6 Lessons I’ve Learned after 6 Months of Blogging
Today is my ½ year blogiversary! It’s hard to believe six months has gone by since following the intuitive nudges and beginning this blogging journey, and I wanted to share 6 things I’ve learned in my very short time in the Blogosphere
1) Daily Dash of Bravery
I knew I wanted to start a blog months before I actually hit “publish” on my first post. Just ask my dear friend and mentor Lisa Van de Geyn who I’m sure wanted to smack me upside the head to “just get on with it already!” But seriously, opening up your heart, your thoughts, your words to an unknown audience takes some courage, guys! Would anyone even read this?”, I thought. And it doesn’t just end once you begin. Everyday requires a daily dash of bravery to keep at it, and overcome the fears of how your message will be received. I actually started a blog back in 2011 “Women Into Wisdom”. I wasn’t ready to keep at it then, and lacked the confidence to put myself so “out there” so I quit. Even for someone who considers themselves a confident person, opening up your thoughts pulls up insecurities you may not realize you harbour deep down and requires pushing them aside time after time. It’s been a daily reminder to believe and keep believing in myself even when it frightens me. And now that the biggest trend in blogging is live video!? Oh man, a whole new level of courage will need to be mustered. I love taking photos, but kind of squirm having to show myself in them. Now I have to speak on live feed? Yikes. I may need more champagne! 😉 And to anyone considering this blogging journey, I say go for it! If you never try you’ll never know, right?! If it feels “right”, make it happen. I’m a “serial trier” (new post to come 😉 ) and can assure you there is no failure in trying something new. I’ve done some things I know were not meant for me that I have zero regrets about. Why? Because they set me back on a better path. Even though they didn’t work out, the lessons and learnings are the really gift in the pursuit. Maybe your blog will change purpose, or name or focus, but you’ll be glad you got started. Tell your stories. You just never know who you are inspiring or helping feel normal. Whether it’s one person or many, there’s an audience out their waiting for your message. Nothing amazing has a flawless beginning. You’ll do stuff that you don’t like, and maybe it will help you sort out what you do. Don’t get discouraged about having it all figured out at the start. I was ready to start in May 2016 – I didn’t hit publish until August. Why, because I was obsessing about a perfect launch. Perfection is paralyzing and keeps you busy doing nothing. Six months in, I’m still learning and growing and getting over myself to stop obsessing about perfect prose and perfect photos and just focus on finishing – like this post, that I’ve restarted 5 times now by allowing too many distractions!
2) Go Your Own Way
The beginning of this blogging journey was, admittedly, completely overwhelming. There’s a plethora of blogger resources, support groups and tips on how you “should” execute a successful blogging endeavour, “niche down”, post x many times per day on social media etc., and, while some information is so incredibly useful, I had to learn to silence some of the advice to get busy creating. Some of my favourite resources are Chrystie Vachon & Melyssa Griffin. Find some experts that resonate with you and stick with a few. I enjoy blogging so much, but it comes secondary to the needs of my family life. Everyone has different resources and supports, so do what you can with what you have and find a comfortable flow and pace. Commit, hold yourself accountable but don’t compare what you can achieve to others. Those times where I felt I had to “keep up”, were the times I experienced blogger burnout and nearly quit. Comparison is a killer of creativity and keeps you busy keeping up with someone else’s agenda. There’s also the tag word “consistency”, meaning post the same day, do things at the same time. Well my family life requires me to be uber flexible. This also needs to apply to blogging. I’ve decided to keep it enjoyable, which means not overcommitting to collaborations and partnerships, staying focused on quality over quantity output, and accepting that some weeks I’m a blogging machine, and some weeks I have to slow down, rejuvenate and/or be focused solely on family. Staying inspired to create, for me, means letting the writing come naturally and not forcing content out to keep pace with others. I do continually set mini goals, but I don’t abide by strict deadlines (unless it’s a business collaboration). Keeping the content pleasurable has also helped me “find my voice” a little better. I’m still a bit shy, but getting more comfortable every day. I’m sure once I find more short cuts to finishing pieces quicker I’ll be able to take on more than I do now. Commit, but don’t burn out, is my motto. I can feel myself being called to revive my “Women Into Wisdom” endeavour in addition to continuing with House of Kerrs blog, and hope to find a way to fit it all in. Being flexible, but also giving myself loads of grace will probably be a key success factor.
3) Go Where The Love Is
In an industry that screams “be authentic”, well sadly there’s a whole lotta artificial. The one-dimensional, superficiality of social media may be the culprit, but blogging helps you build a backbone. For instance, one day someone may be acting like your best friend to get your “like”, then the next day “unfollow” you for who knows what reason. At first it was upsetting, but really, fake followers aren’t your tribe. Go where the love is and rise above the shaddy. What comes, let it come, what goes let it go. Don’t take it personally and know your worth isn’t tied to those who don’t see your value. It’ll wake you up to all the genuine connections that ARE there, and you’ll even start to feel like the universe is sending you love notes in the form of people. Like magnets, people that have common ground, relatable stories, and are sources of inspiration will show up on your feeds and forge connections with you. Those are your people, your audience. Love and appreciate them hard by reciprocating the genuine love and support.
Also, give credit to your sources of inspiration – while there are so many for me, my tops are Emily – Best of This Life, Christine – Amidst The Chaos, Vanessa + Melissa, Kelly Bourne, Cat + Nat – Social Common and Susan – Isla Pearl. Empowered women empower other women. You can learn a lot from the generous souls in the blogging/vlogging community and when you do share it. Community over competition. I’d also love to meet more Dads in this circle – your voice matters too!
