Starting this blog was mostly an impulse decision. I had previously had a couple blogs, none of which I kept up with long. I had been feeling lately like I wanted to start blogging again, and I went from making that decision to publishing my first post, all in less than 24 hours. Now let me first say, this isn’t something I would recommend to anyone who wants to blog seriously. I put very little thought into my blog’s name, design, or purpose. My first post consisted of a picture of me and a short introduction about myself. The posts I published in the following months weren’t much different. Now, years later, it’s safe to say I’ve learned a lot. Some of the things I learned have been pleasant surprises, some not so much. Nonetheless, I definitely wish I had known some of them before I started blogging!
You’re Not Always Going to Love It
Overall, I love blogging. I have no doubt about that. However, I don’t love it every minute of every day. Sometimes I remember the blog post I have to write for the following day and I cringe. Some days blogging is the last thing I want to do. Some days my mind is so blank, I can’t imagine how I’ll come up with blog post ideas for the week. Regardless of how much you love blogging, you’re not going to love every single thing about it or every day of it. And that’s okay! Blogger burnout happens, and it’s okay to take a break when you’re mental health requires it.
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It’s a Ton of Work
Blogging is without a doubt more work than I thought it would be. It requires more hours of work than I thought it would. It’s more stressful than I thought it would be. My first few months of blogging, each post took me 15 minutes, at most. That was if my graphic was super fancy. Now, blog posts take me far longer than that. It’s not unrealistic to work on a blog post for an hour or more, significantly more if the post requires photography. It can be draining. It takes more organization than I would have dreamed. It’s just a lot of work.
Relationships Are Important
I would never have dreamed how important relationships are when it comes to blogging. And by relationships, I mean the relationships you’ll form with other bloggers, as well as those with your readers. I know without a doubt that without those, my blog simply wouldn’t be where it is today. It’s all about connecting! Early on in this blog, I joined some Facebook groups to connect with other bloggers and get my blog posts out there in front of people. Through those groups, I was able to connect with bloggers who became my core tribe, the ladies I go to first for blogging advice. They’ve turned into more than just a blogging tribe, but real friends. On top of that, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with countless other bloggers who support my blog, while I support theirs.
More than just the benefits for your blog, forming relationships with other bloggers is essential for your own peace of mind and happiness (at least for me). Blogging can be isolating. You’re sitting behind a computer, writing to an audience you can’t see (though they talk back through their comments and social media). It can be lonely if you haven’t developed a group of blogging friends to connect with.
You Get Out of It What You Put Into It
One of my favorite surprises about blogging has been the different doors it would open. Before I started this blog, it hadn’t occurred to me that I would make money on it and hope to someday turn it into my full-time job. It is totally possible to build your blog into a business, but you only get out of it what you put into it. Monetizing your blog is a lot of work, and there are countless steps you should take before really hoping to make any significant money on your blog. It takes initiative. No one will be holding your hand and guiding you on the next steps. The traffic won’t come without you promoting the heck out of your blog posts. You can’t collaborate with companies on sponsored posts if you aren’t willing to improve your writing and your photography. The thing about a side hustle like this one is that there is no boss giving you deadlines for each project. It’s completely up to you to decide whether you’ll reach your deadlines and finish your projects.
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You’ll Never Stop Learning
After years of blogging, I’m still constantly learning new things about blogging. Whether it be learning new design techniques, learning new social media tricks, or developing new ways to come up with post ideas, the learning never stops.
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It’s Not Just About Writing
I love writing. I always have. I spent much of my life wanting to be an author or a journalist. The irony is that I had completely given up on either of those, changing my major to Political Science and deciding that a job writing simply wasn’t for me. Little did I know. That’s why I started blogging in the first place. I missed writing! But blogging is about so much more than writing. I never dreamed that such a small percentage of my time working on my blog would actually be spent writing. But in fact, my time is more filled with creating graphics, keeping up with social media, connected with other bloggers, ensuring I have an effective blog design, and more. Blogging has forced me to learn more skills than I would ever have dreamed. Do I sometimes wish it was just about the writing? Sure. But on the whole, I love every aspect of blogging and love the different skills it has allowed me to learn.
I Love it More Than I Thought I Would
There are times I resent the amount of time my blog requires. There are times I’m tired and just don’t feel like writing or designing, or interacting on social media. But those moments are far outweighed by the amount of time I spend loving blogging and excitedly making future plans for my blog. Two years ago, I would have never dreamed that I would dream of one day turning this hobby into my job. The joy I get from blogging is completely unparalleled in another hobby I have had, and I’m genuinely surprised at how much I love it.