I’ve gained a lot of skills in my first year blogging, but the most important thing that I’ve learned has nothing to do with pageviews.
Today is my one year blogiversary. (Cue the confetti!) Exactly one year ago I pushed publish on my very first post and sent it out into the void with NO idea of the avalanche of blogging that would follow. It’s been a marvelous, challenging, tear-stricken, hilarious, frustrating, and amazing ride.
Learning to blog has a seriously steep learning curve, and I felt like an idiot a lot of the time. I can write, I can take pictures that look pretty good, but the technical and marketing side of things? Whoa, Nelly. I had no idea.
I’ve gained a lot of valuable skills over the last year. I know what SEO is and how to choose keywords to boost my Google ranking. I figured out what a “tribe” was and how to find one via Facebook groups. I also learned how important it is to have such a tribe, or a group of bloggers that you can connect with, support, and ask questions of when you get stuck. I learned how to add plugins, become an affiliate, get my site unblocked from Pinterest (grr), and do all sorts of other bloggy things.
However, the most important thing I’ve learned (and am still learning…over and over) is to be true to myself.
As I’ve gotten more comfortable in the blogging world, and found little bits of success here and there, it’s been super tempting to take it to the next level. To push myself harder, spend more time working, and really make a name for myself out there. That’s not a bad thing necessarily. I want this little blog of mine to succeed, and I’m willing to work hard for it.
I see income reports from bloggers who are making thousands of dollars a month, or who gained 500 Instagram followers in two weeks, or who are promoting new awesome e-books. I start comparing myself to them and wondering if I should be doing more.
A breaking point
For the last couple of weeks I’ve felt so much pressure to come up with something awesome to celebrate my one year mark as a blogger. Several months ago, I told myself that by this time I would have upgraded my theme, started an email newsletter, and pitched to several sponsors so that for my blogiversary I could launch some awesome giveaway to thank my wonderful readers (and you are wonderful, by the by). Well, here we are, and I am just not there yet. I’ve been stressed out and pretty much killing myself this week trying to figure out how to do it all.
And that’s when I had to remind myself: building my blog has to be done according to my own goals and desires–not from a need to keep up with blogging Joneses.
Every blogger has different goals. Mine are unique to me, and I need to be true to myself.
I am NOT blogging to get rich.
I am not blogging to make it a full time job with a full time income.
I am a mom first and foremost, and if my blogging takes away from my ability to be a present mom, then it’s not worth it.
There are days when I know I put my kids on the back burner in an effort to “get one more thing done” on my blog, and I’m trying to be better at setting specific times when I’m going to work and make sure that I set aside time to put my away technology and really give my kids the time and love they need from me. When I don’t do that, my boys tend to act out more (can you say, “I need attention”), and I am not as patient with them (because they are making it hard to “be productive”).
When I start to feel overwhelmed by the never-ending list of things I could be doing to grow my blog, I try to stop and refocus on my goals.
Why I started blogging in the first place:
- I wanted to create a place where moms could find fun ideas for their families and be reminded of all the good that exists in the day-to-day life of mothering. It’s not all fun, but it can be filled with joy and purpose.
- I wanted to connect with other moms who have similar desires to be present, loving, and involved in their children’s lives.
- I wanted to improve my writing skills and develop other skills and talents.
- I wanted a creative outlet for myself, so I don’t go completely nuts folding laundry in my house surrounded by toddlers.
Putting those goals on paper helps me slow down and be more deliberate about how I spend my time, both as a mom and a blogger. I still want to grow my blog and make it successful, but it’s okay if it takes a little longer for me than for others with different goals. I am blessed that I don’t have to worry about making an income from my blog. I can blog just for the love of writing, and sharing ideas and encouragement with other moms from around the world.
My advice to new bloggers
If you’re starting out blogging, be patient with yourself and don’t lose sight of your main goals. Don’t get caught up in the tidal wave of feeling like you have to be more or do more to prove your worth. Try to learn something new every day, and slowly work toward your goals.
You’ll get there. It just takes time and consistent work (not crazy, burn-yourself-out work).
My new mantra:
Live first. Blog second.
When I keep these priorities straight, I’m a better mom, a better blogger, and a happier person. Here’s to another year of success…in all areas of life.
How do you resist the urge to keep up with the blogging Joneses (or any other kind of Jones)?
I regularly link up here.
Adree @The Keele Deal
I love this! I just started blogging seriously in May and I have had a hard time figuring out how to balance it all. Thanks for the great reminder to figure out what your priorities are. I needed the reminder that for me blogging also comes second to being mom!
Thanks, Adree. I think sometimes I feel such a need to contribute and connect outside my home that I start to take the stuff inside my home for granted. But, there’s a reason we chose to be stay at home moms, right? We WANTED to be there for our kids, to see and shape them while they are little. Hopefully, if we keep reminding ourselves and each other of that, we will keep the balance a little better.
