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Blogging

I have been blogging for about 9 years. Before I started blogging, I wanted to blog, but I truly couldn’t think about what to write. I enjoyed reading the work of others and seeing their beautiful photography. Each post seemed so effortlessly put together, and certainly they were secretly professional photographers as well! From food to travel, culture and fashion, there was a little niche for everything and everyone. Except me.

I shared my desire and insecurities with a friend, who also happened to have a blog I coveted, featuring her adventures around the world. I was just a stay at home, homeschooling mom. But she immediately replied, “You have five kids! You probably have many potential daily posts!” My immediate thought was, who wants to read about parenting? Half the time I was pulling out my hair as a mommy!

Then one day I just sat down and started… it was in response to a stressful day and I just wanted to write and make light of it. I appropriately named my blog, Today’s Dose of Sanity. Staying sane (or attempting to) with children. My friend was right! I had more than enough content! It was a form of stress relief. I made it sarcastic and funny and, in the very least, it amused me to write about their antics. It also fed my creative side that had always loved writing.

A few years ago, our family grew, we moved several times, I went through a divorce, another two moves, I remarried, and my kids went to public school. My mommy blog became almost silent in all the activity and chaos. Yet, the crazy thing about stopping most hobbies or activities is that they become much harder to resume. Exercise, waking up early, blogging, what have you. Yes, it can be hard to think creatively, or even positively, when in the midst of so many life changing events. And perhaps taking a small break is necessary at times.

However, here is where I come to my first piece of advice: do what you love and make time for it. If that means thirty minutes here or there, just do it. The mentality of “life is too stressful right now,” or “no one wants to hear what’s going on,” are not true thoughts. Just jot things down. Whether you publish consistently or leave your thoughts in a journal during the hard times, at least you’re keeping it up. And the same goes for any other discipline. It’s much easier to maintain than to start all over again.

Fast forward to a few months ago… I still wasn’t taking the above advice, although I did manage to post a few times in what had been a long time. I realized how much I had missed it. I craved that creative release.

I was active on Instagram and became more and more interested in beautiful fashion and style blogging accounts. Fashion and makeup have been the other passions in my life since I was very young. It’s safe to say that my passion for it has only grown with age.

So I thought, why not combine these loves? Makeup, fashion, style and writing! The photography would need work, but my husband was already gaining an interest in it. Everything was coming together in my mind beautifully. And I made the decision like I had nine years ago… to simply begin.

Up until the last few weeks, I worked on this blog as things came to me, as opposed to outlining a real plan for themes, posts, etc. For some people, this works just fine. For my mommy blog, spontaneity was perfect. But I really wanted this one to have a more polished, consistent feel.

This brings me to my second suggestion for blogging: decide the direction you want to take with your writing.

What goals do you hope to achieve when blogging? If you are doing as I did with my mommy blog and writing more for fun than anything else, then your goals will, perhaps, be more simple. If you’re writing to direct traffic to products and interests about which your are posting, you will need to write with more frequency, and you will need to carefully and thoroughly tag your posts. If you are looking to gain an audience, then your followers may like certain content they can count on. For example, Blogger X will post cosmetic reviews every Tuesday. You, as the reader, know this and come to look forward to those Tuesday reviews. Again, you will want to create a blog that reaches a wide audience, and to keep that audience, your posting must be consistent. Can’t think of something for that day’s post? It’s perfectly okay to say, “something exciting is coming soon… until then, here’s a recipe for pumpkin bread!” (I just gave away a likely future post!)

And finally, and most importantly, do not become discouraged. Social media is a very useful tool that we are all grateful is available to us. But for those who are attempting to make a career or very serious hobby out of blogging, envy is a hard thing not to have at times.

When I first started posting what I felt was good content on my Instagram page, I simultaneously began feeling very intimidated by other “successful” bloggers. Their pictures were flawless. They always seemed to have content to post on different media platforms. And they had way more followers, likes, comments, etc.

Here again, you must decide what your idea of “successful” is. If you’re looking to make money, it’s going to take more time. If it’s to publish consistently, it’s a matter of starting and continuing. This is why knowing your goals is so important. Can your goals change? Absolutely! This is YOUR content and it is what you make it and want it to be!

The idea that someone did it first, better and more is nothing new. Regardless of your business, there is going to be comparison – just look at the magazines with the “Who Wore It Best?” features! It’s important to realize that comparison is not always bad, but it’s not always constructive, either. Those we admire all started out somewhere too. And you must also. Remember that. Use those seemingly flawless media accounts as inspiration, not competition. And if you’re thinking right now, “they are my competition!” then yes, you’re partially correct. But the real competition is the internal dialogue.

You simply must begin. If it’s something you love, you’ll always be successful.

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