One Year Blogiversary: What I Still Need to Learn After One Year Blogging
It’s been one year since I first hit publish on this blog. In a way, it seems like it’s been a lot longer than that, and in other ways, the time has flown by. Blogging is a lot of work. It takes me hours to complete one post, which in my world can take a few days to a whole week. What takes you a few minutes to read took me days to produce!
A lot of bloggers write posts about what they’ve learned in their first year blogging, but I feel like I’m still really green when it comes to this game. So I am going to take a page from their book, but with a twist. Instead of what I’ve learned in the past year, here are three things I still need to learn after my first year of blogging.
How To Juggle Being a Full-Time Working Mother and Wife with Blogging
As I stated before, it takes me hours to put a post together. From taking and editing the photographs, to writing the content, to creating the graphics, I can work on a post anywhere from 4 to 10 hours depending on the number of photographs and the length of the post. (This post, for example, took about 4 hours because the picture I use in the background image of my graphics is a stock photo from the internet.)
To put that into context, I have about two hours a day that I can work on blogging. I work full-time, and I have a husband who deserves love and affection, I have a two-year-old who demands love and affection, and I have a puppy who requires walks – lots and lots of walks. Also, I like to do things other than blogging that I can later blog about, like reading books or going on fun adventures with my family.
So suffice to say that I haven’t mastered the work-life-blogging balance yet. Any tips?
Defining My Blog’s Niche
When I first started writing this blog, I was in a lot of pain after my mother’s death. I thought I could write about what I was learning about life after such a traumatic event, but as time went on I realized I didn’t want to be ruminating or trying to be grateful or seeking the meaning of life all the time.
Also, I don’t have a lot of experience in healing and helping others heal. In fact, I don’t think I’m the person to be giving out advice. Glennon Doyle once said on her Instagram that you shouldn’t write your story until you’ve processed it and can tell it in a way that others can learn from your experience.
I’m not at that stage yet. Case in point: The cemetery refunded my check for my mother’s burial because I haven’t actually buried her yet, her room still looks exactly the same as the day she left it, and I haven’t settled her estate because…I just haven’t.
When I walk into my mom’s room, it’s like she’s still there. It’s comforting to see all her familiar things arranged the way they’ve always been arranged, no matter what house we lived in. A couple weeks ago I had a dream in which I was crying and throwing a temper tantrum a la my toddler, wailing how everyone wants me to go through my mother’s drawers but that I’m not ready yet. So, no, I am not a role model in the healing department.
At any rate, I never really had a niche to begin with, except for possibly lifestyle. What people who blog about blogging (whose only experience blogging is with their first blog, which naturally is about how to be a successful blogger) will tell you is that you’ve got to have a niche and then niche down even more. Unfortunately, my interests are too varied and too fickle to stick to one thing.
I thought I wanted to possibly write about beauty, because I love reading beauty magazines. Turns out, once you hit a certain age, you don’t buy a lot of different products because you’ve pretty much figured out what works for you. Thus, you don’t have a lot to blog about.
Maybe be a mommy blogger, I thought. That isn’t really interesting to me, either, unless you want to read a lot of posts about how I don’t research what I should be feeding my child and what games I should play with her to improve her speech and gross motor skills. I probably should at least have some knowledge of those things so I don’t epically fail as a parent, but I’m ashamed to say I am winging it most days of the week.
So right now I’ve narrowed it down to a theme of adventure. Adventure in the various forms it shows up in my life: books, wine, the outdoors, and travel. I mean, anything can be an adventure, so we’ll see how this all goes. I have a feeling I should probably narrow it down more, but I’m not ready to do that just yet.
How to Use Pinterest to Its Full Potential
When it comes to getting eyes on your blog, Pinterest is where it’s at. More than Facebook, more than Instagram, Pinterest (supposedly) brings in the page views. Yet Pinterest baffles me.
That being said, I haven’t put that much effort into the social network/search engine. I probably wouldn’t be so confused about it if I did some research. But I just don’t understand how it works from a blogging perspective. (I’ve got the regular ol’ user shtick down pat.)
I’m supposed to pin the same pin multiple times? Shouldn’t that be illegal? Then my boards will look like the same pin over and over again. And I have to pin other people’s stuff too? Why? How does that help me, other than making me look like I’m not a narcissist? And what the heck are Tailwind Tribes?
Like I said, I need to put in the effort to research all of this stuff. I’m tempted to go on a solo vacation to a pretty hotel room in an ugly part of the country. If I do that, I can lock myself away and teach myself everything I need to know about Pinterest, surrounded by luxury but without the temptation of leaving the hotel room to poke around a beautiful travel destination. I’ll let you know where to send the wine 😉
Where Do I Go From Here?
To say that blogging has been nothing but a rewarding journey would be a falsehood. To get what I want out of it, I am going to have to put in a lot more time and effort figuring out this blogging gig. I am really good at following rules and checking off boxes, so going into an arena that has zero correct pathways to success is daunting.
The biggest thing I can to do to grow my blog and improve my writing life is to start waking up early in the morning and start writing. By the time we put Fi down in the evening, I am exhausted. It was my goal this month to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier to write and I have done it exactly zero times. Consistency is key. Habits are key. Keeping goals for yourself is key. Maybe I’ll start posting my morning wake-up goals to my Instagram stories and then prove that I kept them the next morning. Silly, but it works.
So here’s to hope and to many early mornings full of tea and the clickety-clack of fingers on the keyboard. #justkeepgoing
Tips and Tricks
Do you have any tips or tricks I may not already know to get myself out of bed in the morning? What about any blogging or Pinterest courses or hacks you think is the best thing since sliced bread? Help me out! I clearly need it! (And no joke – I will gladly accept any wine you send me! Cheers 🍷)