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)?
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