Confessions of a newbie blogger
marks two <<wild + amazing>> months since I quit my job to pursue my DREAM // CALLING // DESTINY!
And I think I've learned a thing or two -- let me tell ya! Actually, I've practically been steamrolledby all of this new knowledge about blogging, being your own boss, and creating a business.
Maybe you want to quit your job and try something like this. If that's you, here are some things I've learned that I'm happy to share with you.
I have some confessions of ignorance to make, and some new knowledge to share, but the thread that is woven throughout all of the things I've learned is this:
Sit down and be humble.
(I think this was first spoken by some great philosopher once upon a time...oh yeah, Kendrick Lamar.)
Confession #1: I thought blogging was all about being a good writer.
Wrong. Very, very wrong.
What I've found out is that the best bloggers aren't the most popular. The best writers aren't the most accomplished authors. There's an ocean of difference between possessing talent and fulfilling your potential. Not Indian Ocean...Pacific Ocean.
Being a good writer is a great start to becoming a successful blogger. Am I allowed to say that I think I'm a good writer? I'll take your silence as a yes! I'm a good writer. But that isn't the be all, end all to running a successful blog.
Marketing plays a much larger role than I anticipated. Specifically, social media marketing. And while I hope to someday hand over my social channels to some professionals, for now this is the price of gaining a following. So, for the time being, I am Priska Jordan: blogger + social media influencer in training (TM)(C)(etc).
The greater lesson in realizing the need to be multi-talented is understanding that I have the privilege of growing into my DESTINY! Developing my talent, learning complementary skills, becoming a person who will change the world -- that is a monumental gift! Think about it. God could have made us all perfect, no need for growth and development. But then we'd all be in Heaven -- maybe angels -- who knows? We wouldn't have the gift of choosing to work hard and become more disciplined. We wouldn't have the opportunity to say, "God, You gave this to me, and I choose to use it for You." What a blessing -- don't miss it! I get to hone my craft, and that is truly a gift.
What you are is God's gift to you, what you do with yourself is your gift to God.
Confession #2: I thought my blogs were amazing.
What? Oh yeah...sit down and be humble.
For one post I wrote (which I will deliberately NOT tag here), I spent a ton of time crafting it only for it to be crowned my "Worst Performing Blog Post Since I Started My Blog". Like a sculptor, I chiseled every angle precisely as I saw fit. When something looked off, I started chiseling again. It was majestic. Certainly one of my best word crafts I've created. But in the end, it lost people. It didn't connect. I didn't get good feedback, and I must not have advertised it well, because it got really low stats. I was crushed. But, oh did I learn! I learned not to over-craft a blog. A blog is supposed to be more raw and real than a book. The events described are more recent, and emotions are more raw. It should feel a little bit under-developed, and certainly not over-developed.
So here's the thing: I could have interpreted the stats to mean I was a crappy blogger and a worse writer. I could have thrown in the towel. My "best" was obviously total garbage.
But this was a pivotal time. Up until that point, when I posted a blog, I would check every single hour to see how much traffic it was getting. In my mind, my stats showed my worth as a writer. That was wrong. Instead, I learned to measure my success over the long run, not one post at a time.
Don't get emotionally caught up in the performance of one part of your work. When judging yourself as a blogger (or any other job), rate your entire body of work. When imagining your growth potential, review your entire timeline of evolving in that role.
Since I began blogging in 2013, my readership has (at minimum) doubled each year. Rather than focusing on my one terrible blog post, I can look at this stat to show I'm growing as a blogger. Happy dance, happy dance!
But it's so easy to be our own worst critics #amiright?! Here's another perspective...
Imagine watching the 2017 Grammys. Jimmy is hosting and he is jusssst about to announce the biggest award of the night. "The award for best album of the year goes to Adele for singing this one single line so perfectly...
Hello from the other side
Of course, that's not how it happens. We don't judge music artists by a single note or a single line. We judge music artists based on their whole careers. That's how you should evaluate your current success and future potential: over time.
When your "numbers" are less than what you were expecting, learn from it and move on. I've been doing this blogging thing for a couple of years. I've published 50+ blogs. If I had a quarter every time my blogs performed unexpectedly (good or bad), I would have 50 quarters. Sometimes they're hits, sometimes they're not. All the time, I'm growing.
***Bonus tip for bloggers: Sometimes you think a post is amazing, but it's way too out of touch for the readers. Sometimes you think a post is so artless that you're embarrassed to publish it, but God tells you to publish it so you do...and it tops your charts for "Most Read Post Of All Time". It may look artless to you, but it's accessible. If you're a blogger: never sacrifice accessibility for artful flair.
Confession #3: I wasn't sure what success meant.
I realized I didn't know what I wanted out of this whole blogging thing. When I began, it was just a stepping stone from my private journaling to one day writing a book. But now that I've been doing it for years, I love how quickly I can share my words and help people! So how do I decide when I've done all I want to do with this blog? You probably have a similar battle:
What does success look like in my life and my work?
Success for me is having a long-term growth orientation. Success for me is never being content with comfort. Success for me is not calculating my value based on what I fail at. Success for me is knowing who I am because I am God's daughter. Success for me is following my King Jesus, living as He lived. Success for me is trying, and trying again.
Define success on your own terms. Don't just pin that quote! :P Really define what success looks like for you, and then pursue it with all you have!
You only grow as you try new things. And if you try hard enough and really step outside of your comfort zone, you will fail...at first. But failure isn't absolute; quitting is. So keep stretching farther than you can see yourself being successful.
To show you I'm being true to what I preach...
I've made some really junky designs lately, but until last week, I made no designs...ever. At least I can critique and improve every time I try. I see progress, continued growth. And as I keep reaching past my current abilities, I can see success way off in the distance somewhere.
Learn what success is for you. Then challenge yourself to become more than you thought was possible.
So that's it. Three little confessions -- and major lessons -- on my road to becoming a successful blogger, all interwoven with the theme:
I think that's a bit of advice that could do us all some good!