As I mentioned on Monday, this is the week of my blogiversary. While there are many tips and tricks I could share about blogging, SEO, or keeping editorial calendars, I thought for today we would have a bit of a heart-to-heart. More than learning about social media or gaining a following, I’ve discovered loads about myself in this process. As I built my little corner of the Internet, there was risk. I was building a platform of words, where people would have opinions, and I would continue to develop as a person, but on a stage. It was vulnerable. It continues to be. The process has been beautiful, messy, and something that I’m incredibly thankful for.
As I began writing, I found myself in a challenge. It was a tension of the will and a war within the mind. Could I remain true to self, own my voice, and develop the sound of my brand? Over the course of the year there has been loads of growth in this area. In the blogging world, it is easy to be swayed by the voices of other bloggers on the Internet. There’s the temptation to write about topics you don’t really care about because it seems to be a “hot-topic” or something that has a bit of bandwagon power. While everyone may be doing it, there is little staying power to the content. I’ve learned to ask myself this question, “Do I want to read this? Would my readers feel that we were having a coffee chat? Does my writing mirror my conversation style, with its quirks, pauses, and humor?” This is my standard and how I hope my writing will continue to improve over the years.
Over the year, I’ve answered questions and comments about starting a blog and the ins and outs of blogging. While these are great questions, I’ve learned that just like in life, blogging doesn’t come easy. It’s actually hard work. Since going back to school, blog promotion for me has taken the back seat and some of the side work has come to a close. It’s something I’m hoping to bulk up when I’m on break during the holiday season. There are times I rush home from school to complete shooting recipes before I lose the last bit of daylight. There are other times where photos or recipes just aren’t great and it calls for scrapping a post or starting over. In this business, you will be the only one to push you toward your creative best. There’s no one else that is going to do it for you. Pound it out and go after those beautiful, crazy dreams of yours. That design that’s been looming in your head, the creative post ideas, or awesome photo shoot you dream of directing? Go make it happen and do the work.
As I wrote above, it is really easy to be influenced by other creatives and have your work mirror theirs than you might like. Sometimes inspiration goes too far and lends itself to imitation. When it comes to content creation, I’ve learned that being true to self is invaluable. There are some things that I love in modern design trends and other things I loathe. If I displayed every trend on this space, it would be a random hodge podge of items, not having any continuity or consistency. After a while, you become the embodiment of your brand. Rock the unique quirks and details that make you you. You are the only person like you so when someone comes to your little space on the internet, you do you boo boo.
There are times I’ve chosen to share moments of my life on here and it’s backfired. Once you hit publish on posts, there’s no erase button. There will always be people who will be affected by what you write, how you write it, and may not feel the most honored by your words. Over the year I’ve guaged my personal posts through the following lens. Does this person already know my thoughts and feelings on this subject? Have we talked through this and does it still honor them in a public forum? If the answer is a resounding yes, then I continue to write the post. I review my Getting Real posts very closely, as they often involve others in my life. My goal is to let you, the reader, know a bit about my life and share about my relationships and community, but not at the expense of others.
I’ll admit it. I’m a recovering perfectionist. There are many moments where I toil wondering if things are good enough to press “publish,” if I should do another rewrite, improve a mark, or ditch a column. Sometimes I just look at the clock and call it. If I’m still laboring over a post after 3 hours, it needs to be saved for another day or scrapped. I’m getting better at this and am learning that perfect can be boring. Instead, I embrace the progress I’ve made and am celebrating the “small wins” I have each day.
Who knew a small little space on the Internet could teach you so much? Are you a blogger as well? What are some of the things you’ve learned from your work this year?