Well, the blog officially turned four last week (I’ll take a moment to do the Carlton dance, or at least attempt to), and I am finally able to sit down and figure out how to celebrate it this year.
First off, I needed a pic. And nothing could top last year’s rain boots and bikini. So, here’s a collage of four pics I love, and figured I’d throw in one where I show my face too. Donezo.
But what to write about?
Then, I received another email asking for tips on starting a blog and blogging. Hallelujah. Problem solved. I figured it’s time to share a few important things I’ve learned about blogging in the past four years, and thoughts on this whole blog dealio in general.
So, here we go.
I wish someone could come up with a term other than blog.
There’s so much time, effort, heart, creativity, and brain juice that goes into this thing. A word that rhymes with frog and smog just doesn’t do it justice. So if I ever call it “my site” and don’t like to call myself a blogger, that’s why. I just wish there was a different word.
Make it meaningful.
Some of my favorite posts are the ones that took about three minutes of staring at the “Publish Now” button before I could press it (Ahem, like this post). There’s something about finally opening up, and having an actual opinion on something that feels like a release. And knowing that risk helped someone else out there, well that’s the cherry on top. These posts totally come out of the blue too, or else I’d post like that every single time.
Make it organic.
I know some people have a schedule and calendar, and I applaud them for that. But it’s just not for me. I love waking up each day, looking at my site and seeing what it needs. I also love being randomly inspired and posting something that minute. It makes it fun for me. I have a big folder of pics I’ve taken and stuff I can dig into, ideas in my head, things to write or paint, and it’s cool to see what ends up being posted on that day. And some days nothing goes up, and I’m realizing that’s ok too. The thought of having a set calendar makes my stomach get in a knot and my palms sweat, and reminds me of a syllabus or something. Yeah that just wouldn’t be fun. Which leads to my next tip…
Make it fun.
This is actually my #1 tip. Your site (or blog) should be fun, if you aren’t having fun then why the heck are you doing it? I started this as a total creative outlet and it still is a creative outlet, and will always be a good old fashioned fun creative outlet. And you know what…I have fun doing it. And if it’s never fun, I’ll figure out why not, and fix it, or stop. If your blog is tedious or something you dread doing, figure out why and fix it. Please go get some ice cream and brainstorm ways to make it fun again, or something.
Realize you can’t please everyone.
This is the hard part for me because I am extremely non-confrontational, and like to make everyone happy. This is also an aspect of my personality that can make me go in a downward spiral. It’s only taken me 3 decades of life to realize this. You can’t (and don’t need to feel obligated) to say yes to every company that emails you. Also, realize that mean comments from followers will happen. The world was mean to Tim Tebow, it will find out a way to be mean to you at some point. Sometimes on posts that mean a lot to you too. Take a deep breath, walk away, and realize it’s easy for people to grow some serious balls behind the anonymity of the internet.
Also realize it doesn’t need to be perfect.
You don’t need to have you hair and makeup done and have a professional photographer following you around for every single post. Snap a pic of your feet, your arm, crop off your head, show off your bedhead, if you have fake eyelashes on or really cool glasses, take a selfie. You get the point. You don’t need to be a fashion magazine, you just need to be your beautiful imperfectly perfect self.
Build relationships and brand loyalty.
All of my recent design collabs are a result of relationships I’ve built up over the years. I’ve kept in touch with brands I really resonate with, think that are rad or unique, and have gotten to know some totally kick ass women (and men). So if you meet someone, stay in touch, encourage them, and you just might develop a great new friendship too.
Please don’t beg.
I see so many people begging for products from companies in comments or begging for followers. Not cool. I don’t know who is telling you out there to do that. If you make original, fun, true to you content consistently…they will come. Like field of dreams. But on le web. Post it and they will come.
There’s only one you. Embrace it.
This is crucial. It’s all about you, your point of view, your style, your food, what makes you tick, your art, whatever it is, it should be unique. Write about it. Document it. Share it. Own it.
I could write a bunch more, but my laptop is about to die.
Maybe all of this rambling is getting me to one point: There really is no set formula for a blog, you just gotta go for it, not overthink it, work out the kinks along the way, and have some fun.
Cheers to four years. It’s been a blast.
Thank you all so so much for following, and sticking with me. And to anyone who had read this post this far, please know that I think you rock, and I’ll keep on doing my best at keeping this site fun, interesting, meaningful, and 100% me.