Blogging is a really, really weird thing to do. Even now that I earn a living from it I still find it difficult actually explaining to people what it is that I do on the daily. I mean, it doesn't sound overly interesting me just saying that I post photos of myself online, does it? In fact, I did actually tell my grandparents that once and I'm pretty sure they thought I was some sort of call girl or something (if you're reading this Grandad, I'm not, I promise). Ahem, moving on..
So it only just dawned on me today that my little blog isn't even a year old yet. For those of you that have followed me for some time you'll know that I was blogging over on a different network for a little while, but I never really had my own blog and my own URL until earlier this year. All I can say is that damn, a lot has happened in those few months. Here's everything I've learned..
You're doing better than you think
I've been thinking about how much of a slacker I've been lately. That is, until I realised that the blog was less than a year old. I guess sometimes you just need to take a step back and look at everything you've achieved, no matter how big or small. It's so easy to get sucked into the world of blogging that sometimes you just lose track of, well, everything. Chances are - whether you achieved a follower milestone, worked with a cool brand or got your first paying gig - you've got something to be proud of!
It's good to take a break sometimes
Weekends and holidays exist for a reason, and the reason is that people actually need to take time out sometimes. I wrote more about why you need to take a break last week, but the general notion is that, if you don't take a break, you'll soon burn out. Stay well, stay motivated, kick ass.
You'll feel guilty every day
I feel guilty if I don't post a blog post at a certain time. I feel guilty if I don't reply to emails quick enough. I feel guilty if I don't reply to your comments as soon as you send them. Hell, I even feel guilty if I don't post on Instagram some days. I know, I know, it's pathetic and I have no reason to feel guilty about nonsensical things like that. But hey, at least it means I care about what I do@Out of all the things in life you can feel guilty about, I feel guilt about this? I guess it's a good thing in a way, because it shows that I care. But man, is it exhausting!
Buying excessive props for photos becomes the norm
I can't even begin to tell you guys how many copper or marble things I've bought purely for photographic purposes. In fact, it almost embarrasses me to admit it, but I've actually developed a 'prop box' that's filled with useless things like painted wooden planks and decorative that only ever come out when it's flatlay time. Somehow I've convinced myself that all of this is completely, unashamedly normal. Because it is. Right?!
There are more nice people out there than nasty
There's always this stigma that comes with having an online life, in that you're going to get hundreds and thousands of people trolling you on the daily. Sure, you might get the odd grump, but for me I've found that the majority of people online are actually just really, really, genuine people. I've had more support from strangers in the past year than 'real life' people. And with all the crappy things you hear on the news these days, it's actually a really refreshing feeling knowing that.
You'll become a pro at multi-tasking (and life)
I always thought I was a pretty decent multi-tasker - that is, until I started blogging. Right now I'm powering through my last year of university, I'm creating a book, I post videos on my Youtube channel each week, I blog full time and I'm doing freelance work on the side of it all. And I have a semi-functioning social life. And I manage to shower each day (give or take). This doesn't mean I'm amazing and you should all bow down to me - it simply means that we underestimate ourselves far too much. Blogging requires you to be a million different people. A manager, a PR person, a writer, a photographer, everything. If everyone else in the blogosphere can do it, you can too - you just might have to get up a little earlier..
The boring stuff matters
No matter how many times you do it, things like search engine optimisation and filling out invoices never gets fun. Literally never. But it's these trivial tasks that help to build your blog and your brand over time. I never used to use SEO what so ever, but the moment I did I started noticing the page views roll on in. It's kind of like building a house. You want the foundations to be strong so you never have to worry about them in the future. Then once you're safe, you can start prettying up the place a little more. Yep, I just made that up all by myself.
Consistency is key
Once upon a time I posted about just about anything that popped into my head. Sometimes I'd post three times a day, sometimes I'd post three times a month. I never even knew when my next blog post was going to be, let alone whether or not you guys did?! That's why consistency is key. It's not about posting at an exact time every day, no matter what (but kudos to you if you can!) - instead it's about remaining as reliable as possible. For me, I tend to post around five times a week, usually on week days. Every Tuesday you can expect a Tip Tuesdays from me and, of course, every time you open up a blog post you know it's going to contain more words than War and Peace. You know what to expect, so you come back! (PS thank you for coming back).
You'll realise what matters
Okay so this probably sounds way more deep than it actually is, but what I'm trying to say here is that blogging will help you figure our what it is in life that you actually want to do, and how far you're prepared to go to make sure you're able to do just that. I never realised I wanted to be a blogger growing up, but now that I am one I know that I would seriously struggle if I ever went back to a normal every day job. So, I do whatever I have to do to make sure I can stay doing what I'm doing. There are money struggles sometimes, and sometimes I'm just completely exhausted with work and uni, but hey, it's a small price to pay for doing what you love!
Things don't happen, you have to make them happen
Nearly a year ago I took a risk and left one of Europe's biggest blogging networks to try my hand at making my own blog (read more about that in my 'how to become a full time blogger' post). It could have gone seriously tits up for me, but I made sure that I never let that happen. People will always tell you how lucky you are to live the life you live, but you know what? It's all bull. All you have to do is work hard, stay patient and over time you'll get where you want to be. Next year, my aim is to become a Victoria's Secret model. Watch this space.
Anyway, I think it's safe to say I've learned a lot in the past year or so of being on the interwebs. I still can't believe this blog is less than a year old, and thinking about it only makes me more and more excited about the next ten months (and potentially ten years!) I have with you guys. Thank you for letting me do what it is that I do, and - as always - thank you for actually reading this essay of a blog post. Come on, did you really expect anything less?
What have you learned since you first started your blog?