Thanks for sharing this. I so appreciate reading “Don’t get caught up in the tidal wave of feeling like you have to be more or do more to prove your worth” because I have been guilty of that in my first few months blogging. Computer stuff does not come naturally to me, so I struggle with figuring out all the “fancy” stuff I’d like to do.
Oh my goodness, Kate. I always thought I was pretty computer savvy, at least with basic stuff, before I started a blog. But the technical requirements of blogging continue to BLOW my mind. I’m slowly but surely learning what I need to do, but I feel like if blogging was a dictionary, then I’m still reading somewhere around “aardvark.” I’m just trying to get better at learning one new thing at a time and not try to eat the whole elephant at once.
Blogging has SO many moving pieces and it’s easy to have a to-do list that grows and grows…
It was wise to remind yourself why you started blogging in the first place! It’s so important to make sure we are prioritizing the right things. 🙂
Yep. I have too many spreadsheets and to do lists and great ideas for the blog. And I’m so glad I have more ideas than I know what to do with, but that doesn’t mean I have to do them all NOW, right? Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for sharing this! Happy blog anniversary! I’m coming up on mine and telling myself the same thing. That I have to do a big giveaway, change my blog etc. But I can’t seem to find the way to do it, so maybe it isn’t time! You’re so right, to stay true to what/who we are!
That’s what I finally realized, Annie. My husband made the super logical point that no one else even knew it was my blogiversary, and it’s not like people had these EXPECTATIONS of me (like I had for myself). So, I decided to throw out what I thought I “should” do, and focus instead on what I felt like I NEEDED to share. I’m so glad that it’s resonating with other people, too. Good luck with your own blogiversary.
Lauren @ Imperfect Adventures
You’re absolutely right! I didn’t even realize that I was trying to keep up the with “blogging Jonses.” All in God’s timing. 🙂
Exactly, Lauren! I feel like blogging is a really good opportunity to spread hope and the joy of mothering (and share some fun, practical ideas, too), but I want to make sure that I always remember THAT is why I am doing it, not to build up my own ego or acclaim (which is super tempting, right?). When I get impatient to succeed, I realize that I’m getting too focused on ME, and not enough on the good that I can do for others. Slow and steady.
Thank you so much for sharing this! I am a new blogger but I can relate to having these internal struggles already as I try to define my purpose and message. And find a home for other writing I am doing that doesn’t fit nicely into my original blog concept (but that I can’t stop writing now that I’ve started…)
I think you should print out your goals & mantra, frame them, and hang them where you write. I will probably do the same when I’ve ironed mine out 🙂
Thanks! I love the idea of printing out the mantra. I’ve been wanting to spruce up my office space with some artwork/inspirational quotes. Maybe I’ll play around with Photoshop (in all my free time, right?) and come up with a cute printable version of the mantra. P.S. – I love the concept of your blog. I’ve read several of your posts and I seriously need to implement a sanity plan in my own life, too.
I love that. Live first, blog second. So so true! I just past my two year mark and I’m still enjoying blogging because I focus on why I started in the first place. Similar to you, I started this to enhance my motherhood, not stress me out more. I realize I’m lucky I can do this from home while taking care of the kids and would like to make money from it but know it may never be my main source of income. At the end of the day I really enjoy it! Thanks for sharing.
Marla | Because I Said So Baby
This is literally, exactly how I feel. I was definitely getting to that breaking point of feeling like I was almost ignoring my toddler to try and get stuff done for my blog. Then I had to stop and remind myself that the reason I left teaching was to stay at home with my baby! It’s a tough realization and I often feel discouraged by reading blogging and income reports from other sites. But then I remind myself that writing and sharing my ideas is what brings me joy. Thank you for sharing this – it’s so spot on.
Oh, Marla. I love your blog, and it’s been so comforting to me to read everyone’s comments today about the struggle to be mom and blogger. I truly believe we can do both, if we keep things in perspective and don’t try to run faster than we have strength. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for sharing this! I’m at about the six-month mark and the reminder to “live first. blog second.” is really important. Congratulations on your first year! Excited to see what you do with the second one!
Congrats Meg! Consistent blogging is hard to do, I’ve yet to do that with any of my “professional” blogs. I get really excited, create and post A LOT, then it all fizzles and dies. I haven’t quite found my niche yet, but I love pretty much everything about the blogging world so I know I’ll get there someday 😉
Thank you for sharing this post, it was a great reminder for me! I’m working on another new blogging project right now and I’m going to adopt your mantra to help me keep it in perspective. I think this post was the perfect gift to your readers for your blogiversary 🙂
Thanks, April. I can’t wait to see your new project. Keep me posted. 🙂
Great article Meg! I can relate to this ongoing struggle. I love your message throughout your post. It is a good reminder for me and other mom bloggers on the hampster wheel.
Thanks, Natasha. I still get caught on the wheel, but I’m trying to remind myself more often that it’s not a race.