Believe it or not, blogging can teach you a lot, about writing as well as some things about yourself. I have been blogging for exactly a year and a half this past June 8th, and have learned a ton.
This past year and a half have gone by way faster than I had expected. When I look back, I see so many ways in which I have grown as a writer, blogger, and ways in which Life Lived Fully has grown. Though there’s still a lot more growing to do, progress has been made and that is something one should always be proud of.
Here are just 16 of the many things I have learned so far.
One: Making realistic goals are a must
I am all for dreaming big. But to accomplish those big dreams, you need to make smaller goals and accomplish those along the way. They will help you stay on track for completing a big goal. For the goals to be accomplishable, they need to be realistic. I naturally dream big, but I don’t always plan out all the steps to reach that goal. When I do plan out steps, they aren’t always realistic. Making realistic goals are a much when blogging, and when making goals in general. Writing to LLF really showed me that planning each step out realistically is important for success because it gives me an idea of where I am and where I want to go.
Two: Finding your posting schedule is harder than I thought
My schedule for posting a blog post changed a lot in the past year and a half. And that would frustrate me. I just wanted a set schedule that would work for me so that I could have consistency in my posts. But truth is, when you first start blogging, it’s a huge learning process. Life changes. Your schedule for the week won’t stay the same. That’s life. And I had to learn that and remind myself of that, and not let that get to me. I am still working on this, but it is something blogging has pointed out to me since starting LLF.
Three: It’s ok if you miss a post day
What would frustrate me even more when it comes to blogging would be whenever I missed a day I had scheduled to post something. It could be because I fell asleep at my computer without posting, was out and didn’t have access to a computer, or just forget I was supposed to post something. It didn’t matter the reason, I would still get really mad at myself for missing a post day. It got to the point where I would just point the title of the post with a blank article just to say I posted on the day I had scheduled you (I have been doing a lot better but I still do this from time to time, I am trying to break this habit). I learned that truth is, other bloggers miss post days too, and that’s ok. Like I said, life happens, and there are some things I can’t control. But what I can control is how I react and what I do afterward. That’s what counts.
Four: Only you can discipline yourself
When you start a blog, you are your own boss. That means you have to keep yourself in line and keep yourself disciplined to make sure you get the work done. When I first started blogging, I thought this would be way easier than it was. But it wasn’t. I always seemed to have so much going on each day that by the end I felt rushed to write a blog but never wanted to post it because I wanted to produce my best writing. Instead, I am learning I really need to set at least 30 minutes every day during the day to at least starting a post. I am not quite there yet, but I am learning. It’s a process.
Five: It’s important to have some sort of blogging role models
Before I became a blogger, I had a lot of different blogs I had seen, looked at, and read. But I had very few bloggers who could be my role models. Now I have at least five blogs and bloggers who I can look at and say, “I want to be like them.” It’s important to have role models because a lot of the time they are willing to help you out with your own endeavor. And if not, blogging role models are just a great way to have a visual of what you are trying to be and look like.
Six: It takes time to write out what you want to say
Writing a blog takes a lot more time than I had thought it would. In my head, it’s one way. But when I try to write what’s in my head onto a piece of paper, it comes out different. It’s not the same as how I see it in my head. To get a post to how I want it to be, I have to take my time. For example, this post has taken me four or five days. That wasn’t on purpose, but this post went from having 8 tips to have 16. It doubled in size. So this post, like many others, will take longer than I think they will. And I am learning that I need to plan for that and know that nothing can be completely perfect, but what I can do is give my all and try my best in everything I write.
Seven: Social media engagement is apparently important
I am not a huge fan of social media. But I have been learning that social media is how many bloggers reach their users. Right now I don’t do much on social media with my blog, but I am learning that if I want to get LLF out there more, I need to make social media accounts and engage with others. Engagement is a lot harder than just having a social media account and posting. I actually should reply to comments and questions, which is definitely not a habit for me. I guess that will have the change.
Eight: A niche is way more important than I had thought
Before beginning to look into blogging, I had no idea exactly what a niche was. Later last year, I realized I bloggers should have a niche and that I needed to know what mine was. But then I came upon this one article while I was researching.
One article I read said writing under a lifestyle niche does not mean you can write about anything that goes on in your life.
