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!
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.
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:
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.
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
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!