1. Improve my photography skills
A picture really does speak a thousand words, and when you're perusing a blog post, there is nothing more frustrating than beautiful prose being spoilt by substandard, poor quality photos. I have been guilty of this in the past, but now I have my DSLR, I am taking time to learn all the basics such as how to frame, focus and zoom, and what changing the settings from Auto to Manual can do to a photo. I've installed photo editing software on my MacBook, and I'm trying my damned hardest to look as though I 'have the eye' (I definitely don't, but I am enjoying practicing all the same).
2. Don't lose touch with why I started
When you start to take blogging a little more seriously, it's so easy to lose touch with the passion and gusto you felt with your first few posts when you had no audience and were just writing for yourself, your grandma and that creepy man down the street that somehow got hold of your URL. I'm going to make it my goal to retain this feeling, and my own, unique personality throughout this year. Nobody wants to read a post that's been scraped together because 'it's what everybody else is talking about' or that sounds stilted because the writer is so aware of all the eyes on their content.
3. But do get more organised
For the first time ever, I've bought myself a diary (two actually - one for work), and written stuff in it! I've bought diaries before, which have gathered dust until I've eventually used them for doodles, scrap books or fire kindling. But I've actually managed to write in this one and I've even set up a regular blogging schedule for the first time ever!
This year, my schedule will be as follows:
Mondays: General post about anything and everything that takes my fancy (see point 2)
Wednesdays: 6 things (like this post!)
Fridays: Weekly round-up post
Sundays: Review post
Let's see how long I can keep it up!
4. Look outside of Follow Your Sunshine
It's so easy to get lost in your own little world when you're blogging. However, if you raise your eyes from your Blogger stats for just a moment, you might realise that there's a whole blogging universe out there to be discovered. Chatting with and meeting up with fellow bloggers can be very rewarding as Angie discusses in her latest post about lunch at the Mondrian (we're not all geeks, honest...OK maybe just a bit!). Moreover, if you're able to get involved in a formal blogging network such as Blogging ME or join in regular group posting, such as Kelly, Emma and Rebecca's monthly travel link-up (read my latest post on my 2015 travel aspirations here), then you can really start to feel like part of a community. As soon as I raised my head above the parapet this year, I was faced will all kinds of new opportunities such as an interview and series of guest posts with Funky Qatar Blog, and a collaboration opportunity with The Pearl, Qatar. Now I'm looking ahead to lots of exciting things to come - including a potential biggie (watch this space, it might not come off), but the most exciting thing about all of this is that I'm starting to make some very awesome and inspirational friends through my little blog.
5. It's time for a facelift
2014 was all about making the scary leap from a standard Blogger template to downloading a custom one and making my blog my own. I chose a fairly basic design so that I could customise it, and as a result I mastered some basic coding, but my page looks a little rough around the edges ('shabby chic', darlings). Although I'm rather fond of my hand-painted yellow sun in the corner of my page, I have a few ideas for a whole new, more minimalistic design for this year. I've also purchased my very own URL, I just need to pluck up my courage to get going on it all. If anyone has any useful advice on any of this, then please do drop me a comment at the end of this post! Being a complete newbie, I would be grateful for any tips whatsoever.
6. Write better content
This one is the hardest to master, and yet by far the most important. The one thing that keeps people returning to a blog again and again is engaging, emotive and beautiful writing. I haven't quite made it yet, but if I read constantly, adapt my style to my content, and continue to write only what is of value, then I think I'll be halfway there.
What are your blogging goals for 2015? Is there anything I've missed?