Granted my sub-niche is Christian lifestyle, but I still believe sharing your life story is important. A lot of people want to know what’s going on in the lives of others. Not that I support nosiness, but I do think people often relate to others through personal stories that are shared. I am learning that sharing your story can be really powerful and that you can totally blog about that. You don’t have to be restrained to one thing (That doesn’t mean go all over the place and have no point to your posts). I learned lifestyle blogging can be whatever I want it to be, not what someone else says it has to be.
Nine: Promoting yourself is important
I am not very good at promoting myself. Talking about myself and what I do just seem so awkward to me. I never want to sound conceited. But as I have been learning, when you are trying to describe being a blogger, you need to know how to talk about yourself. Though I am not making money off of LLF, it’s like talking about what you do for a living. I learned it’s important to know how to rightly put yourself out there and go for things. Don’t wait for things to come to you because sometimes, they won’t.
I also learned that promoting myself oftentimes happens through social media :/. So to do well on this point, I have to do well on point number seven.
Ten: Ask advice in the beginning
There are so many bloggers already out there doing what I aspire to do. And, like I said earlier, oftentimes most of them want to help you. I researched a lot before starting this blog, but I didn’t ask others for advice. Yes, looking at other blogs is very helpful, but it’s even better when you ask for their advice on how they got where they are today. Now I know that the advice of others who are doing what I want to one day to is so, so, SO valuable.
Eleven: Finding your voice is important
I’ve got my realistic goals, my niche, my posting schedule, my social media accounts, my blogging role models and advice-givers. Now it’s time to find my own voice. My voice in my head sounds differently when written out. I learned quickly that what I think what I write will sound is not always what it ends up sounding like. How you write will be uniquely different from everyone else’s. It’s your voice and only you can use it. Take time to find it. Don’t copy your role models. Instead, use them as inspirations. Use them as a starting point, but do your own thing from there. Aspire to find your heart and passion and translate that into writing. My voice hasn’t been perfect yet, but I am learning that for my readers to really get to know me, I need to be me on paper, not some robot trying to sound all proper.
Twelve: It’s not all about the money
I didn’t start this blog to make money. Later on, I realized blogging could make good money, but that was not my goal. I did research ways blogs can make money, just out of curiosity. But I realized, it’s really not all about the money. So many bloggers go through so much just to make money from their blog. There’s nothing completely wrong with that, but that’s not my goal. I would rather pour my heart into my writing than into making money.
Thirteen: Life happens
Sometimes there are just some things you can’t control in your life. That affects how often you post (as I mentioned earlier), it affects what you post, and it affects everything else going on in your life. I am definitely one who does not like when things don’t do as planned. When my day ever got messed up or didn’t go according to plan, I would get frustrated and mad. It affected everything I did, including blogging. But I learned and am still learning that I need to be flexible because life will happen whether I want it to or not. I can either get with the program or let my blog and everything else suffer.
Fourteen: Patience is key
Patience is one of the traits I am working on. It doesn’t always come easily to me, but blogging is one of the things that has been teaching me the importance of patience. I am learning and being reminded that I can’t get everything I want right away. Waiting for certain things is just a part of the whole process. Though I hate waiting, it’s never good to rush into something. It’s better to take time and think it through and prepare properly. In the end, that’s what makes blogging, and life, a whole lot better.
Fifteen: My love for writing will grow
I love writing. I have always loved writing. But I had no idea my love for writing would grow even more. When you get into the world of blogging, a whole new idea of topics becomes open. I’ve loved getting to explore the new topics I can write about. They are topics I would not have thought to write about before. And as I wrote more often and read a lot of blogs and books on writing, my love for writing grew, which I hadn’t expected. I knew I loved writing, but now I love it even more.
Sixteen: God can be seen throughout it all
God is the only reason I started LLF. He put it on my heart to share my testimony, so I decided to write about it. But it’s been a year and a half and I have barely written about my story and experiences. Despite that, God can be seen all throughout this process and journey. God was there when I thought my blog wasn’t doing much to help others. God was there when I was frustrated about missing a blog post day. God was there when I wasn’t doing the best at disciplining myself to write every day or every other day. God was there when I was trying to find my voice. God was there when my patience was running thin. God has been there with me throughout everything. He has encouraged me and shown me that His perfect love can shine through my imperfection. That is just so beautiful and makes blogging 100 times better.
So there you have it, 16 things I learned my first year and a half of blogging. I pray this has helped you in some way. Blogging is a learning journey and I know I will learn a lot more in the future.