What I've (Honesty) Learnt From the Blogging World
I started my first blog in 2009. A decade ago.
I kind of need to repeat that to myself a few times to let it really sink in: I started my first blog a decade ago. Then I started another. Then another. Then I deleted them all from the face of the internet. And repeat.
I don’t think I even remember or would recognize the person I was 10 years ago, that much has changed in my life. And I’ve deleted all the photos besides! Trust me, then needed to go! Seriously- some of what I wore was unbelievably cringe. And why did I ever think that blue eyeliner paired with red lipstick was a good idea?
A lot in my life might have changed (read: everything), and a lot about me may have changed (read: almost everything), but one thing that doesn’t seem to have changed much is my love of the online world.
It’s not going anywhere guys.
But the blogging world itself has changed. A lot.
And with those changes, I’ve learnt so, so much.
To be fair- I like where the blogging world is today. I like where it’s been and where it’s going. And I love what I’ve had the privilege to learn from it.
Let me try and explain.
What is the blogging world today?
The short answer, to me, is: It’s every thing. It’s every one.
Blogging is definitely not the domain of any one type of person anymore and I love it. It’s not a short game these days, it’s a long game, open to anyone, with any interests, at any age, from any kind of background. What better example of a truly democratized ‘career’ do you have out there?
And blogging has come to mean so much more than simply setting up a blog and creating your own content week after week- from microblogging on Instagram (which I particularly love- member of the chatty caption club right here!) to blogging as a business with contributors and columnists, to the absolutely delightful world of vlogging (I’m addicted, send help), sharing your thoughts and your life has become something with so much potential.
It’s a little nuts.
And I love it.
Content creating has become incredibly worthwhile. And incredibly enriching.
And it’s taught me so much.
Blogging and bloggers, and content creators across all platforms, continuously leave me in awe. Like continuously constantly, when I wake up and when I go to bed, inspire me. Literally.
And I thought I would try and put everything I have learnt into words here, a little brain dump by an incredibly inspired girl.
I follow way too many people online and I read way too many blogs to ever get through all the content I’ve had bookmarked since like, November. But every little bit of content reminds me that there is someone out there creating this for the love of it. Yes, its a business and a really viable source of income for a lot of people now, but it wasn’t when they started out. Every single creator I follow and love started doing what they do now, because they truly enjoyed it and they had the dedication and the commitment to grow it from literally nothing. That’s so incredibly eye opening to me- how many people out there want to share, reach out, and express something to someone else.
It doesn't have to be massive life altering stuff.
The stuff I really love is the simplest. The stuff that really makes me feel warm inside is the little insight into someone else’s day, or closet, or bookshelf, or kitchen- that we rarely have the time to share with our own friends.
Content creators bring you a little closer to a sense of community, across borders, across shared or diverse life experiences, and I literally cannot imagine how much less colorful my life would be if they didn’t exist.
If you are a content creator and not just a consumer, the world is so exciting. It feels like every week, I go online and find another creator with a new book, a new show, a new podcast, a new project… AND I LOVE IT. I am not one to complain about the blogger brag- bring on all the blogger brag, I am so here for it. I feel like every year I’m surprised by the new ways content creators are making marks for themselves in the wider world, and it makes me feel genuinely excited on the inside.
Over time I’ve also realized just how much work this actually takes.
If you’ve never been a content creator of any kind, you can go ahead and roll your eyes now, it’s okay, we know you’re thinking it on the inside. Even as a tiny new blogger, I’ve definitely experienced my fair share of the kind of softly condescending commentary that goes along with ‘being a blogger’ (a catch all phrase really, because no blogger just blogs these days, but it can definitely be difficult to explain that to anyone who doesn’t get it to begin with!).
It’s all the usual comments:
Surely you aren’t actually doing all that much. Surely you have time to do more. Surely it can’t be all that hard. I would do it too if I had the time.
I would just like to step in and clear the record here: the answers are no, no, no, and no.
