I’ve been blogging for almost two years now, and I can’t help but take a moment to assess my relationship with my blog thus far. I mean, the two year point is an exciting milestone for me to be approaching. This relationship has gotten pretty serious. I’ve talked love, money, travel, politics, career goals and lifelong dreams. I’ve written through blood, sweat and tears (that’s only a slight exaggeration). I’ve published my mistakes, victories and everything in between. I’ve poured my heart out. And you’ve been here to witness it all (or most of it, or some of it… or you just happened to stumble across my blog today while searching the weather in Charlotte, North Carolina). Seriously though, we’re talking two years of my life that I’ve put on the World Wide Web for anyone to read, respond to and most likely judge with a critical eye. It’s time to ask myself: what am I getting out of this? Well, let me tell you.
I am connecting
If you want to be a successful blogger, you better be reading and following along with other blogs. In doing so, you will find you are always learning something. And you will be surprised by how much you can learn from a stranger. You might not even recognize this blogger if you ran into them on the street. In some cases, you won’t even know their real name. But you will communicate with them—whether though leaving comments or creating conversation in social media. Hopefully, they will visit your blog in return. Before you know it you’ll be bouncing ideas off of one another, and soon they’ll inspire a new blog topic from a place within you that you never even knew was there. Bloggers (and readers) are full of surprises. So be prepared to surprise yourself.
I am learning and adapting
I am proud to say my blog has come a long way since its freshman days. If only I knew then what I know now (that’s a whole different post all together). Although my blog is still miles away from record breaking traffic stats or a million-dollar sales pitch, it’s improving. At least I think so (and hopefully you do, too). When I first began blogging, I honestly had no idea what I was in for; nor did I really have a clue what I was doing. I became familiar with the learn-as-you-go mentality, and I owned it. Some weeks I felt totally overwhelmed with my to-do list, but I blogged through it. Other times I felt my life was so dull there was no way anyone would want to read about it. But someone always did. And so I persevered. I continued to do my research and to stay focused. For that, I really am proud of myself. And I am also truly grateful for you—my readers—for giving me someone to write to.
I am writing
The most important step in becoming a writer is to write. Every day. On the days you don’t feel like you have anything worth expressing on paper or punching into your computer screen—you should be writing about having nothing to write about. (Word of advice to new bloggers: try to filter through those pieces when selecting what to post online). Like any other craft, perfecting the writer role takes time. Years, most likely. But blogging has been a huge factor in ensuring I am busting my ass like I should be. It’s provided me with a platform where I can try different styles, tones and voices. I can experiment with different topics. I can examine SEO stats and terms to assess what is working and what is most definitely not. I can create and participate in conversation. I can receive constructive criticism and honest advice. Most importantly, blogging lets me practice and perfect my art. At the end of the day, I blog to write.
Blogging isn’t easy. It isn’t for everyone. Blogging takes many hours and a lot of effort. It requires a certain level of open-mindedness and vulnerability. And the rewards are not obvious to the plain eye—unless you’re one of the very small percentage who starts a blog and strikes it rich. I don’t blog for the money or for the fame. If that were the case, I’d have given up long ago. Instead, here I am. With nearly two years behind me, I am still holding on. I look forward to even better times ahead. I hope you will stick around for it, too.