It’s been one year of blogging for me. I guess they call it a “Blog-iversary”. What has it been like, you ask? Launching a blog right in the middle of a Pandemic? I’m here to tell you it wasn’t what I expected. I hope sharing what I’ve learned can give you some insight. I hope it encourages you in whatever it is you are pursuing, blogging or beyond.
How it started
In early December of 2018 God put on my heart to start a blog. He also told me to step away from social media. For an entire year.
You can read about my experience of being off of social for a year here
It may seem foolish to begin something online by spending an entire year away from being online. As if it’s not already hard enough to keep up with social media’s algorithm and it’s changes. Adding in the a year of not doing it staying current was a drawback.
Yet, I was confident this is what God was calling me too, so I obeyed. I spent the entire year focusing on my time with God, and writing. In preparation for the launch of my blog, I created a piece a week. Additionally, I researched and prepared as best I could for what I was about to embark on.
Thankfully I do have a very dear friend with a successful blog (Princess Turned Mom). She gave me helpful tips and encouraged me in so many ways! I took everything one day at a time, and prayed God would give me everything I needed to accomplish it.
I decided to launch on the day I had stopped social media one year prior, March 30 2020. I’m not sure If you were around for 2020? Unless you were in a coma or on some remote island, you know it was a year like no other. As I approached launch day I questioned if it was the right time or not? But the Lord continued to confirm me moving forward.
What did I think it would be like? Well, I was prepared for some backlash. If 2020 taught us anything it was how nasty people can be online, even when you have great intentions. I sort of posted with my dukes up, ready to defend and humbly listen to any nay sayers. I had heard someone say on a podcast; “Don’t let people who you wouldn’t take advice from give you criticism that you take to heart”. It was an incredible and helpful piece of advice that I remind myself of regularly.
What I didn’t expect
- To my delight I got zero negative responses. Several people responded very kindly, some of whom I hadn’t even heard from or seen in years.
- Certain people I expected to be more supportive and vocal and they weren’t. Others I was surprised to get their support!
- It felt like I was standing there naked in front of everyone I know and don’t know. Putting your words out in public is a very personal experience, no matter how many people read it.
- After being so vulnerable and bared open, there was feeling of; “well, I guess we should eat a sandwich or something”. Life is just normal, even after you do the thing you’ve been planning.
- Which leads me to……
Starting a blog at the same time as a global pandemic
I can guarantee over the year I wrote, I didn’t expect this. At first I wondered if my blog would get loads of subscribers since everyone was home. It definitely wasn’t the case, and not just because I was new and still learning. I heard from other bloggers their readership was down by a fair amount, which isn’t the most encouraging thing. Still I soldiered on.
I also wasn’t going to write and publish about the Pandemic or my experience with it. Though I Actually journaled every week about it. Writing about what was going on from my own point of view and how I felt about it was therapeutic. Not having to gage wether I was having an emotional, or rational response was freeing. Just putting it in words helped me to stay sane. You never know, I might share it one day. I’m grateful I didn’t during the time, it was a volatile year and I didn’t need to add to it.
Another unexpected element in blogging the first year, was how I thought I’d have loads of extra time. I pictured honing my blogging skills in addition to getting all the things done, plus rest. With my hubby furloughed most of the year our schedule changed. I still had to be intentional. It started with posting every week, then changed periodically depending on what was happening in my little world and beyond.
Learning to be kind to myself was necessary. Allowing time for God to help me work out the big emotions I was feeling for our world. My heart was broken for so many living in such fear. I’ll leave out the other things 2020 dealt, that left me feeling less than creative and motivated on certain days.
It’s hard work, no really
I was unprepared for just how much work blogging the first year would be. If you are seeing someone’s posts or stories on social it is not a coincidence. When you search Google for a topic and a blog/website with information pops up, it is no accident. You should know it took them MANY HOURS, with a lot of planning, intentionality and possibly money to achieve it. Are you seeing a communicator/ influencer of any kind in your feed? No matter the height of platform they stand on, they have likely been intentional. It is rare, to become popular quickly in the sphere of online influence and keep that momentum.
I’m grateful to have had our Cousin Steve who is an SEO. (Search Engine Optimist) He did my website for me and has given me great tips on getting seen. (Check out his company if you need to be seen for your platform or business, Wiideman consulting Group)
Despite all the wisdom he imparted to me, it literally took me all year to grasp some of it. How I was writing, wording and titling my blog posts. Then there is social media and following algorithms, getting a email list and sending out news letters. Pintrest is a great tool but comes with its own set of rules and tricks. Influencers often post and repost past blogs or content over 7 times a day, every day, let that sink in. Not to mention planning content, curating graphics for each different platform. All while being focused on your motivation for it all. Since well, if you don’t have a good motivation it’s a whole lot of work for nothing.
I wrote pieces even though I had a stock pile of writing
Despite having a trove of already written pieces I love and am excited to share, I wrote new pieces. Blogging the first year, taught me a blog is its own style of writing. It’s different than how you would write for a book, both creatively and grammatically speaking. It was like learning a new language and writing new pieces helped me to apply what I was learning.
Clarifying my motivation
I knew I was doing this for the Lord, I was very clear on my why; Encourage others to Love God, their Marriages, homes and travel. Yet, I was being a bit stubborn in the area of, “my creativity”. I was getting fancy with titles nobody would ever find in a search.
Towards the fall I was starting to grasp this concept. Despite being schooled about keywords and phrases more easily found. I noticed my “creative” titles and lack of keywords, a total contradiction to my motivation. How could I encourage people if they can’t find what I’m writing when they are looking for it.
I went back through and re vamped the posts I had done previously. Now with the clarified motivation to allow people who might benefit from it to find it all while being creative.
Things I’m grateful for
Looking back on Blogging the first year I was so grateful I didn’t go viral day one. You hear it happens sometimes and I have to say I was a bit worried. I knew I had a lot to learn. I’m grateful God has given me time to do so with a smallish audience.
In Proverbs 20:21 it says: An inheritance gained hastily at the beginning will not be Blessed at the end.
The kind words people spoke gave me motivation to continue. Don’t ever second guess if God puts it on your heart to encourage or thank someone. Especially when they have encouraged you, everyone needs it. Even people who seem super confident and successful.
In a nut shell
After Blogging the first year, I’m glad to be on this side of it. I’m working towards providing more content that will encourage, uplift and entertain my audience. Learning has been fun and challenging and I’m grateful to have a creative outlet.
I clearly didn’t understand the amount of work that went into being a communicator that is seen. If your are like me I hope I’ve given you some perspective. It’s truly an art form, one I currently feel like a Kindergartener with a box of broken crayons at. Nevertheless I’m grateful for the respect I’ve gained for those in this industry. My sweet friend Jenny, (Princess Turned Mom) has shared with me, she too feels she has so much to learn. This gives me hope and perspective.
I don’t know what else God has planned for the Married Rogers Neighborhood Blog, but I know I’m in. All in. I hope this encourages you to continue to pursue the things God has called you too. Even when it’s hard work and seems fruitless. I hope you’ll continue to hang out here, and share your heart with me too!
Thank you for reading, thank you for your support, it has meant the world to me! I pray God would Bless you for encouraging and Blessing me!