What I’ve Learned In 20 Years Of Blogging

This year marks 20 years that I have been blogging. An anniversary, of sorts. A blogiversary? Whatever you want to call it, it seems a bit startling when I think about it. I began my blog back when a blog was just a personal diary, a place for friends and family to keep in touch. A “weblog”, is what it was called then. Now it’s simply a blog.

The blog format is currently being used for everything – the main source code for many, many websites – from news to entertainment. What used to be considered something that “non-professionals” use, is now being used for businesses everywhere. It’s been so odd to watch the evolution of the Internet. It’s even more odd that my grandbabies will be awe that Grandma & Grandpa were alive before the Internet was invented. Ha!

My blog has gone through many transformations over the years. A personal diary. A community with message boards. I’ve gone from writing personal stories to doing book reviews. From sharing my photography to doing social media promotions for authors, publishing houses, and Christian media outlets. You know what I came to realize last year? Blogging had become a chore.

I became tired of trying to keep up with the promotions, and to keep content rolling out at a moments notice. I was not simply writing because I loved it anymore. I was not sharing what is important to me, because I felt I had to do all these specific things in order to be “successful” as a blogger. Who defines what success truly is, anyway?

With that being said, I archived all of my old blog posts from the past 2 decades, designed a new logo, put up a new blog design, (which is why this is all shiny, empty, and new!), and I am starting fresh. Why? Because this is what I have learned over the past 20 years:

  • When your passion becomes a chore, it’s time to rethink what you are doing, and how you are doing it.
  • Nobody can define how successful you are, except for you. What is your definition of success?
  • When you push yourself to do the things that “they” say you are supposed to do, instead of following your heart, you will never be happy.
  • Find your own niche. Write about what you love. Share the things that speak to your heart. If your readers know that you are genuine and they like what you have to say, they will come back.
  • Don’t think that you aren’t reaching people due to lack of comments on your blog. I was astounded when I went and looked at my stats the other day, to see just how many people visited my blog each day, and which pages had the most interest. The amount of comments I had on those pages? Very, very few.
  • Don’t pressure yourself! If you don’t have anything you want to share for a day, a week, or even a month, then don’t. Wait until your desire to write is in full force. That is when you will write from the heart.
  • I know this is a very unpopular opinion, but don’t get caught up in how many followers you have on Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. Your readers are more important than your followers. While some will actually come to read your blog from other platforms, most of your traffic will come from organic sources, search engines, or from sharing your posts on Facebook.
  • Find a group of like-minded writers and join in. I found a couple of lovely groups on Facebook, and the gals (and guys!) who are members are very encouraging; it’s nice to have friends who share your same passions.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, let the Lord guide your steps. Stop trying to figure it all out on your own, and ask Him for His guidance. He won’t let you down.

So, what are my goals for this next season of my journey? There are three things that I want to do for myself this year – simplify, create, and communicate.

To simplify: First, by cleaning up my old blog, giving it a fresh new look, and keeping it simple. I want the words on these pages or the photos I share to be the highlight. I’m so over all the cluttered, flashing, scrolling “look at me!” type designs that confuse more than they produce. Simple. Clean. Fresh. That is what I want for this blog, as well as for my home. I’ve been organizing my home over the past few months, and while I am not even close to being finished, I am *loving* what I have accomplished so far.

To create: I want to get back to creating art; I love it all. Graphic design, photography, paint, pen & ink, and making my first quilt. Colors and textures make me happy. I love the smell of books and just the sight of pretty paper makes me smile. (Weird, I know! lol) God has created so much beauty in this world, and I want to not only capture it, but contribute to it. He didn’t give me an artist’s heart or a love for all things crafty for nothing. I want to put my talents to use.

To communicate: I love people, even though I’m an introvert. I want to communicate, and let others know that they are seen and that they are important. While I don’t do well in large social situations as I tend to shrink back and become a wallflower, I do love talking one on one with people. I guess I just prefer the more intimate setting without any surrounding chaos. The crucial thing for me is just connecting … letting people know that they valued and that they are loved.

With that very thing in mind, I started a letter writing ministry, and I do hope that you will check it out. It’s been in the works since before Christmas, and it’s called The Pink Parcel Post. I am just getting it up off the ground, so I would love it if you could pop over, take a peek, and then share it with your friends. And of course, let me know if I can send you some encouragement today! ♥

Well, I guess that’s about it for now. I pray you all have a blessed and safe weekend, and that you choose to follow your dreams and your passions this year!

Much love,

 

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