So it occurred to me the other day that this coming Saturday marks three years at this whole blogging gig. It’s nothing shy of a miracle if we are being honest. I wasn’t even sure if I could stay married for three years, let alone write a blog for that long. That’s a joke about the married thing if you are my husband and you happen to be reading. I gave us at least five.
Back to the point at hand though, as this dawned on me I started looking back at what I was writing about three years ago, two years ago, and one year ago. As I was scrolling through it almost felt like I was reading somebody else’s blog. The entire time I kept smiling and then frowning, smiling and then frowning. The smiles because I was looking back truly proud of what I had published. I would laugh, I would roll my eyes at my non-sense, and I would smile because I remember the feelings I had when writing those crazy little blog posts. And then a part of my brain started to speak up and ask “why don’t you write like that anymore? why don’t you come up with clever topics every other day? why don’t you just allow yourself to write your stupid, silly little writings on a whim and not think twice about it?” So yeah, basically my brain wouldn’t stop asking questions and it was really annoying. But here’s the thing, I had to agree with it.
This whole blogging thing is a hard balance. We (or at least some of us, myself included) start out blogging to have fun. And we do have fun, we have a lot of fun. But somewhere along the line we decide that maybe this fun could turn into an income producing hobby, which is a great logical next step in many cases. But here’s where it changed for me–within the past few months, this blog turned entirely from a fun side hobby that brings in a nice little income to THIS IS MY JOB. I have to make an income from it, it’s no longer an option. And that’s where my writing changed. No longer do I aimlessly make my way to the computer in the evenings to see what may come out of my fingers. Now it’s planned out that from 1-2 pm I will be writing a blog post because that’s what I am supposed to do from 1-2 pm. And so it’s weird. I love that this “fun hobby” is now a job, but it’s hard. Not a complaining “this sucks” type of hard, but a “hey, I want to be the fun blogger that I used to be but grow into the professional blogger that I am supposed to be…” hard.
With that being said, there are a few things I have learned throughout the past three years that I need to remind myself of right now that maybe will resonate some with you.
1. Content is key. Without producing content that people want to keep coming back for, there is no blog. I get so caught up in all of “the other stuff” that accompanies blogging that I often forget to focus on the one thing that got me to this point: content. I don’t care where you are at in your blogging career, always keep this front and center.
2. Do what works for you. I’ll be the first to admit that I often start reading other blogs and become easily discouraged. I ask myself why I can’t take pictures like they do, come up with interesting topics daily, cook food like her, etc. Along with this, I will look at other bloggers and think “HOW?!” Like how in the world did I just email them asking a question and they responded within seconds. I have learned to set goals for myself everyday of what I know I can actually achieve. More times than not it’s “write blog post” and “answer business related emails” meaning a lot of stuff gets left on the table. Determine what your priorities are, and work those priorities. None of us can do it all, regardless of how well we fake it.
3. Don’t get so caught up in reinventing the wheel when what you are already doing works. I am constantly trying to think of the next thing that I can do, when a lot of times I need to spend time looking back on what I have done. Getting back to the basics is where it’s at peeps.
So those three things are what I am trying to drench my brain in right now.
Anybody feel me on any of this right now?
ps. THREE YEARS!!!!! A celebration will be had. It will be sure to include lots of confetti, x’s and o’s, and other dramatic “you are the best readers eveeeeeerrrrr” types of things.