We're winding up the March Madness of guest bloggers and I'm so excited for this post. This one hits close to home and I think is something lots of us bloggers can relate. Today I have Jessica from Little Bits of Joy. Both of us are newer to the blogging world and she has been such a wonderful part of my blogging tribe that I'm not sure where I'd be without her.
Hi all! I’m Jessica and I blog over at Little Bits of Joy….but don’t let the blog name fool you. I’m an introvert mom of two extrovert little boys…and my blog is all about the good AND the bad, because sometimes we need to talk about the struggles you know? I spend my free time attempting to be a cool blogger, obsessively watching The Bachelor, staying dry in the soggy Oregon weather and trying to keep my boys out of the ER.
So happy to meet you all!
I'm just gonna say it... blogging is super stressful.
I'm sure you're going "what is this nutjob talking about?? This is blogging. Don't you just write some stuff down, take pics of your latest Target purchases, and call it good?"
I wish it were that easy.
I'm fairly new to this whole blogging thing, but it sucked me in quicker than the quicksand in The Neverending Story (I'm still traumatized from watching that as a kid, but I digress)... and I soon realized after starting that blogging is pretty dang hard and competitive.
There are millions of blogs out there, millions of women who want to be seen, noticed and listened to.
I had no idea how competitive blogging was when I started... I just figured, why not start a blog? I like to write. I like to share my life. If all those Big Time Bloggers can do it and have a legion of followers, then duh... I can totes do the same, right?
So I started my blog, made my Instagram account public (gulp) and started posting away.... and....
Where are the legions of adoring fans? Why aren't they flooding my way??
I was determined to succeed at blogging, so I started to study... blogging articles on Pinterest, informational blogs about how to blog, listening to some Podcasts... and instead of feeling inspired... I felt deflated.
Damn. There is a lot to this blogging thing I never realized.
Custom domains, HTML code, timing your Instagram posts, STYLING your Instagram posts (your feed is supposed to have a theme? A color scheme? really? Can't I just post random pics of my kids? I have to have PURPOSE??)... creating email subscription lists, tweeting, managing a Facebook page... the list goes on and on.
I felt overwhelmed. I have a full time job, two young kids... I wanted to just blog, get some followers and be a blog that other people found entertaining and fun. Now suddenly, that seemed like something impossible to achieve, based on the pure logistics of successful blogging.
Maybe I can't do this. I mean, why would anyone care about what I have to say anyways? Everyone says "just find your voice" in blogging.. but what is my voice? What is my point? Am I trying to be funny? Serious? I don't have a talent or a skill to share.. so what the hell am I even doing in this blogging world?
The ones who make it big have something really unique about them... they are graphic designers and offer advice on blog construction, or are social media experts and teach seminars and webinars, or they are life coaches who have mission statements to their blogs and offer up post after post of legit advice that actually can make your life better.
Ummm... here's what my kids did on Saturday. That's all I got for ya.
In the beginning I tried to do as the Big Time Bloggers do though, I really tried...
I bought the whiteboards, the pretty paper backgrounds, I spent time and effort and ignored my husband and kids while I locked myself away, setting up, styling, and shooting pics for my blog and Instagram. Pics that really had nothing to do with my life or who I really am.
I was trying to be like everyone else.
And despite all that effort, I still wasn't getting very many "likes" or followers. What was I doing wrong?? Isn't this what you are supposed to do?
I started getting cranky about the whole process.. and I was just a few months in to blogging! I wanted to succeed, but I already felt like I was failing. This pastime that I had felt so passionate about suddenly became a burden.
I found myself disconnecting from my real life. Every motion I went through, every moment I spent doing anything, I had a running dialogue in my head of "would this make a good Instagram shot? Would this make a good blog post? Maybe if I can just get my kid to stand over there, I can create this perfect scenario for a pic"
I wasn't living and enjoying life... I was consumed with how I could present my life in order to get other people to like it.
How fake is that??
The whole reason I started blogging was to be honest and authentic., and this definitely wasn't how to go about achieving that.
As much as I can admire the beautiful themed Instagram feeds and drool a little bit over the styled shots I see by the hundreds, doing it myself felt strange and unauthentic... even my real life friends on Instagram stopped liking these "blogger" photos I was posting.
They smelled a poser.
So about a month ago, it hit me. I decided to screw the whole "this is how a blogger should be" expectations and I stopped trying to set up and post styled pics on my blog and Instagram.
I started posting snapshots of my real life. I wrote blog posts about what I found interesting, or funny, or inspiring,.. all things that came from my heart.
And honestly... my followers started to appear.
I was getting comments on my blog, "likes" on my Instagram photos, and shares on my posts... all because I just calmed the heck down, stopped trying to be what I thought the blogging world wanted me to be... and was just me.
I realized something amazing about blogging... is that you don't have to be huge, or professional, or have an Instagram color scheme to be successful.
If you are happy, if you enjoy what you are blogging about, and if you touch just one person through your writing and posting, then you are successful. You made a difference in someone's life, in that moment. That's pretty damn awesome.
Everyone is on a different path in the land of blogging, and you just can't compare your path to anyone else's. They are who they are, you are who you are.
Are you awesome? Yes. Do you have something to offer? Yes.. because we ALL do. We all have love, support and encouragement to offer. We all have stories, experiences and opinions to share.
And isn't that really, really freaking cool??
So don't give up. Write from your heart. Post what speaks to you.. whether that be a beautifully laid out and stylized Instagram shot, a life-inspiring blog post, a funny picture of your kids or a post about why going to the mall with kids is a bad idea (trust me, it is)... just share your world, your view, your voice.
Blog in a way that makes you happy, and that is what will truly bring a feeling of success.