10 things I learnt in my first year of blogging

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I’ve been blogging my journey since around April 2013, but more seriously from about June/July 2013 – indicating that a full year has now past and I’ve written something like 50 posts since then!

As a bit of a reflection and fun activity for myself and my tribe I thought it would be cute/scary to share the 10 things I learnt in my first year of blogging – in hopes to either inspire current start-up bloggers to keep truckin’ on, to help others decide whether this whole blogging thing really is for them or not, or for those with no interest in blogging apart from just reading blogs – for them to also learn something about the process of the person behind the blog feed.

So, without further ado – I give you….

10 THINGS I’VE LEARNT IN MY FIRST YEAR OF BLOGGING

*Disclaimer – Now, I know most of these points might sound a bit negitive – but please know, I love being transparent and authentic when it comes to blogging, business and life. What you see online is everyone’s highlight reels, but in reality – so much more goes on behind the keyboard and screens. I’m here to share the reality – warts and all. I think its so important to show that you can openly discuss your challenges, without bringing anyone down, and I hope this is what this post achieves.

1. Starting out sucks.

I mean – really. There are so many times I thought “why the hell bother anymore”, “nobody is reading this shit” “everyone has a blog” “who the hell cares about this other than me?” etc etc. I learnt that blogging really does test you and some days you just won’t want to do it anymore. And that’s ok – just don’t delete it, sleep on it. Everyone has to start somewhere – and whether you have 5 likers/readers or 5000 – just keep saying what you would say, regardless of who actually reads it and eventually they will come and join your party. Starting is icky, daunting and fear-evoking – but it’s all apart of the game!

2. Blogging will cause ‘comparison-itis’

Exposing yourself online is one thing, but exposing yourself to what others are doing (your competitors/soul sisters/collegues/shadow friends) in the blog world can be really counter productive. It also brings up ALL. YOUR. SHIT. Seriously, if you want to learn about what makes you tick – start a blog. You will open up a vortex you never thought existed. There have been times I have had to hide people from my social media feeds in order to just get through the day, not often, but its happened. Comparing yourself to others in your field is just so soul destroying. I do it much less now, mainly because I am much more confident in my brand + business + self, which now allows me to hold my own unique space on the online arena, and also because I understand that the universe is expansive and there is more than enough of everything to go around – so we can all win at life, together, in harmony, side by side. Just keep that gem in mind to help you crack on with sharing your gift with the world as a start-up blogger.

3. You will hear crickets

Some of your blog posts will literally bomb out. Crickets. Tumbleweed. Cough cough. *AWKWARD* – This is actually a really good thing! Once you pick up your ego off the floor, you realise that this helps you to really focus on what your audience DOES want to read about, and does connect with. Personally, I’ve blogged about loads of topics over the year, and the most popular reads have been the ones where I’m sharing a spiritual experience, a personal growth story or really well interpreted informative posts to do with spirituality, new age, business + motherhood. Now I know this is my thing, I don’t have to worry about telling you about that one time I made Kale chips and here’s the photos to prove it.

4. There will be haters. 

Not that I have experienced much of this yet (to my face) – but they are always around. I had one guy write on my wall to ‘get real’, I’ve had a few communication break downs with customers and things like that, but basically – you will attract that which you need to learn or face. So early on I was told to get real – and I used that to look inward and ask myself if I was being authentic. A regular practice I embraced to make sure I was always writing from the heart, and not just saying stuff to play the game. Most of your haters are your greatest teachers (some are just internet trolls), so try not to let them get in the way of a good thing – but do be mindful that not everyone walks the same path as you – so you will always encounter differences of opinions.

5. It will consume you

When you first start blogging, you will be inspired to write about EVERYTHING. ANYTHING. Your drive to work, your altercation at the gym – the time you found that feather. Everything. You will want to write about it, but sometimes – don’t. So many times I found I just needed to type it, but never publish it. Why? well, because I was going through so much at the time that I couldn’t look at my work or ideas with an ‘editors’ eye – so I would just verbal diahorrea everything down as it came to me, and then leave it. If I still wanted to give myself a high-five a couple of days later for that article, then I would publish it. In hinesight, I probably would call some of those un-published posts more like journal entries and I should have been journalling every day to help me get clearer on my writing – but I would never have learnt without the trial and error. I certainly did post some journal entries 😉

On the other side of the spectrum, there will be times you are completely un-inspired. I learnt the hard way to not force anything out when I wasn’t feeling it. You can instantly tell when someone was really living and breathing their article when they post it, and sometimes your posts won’t have that same energy imprint because you just ‘had’ to write something. Nowadays, I prefer to just follow the cycles of inspiration – and some months I’m un-inpsired to write, so I paint instead – and others I’m land-banking posts for weeks in advance. Just ride the wave.

