Hello and happy Wednesday!
It’s true what they say you know: time really does fly when you’re having fun. Or, as seems to be the case lately, when you’re doing just about anything at all.
Thankfully, I can honestly say the past year of blogging and maintaining my website has been fun. And through the process, I’ve learned a lot – about writing, about blogging, about the blogging community, and even about myself.
When I started this website one year ago, I didn’t know what to expect. I just knew that every book I read about being a more serious author told me that I’d need an author website; a space dedicated to me and my writing, and that would make it easier for people to find my work. And it made sense.
The blog was mostly an afterthought; something I’ve contemplated doing for years but never thought I had enough to say for it to be worth it. But if I had a website already, I figured a blog might be a nice way for me to share some of my reflections on life and writing. Even if no one read them, I could still learn to better articulate my thoughts and work through any tough spots coming up in my life.
Well now – 12 months, 95 posts, and over 105,000 words later – I’m so grateful for the blessing of this blog. Not only has it helped me as I’ve written about my life and what I’m learning, but I’ve received messages from others who have been inspired and encouraged by my posts – which is one of my highest goals as a writer. Being able to reveal God’s heart through something as seemingly tiny as this blog is an enormous blessing.
My initial goal was to try blogging for a year, and if I didn’t like it or it just didn’t seem to be working, then I’d stop and at least still have put some content out. But I’m happy to say you’re stuck with me for the foreseeable future, because evidently I’ve caught the blogging bug. And I’m okay with that, haha!
As I mentioned, I’ve learned some good lessons about blogging over the past year. Here are the biggest ones…
Consistency Really is Key
I released my first post on September 18th, 2020, as a sort of introduction to me and my writing. Lots of care went into it, and I was extra meticulous about my wording and with making it sound poetic and ‘official’. After all, I was a blogger now, and that was intimidating. Everything had to be perfect, didn’t it? Two more September posts followed, as inspiration for topics struck, but overall, my approach felt halfhearted and forced.
That October, I released four more posts, and as I began to settle into what my writing/blogging ‘voice’ actually was, rather than stressing about sounding official, the posting process grew even more enjoyable. I actually released a post talking about my own journey with perfectionism – something maintaining this blog has helped me battle. From there, I started blogging 1-2 times weekly, and releasing 9-11 posts each month.
Being intentional with my consistency has changed so much! On the practical side, it’s meant that far more people are reached with my posts. I appear in their feeds more often, and the increasing amount of content on my site means that search engines find me faster. And personally, it’s been a fantastic way for me to practice scheduling, brainstorming, writing on deadline (self-imposed), and sharing my – imperfect – writing with others. Even when a busier schedule means fewer posts, I still aim to be consistent in what I do write.
Don’t Be Afraid to Be Genuine
This realization is what encouraged me to start blogging more. Though my initial posts were still personal and genuine, I worried that if I continued putting out content that showed my heart so plainly, I’d end up scaring others away or seeming unprofessional. But who says blogging has to be professional? What I’ve learned is that as long has thought behind it, being able to tell that a real person behind the screen is so important.
Which meant that I could be myself, without being worried or stressed about how others perceived me. I am myself – just as God made me, and no one else could share the same messages or write the same posts that I can. Not that mine are any better than anyone else’s, but they are me. Your posts should be you, and mine should be me, and that’s the simple truth of the matter. God uses our personalities, our thoughts, and our experiences.
The world is searching for honesty and truth. It’s seeking genuine connections with others. Personally, yes, I want to read a blog post that’s been thought through and had care put into it. But not ones without character. Reading impersonal posts about others’ lives; posts that never speak of hardships, struggles, or things they’ve learned; posts that give the appearance of perfect lives… it’s draining to me. I never want people to leave my site drained. If they don’t care for me or my writing, that’s okay. But I’ll keep being me anyway.