This stuff takes serious work. And I am not by any means claiming that I am at that level yet, but I can see and imagine just how much goes into every little that content creators out there are doing- it. is. exhausting. If I’m honest, the sheer amount of work and presence required often has me wondering why I dabble at all in this world, if that’s what lies down the line after a few years of the grind- because the intensity and pervasiveness can be a little daunting to consider. But the love is there so I am here. Let’s see!
Alongside the workload, the last few months have taught me how important staying inspired really is.
Now, I’m not a big one for inspiration. I don’t think you can wait for inspiration to strike to get something done and down. Work just needs to get itself finished, whether you feel lit with inspiration or as dull as a bag of bricks. It really doesn’t matter. Inspiration is fleeting right? Motivation is a myth isn’t it?
Whilst on the surface I do agree with those things, I can’t deny that a good creator’s podcast listened to on a brief 15 minute power walk around our block, or a good video by a favorite creator of mine, a chatty Instagram post that really draws me in… these things relight the spark in me to continue, to stay on track, and to improve.
Inspiration isn’t necessary and it sure doesn’t walk up and knock you on the head, but the difference it makes can be all you need in the day.
The blogging world has really taught me this one truth: with enough work, you can literally make any thing happen for yourself.
I mean… have you seen the incredible content out there? The incredible photos travel bloggers share, the incredible rate of video content that prolific YouTubers put out, the huge, huge followings that mommy bloggers literally just sharing their everyday lives, have garnered… it’s kind of staggering. And also just very, very cool.
A word of caution I like to try and remind myself fo as often as possible: You don’t have to be like everyone else, and it can take a long time to figure out just who you are online.
I know who I am in real life (more or less!).
But figuring out who I am online is taking me a little time. It’s not that I’m not trying to be myself, trust me, I know how important being authentic is. I know how quickly you can see through someone who isn’t. But all the same- being yourself online is kind of different to just being yourself in real life.
There are starts and stop to this being myself online malarky. There are days when you get it right, and days when your fingers hover over the keyboard, unsure of what to say, unsure of how you would say it, totally unsure of what your sense of humor is really all about.
Or whether you have one at all, let’s be honest.
But I’ve come to realize I am not the only one whose every felt this way. Every creator that I look up to and that puts out really unique, really unique them content now, confesses to being lost, confused, going through phases, and just stumbling about until they got really comfortable with they were and what they were putting out there.
So it’ll happen for the rest of us too.
My number one fear when starting out was that there were just too many other people out there doing the same thing for me to be relevant, at all, to anybody. Like ever.
Slightly defeatist? Yes.
Wrong? Also yes.
What I’ve come to learn, what I really believe, is that there is always room for someone new. There is always room for more voices, more content, more ideas, more sharing, more community. Always. And there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be that more. Why I shouldn’t be that more.
There’s no reason why we all shouldn’t add our voices to the medley. There’s space out there for our voices, space out there for us, and still miles of space left over for more and more to join in.
I never tire of finding someone new I can relate to, learn from, and get excited to meet and meet again tomorrow and the day after that, in our little online universe.
I learnt I was wrong to fear that.
Definitely and unequivocally wrong.
Here’s one of the most surprising things I’ve learnt: there’s no right way to do it. And there’s no wrong way to do it.
I know that sounds like exactly the same thing said two different ways. Maybe it is. But you get the point.
With blogging and creating content online in general, there is no right way. Yes, there are smart ways. There are ways that have worked for other people. There are ways that are probably more likely to bring you success than others.
There’s a lot to learn from other content creators, and I spend a lot of time (read: way too much time, that time would definitely be better spent actually working on my own content let me tell you!), listening to and reading the resources put out there by other content creators or creative mentors in the online space… there’s a lot to learn. And a lot of it is absolutely invaluable.
But if it’s not you, or if you don’t have the means to do all the things you should be doing to gain success, that’s alright too. There is always a story that breaks the mold. There is also someone you can find out there who did something totally different, totally their own, and people loved it. Genuine originality is so refreshing. Yes, you can learn from and emulate those you love, but there is always room to bring something new in.
You should never be afraid you’re doing it wrong- there is no such thing in this space.
And finally maybe the most important thing I’ve learnt… is about myself.
And that’s that I am doing this because I really love to. And thats okay.