6. Not everything you write is good.

It’s true. But I learnt to detach from any outcomes, and not take it to heart. Sometimes, my posts just sucked. (Refer to #5). My advice to anyone starting out is that it’s ok to suck for a while – you tend to learn quite early in if blogging is taking you to the places you want to go, and you also notice to see how your skills and knowledge develop, your audience begins to sway in a particular direction, as does your writing. You can go from bored house wife to spiritual guru in 12 months if that’s your path. Sometimes blogs just help you to find what your purpose is, what your gift is. They lead you on a bit of a journey, like mine did. I thought I would be a healer + coach after a few months into my blogging but as my brand and blog has evolved, I have learnt that perhaps those aren’t quite the paths for me, either. Just look out for the ‘gem’ posts – the ones that resonate with you and your audience the most, and follow their lead. Eventually you will gain more confidence, become more selective with what you publish and let go of the ‘having to write about everything’ syndrome that beginners sometimes struggle with.

7. Your best friends are perseverance + detachment

It has taken me 1 year to get me to the point I am today – and I have much more growing to do. Perservance needs to be your best friend. You need to trust that it will all work out how it’s meant to. That includes quitting after 6 months (as long as in your heart you felt that was right), blogging for 6 years to realise that you needed to write a book all along, and it was in those blog posts that helped you to gain much of that books material and content. Or maybe the blog was just a platform to build an online community who really supported you to open your own cafe, or support your health journey. There are so many amazing online personalities who simply started writing about whatever happened that day from their laptop in their bedrooms who have since created a unique path from their blogging perservance. Detaching from your blog is a great way to keep momentum – saying to yourself that you need to do this/write this/ share this and whatever happens after is a bonus. If it inspires one person (even if they don’t ever tell you) then it’s totally got to be shared. If you haven’t had any comments / likes / shares on your post then that’s cool, maybe next weeks post on kale chips might hit the spot. Just like a music album, there are hero ‘singles’ which bring in the numbers, and then the filler tracks which are mainly just to set a tone/mood or was something the band wanted to bring to life. Same goes for blogging.

8. Your story inspires

I noticed the moment I let go of judgements and just wrote what I was experiencing from the heart, was the moment I attracted people ‘like me’. I was no longer a lonely little blogger telling people how to live. I felt a shift and begun to see a change in the audience – they were reaching out to me, emailed, private messages and comments “you are so much like me!” “we are seriously soul sisters” “holy shit I could have written that myself” – I literally had a week where everyday I was replying to someone new saying “we’re the same, girl!”. In more recent times I have been calling these babes my kindred sisters – and together we are all apart of this kindred sisterhood, all wandering similar paths in alignment with our spirit. So freakin’ cool. So I’ve learnt that I’ve inspired others to embrace who they are, be more confident with what they are experiencing, letting go of all their fears and excuses and judgements and just creating their own unique path. Trust me, if your true calling is to write a blog, you will eventually experience this in some way too. Keep open, be yourself and speak from the heart. People dig that shit.

9. Your audience evolves as you do

(aka your besties won’t always read your blog)

It starts off with your immediate friends and family reading your stories, sometimes involving them! But eventually, as your story evolves and the launch ‘buzz’ wears off, so too does your audience. Your friends stop reading and engaging. Your boyfriend doesn’t get it. You start to feel jaded and annoyed that the people you love aren’t showing your blog any. GET OVER IT (please!) – This is a GOOD THING! Why? because they aren’t your target audience. Once you learn more about who your audience is, you being to target your posts at them and forget about writing to please everyone – including your bestie. The minute you see a thread with women from all over the world telling you how amazing/inspiring/brave/cool your post is, and none of them you know in your personal life – is the minute you realise your onto a good thing. Keep evolving your brand, your blog, keep the magic flowing and watch your audience evolve with you. You’ll have the biggest team of cheerleaders behind you no matter what you do, because they get you 100%. They were there for the whole ride. They are you. They believe in you. They want to learn from you.

10. It’s not for everyone

As I previously mentioned – everyone has a blog these days, right? There are some that I guess forfill a certain part of someones spirit, and these usually have an expiry date. This is ok. If you just want to share your mum stories for a little while, your recipes, outfits or your health transformation then I say GO FOR IT! But I also think that not everyone (nor a lot of the people who do blog out there) needs to be blogging. It could be as simple as writing a journal. For me, it started as a bit of a “this is what I’m going through” thing to share with other women, but I always had the intentions of it becoming something more. I knew it would involve my dream to create products and services for women who wanted to learn more about their own spiritual side. The details were never clear, but I had a bigger picture in mind. I think this is key to knowing if blogging is right for you or not – If you don’t see it providing you with anything for your long term ambitions – then that’s where it can become more of a hinderance than a companion.

