Since I started blogging, I’ve learned way more than I ever thought I would. I knew I would learn a lot and it would be the most fun and new experience ever, but I’ve seriously had so many realizations about my work ethic, myself, and what I want to do with my life in the future since starting this journey. Writing for me has always been a passion, but blogging is a whole different ball game because there are endless things that go into it that help build up the blog more and more. You have to think about legal issues, a niche, do you have enough content and ideas to write long term about your niche, and the list goes on and on. Overall, the whole thing is so exciting and incredible if you really stay focused and your passion is crazy high, but it can also be very stressful and a lot to take on.
When I started college, I began as an English major, knowing I wanted to write and read for the rest of my life (I wish it was that easy, I was so naive). However, for months I was convinced I could never do that as a living and it wouldn’t be possible. Honestly, looking back I think it was mostly me beating myself down about it. That was over 4 years ago — crazy, right? I’ve always had a passion for writing and have excelled in all English and writing classes for as long as I can remember. It’s difficult now because when I look back I wish I wouldn’t have ever given it up, but I also found so many other things that I now have a passion for (like psychology and business) and am glad I got a little taste of all these other little things. When it comes down to it, I think I’ve finally gotten to the point in my life where I know what I really have a passion for and want to continue to pursue, something I’ve struggled with for years now. This blog has really helped me get to that place.
When I started considering writing again, I knew it was right. It just FEELS right. I keep saying that this blog is just a hobby for me and I enjoy it without making it feel like “work” and forcing myself to do it. When I had my third interview at TSheets, I sat down with gorgeous, welcoming and at the same time very intimidating Greta, the director of the department I ended up joining. Let me tell you, that woman has a poker face like nobody I’ve ever seen. I left thinking there’s no way I got that job, but that’s not my point! My point here was that one of her interview questions was “if you could have any job in the world, literally anything, what would it be and why? And I mean anything, you could pick flowers for the rest of your life if you wanted. Anything.” My answer immediately popped into my head and I told her about my dream of traveling the world while writing and taking pictures all about it. For as long as I could remember I knew I wanted to be a photographer, write, or read books all day long. I remember a particular memory when I was about 14 and was told that photographers and writers don’t make any money and can’t make a living, and I really feel like I gave up that dream at that moment because I just thought I could never be successful. When I was in that interview by the way, I had no intention of starting a blog or trying to make a big hobby out of writing. I just figured I’d moved on from that dream in my life and it was in the past, I never thought I’d consider it again. I’m so glad I came back to it though.
My point to all this rambling is that through this journey over the last 10 years of my life debating what I wanted to do, I really know I love writing. I want to make something out of what I write and let it take me somewhere if it’s really meant to be. And who knows, maybe it’s not, but it won’t be because I didn’t try. Here are the main 6 things I learned since I decided to start a blog in December.
6 biggest lessons in my first 6 months of blogging:
- I can’t choose a niche or just one topic — I want to write about everything. How does anybody choose a niche? You guys, I have 37 drafts of posts right now. Yes you read that right — THIRTY SEVEN. Lots of them are about travel, but I have quite a few that are about food, my thoughts on college, and life in general that I just want to talk about! Sometimes I just sit down and start writing or I have experiences that I really want to talk about that I just begin word vomiting. (Or is it type vomiting? Either way, it all comes out.) This makes it extremely difficult for me to have a specific niche. I want to talk to you all and share my ideas about so many things — should my blog be a lifestyle blog instead of a travel blog then? Should I wait a few more months and see how it transforms? There’s just so much that goes into it. As I’ve started writing all of these different posts, I realize also why I’ve always had such a hard time with college and choosing only one path to pursue in life. I’ve changed my major countless times and have never been successful in any of it because I love everything and want to do a small piece of every career. While that all sounds great, it actually makes me crazy and stresses me out a lot which I absolutely hate.
