10/13/14

Thirteen Things Part One

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It's the thirteenth day of the month today, and I'm also celebrating 13 months of blogging this week (officially tomorrow). So with the number 13 on my mind I'm sharing 13 random things about blogging, creative inspiration, tips, and behind the scenes facts from yours truly.


1. Enjoy the Journey

The main thing I've had to keep reminding myself to focus on as a blogger is to enjoy the journey. I'm much happier blogging because I have ideas I want to share and because I want to participate in the community, not because I have certain expectations for so-called success.

As a blogger, it's very easy to compare and then feel badly about yourself because someone else has more followers, more comments, more collaborations, more sponsors, etc. The image above paints a good reminder picture for me. Cupcakes & Cashmere has almost three times as many followers as Atlantic-Pacific, who has three times as many as Gal Meets Glam. It just goes to show how it's all relative, and if any of those girls feel sorry for themselves they're missing the point!

2. Don't Break the Chain
Calendar Source

Believe it or not, one of my creative influences in blogging is Jerry Seinfeld. A few months into blogging when I was struggling for inspiration I read about Jerry's "Don't Break the Chain" method. In a nutshell, when someone came to Jerry asking for tips on how to make it as a comic he said, "The way to be a better comic is to create better jokes. And the way to create better jokes is to write every day."

It really clicked with me and I just decided that was it, I was not going to break my chain. I was going to post three times a week for better or worse. And just like not all of Jerry's jokes were funny, not all of my posts have been particularly great or memorable. But consistency has really helped my creative process and reduced my anxiety about coming up with post topics.

3. Most Popular Post: Editor vs. Columnist

The post with the most all-time page views on my blog is this basic comparison of the two main kinds of dress pants at Express. Frankly, it's a pretty boring post! It makes me cringe with embarrassment for so many reasons, but it's a very popular search term so I hope it helped those who searched it and I hope some who found me through that post came back for some of my more interesting posts!


4. Speaking of More Interesting Posts:
Original Post Here with "off the blog: outfits be Me / Carylee / Kellie / Tracy / Zeba 

There are a few posts that had me smiling from ear to ear the entire time I worked on them and are some of my all-time personal favorites:

The Secret Outfit Files:
I think we all felt a little more normal after this post where lots of down-to-earth bloggers shared their most casual outfits from their "off" days.

Kid's Choice:
I sent a couple of blogger's kids on a virtual shopping trip to Express to see what they would choose for their moms to wear. It was just so cute to see what they picked. (And Kellie, I'm still waiting to see you in that fringe bikini!)

Part One and Part Two of Coast to Coast Trends:
I found it so fascinating to see what trends are very popular in some parts of the country and non-existent in others, what trends are big on blogs but never seen in real life, and the #1 trend that is everywhere in real life, yet rarely seen on fashion blogs!


5. "Blogging Won't Change Me."
Shoes: DV Saffia  / Bag: Danielle Nicole / Jeans: Vigoss

You know how it seems like some bloggers start out with outfits from American Eagle and two years down the road wear exclusively designer brands? When I first started out I promised myself I wouldn't let blogging change me, and having a brand-based blog was part of my plan for staying to grounded. But....I was naïve to think I wouldn't change at all.

Shoes and handbags are the two parts of my wardrobe that I think have changed the most since starting out. I've also found that people don't expect me to be as brand-exclusive as I thought they would. So even though I still mostly shop and blog Express, I don't leave out an item I love just because it came from another store.

6. The Link-Up Check Up:

(Apologies to non-bloggers in advance: this one will probably make no sense!) I participated in link-ups for months before noticing the word "here" that I circled and pointed to in the image above. Anytime you add your blog to a link-up using InLinkz, you can track the number of clicks you get from that page by clicking on the word "here." Maybe I was the last person to figure that out, or maybe you're like me and never read the fine print. But it's been helpful for me to see which link-ups are the best fit for me, which images generate interest or not, etc., so I wanted to pass this tip along.

6. It's a Blog, Not a Novel

Source

After a couple of months of blogging I felt like my blog was not growing at all and the stagnation was frustrating. I went searching for blogging tips and found a few articles that showed me the error of my blog-writing ways. 

My early blog posts were almost entirely text, and I think most bloggers have had this type of experience when it comes to the text in their posts:

Blogger: Here's me in a picture with my niece!

Blog Commenter: Aw, your daughter is adorable!

I've really worked on trying to make my posts more scan-friendly and less text-heavy.What I used to say in three paragraphs I'm learning to say in three sentences, and I do feel like it has helped me grow and connect with people better. 

For more inspiration and detail on this topic here are some articles that helped me:


12 Tips for Writing Perfect Blog Posts

How Long are Your Paragraphs?

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Well, it looks like I'm on the verge of making this post too long and full of paragraphs that are too long in contradiction with what I just said I'm working on, but hopefully you were able to scan it and find a topic or two that held your interest! If you'd like to read the second half of my Thirteen Things, click on over here to check it out!


