Anniversaries are wonderful and definitely worth celebrating. They are confirmation that you’ve hit a milestone; passed another year; completed something long-term. It can be a work anniversary, a wedding anniversary, a friendship anniversary, or, in my case a blogiversary!
What’s a blogiversary!? It’s the anniversary of me writing this blog.
And it’s been 7 years!!!
So, happy blogiversary to me.
My blog journey
Seven years ago, last month, I sat down on my Little Bird’s first day of school. I dropped my oldest kid for the first time and burst into tears; out of fear that she wouldn’t have friends, or that she’d miss me, and truthfully, because I would miss her too! I cried all the way home, logged into my WordPress account and wrote.
Writing has always been an escape for me, and I’ve always loved getting lost in the words. I can express myself, create different worlds and tell any story I want. And I’ve been writing stories for as long as I remember.
In elementary school I wrote many short stories. In high school I wrote a book, giving my friends one chapter at a time to read. Fueled by their responses and feedback, I kept them hanging until the last possible moment!
All that creativity took a bit of a backseat when I studied journalism after high school, because there is a huge difference between journalistic writing and creative writing. But when my dreams of becoming the first female sports reporter (at a time where there were literally none), were squashed, I gave up writing altogether.
Three years later, I found myself in a marketing job with time to spare. And I was itching to write again. So, I took a Crafting a Novel course. I wrote a book and am super proud of my accomplishment. Maybe one day I’ll actually try to have it published!
Then I discovered that blogging. I started following a few people and I wanted in on it. This was how I already had a WordPress account on that first day of school. I signed up for my account and then stared at it.
For a long time!
Eventually I started writing posts; little stories of my day to day, or life as a working mom. But for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to hit publish. I don’t know exactly what I was afraid of.
My blogging debut
On my daughter’s first day of school, as my emotions were all over the place, I needed a way to express my thoughts. And as writing has always been that outlet for me, I wrote. With tears streaming down my face, worried about how she was doing on her first day in big school, I wrote and then finally pressed publish. There was a sense of fear – would anyone read it? A sense of dread – would anyone like it? Feel connected to it? Want to read more?
I started connecting to other bloggers, writing more and found my passion.
Over the years, I’ve gone through many phases and stages of blogging. Putting out stories three times a week is a lot for me while working full-time. I have tried posting monthly to, and there was a year where I hardly put any effort at all. Which isn’t fair for my readers.
But the time has come to try and put more time and effort into the blog. This space I’ve carved out for myself where I’m able to feed my soul by sharing stories of my life means a lot to me, as do my readers and followers.
There are so many things I’ve learned over the past 7 years! This isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you’re considering starting to blog, here are 7 things I’ve learned in the past 7 years!
- If you want to write, there is no secret. Just do it! There is no perfect space, or place. There is no perfect pen or laptop. I have written blog posts on the back of bank atm receipts, and scrap pieces of paper. I always have a paper and pen in my purse and keep a running log on my phone for those ideas that I don’t want to forget. So, just do it. And then keep doing it. That’s the secret.
- You don’t have to be everywhere at once. It’s great to think, I’m going to start a blog, and be on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube, but the reality is those all require a lot of time and focus. As well, they each have their own set of “rules” to follow. Be realistic and know that you can’t do it all. I’m always reminded that I don’t own any of those social channels (thanks to the algorithms changing all the time), but I do own my blog. So put your focus there. Write great content. Tell great stories. And then focus on growing your audience in one channel at a time.
- Be authentic. We can all name a famous family who pushes product after product and sponsorship after sponsorship, but do you think they use those products? No. I think they are being paid a hefty paycheck to tell you what the company wants to hear. And as a result, they don’t come off anywhere close to being genuine. Your readers will know you and your voice. They will figure out when you are writing something from your heart and when it’s for a pay cheque (especially when you don’t really believe in what you’re writing about). So, whatever you do, be real and authentic. Be honest and raw and funny, and more importantly be you!
- Write about what you know and love. This somewhat plays into #3, because if you are writing about things you don’t really like, that will become obvious in your tone. But if you write about things you love, your audience will make that connection. And they will remain your audience because you are passionate about what you know and love.
- No fancy equipment required. Listen, would I like to have a tri-pod and state-of-the-art camera? You betcha! Would I like to have backdrops and a fancy laptop, and all the latest applications? Yes, yes and yes. But the fact is, I don’t. Most of the time I use my phone to take pictures and write on my 10-year-old laptop (I do back it up often, don’t worry). If you’re just getting started, you don’t need much, just a decent phone, a place to write and a publishing application like WordPress (or whatever you choose). Once you get comfortable, you can consider the equipment that you need to deliver the content you want to create.
- Build your community. I don’t mean start all your social pages at once (see #2). I mean, tell people about your blog. Share it to your personal social pages. Share it with friends. Follow other like-minded bloggers and comment on their content. You’d be surprised how supportive bloggers are with one another. You must toot your own horn sometimes, and in this community, that’s allowed!
- Take some time to learn about SEO. When I started, I – like many bloggers back then, didn’t really know about SEO and what it was about. How it could lead traffic to you, how it ranked me on Google. I just wanted to write and so I did. I learned as I went. I took free courses, read business blogs and content about content. There are a lot of great (and free) resources online to learn the basics. So, take the time to make sure your hard work pays off.
To those of you who have been around since the beginning, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate you and hope that I can continue to grow and deliver the type of content you are looking for. Never be afraid to let me know how I’m doing; it’s the only way I’m going to get better.
Do you think I missed anything? What is one piece of advice you have? And have you ever considered writing a blog? Let me know!