New year, new blog. January is a month of change here on WordPress. New bloggers decide it’s time to start a site and are busy thinking about what their first post should be, while those who have been around for a while consider redesigns and a possible change in direction.
Whether you’ve just started your blogging journey or have a few years’ experience under your belt, both situations can feel a little daunting. It can be more work than you realise and come with a steeper learning curve than expected. For new writers, there may be additional pressure from feeling as though you’re entering into a community where everybody already knows each other; and for established bloggers, there’s the battle to keep things fresh and avoid the dreaded writers’ block.
Luke from Hundstrasse and I were chatting about these things late last year after we got into a conversation about how difficult it can be to get good blogging advice. The internet searches I’d run in the past pulled back plenty of responses to my questions – but seemed to be written by ‘SEO experts’ or gurus who could show you how to make money from your site. Neither were the kind of people we wanted to take guidance from. Where were the answers from people who were actually blogging – and not for profit, but for enjoyment?
A month or so later and we decided to create The Support Role, a new Discord server where bloggers can come together to learn from each other. We want it to be a place where new bloggers could be introduced to other members of the community and those who have been here a while could possibly make new blogging friends. But not only that: we’re working on making it a group where questions can be asked, advice sought and opinions requested, and real answers are received from peers who know where you’re coming from.
The server has only been active since the beginning of the year and so is still in its starting phase, but already we’ve had some very useful discussions. We’ve also added dedicated channels for streaming, video and podcasting advice for anyone who wants to dip their toes into other areas of content creation. There’s a place to share collaboration ideas if you’re looking for people who would be interested in getting involved in a joint-project, and somewhere for video game press releases if we come across anything interesting.
It may seem strange that I decided to go in this direction with Luke after writing in October 2018 about finding the social aspect of blogging pretty difficult. Although I’m usually fine and can join in if I’m in a chat with a handful of friends, the anxiety starts to creep in when it gets to more than five people or so. But I said in my resolutions post that I wanted to more to get bloggers taking and share our experience, and the server – along with the weekly #BloggerTalk events – feel like a great place to start.
This invitation to is open to everyone so please do stop by and make yourself at home. There are channels for chatting if you feel like talking about the games you’re playing at the moment or sharing your pet photographs; but if you’re more the quiet type, then the group is there wherever you need to ask a blogging question or get some advice. Use it how you see fit and however it’s going to help you make the most of your site.