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I sincerely hope that has helped (not hindered!) anyone in the same boat and wish you all the best on your blogging journey!

Anything else you have experienced you wanted to add? Please share in the comments.

Wilder blog posts,

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9 thoughts on “10 things I learnt in my first year of blogging

  1. elle

    WOW. Here’s my own 10 list for you <3
    1. Thank you for being honest. Not just here, but in all of your blog posts. That means so much to me.
    2. Thank you for sharing your journey with us — there are so many bloggers out there and I just read a statistic that only 3% are successful…but I think that if we all had confidence and pushed forward, there would be more successes
    3. The crickets. Ugh. That part sucks. I wrote a blog post yesterday that I thought kicked A. Like, it inspired me! It didn't get the results I thought it would. It made me question and second guess myself. But your post came at just the right time.
    4. "I noticed the moment I let go of judgements and just wrote what I was experiencing from the heart, was the moment I attracted people ‘like me’. I was no longer a lonely little blogger telling people how to live" THIS. This is exactly what I'm working with — writing my experiences. It takes bravery!
    5. I am so glad I haven't met any haters yet! Yikes!
    6. Side note: I love how you say you're an "amateur of many" — did you know that in Latin, amateur meant lover of? Like…when you're just starting out with something you have a passion and drive to learn all you can about it? This for me gives a whole new spin on the word and pumps up its positivity level by a million.
    7. You're awesome
    8. thank you thank you thank you thank you
    9. I thought I could think of a 9
    10. Hope your day is lovely.
    xx

    Reply
    1. thefifthelementlife@gmail.com Post author

      awwww i just saw this!!! I love you!!! thanks so much for sharing. I know we are totally on similar paths, so this post was definitely for you! i actually love the amatuer thing – although I do know that no one (except you!) really gets it. I’ve really wanted to keep it in my space but I think it’s going to go – but I will always openly admit to being an amatuer of many, because i AM. I just love lots of things – just enough to play with them, learn what I need to and apply it accordlingly, I don’t want to make money off everything I love doing – I just am passionate about it, that’s all :) xxx

      Reply
    1. thefifthelementlife@gmail.com Post author

      My pleasure Katie – it’s a tough gig, but you learn soooo much about yourself and that’s the point I think! good luck with it all xox

      Reply
  2. Camilla Peffer

    Hey Sarah,
    Good stuff. I used to have SO MANY blogs! They’re all still about there, somewhere in the internet.

    Have you found that as your audience and blog evolve, that so does your approach to your channels? I’ve found that so many people are focusing on Instagram now, because it’s so visual and people have poor attention spans these days. Not to say that there’s not an audience for blogs, because there is (and I’m in it!). I do think I quite like blogging more though, because Instagram just feels like a popularity contest to me. Not cool!

    x

    Reply
    1. thefifthelementlife@gmail.com Post author

      Totally! I think they all serve a purpose – IG is the superficial / behind the scenes / lifestyle reel for brands, blog is for those who want to learn more from you, facebook is for interaction and sharing. So I always keep that in mind. For example, if I have a question I ask it on facebook, if I want to share a beautiful image its mainly for IG, and if I want to tell everyone about cool stuff I’ve learnt etc it’s on the blog…sometimes things cross over, but they are mostly tweaked for each platform to maximise it’s message. IG is soooo great for products and building a personal brand, but yes, it’s definitely and unfortunately a case of who is better looking / posts more interesting/ aesthetically pleasing images. x

      Reply
  3. Morgan

    Thank you thank you thank you! Needed this and needed to get out of my head and back to my heart and soul. You are the jam sista! This was the “shit or get off the pot” I needed haha! Much love to you!

    Reply
  4. niki cotton

    I dont think you would know how to be anything other than open, real and honest and that is what draws people to your blog. However much its dressed up people can generally smell BS even over the interwebbythingamebobby. Keep being awesomely real. Its easier on your own soul to be truthful. Im a horrendous story maker. I prefer to talk about what I love and who i am rather than trying on someone elses coat however lovely it might look. Love you babes. Im still in the general tumble weed moments with my blog, post friends, pre people finding me although I had a little flurry of subscribers the other week which was like waking up on christmas day!!! thrilling :) big loves as always. xxxxxx

    Reply

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