Also Linking up with:
Lisa & Julie / Throwback Thursday

Marvelous Monday / Rachelle & Charnele / Rhea / Fashionably Employed /
Laura / Laura Erin, / Shanna / Alison / Lindsey 



Linkup Button





We'd love to have YOU link-up with us for Manic Monday. Any topic is fine!

Please make sure your post has links back to both More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express, and thanks for linking up!



CONVERSATION

38 comments:

  1. Such a great post & congrats on reaching 13 months that's quite a milestone in blogging!! And nope you are so not the last one to figure out about the link-up check-up!! I had no idea, that's so helpful and I'm really interested to use that now, so thanks for sharing:)
    Marta, xo
    www.sweatersstripesandsweets.com

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  2. Happy 13 months!! I love the "break the chain" theory! And I am glad you are around and never got discouraged (enough to quit anyway), and I'm glad blogging *has* changed you in new ways, but not in ways that make you feel like you are fake! Your authenticity and engagement is why we all pink puffy heart you!!! Http://morepiecesofme.com

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  3. Gina I just love you! You are authentic, funny, kind, and supportive. This is a great post. What a journey this blogging this has been! I was just catching myself in the comparison trap this morning, so thanks for the reminder that it's not why we do what we do. It was fun to learn a little more about your blogging journey. Also, I had no idea that button existed on link ups!! I am totally going to check it out now. You're always teaching me things.

    xo, Amy Ann
    The Real Arnolds

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  4. This was so helpful! I totally agree about bloggers who change. I read a lot of blogs and have been disappointed when a blogger who just last year purchase handbags from Aldo now carries a Prada! I mean there is NO way I can afford Prada. I just have to make sure not to compare myself to them! Also, I didn't know about the "here" on Linkz! Thank you so much!
    xo, Lee

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  5. Oh geez. There's that "off" day picture again. Just kidding. I don't care. The one point that resonated with me was the comparing. In the beginning, I did it all of the time. I took a huge step back, really thought about why I'm doing this, and realized that it just doesn't matter. I do this for FUN. And I thought that was the only reason, but then I "met" such great people like you and now the relationships/support from other bloggers is the number one reason. All of your points are spot on. I am coming up on 1 year in a few weeks and all of this resonates. Thanks, Gina!!

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  6. As always, I love your post and your tips. You have talent to draw people in, and I think your talent is unique on its own. I love how you compare and share outfits idea from other bloggers, as well as yourself.

    That is why I look at blogging as a journey of self-discovery, because as we continue to grow, this journey continues to changes, and I always believe you can only turn out to be a better person in the end.

    Kreyola Jounerys | Instagram

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  7. Congrats on 13 months of blogging! Such a great post and tips! I had no idea about that you could track your posts from that linkup button! Thanks for sharing!

    Jill
    www.dousedinpink.com

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  8. First off, happy 13th month of blogging! You call these random things about blogging, I call them interesting and helpful thoughts and tips. I always enjoy reading your posts. I like that you are true to yourself and you always have encouraging words for everyone. Totally agree with #1 and thanks for the last two tips! Can't wait to read part 2! ~Cynthia

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  9. Happy 13 months, your blog is awesome and like you said comparing yourself to others is a sure way to spoil things. Just DO YOU! I also love that you are not brand exclusive.
    I think success means a different thing to different people, I love your blog because you are relatable. I think it's ok to change as a blogger, 5 years ago my shopping habits were completely different, so I don't hold it against a blogger when they gravitate towards other things. What I hate is when this switch drastically really fast, as in this year they are shopping at Forever 21 and the next they are wearing Chanel boots while doing collaborations with Old Navy. I know I have changed as I have been influenced by so many including you. xoxo

    xo
    PinkSole

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  10. Awwwwww those are awesome tips & thoughts Gina - I'm seriously touched (is it the word?) with every word you wrote! It's all about enjoying the journey - and I've really enjoyed it since I stopped counting the stats etc! I also agree about being consistent & not breaking the chain, and being just true to yourself! More power to your 13th!!!

    Rebecca
    www.redtagchiclosangeles.com

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  11. This post is awesome! I really do find something inspirational in each of your post as a new blogger! Also, thanks for the info regarding that here link, I never noticed it before :)

    www.dressed2dnines.com

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  12. So many things in this post I found interesting, helpful, and can so relate too!!! First, #1 made me laugh bc i had literally just done that...compared my blog to others, so thank you for the reminder to enjoy the ride. #2 is a struggle for me....I have yet to find that perfect balance and consistency with family life, working, and blogging...sigh. And yes, the fringe bikini from the Kids Choice post (which was a brilliant post, as are all your posts) hahahaha!!! You can keep holding your breath on that one!! LOL!!
    Can't wait to read more on Wednesday!!
    Kellie @ www.ie-style.com

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  13. Great post and tips you got here! Congratulations on your 13th months of blogging! Blogging can be a happy journey or a struggle, it's our choice. Thanks for the tips and advice. Keep up the hard work and dedication!
    http://www.weshopinheels.com

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  14. Congrats on your 13 months! I really liked this post!
    http://www.fashionablyspeakn.com/2014/10/meet-cast-cats-meow.html

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  15. Great post Gina, and happy 13 months! I especially likes Jerry's advice about not breaking the chain. I think you've done a fabulous job at that. I know I can expect a post from you every Monday, wed, and Friday. That's something I've really struggled with this year because I used to post three times a week as well. I need to start doing that again! I often struggle with writer's block. That's my biggest blogging concern these days!