- Blogging is not for just anybody. While I do think anybody can blog, I don’t think that just anybody can blog successfully. I mean to be fair and honest here, I barely blog “successfully” — I’m still figuring out what that means to be successful because I’m just not there yet and still pretty far away from where I want to be. The difference here is that while it takes so much time, effort and sometimes a bit of money to get off the ground, successful bloggers do not give up. That’s me. No matter what it takes, I will try and try again and I’m so determined. I love blogging and getting to write all the time on a site that I created myself completely from scratch and I am so proud of how far I’ve come with all of it. Every bone in my body wants to quit my 7-4 job and just do these awesome things I love (even though I also really LOVE my job but you get the point), but I just can’t do that. I promise, even just in these early stages of me learning so much, you can do it if you stick with it, really put your mind to it, and for the love of all that is good in this world if you love it that much DO NOT GIVE UP.
- You must have good content. When I talk about content, I mean the photography AND the posts. That’s the biggest thing I’m working on right now (as there’s no pictures in this post *eye rolling*). Currently, I’m trying to figure out how I want my Instagram and blog to look and what kind of “theme” I want to move forward with. In the future, I plan to invest in a much better camera to capture amazing moments to share. (If you have any recommendations, please let me know! I’ve been asking everyone and reading tons of reviews for the best cameras to blog/vlog with!)
- You grow so much as a person and as a writer. When I started this, I never realized how much this would help me expand as an individual. For starters, I’ve now signed up for lots of freelance writing gigs and have applied to tons to help grow myself as a freelance writer. I’ve also decided that one day I’ll write a book. I have no idea what it’s going to be about and have no experience with this, but remember earlier when I said to never give up? This is one of those things I’ll never give up on. On Instagram, I’ve had so many people reach out to me via email or personal message asking to collaborate, which has been so much fun! They are great opportunities! While not all of them are for me, I appreciate when people take the time to even ask or let me know they love what I write/post about. It’s so amazing, empowering and comforting as a writer that others like what I’m doing here. There’s a lot of really incredible people out there as well who you’ve never seen or met and will let you know how awesome your picture or post was, and that one person can make your whole day. All these little details have helped me grow SO much as a human being.
- There can be a lot of backlash and rude comments. You’ll get some people who will chuckle and say “I heard you started a blog” in a condescending tone, and you just have to OWN IT. If you let people tear you down about it, especially when you’re just starting out, you’ll never make it. Let them know confidently that hell yeah you started a blog and you’ve worked really hard on it. Don’t give them the satisfaction of breaking you down! And to be perfectly honest, a lot of people who do have comments about it have NO IDEA what kind of work goes into something like this and the passion that keeps you moving forward. But you know it, and I know it, and us fellow bloggers know it so don’t let other people dull your sparkle. Be proud of what you’re doing!
- Joining blogging groups was one of the best things I’ve done so far. I’m not much of a Facebook user, to be honest. It’s not for me and never really has been as much as I try to keep up with it I just can’t. BUT it’s a great place to get involved in groups with other bloggers. These people will help you grow your Facebook page, will absolutely grow your page views and are so supportive because like I said before, they know what it’s like! These people are in the same exact shoes as you! For example, I’m in a group called “Travel Bloggers” on Facebook and it’s constantly active. Other bloggers are looking to grow their following, looking for business, feedback, etc. It’s just overall really nice to have these thousands of random strangers who will check out your newest post and will help spread the word about your blog.
Of everything I’ve worked with so far, these are some of the most important things I’ve learned and have taken away from my experience as a blogger. Overall, this is one of the best things I’ve ever done. This journey has taken up a lot of my time, effort, learned trial and error like you wouldn’t believe, and had a BLAST doing all of it! I am a research girl and did a lot of it before starting this blog, so hopefully this helps all of you as well!
(Also, there will be a part 2 to this for my first year as a blogger!)
What have been some of your biggest lessons learned from blogging? Comment below! 🙂