This week, April 13th to be exact, marks 7 years of blogging, for me. I’ve never really paid attention to blogging birthdays (that sounds weird, doesn’t it?) in the past. But this year, for whatever reason, I wondered how many years has it been since I’ve been computer creating, putting out posts, and sharing what’s swirling around inside my head or heart? I figured blogger would remember, even though I didn’t. 7 years, she told me. 7 years, 1,453 posts, and 2 babies later, here I am still putting out posts. Today, I’m computing and calculating in my non mathematical mind all that I’ve learned over these past 7 years. And, it adds up like this….
Everything I’ve learned about blogging, has nothing to do with blogging.
It has everything to do with life.
Yes, I’ve learned how to use programs like Photoshop, how to properly take photographs and edit pretty pictures, how to partner with major brands, collaborate, decorate, negotiate, promote product, and even earn a dime. I’ve paid to learn some of these skills, stayed up late prowling the inter-webs, read books, attended conferences and classes, and have reached out to others for advice. All of the knowledge and experiences have been good. Very good.
Yet, the real value is beyond the blogging. Beyond the skill. Beyond success. Beyond Numbers. The value is the life lessons learned. Trials and errors. Risks and regrets.
Here is what I’ve learned (also read, “what I’m still learning”).
1 / If you have something in your heart to start. START. I had no idea what a blog, really was, when I started. All I knew was that it was a place to write, a place to share information and inspiration. I felt an inner nudge to do it, and I didn’t ignore it.
2 / Having a consistent creative outlet is a distraction. Blogging (and any other thing you give consistent time and attention to) can distract you (take your time, energy, etc) from other things that matter, but it can also distract you from things you might need distracting from. If life feels overwhelming why add on something else to overwhelm? Well, sometimes good overwhelming quiets down bad overwhelming. Blogging has been the best kind of distraction for me, in recent years.
3 / Everyone is creative, including me. I never considered myself creative, ever. I always liked creative writing, but I never considered myself good at creating anything. Through blogging, I found that I was capable and could express myself beyond words (although that is my favorite and my best). Others saw this in me before I saw it in myself (and, that is a lesson in itself…..If others say they see something in you, pay attention, listen up, don’t just shrug it off as a passing compliment. Ask yourself if there is something to it).
4 / The thing about being online is that you can (and even unintentionally) create a persona. Sometimes, it just happens by the pictures you post (Isn’t it funny that photo filters form more then a pretty picture). Others form an image of who they think you are, based upon what you choose to share. You know you, and those closest to you know you. Do your best to be that you offline and online, but don’t sweat it if online others perceive you differently.
5 / You’ll get to know yourself better when you let others know you. While it appears that I share my life online, I actually don’t. I don’t share all of it, that is. Not every detail. Sometimes I share a broad view of something that is very detailed in my life. I’m a pretty private person who happens to also believe in authenticity and vulnerability. I’m finding the more I share, the more others share. And, that authenticity does away with audience and fosters community. Sharing anything personal is vulnerable. But, perhaps my broadview, could help someone else’s very detailed, private pain.
6 / Community is key. I knew this. I thought I did. But, I didn’t realize, until blogging, how life giving it is to have community with others that have the same interests as me.
7 / Consistency counts for something. If you want to last or be successful at anything, you have to be consistent. Day in. Day out. Over and over again.
8 / Say Yes. Say No. This has been a long time coming for me and who knew it would be writing on the internet that would help me become better (I’m still working on it) at saying No. I like to say yes to everyone. But, I can’t. You can’t. Through opportunities that have come my way I’ve been able to see tangibly why saying “no” to some things, means I can say “yes” to other things. The right things…..for me.
9 / Slowing down doesn’t mean stop. While blogging has become somewhat of a job for me, and sometimes unnecessary busy work (still working on that “no”). I’ve finally learned that my sanity matters more then sharing today. So today, I will share compassion with myself. Then….tomorrow, I’ll have something to share with others.
10 / Be true to yourself. Your ever changing self that is. Through blogging I’ve felt like I found my voice. Found my style. Unearthed a major part of myself. Yet, that self keeps changing. I keep growing. Evolving, maybe. Is it that I’m influenced by others, current styles, trends and so on? Somewhat. Anyone that says they aren’t is probably lying. Now that I know me…it’s a filter for the ever changing. Anyhow, I find that I keep coming back to that true self, now that I know her better.
11 / Someone will always be ahead of you, better then you. Learn from them. Someone will always be behind you, looking to you. Help them. It’s one big circle. And, this goes way beyond something like blogging or business. This is life. I wouldn’t be me, if it wasn’t for people ahead of me that mentored me, along the way.
I have to stop somewhere so, I guess it will be here. Most weeks, I wonder if I should keep blogging. If it is still relevant. If I am still relevant. If it is the best use of my time. If it is what I’m suppose to be saying “yes” to at this time in my life. It’s something I have to work out. And, maybe it’s not blogging in general, but what I blog about?
But, the thing is, I see all of these wonderful life living kind of things I’ve learned, I think of all of the lifelong friendships I’ve formed, how I’ve been able to learn my voice and share it, as well as lend it to those who need to share their stories / causes, and how I have to have an outlet to write and share (because I’ll combust if I don’t. kidding. kind of), and so here I am today, typing.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for reading along. I love to share words, inspiration from images, gorgeous design, and information with you – – lovelies! xo . t
p.s. please come back tomorrow as I have super fun birthday giveaway….just for you. many fun gifts!