When I began blogging, I wasn't thinking about my future with it. Chances are, you may not have been either. Yet, here I am: 6.5 years later, still blogging. And here I am, 3 years later, still contributing to IFB. It turns out I've learned a lot over the years and have a lot to share. Here are the 5 best lessons I've learned from blogging — and from IFB.
There's a community for everyone.
Finding a community – that's why I began blogging.
You may think, “Who can possibly want to read what I have to say?” but the fact is, there's a community for everyone. Finding your community online is much like finding a community in real life – sometimes you kiss a lot of frogs. You'll find a lot of bloggers whose writing styles don't jive with you, whose content just doesn't interest you, and that's okay. Then you'll find those amazing you mesh with and build relationships with them. It'll take energy, honesty and openness, just like it would in real life.
I write for IFB because it was so instrumental to building that community for me. When another blogger shares the positive impact IFB had on their site and their relationships with other bloggers… well, it's just incredible. I understand that feeling, and it continues to give me bonding moments with other bloggers, because we've all felt that way.
Not everyone will agree with you…
Each week, there's someone who doesn't agree with something I post at IFB! (How dare they, right??) That's okay – because I'm not the definitive expert on blogging. All I can share is my own personal experience and hope that you all have had a different experience.
You think I'd have learned before blogging that not everyone will agree with me. And I did, but blogging opened up the new idea that people will choose to actively not agree with you. They'll visit your site out of spite, dislike, and hate-reading. It's kind of crazy, but it's there.
Disagreement may also come in the form of brands who expect you to write favorable reviews or cover every press release they send you. It may come from your readers: they may leave if you take too long a break or get disappointed when you write a post for your own enjoyment rather than theirs. No matter what you do, say, or believe, there's someone who won't agree. That's okay. It doesn't feel like it, but it is okay.
Like Dita Von Teese said, “You can be a juicy, ripe peach and there's still going to be someone who doesn't like peaches…” (That'd be me; I don't like peaches.)
If you take the time at the beginning, it'll save you time later on.
When I started, there weren't many resources to help bloggers learn how to blog: from structure, to optimization and organization, to community building.
Now? There are TONS of resources available for you.
Take a little bit of time early on to understand how blogging works from the back-end. Don't go crazy using tags on your site. Learn some quick basics for using SEO. You don't have to become an expert, but if you can spend an afternoon researching how to set up the back end of your site, it'll save you hours and hours of work fixing it later on. (This is coming from a lady who spent her weekend rebuilding the tagging structure on her site– and still isn't finished!)
I wish when I had started blogging that IFB was around; Jennine began it months later, and it's been a daily part of my life since. Every day, I've learned something new that has saved me time in the future. So if you have a quiet weekend ahead, dig into our forums. Search the site by keywords and open up a new world of tips for becoming a better blogger.
Blogging can take over your life, if you let it.
Many of us begin blogging for an outlet of some kind — maybe to share the things we wish we could buy. Maybe we start to find a community or inspire others with our unique stories. Somewhere between that unbridled enthusiasm and where we are now, we get so invested and involved that it feels like we lose our lives to blogging.
With this, I'm always reminded of a quote from Julie from Orchid Grey at Texas Style Council: “Balance will not happen. Fit – finding a way to make those things [that you love and want to do] is more natural.” This is paraphrased, but Julie suggested that we stop finding balance in our lives. Balance indicates that things are on a scale, and together the weight of them all will balance out. This is an unattainable goal, and she instead encouraged us to find “fit” in our lives. Much like a puzzle, we can make the things we love “fit” into our lives in a way that is realistic and manageable.
So now, 6.5 years in and having just turned 30, that's my my goal: finding a way to make blogging “fit” with the other parts of my life that have become important. It isn't always easy, but the feedback YOU all share with me reminds me that it can be done with energy, enthusiasm, and passion.
Your life can be transformed by blogging, if you let it.
I question my relationship with blogging ALL.THE.TIME. But… I'll always acknowledge the amazing ways blogging has transformed my life. Because I began blogging…
- I have met some incredible women. What's even more amazing is that, for some crazy reason, these women have faith and trust in me. They respect me and believe in the work I produce. Some days, that's absolutely mind-blowing, and I'm so grateful for it.
- I have been able to supplement my income. Some months this is a nice way to buy myself something pretty. During the last 7 months my fiance has been unemployed, and it's been resourceful and reassuring to know that I have skills that can bring in extra revenue.
- Every chance I have to interact and network with other bloggers has been an amazing experience – finding a community online when I needed it was a pivotal part of my life. Meeting those women in person? Is just mind blowing.
Whenever I feel down, overworked, or hard on myself (which is pretty much daily), I try to think about the lessons I've learned and the ways blogging and IFB have changed my life for the better. Every day I want to quit, and yet, every day I don't. There's something incredibly powerful, cathartic, and addictive about the process of blogging, and one that I can't quite imagine my life without.
If you've been blogging a while, I'd love to hear the lessons blogging has taught you. Every day is a learn experience, that's for sure!
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]