A year and a week ago, I started this blog.
And I am so happy I did.
I was definitely intimidated. But that’s because it was uncharted territory.
There was no magic 8 ball to tell me if I should start this new adventure. And if there was, it would probably tell me to try again later.
But I wasn’t going to put this on hold any longer. I was determined to carve out a space for myself in the blogosphere. Why? Because I couldn’t relate to other bloggers who talked about style, skincare, and makeup.
I wanted my clothes to be pieces I loved and could wear time and time again. I wanted my skincare to work but also be simple. And last but not least, I wanted my makeup to be just enough to make a difference. But not enough to feel like it’s wearing me.
So I gambled on the idea that there must be other people out there who feel the same way. And voilà, this blog was born.
Without further rambling, let’s get into the six things I learned from my first year of blogging.
1. Blogging can feel lonely
Back when I was still working in an office, I could easily turn around and discuss my ideas with my coworkers. And if I had any frustrations, that’s what our lunch break was for. I would dish it out and find comfort in our solidarity. It felt good to know I wasn’t alone in my experience.
With blogging, it often feels like I am a one woman circus show.
If I have an idea, the only “coworker” I have is my cat, Esteban. And he’s no help because he’s always sleeping.
If I have a blog related issue, I would refer to my assistant, Google.
If I have writer’s block, I bounce my thoughts off of my other thoughts.
I am the only person who understands what I am trying to say. And it is my job to put it to words. No one else.
2. There’s lot of self-doubt
In the beginning, my stats and my creative blocks were incredibly discouraging. I doubted everything I was doing and it often turned into a downward spiral of negativity.
I turned inwards and questioned why I wasn’t doing x, y, and z. I attached my self-worth with the success of my blog, which left me with very little to feel good about.
I didn’t just doubt myself because no one (other than my friends and family) read my blog. I doubted myself because I didn’t know if my ideas were any good. I wrote post after post and wasn’t sure if any of it was resonating with anyone. It felt like I was writing elaborate letters and mailing them to my pen pal who never wrote back.
These days I still feel some self-doubt. I recognize that it’s mostly normal. As long as I don’t throw my self-worth under the bus and get stuck in the past.
3. There’s also a lot of self-reflection
Writing about my own experiences means I am constantly looking into the past.
I think about my experiences with more thought, consideration, and curiosity then I have ever before. Before this blog, the past was the past, and I would only refer to it when I was harping on something in the present that wasn’t going well.
After a year of blogging, it seems every past experience of mine has some kind of takeaway. Something to help me improve and avoid making the same mistake again.
A year later, I am less embarrassed and afraid to talk about my past mistakes. I actually enjoy writing about them. Probably because I think about the mistakes I’ve made with more curiosity and less judgment. After all, we can’t know what we don’t know yet. So all we can do is laugh and learn from our mistakes.
4. It’s not about the photoshoots, it’s about the message
When I first started my blog, I was fixated on getting the perfect pictures. And the only way it made sense to me was to do “photoshoots”. I would make Vadim take about 100 photos of a single outfit and then edit it down to three or four. I would write a few short paragraphs, post it, and hope that it would connect with someone out there on the internet. And I found that more often than not, this wasn’t enough to engage and connect.
The first time I realized that the message was more important was when I put up my Don’t put yourself in a box blog post. It was the first time so many people messaged me to tell me how much they could relate to what I was saying. They even encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing. They didn’t have to reach out and say these things, but they did.
A lightbulb went off, and it made so much sense. People enjoy reading things they can relate to. Duh! They were connecting with what I was saying, not the edited photo of myself.
Honestly, I was so relieved. I could finally let go of the idea that I needed a professional photographer to make this blog worth visiting. And, it was just unnecessary stress since I couldn’t afford one anyway.
5. Connecting with people makes blogging meaningful
Months ago, I got a message from a blogger named Luxe. It was the first time that a blogger reached out. And at first, I couldn’t believe how many things we had in common. She also lives in Brooklyn, loves Dough doughnuts, and had a small wedding that went against tradition. I wanted to know more. So I clicked on her blog and was blown away. I’ve mentioned this before but she truly convinced me to give a crap about personal finance. Two words I never thought I would put in this blog or in my consciousness.
Meeting Luxe snowballed into connecting with other bloggers like Xin from An Invincible Summer and Cyn from Saving with Sense. These connections and every comment I receive on my blog posts make blogging meaningful. And, a lot less lonely. Connecting with people online can seem sketchy (ahem, Craigslist), until you realize the internet makes the world a smaller place. It’s easy to find people who share similar interests and passions, if you put in the work. And so far, I’ve been pretty lucky with the wonderful people I have connected with through this blog.
6. It’s okay to not know things
A year ago, I didn’t know a lot about starting a blog. But I did it anyway. How? I turned my ‘I don’t know’ list into my ‘things I plan to figure out’ list.
As someone who has always been uncomfortable with not knowing, this was a complete change of pace. Don’t get me wrong, there were frustrating times. But because I wanted to make this blog happen, I didn’t let the unknowns scare me away. Instead, I did my research. And when that didn’t clarify things, I kept working through it until it made sense. Starting is the first step to figuring something out.
A year later, I apply this same perspective to all the things I do not know. I’m not focused on not knowing, I’m more focused on how I’ll figure it out.
Feedback: What kinds of post would you like to see more of?
And last but not least, thank you for coming to this space and reading what I have to say. Thank you for every kind comment and encouraging word. In a space where negativity can oftentimes be the loudest, I am so grateful that this can be something different. I truly appreciate it.
See you in my next post!