What I Learned in My First Year of Writing a Blog
Maintaining a blog is actually A LOT of work. It might seem like all fun and games, but coming up with the concept for a post, finding the time in your week to go out and actually do whatever activity you’re planning on doing, coming back and editing all of the pictures, writing a draft, formatting the draft, coding the format and then posting is only the half of it. Next comes finding a way to share your post, mainly on social, but recently I started a MailChimp newsletter that I have to update and send to my followers (which many of you already signed up for- THANK YOU!!) every time I write something new. Trying to expand my following has proven to be another whole job in itself. Creating an Instagram account entirely devoted to my blog, rather than using my personal account as I had in the past, means that I’ve had to build from the ground up and start with a ground zero follower base. Building relationships with other foodies/travelers/bloggers on Insta is a lot of fun, but takes more time than I often have, and it’s really a learning curve to what methods work and what methods don’t. If you’re serious about starting a blog of your own and posting at least two to three times a month, it’s time to buckle in because you’re in for one wild ride.
WordPress is a bitch. I haven’t even begun to understand how to fully work this site and use all it has to offer. I’ve never had such a love/hate relationship in my life. My brain is 100% not wired to understand coding, but over time I’ve begun to learn more and more, and I think that has been the most rewarding part of this whole process to me- the fact that I started out with a domain name and an empty site and was able to turn it into a collection of work that spells out who I am, all by typing in a few corresponding letters and numbers is crazy to me. And it’s exciting that it’s never going to become old to me, there’s always something new I’m learning and dozens of things I’m sure I don’t even know are possible yet that I will learn how to do in the future. I’ve never been one to stick with a project for very long- I will admit it’s a downfall of mine- so the very fact that I’ve reached the one year mark, 365 days of blogging, just shows how much is always changing and keeping me on my toes.
People are going to stare at you when you’re out in public trying to frame the perfect picture. HAHA- learned this one early on. Let them stare, ask for their help, and don’t be thrown off if people say no and look at you like you’re crazy. Just roll with it. The people who will offer to help (and you will find these people, don’t worry) are always the first to ask about what you’re working on, and I’ve found that they’ve become some of my most loyal followers.
You meet so many new, incredible people through blogging. This one goes hand in hand with the last. Even if it’s just the stranger on the park bench that you asked to take a picture of you standing in front of a fountain because you’ve yet to invest in a tripod and had a couple failed attempts to prop your phone up on a tree branch (…not like this has happened to me or anything.) Outside of this, I’ve had the opportunity to interview several unbelievable business owners doing amazing things, and each and every one of them has welcomed me in to show me their world with open arms. I’ve gotten to travel to so many new places and meet people who call these places their home, and have really found that there’s no shortage of amazing anywhere you go. The world is a really unimaginably beautiful place.
I’ve finally been given a good excuse to get off my butt and out of the house. I can’t remember the last time I had a lazy weekend to lounge around the house, and honestly, I like it so much better this way. Instead of watching Netflix for 10 hours straight, I get to go outside and explore places and things I wouldn’t have ever had the chance to before. This blog has given me the motivation to not let life pass me by, and to try to do new and adventurous things every day. It’s truly been a blessing in disguise.
People are incredibly supportive. I’m so serious about this one. I can’t even begin to thank everyone who has helped me in some way this past year, even if just encouraging me to keep pursuing what I love to do and to never stop writing. I can’t name how many people came out of the woodwork to offer blog ideas and spread the word to their friends and family.. That support means everything to me- without you, I don’t think I would have made it to where I am today.
One of my favorite quotes that has pretty much guided my life and my blog this past year is “do one thing every day that scares you.” Eleanor Roosevelt was one smart lady.
When I first started off, I wasn’t sure anyone was going to give a crap. Honestly. The media is so oversaturated these days, who was going to read my dinky little blog? But then people did, and the more people cared, the more I was willing to step outside my comfort zone and do things that, honestly, sometimes terrified me. If there’s any advice that my still young, inexperienced, 21 year-old self can give to you, it’s that stepping outside your comfort zone is essential to living a full life. You really never know what’s out there until you give it a try, and most of the time, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
On a slightly less sentimental note (can you tell I’m graduating in 10 days and everything has become sentimental?!) …what would you like to see me tackle year 2? Feel free to comment below or shoot me an email with your ideas 🙂