couldn’t do. Maybe it doesn’t come naturally to me, but with some practice, I’ve learned to chop, mix, and season fairly well.
The same is true of my writing and blogging. I’m an artist and designer. My father was the English major and writer. But that doesn’t mean I can’t learn to write. While it doesn’t come naturally, and my first blog posts took hours to research and craft, and I spent plenty of time staring at a blank page, each post has become easier to start and I have found my voice, sentence structure and word choice has improved.
Learning to cook and learning to blog needs to become a habit if you want to make significant progress in your skill level. Only through doing them regularly and repeatedly will you gain the skills you need and become more efficient in your task. Eventually, you will learn how to put your own spin on both the recipes and the posts – and you’ll have something delicious to eat while you read your posts, published on the Internet for all to see!