On March 21, 2018, The Thriving Lady blog was born.
Or maybe born again.
I actually started writing a few months prior, and published my first post using the Blogger platform. Here’s a look:
Looks great, right? I thought so.
I was so happy to just start blogging that I wasn’t too concerned with the visual appeal of my blog. Needless to say, that didn’t last very long.
Ah, sometimes I long for my childlike excitement about blogging, when I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.
Blogging ignorance is bliss.
But, after my extensive research on how to start a blog, I decided to get fancy – I switched from Blogger to WordPress.org, creating the ever evolving blog you’re reading right now.
At the time of this post, I am one year into my blogging journey.
I have learned so much about this wonderful, overwhelming, ever-changing and, often times, confusing world of blogging. Why would I even want to put myself through the torture (kidding, not kidding) of blogging, anyway?
Why I Started A Blog
I remember how much I enjoyed writing as a teen and a young adult.
I kept a diary, my companion with whom I shared personal stories. Yes, my diary was like a trusted confidant.
Believe it or not, I also enjoyed writing papers in high school and college. Sounds crazy, right? I agree. But writing has usually come easy for me.
As I got older, life happened. I experienced exciting highs – getting accepted into my social work Masters program. And devastating lows – losing my mother when I was 28 to breast cancer.
I also realized that getting through the good times and the bad would not have happened without my relationship with God.
I had a desire to share everything I know with other women who might be experiencing similar situations. So, I decided to start a blog.
I can honestly say that I have learned so much, not only about blogging, but about myself. But, here, I’d like to focus on the 5 most important lessons I’ve learned about this awesome medium called blogging.
#1 Planning For Your Blog Is Key
I realized pretty quickly in my journey that haphazard blogging was not going to work for me. If I wanted to be successful, I needed to have a solid blogging plan.
When I started the blog, I was working from home. So, I figured I could easily write in the margins, during a break, at lunch, after work.
This didn’t last because I wasn’t focused and didn’t have a real blogging plan in place.
I would also randomly come up with blog post topics, some made sense for my niche, others did not.
I was basically just writing about whatever came to mind. Needless to say, this pattern produced inconsistency and frustration in my blogging.
Here’s what I’m doing instead (most of the time):
- Setting aside daily time in my planner for writing and editing posts
- Using apps, such as Trello, to create a blogging workflow and content calendar
- Managing my time wisely to avoid trying to complete all the blogging things at once, like writing, editing, images, publishing, etc.
- Balancing my blogging time with other life obligations to avoid blogging burnout
Incorporating these practices and others like them will make blogging an automatic part of life, instead of an afterthought.
#2 Learning About Blogging Without Implementing Leaves You Stuck
I’m sure you’ve heard many people use the word hoarding to describe acquiring a lot of stuff. Things you don’t need or use to their full potential.
Well, in blogging, there is a common practice called course hoarding. It involves buying course after course, often because of fear of missing out (FOMO), or because of slick marketing tactics that make unrealistic promises.
Trust me, I know. I have purchased quite a few courses that I have yet to complete and implement.
Tip: be selective about whose blogging products you invest in. Some people are out here just to make money off of new, inexperienced bloggers. What makes them an “expert”? What is the evidence of their credibility and blogging success? Do your research!
Learning about blogging is essential for growth. However, the only way that you will actually grow is by implementing what you’ve learned.
I quickly developed a false sense of progress, equating taking a course with making actual progress on my blog.
In hindsight, I think I was using the courses to put off the hard work of creating consistent content. Coming up with fresh, high quality content on a regular basis is hard work!
Don’t get me wrong. The right courses at the right time are great for your blogging education. But, only if you take what you’ve learned and apply it.
What I’m doing instead:
- Being realistic about where I am in my blogging journey before buying a course. If the course feels too advanced for where I am, it probably is.
- Being realistic about the time I have to devote to learning a new blogging skill. Can I learn about it and apply it, or am I likely to put off taking action?
- Realizing that the course or product that I need will be there when I need it. FOMO is just a feeling, not reality.
#3 You’re Not Helping Anyone By Keeping Your Blog A Secret
In the first several months after I launched my blog, the only people who knew about it were other bloggers. People I “met” in Facebook blogging groups.
I was comfortable sharing my content there because most of the other people in the group were also new to blogging. There was less of a fear of being judged or rejected.
This fear is what kept me from promoting my content on social media, at networking events, and even with family and friends.
I was afraid no one would read it, like it, or that the content wouldn’t help anyone. I wasn’t even giving myself a chance.
This also meant that my fear, and my comfort zone, was more important to me than my initial goal that I mentioned at the beginning of this post, which was to help empower women.
If I wanted the blog to reach my intended audience, I couldn’t allow this fear mindset to continue holding me back.
What I’m learning to do instead (it is a daily battle):
- I share new posts via Pinterest as soon as I publish them
- Every week, I share at least 3 posts on my blog’s Facebook page
- At networking events, I find an opportunity to mention my blog, making sure I have my elevator pitch memorized at all times
- I trust that God placed this desire inside me to empower and encourage women for a reason. If I don’t follow through, I am not following God’s leading
#4 Comparing Your Blog To Others Will Get You Nowhere
If there’s one thing I’ve struggled with frequently throughout this first year of blogging, it is comparing my blog with others.
I mentioned earlier that I’ve joined blogging Facebook groups over the past year for tips, support, and also to connect with other new bloggers.
As I scrolled through the daily threads, I discovered so many beautiful blogs with great content. Some also shared about their fast success, how they grew their email list almost overnight.
Although they were new to blogging like me, they seemed to already have it all figured out.
Instead of asking questions and being inspired, I started to pick apart my own blog. I found myself constantly changing my layout, editing already published posts, and doing pretty much everything other than creating content.
Just like learning without implementing, I was also allowing comparison to keep me stuck.
What I’m doing instead:
- Asking questions! If I come across a blogger in my group whose success I admire, I ask what they’re doing to get there.
- Realizing that I have no idea how hard that blogger is working to be successful, or what sacrifices they’ve made.
- Remembering the true reason I started my blog. If, by God’s grace, I can help just one person, the blog is successful.
#5 Blogging Is A Marathon
I have never run a marathon before.
I’ve read stories and watched YouTube videos about people training for a marathon. It seems grueling, honestly. Almost superhuman. Something far beyond what the human body is supposed to be able to achieve.
But, people do it. All the time.
I see blogging the same way as marathon running.
Just like someone preparing for a marathon, a new blogger sets goals, they train, and they put themselves out there. They start slow, build momentum, and keep going.
The journey is long. It is uncertain.
But it’s worth it. Along the way, they get tired. Maybe they even feel like giving up. It is mental just as much as it is physical.
But, they don’t give up. They don’t look to the right or to the left. They stay focused. Eventually, they will find their stride.
I run my marathon every single day and, slowly, I am finding my stride.
I pray the same for you.