It was one year ago today that I posted my very first post on my very own blog. It hardly seems like a year has gone by. In many ways I still feel like a new blogger. Then again, I still feel like I am a teenager sometimes, too. Time and age are relative.
This year has taught me many things. It taught me about my writing abilities, about my writing habits, about my goals, about life, and about me.
I always thought I was a good writer. Everyone said they loved my poems and short stories, though they were written rather sparingly. When I had time and inspiration hit me. It was like a convergence of the perfect writing ingredients had to come together before I could put words on paper.
Then, I decided to go back to school for my Master’s degree. I did a lot of writing in the many literature courses I took and had a frustratingly picky professor who made every paper I wrote bleed with red corrections. At the time, I doubted my ability to string words together. Now, I thank her every day for that red pen.
It is easy to get out of practice if you don’t write, and I didn’t. After I left school, both as a student and an instructor, I pretty much quit writing. I didn’t make time for it. So, a year ago, when I began this blog, I realized my writing abilities had suffered. More than that, I didn’t have good writing habits.
This realization hit me hard. It felt like all the progress I made in school becoming a better writer was lost. I couldn’t find my voice. I tried to be someone I’m not. I was writing boring content (at least it was boring to me) and it showed. I didn’t even want to tell anyone I was blogging because I didn’t want them to read it.
I admit I hoped to support myself with this blog. Because I wanted to make money from this adventure, I followed all the advice I found online – or tried to. Those were my two biggest mistakes: thinking I could support myself right away and following all the blogging advice I could find.
It wasn’t long before I knew I would not be supporting myself here, at least not yet (maybe one day). Surprisingly, figuring this out gave me a renewed passion about my little corner of the web. It took taking money off the table for me to learn a valuable lesson. I don’t need to be or want to be like every other blogger. I just needed to be me. Disjointed sentences and all.
I wish I could say I learned this lesson quickly, but it came gradually. The first step was when I wrote and shared my first Weekend Coffee post. I wrote it in my style. It was quite possibly the first post I was completely proud of and truly wanted to share.
The bloggers who participate in #WeekendCoffeeShare gave me such great positive feedback that I finally started to realize there are people who would read what I write and like it, even if it wasn’t in the proper format with headlines and bold type and whatnot.
Once I started writing content I liked instead of what I thought people would read, I participated more in the blogging community and shared my posts. It is crazy time consuming, but so worth it. The people behind all the blogs you read are really great.
Now that I am enjoying the process of writing and sharing (though I still have trouble with self-promotion), I am seeing my numbers grow. I have new, or rather, updated goals for this blog and for my life. I am gaining confidence as a writer and earning some money by my pen (or computer screen, but that doesn’t sound nearly as poetic).
It was a long, challenging path to navigate over the last year, but it was an experience I needed to grow. I look forward to many more blogging years and many more lessons. I hope you will join me for the journey!
Check out the places I mingle.