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Lessons from Blogging: Year One

blogging lessons

Looking back one one year of blogging, here are 8 lessons I’ve learned in blogging and in life…

1. Start today.

Two quotes sum this up perfectly:

“A year from now, you’ll have wish you started today.” – Karen Lamb

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” – Earl Nightingale

If there’s something you’re itching to start, start TODAY. Or at the very least, make a game plan to get everything in place by a certain date on which you will start. I spent so many years thinking about starting a blog, that if I’d have started the first time I intended to, we’d be on a much later anniversary.

2. Take one baby step after the other.

One of the reasons that I hesitated so long to get started, was that I had a picture-perfect idea in my head of how everything should be before I even began. I would get frustrated with my efforts, seeing the dissonance between what I wanted things to look like what they actually were. The day I decided to just take one small step on top of the other was the day I actually made progress. Hell, this blog wasn’t even heart-swell.com when I first started; it was on a whole different platform, with a whole different look. But I made that clear to myself and my audience from the get-go — that this would be a process — and that’s exactly what it has been. I have watched this clip by Ira Glass maybe 100 times; I *highly* recommend it. Give yourself permission to be a beginner and to grow into your goals. One baby step on top of the other has gotten me way farther than waiting for one perfect leap ever did.

blogging lessons 3

3. Be yourself.

When I read my early posts versus my recent ones, the biggest difference I notice is my voice. I was MUCH more tightly controlled and self-conscious in earlier posts. As I became more comfortable writing and putting my thoughts out there, I eased into just being myself. I read once that you should write as if you’re drafting an email to your closest, wittiest friend. I think this post was the first time I really did that. I had so much fun writing it, that it completely shifted something in me to always try to be my most genuine, free self.

4. Be bold.

I used to FREAK out about sharing my content. The first Facebook ‘like’ on a post was always a major sigh of relief for me, and I definitely called my sister a time or two (or ten) asking if I should take something down because an hour had gone by without anyone giving the almighty thumbs up. Melodramatic much, I know, hah. But it was a very scary thing for me to put my work out there and let it just… sit. Or to ask people to like the Facebook page and support the blog. The last thing I would want is to be intrusive or make someone feel uncomfortable. But at some point, I had to shift my perspective from feeling like I was burdening people by sharing my work, to believing in it enough to feel like I could potentially be offering them something of meaning with it. This is still my biggest struggle on a day-to-day basis. But I believe we should all be bold enough and proud enough of what we do to own it, share it, and believe we have something of value for one another. Because we do.

5. Leave room for a little magic.

I am a notorious planner. But this year, I’ve gotten better at leaving room for the unplanned. I used to map out posts months in advance, but I began to realize that things would pop up that I was more passionate posting about. Or sometimes when I had NOTHING to say, in the eleventh hour I would come across something that I just had to share. So I began trusting the process a little bit more, and leaving room for life to work its magic. In blogging and in daily life. And it still amazes me how, but when you give it room to, life comes through every single time.

blogging lessons 2

6. Don’t be afraid to change your mind.

Hey, some things work and some things don’t, and you never know until you try. For a while I featured a Friday Find. The first few weeks I had things to share, but it quickly became hard for me to find content that I believed in every single week for that series. After all, much of this blog is a daily find. So I shifted to a Friday wrap-up of Heart Swells, which felt much more natural for me to write. In blogging and in life, give yourself the freedom to say, “Let’s see how this goes.” And even more importantly, the freedom to change course. Package deal.

7. Find your cheerleaders.

From the very beginning, my friend Lydia supported the launch of this blog and was always available for a midnight perspective about how something looked or sounded. My friend Ashley comments all the time; my sister texts me; my friend Vanessa always likes posts on Facebook. And so many others leave kind comments or tweets or messages. That might not sound like a lot, but it means everything. There have seriously been days when I’ve felt like throwing in the towel on this whole blogging business, and someone will reach out or comment and it gives me the gusto to keep going. No matter what you do in life, find people in your corner. Support them, and let them know how much their support means to you. It doesn’t make a little difference in the journey; it makes all of it.

8. Celebrate the little things.

All those baby steps we were talking about earlier? Try to savor them. I have pictures of every single thing that’s been mailed to me for the blog, starting with a sample bottle of coconut oil. I’ve saved kind emails or memos about partnerships, because I have felt every step of this journey, and I am deeply thankful for them. For all of you. For reading and commenting and liking and being part of a community that truly makes my heart swell. <3

{Photos via Erika Bretchel}

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Gina October 24, 2014, 9:22 am

    Love this post! Love you!

  • Jessica October 27, 2014, 8:57 pm

    Love you too bebe <3

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