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  16. Happy 13 months! I'm very glad I found your blog. It's informative and down to earth. As far as not changing, I think its only natural that blogger's styles evolve over time, but I think the key is staying true to your personality and creativity. Blogging shouldn't feel like a chore! And your blog is a great example of staying true to yourself.

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  17. I did not know that you can track the clicks from a link up. This is genius! haha thanks for sharing and congrats on 13 months!!
    www.amemoryofus.com

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  18. I have never noticed this track clicks from link ups. Thanks for sharing!

    Alice
    www.happinessatmidlife.com

    P.S. Hope to see you for TBT Fashion link up.

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  19. Congratulations girl, such awesome recipes you have shared today (JK) I definitely didn't know about the "here" button, will check it from now on.

    Natalia

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  20. I love this post :) I didn't know about the here thing, going to pay attention next time.
    I definitely don't expect you to be brand exclusive, I like when you post other things as well as Express. But I know where to go if I want to see or ask something about Express!
    I didn't think blogging would change me, but I know it has - I am not sure exactly how, but I know I have.. if that makes sense.

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  21. Such a great post! Congrats on your 13 month anniversary. We could all sit there comparing and trying to figure out numbers and such, but it would take away from all of our productivity, although I am guilty of this at times. It's funny what people posts readers are drawn to and which ones you as the writer enjoy more. OMG YOU ARE SO RIGHT when it comes to people reading what is written. "Your daughter is so cute" TOO TOO FUNNY because it is soooooo true. I try to keep my writing to a minimum and this happens to me too! You really made me laugh! I'm glad I'm not the only one!
    Marianne
    www.goodgirlgoneglam.com

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  22. Such a great post! I need to remember the thing about comparing myself to other bloggers. I may only have a few readers but in my opinion they are the best readers out there. I am so glad that you continue to write, not only because I constantly need outfit inspo but because I just love you!
    ~Elise @ highheelsglitteringeyes.blogspot.com

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  23. Happy 13 months, babe! Lucky 13! :)
    I love that you've made it a point to stay true to yourself + your style. One of my fave things about your blog!

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

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  24. Happy 13 months! Love your blog and thanks for the tip on the linkup here button, I'm apparently the last to know!!

    Xoxo,
    Whitney & Blaire
    Peaches In A Pod

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  25. Okay now I have to go to the library & check out that Jerry Seinfeld book. I'm such a huge fan of his. :] // itsCarmen.com ☼ ☯

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  26. 13 is my lucky number! Would love if you check out my latest beauty post xo

    Aliona | fromalionawithlove.com

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  27. I can identify with #1 a lot. Its a constant reminder that we are all on our own path and doing what we love, not for an end goal. Thank you for the reminder, its always good to reiterate that with yourself.

    Eleventh & Sixteenth

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  28. Happy 13 month blogaversary! I had no idea you could track clicks from a linkup... great to know! And I'm still loving that shot of your distressed denim and leopard shoes :-D

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  29. Ok- well I had no idea about that "here" button, so thank you!

    Come link up with me at Whatcha Wearing Wednesday!
    L,
    Vicky
    TheMummyChronicles.com

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  30. hi Gina!! I really love these type of posts from you as they serve as good reminders to us about the things that we need to ingrain in our minds every single time we immerse ourselves into blogging!! You very well know how much I need to be told these things every single day, I feel like, so thank you!! :) I am imagining you talking to me in person and telling me all these great advice! :) thanks Gina..

    uris
    http://my-sinina.blogspot.com/

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  31. Gina, first off, yaay to making it so awesomely to 13 months! I love to come here because I love your inspirations and the way you interpret them and what I love the most is, how much effort you put in to your post to make them so informative and complete. Your blogging tips/tricks and what has kept you going is something I can so relate to. I often had wondered why I did start blogging and mid way had to take sometime to let it sink that, I do it because I like it, it really isnt always about the numbers... And as for brand loyalty, I think its high time Express roped you in as their full time blogger! You are doing them the biggest favor ever. As a person, my shopping habits have really not changed, I keep seeing trends come and go and somehow I have found my ground to stay put rather than give in to every swinging trend..thanks for such a heart felt post..and wish you the very best!!

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  32. Love your post! I had no idea about #6! Thank you :)

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  33. These are great tips and I never knew about the linkup history and stats. Totally need to check it out. I love link up parties and host two of my own. Hope you stop by and link up! Stopping by from Better Blogging.

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  34. Thank you for the blogging tips.
    Especially the one about linkup history and stats.
    I will have to check that out next time.

    I'm visiting from Throwback Thursday linkup

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  35. Great post! Joining from Better Blogging link up.

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  36. Thanks for sharing with Throwback Thursday Linkup. I love blogging tips and keeping paragraphs short and sweet is one I need to fine tune.

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  37. This is a great post. I'm also trying to shorten my writing! Sometimes I just want blab though!

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