4) Don’t compromise your values
So talking about parenting and marriage isn’t easy. I have a mama bear instinct and fierce protection of my partnership with Andrew that wants to keep private, but there’s also amazing dialogue happening in the parenting realm that I feel called to share in. Parenting isn’t a solo endeavour around here. Andrew is a very hands-on partner and it didn’t feel right just focusing on myself. Plus we need to normalize involved Dads, and give the credit so many of them deserve. As a more introverted soul, opening up to a wide audience was a big departure from my cushy little comfort zone, but I found a way to share without compromising my core values. There’s a big “keep it real” trend happening now, however, and it’s made me question the way to be part of it, while also respecting my kids, my husband and their dignity. So while keeping it real to some is a no holds barred view into all their raw family moments, that’s just not something we’re comfortable participating in. Not because we’re hiding or afraid to show raw sides of parenting or our partnership, but because delving into the digital world with kids and marriage requires some discernment and discretion. I’m an open book, and don’t sugar coat all the crazy of parenting, or that my relationship isn’t perfect, but it will always be done in a way that protects their spirit. The bonds we’re building with our babes and in our partnership are sacred. Everyone’s on board with the blog, and our kids think it’s super cool Mama writes and gets published. We want to keep our content relevant, useful even, but it will never come at the expense of our kids’ dignity and compromising our respect for them. I also don’t bash my husband in public forums because that’s not the way I feel about him. I believe the way we speak about the people we love has tremendous impact on the relationship themselves. Shock value for followers isn’t our thing. So my advice would be, release what your comfortable with and what is most aligned with your core values. Never compromise your values and morals to meet someone’s definition of “being real”. No one said blogging meant having to let everyone into all the private aspects of yourself or your family. Some things can and should remain sacred if that feels most right to you. Showing your personality is important, though, and I’m getting more comfortable letting it out every day. I am very soul-ful at the core, but do have a really sassy side that I haven’t really let out yet and hope to find ways to unleash it. Being yourself gives you blogger freedom. Will be working on this one. Maybe over drinks at the next Blogger conference? Lesson: Do you. Don’t fall into what you think you “should” do or how you should behave.
5) Holy Hustle!
Maybe this lesson should be number one, because if there’s one major thing I’ve learned about blogging – there’s a LOT of grit and grind involved. Someone asked me if I was returning to my “real job” soon. Ha! I’ve never worked so hard in my life! See, most only see the finished post or social media pic and may think it all looks so easy. What you don’t see is the late night grind to meet deadlines, even when plagued with the sleep deprivation from littles. You don’t see the weekend photo shoots, conference calls in the middle of naptime fails, the backend hustle via emails to firm up collaborations, and the self promotion grind (my least favourite part!) that happens on the daily. It’s not just write and post and followers suddenly appear. There’s a whole lot of behind the scenes hustling no one sees, but can make or break your blog success. Blogging, like any entrepreneurial endeavor, is completely self-driven and requires lots of hard work and commitment. If you haven’t tried it, don’t diminish it. I have a deep respect for bloggers who’ve built an abundant life around their platform. I know while there’s lots of fun to it, there’s also an incredible amount of work involved. I deeply admire the brilliant, business-savvy minds I’ve connected with in the blogosphere, who come from all around the world and all professional backgrounds. No one is “just” a blogger. Don’t knock it til’ you try it!
6) The Power of Intention Setting
Aside from the intuitive call to get busy with blogging, setting my intentions for what I wanted to achieve has been the magic-maker. There is an incredible power in writing sh*t down. No joke. Every single intention I set for the blog has come to life. Here they are (written on May 24, 2016):
1) Make virtual connections with families of all dynamics, and relatable experiences;
2) Learn, grow, share
3) Open myself up to connecting with fellow go-getters, dreamers & do-gooders;
4) Stay inspired and enjoy the journey;
5) Bring opportunities and adventure to my family;
6) Generate an income;
7) Explore freelance writing and develop my passion for prose;
8) Have something to commit to and be accountable to fuel my need for accomplishment outside of parenting.
Get clear about what it is you want to accomplish and put it in writing and tuck it away – this will become your written “why” – your purpose and reason for doing it. On those really tough days, or times where exhaustion overpowers motivation, where you wonder what the heck you are doing spending so much time devoted to blogging it will become your go to and reminder of why you began in the first place. Once you set your mind to it, and get clear on what it is you want to accomplish from it, open yourself up to receiving divine messages that you’re on the right path. I know spirituality isn’t for everyone, but if I counted how many ways signs assured me that this was what I was supposed to be doing I could write a book! On the days I doubted myself, something incredible would be put in my path (my signs) to give me peace that what I was doing is right. Like today for instance, in the middle of writing this post, I got a sweet notification from Bloggers of Canada that this blog had made their “20 Canadian Blogs we Love”! What an honour and affirmation. If learning how to tap into your signs interests you, PM me or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to share some resources with you.
Overall, it’s been an incredibly fulfilling experience. I started the blog mainly as a creative outlet and way to centre myself amidst the demands of parenthood. As much as this blog is about parenting, lifestyle and more, it has also been a journey of self acceptance, self discovery and self love. Opening yourself up reveals to you who you really are. It’s a surrender and awakening of sorts, and I’m grateful for the opportunity, and look forward to growing and improving even more.
Thanks for stopping by and for your support and love so far. We’re so excited for what’s to come. In the meantime, check out our most popular posts so far: