One of my goals was to make it three months blogging and posting consistently. One year to me sounded so far away. So, I set short-term goals to make sure I wanted to spend my time here. If I could post consistently and stick with blogging for three months, I would feel accomplished. Well, looks like this blog and I have made it to the three month mark! Yay!
Before I started blogging, I created check-in dates to recap how far I have come and what I have learned. I wrote these dates on my calendar for the first few months to keep me motivated through this process and to create a sense of accountability. Starting any new project can be overwhelming. For me, reflecting on everything along the way makes the process more fun and enjoyable. It helps sustain when the tough moments arrive. Initially, I wasn’t sure if I would post about the process or not. You never know how new projects will go. But, I know how important honesty is. So, I’m sharing. Alright, let’s do this.
Be Honest & Hold Nothing Back
I would describe the last three months as moments filled with accomplishment, some frustration, and lots of persistence. Creating this spot has brought me joy and purpose. I am thankful I have the opportunity to use my gifts, create, and share with others. I am thankful for the words I have been given and seeing how those words inspire. The most rewarding part of this process has been hearing others say my words or actions made a difference in their lives. They left feeling thankful. They left feeling inspired. They left feeling creative. Having others reach out to me has made this process completely worth it.
When the idea to create a blog came to mind, my biggest fear was the writing portion. Would I be able to keep readers interested? Do I have that many ideas? To help with those fears, my goal at the beginning of last year was to write once a week. Write about anything and everything. Write wherever I could put the words down. My laptop. Notebooks. My planner. Mail I hadn’t thrown away yet. Anywhere. I am happy to say I wrote 137 times during 2014. Goal accomplished. And what I learned the most from that process is that your thoughts are great. But seeing them down on paper is a completely different type of honesty with your self. It can be life changing.
When last summer hit, I knew I wanted to put those words somewhere. I set my goal for September to create a blog. In July, I researched and read. By August, I was growing nervous. Creating a blog was something I knew absolutely nothing about. In September, I had doubts. Major doubts. Would I really be comfortable sharing about myself? My thoughts and what I see? Could I be honest with my words? Truly honest? Could I really do this? I remember sitting with my mom one day around the pool and telling her about this. Telling her my thoughts. And her advice… Just. Stop. Thinking. Take action. Do something. Exactly the words I needed to hear. By the end of September, it was all or nothing in my heart. I had come this far, and I needed to finish what I started. On September 30th, I published my first post. Since then I have published 17 additional posts and shared countless photographs.
My favorite posts to photograph were the posts centered around my California trip. I noticed details I normally wouldn’t notice because I knew I would be writing about my travels. I took more photographs on this trip than any other. I knew I would need a variety of choices and wasn’t quite sure what story I wanted to tell. I am completely pleased with the way those posts turned out. If you missed any, you can see them here, here, and here. Sharing about the hard questions was my favorite post to write. I felt a sense of freedom after writing those words. It was honest, from the heart, and to me very healing. If you missed it, you can read Questions & Answers here.
The Good & The Bad
So, what has been working? Early morning posts are the easiest. I can set everything up the night before – schedule the post, decide on photos, prep a social media photo, etc. If I prep the night before, the post will publish in the morning with very little for me to do. No rushing at all. It’s great. I’ve also found a good rhythm of writing for me – write one day and edit the next day. When I sleep on a post for a night, it just seems better to me. Reading the post out loud once before hitting publish. It helps decrease the wordiness. Setting a writing schedule at the beginning of the week helps. I can establish certain days and times for after work that way I can be productive and intentional with my time. And making sure I break during the week from it is essential. Spending to much time on this leads to worry.
So, what hasn’t been working? Stressing over formatting and technical issues. Let me say that again. Stressing over formatting. I don’t have a computer background. I have to accept the fact that I do not know everything when it comes to this. This is not my area of expertise. Google is great – especially when you know the technical terms of what you are actually trying to Google. Comparison. Comparing myself to bloggers who have been around for years. Comparing my writing and photography skills. It completely steals your thunder some days. I will learn. Self-doubt and talking myself out of ideas, posts, photographs, etc. Rushing through the process rather than just letting it happen. When posts are rushed, they just don’t sound well.
So, what have you learned? I enjoy inspiring others – whether that is through words, photographs, or actions. When I began to write that is how I spoke to myself. Inspiring and encouraging words. Once I started reading those, I knew I needed to share. If one person gained something from this, than my goal would be accomplished. I need people. They make this space worth it and keep me going. I write better when I am relaxed and not rushing. I am a quality over quantity blogger. Learning the technical parts of this takes time. Every blog post is a chance to practice and learn. Enjoy and have fun. That is what creating is all about.
So, what is next? Part of the reason for this recap was to help me write goals for the blog and tackle the next few months. My initial goals were (1) to post consistently (for me that meant once or twice a week) and (2) be committed for at least three months. If in three months you still enjoy it, you continue. If not, you move on to something else. Well, three months is here. I’m still enjoying every minute of it. So, I will be sticking around for a while.
I will be publishing later this week my blogging goals, my future recap dates, and where I see this little spot heading.
Enjoy your Tuesday everyone!