Finding a Balance Helps
Sometimes post ideas are easy to come up with and sometimes…well, not so much. Originally, I only wrote when inspiration struck. When some topic came to mind that had something to do with current events in my life. And it was neat to realize that topics for posts are everywhere, if I’m only open and intentional about seeking them out. The more I realized that I didn’t have to wait for inspiration to find me, the easier blogging became.
Now, I’ve thankfully found a good balance between writing about topics that have something to do with my current life situation, and also writing about topics just because I think they might be helpful to others or because those kinds of posts tend to be more popular. Of course I want to write posts that meet widespread wants, and I also want to write about what I want to write about, haha. Sometimes those overlap, sometimes not.
In general however, even if I think a post would be popular, I don’t write it unless I feel I have something valuable to add. In the end, I’ll always choose to write the post that maybe no one will want to read. But it’s the one that I feel passionate about, that I have real thoughts on, and that no one else can write. Finding that balance has helped. Sometimes they’re light and fluffy blog tags, sometimes they’re deep reflections on life, and sometimes they’re fun tips and tricks I’ve learned about writing. Whatever feels right at that moment.
It Should Be Fun
And while finding a balance, I’ve learned that the balance should include fun! At first, I wanted to make sure that all my posts were perfect and professional, and perhaps they were better quality (though I’m not sure). But they were also not as enjoyable to me. Sharing my heart was good of course, but actually sitting down to write required a lot of motivation, and I tended to procrastinate. If I thought it had to be perfect, it was draining.
But as I’ve learned that perfection is something best left to God, and that as long as I’m striving to point others toward Him I’m doing it right, then I’ve allowed myself to have fun with the blogging process. Yes, I can collect those quotes on friendship, and yes, I can also write about my favorite childhood books. Share my favorite jokes? Why not? Some posts are lighter and fluffier, some are deeper and more personal, but I have that freedom.
Which is such a blessing! If it’s not something I can truly enjoy, I know I won’t continue it. The few times that I’ve gotten sucked into writing on topics I don’t feel passionate about, or gotten stuck in a rut of all fluffy posts or all deep ones, it’s much harder to stay motivated to continue blogging. It goes hand in hand with being genuine. When I’m writing about what really matters to me, I enjoy it. And if not, I’m tempted to call it quits. Someone can write those other posts, but they’re just not right for me. And that’s okay!
There’s an Amazing Community
This has been the most unexpected part of my blogging experience so far. Not that I didn’t think there were amazing people out there, but I hoped I’d be blessed to meet them through my blog some day. I definitely didn’t expect to find that community from day one, which is what ended up happening! No, I didn’t receive lots of comments or views, and I still have a much smaller platform than many others. But even one person thrills me!
I’ve learned that it’s not the number of people that you interact with, but the way you can impact them. The way God can take our writing, our words, our experiences, and our passions and minister to others through us is what really matters. Why be proud of thousands of followers if they’re not seeing Christ in us? And why feel like a failure if only three people are reading your posts, but they’re being positively impacted by your words?
Over and over again, I’ve been blown away by the kind, supportive, and encouraging people around the blogging community. I’ve been blessed to get to know many wonderful and talented bloggers, and interact with readers that have made my day with their accounts of how my words helped them through something, or encouraged them when they were struggling. In my opinion, there’s no greater feeling than knowing you’ve been a blessing to someone, and in turn, I’ve been blessed by many others. That’s a joy beyond description.
I have so much left to learn about blogging, but I suspect – and hope! – that as long as I keep at it, I’m just going to keep learning and growing. The past year has been a fulfilling, stretching, and overall incredible journey, and I’m looking forward to continuing it!
Whether you’ve been reading my posts for a long time, some times, or if this is your first time, thank you. You’re prayed for more than I can even say, and I appreciate you greatly. And if you’re also a blogger, what lessons have YOU learned on your own journey? I’d love to chat with you, so feel free to comment below and tell me about your experience!
“I have not stopped giving thanks for you,
remembering you in my prayers.”
(Ephesians 1:16 NIV)