If you follow my blog you will have seen my post earlier this week about what I learned during my week off work in September. If you don’t follow my blog, or haven’t yet read the post, I’ll give you the low-down: I had my first period of annual leave in over six months in September. It was absolutely glorious and long overdue, and also quite eye-opening in terms of what I learned!
This is the second and final post about what I learned during my time off, with this post being aimed at my blog. The first post (read here) is all about the personal aspects.
It takes more effort than I had thought it would
So you might have noticed that I only posted twice during September. I had all of the best intentions of posting regularly, as I have had done since I started up the blog. However since starting this blog earlier in the year, it has been much tougher to keep it going than I had thought. I think a lot of this is due to not really factoring how much work would be required – or thinking I would have all of the time in the world. I enjoy having the blog but it is definitely more work than I had initially anticipated. I had hoped to pre-write a flurry of posts during my week off and, while I did write (and schedule) a few posts, it definitely wasn’t as many as I would have hoped. And the reason for that is…
I need to make the time for the blog
I am totally guilty in thinking that the blog would be able to run itself. That I would spent half an hour a day, or an hour every three days and I would have an amazing blog. This past month or so, I have come to the realisation that that isn’t going to be feasible for me: I can’t create the content that I want to in the space of thirty minutes per day. And the content isn’t going to create itself, either. I have to motivate and encourage myself enough to open up my blog and actually write the posts! I have really tried to change the way I look at blogging during my week off and see it as a way of relaxing instead of as a chore. Which leads me onto…
Around July time when I tried to take the blog a bit more seriously, I installed so many plugins for the blog, thinking it would help make my little sanctuary a better place. One of the plugins I installed tracked and graded the quality of my writing, giving me a red/amber/green score. I appreciated this, but I would get so hung-up on getting the green lights that I wasn’t writing in my own style. So what if I have more than three sentences that start with the same word? That over half of my sentences are classed as too long? Or over 10% of my sentences contain the passive voice?! Or that I have too few headings, or my keyword isn’t present in my text, or the blog post isn’t long enough, or even that the information underneath a paragraph is too long? Yes I care about all of these things, but I would rather blog in a less-than-perfect style that is personal to me, than not blog at all because it is too time-consuming and irritating to have to try and fit into all of these rules. In the end, I decided to uninstall that plugin and I definitely feel free for it!
If I could underline, bold, italicise and have arrows flashing to this point, I would. Being such a self-conscious person, it has always been so easy for me to compare myself and my work to that of other people. And I don’t just mean other people who have been blogging about the same length of time, either. I mean people who are veterans. Of course those who have been blogging for longer are more likely to be better at it, or have juicier content, or crisper pictures. And there are always going to be people who started their blog at the same time who perhaps have more aesthetically pleasing pictures or post more times per week than I do.
What I have learned during my week off is that there is so much I want to do with my time that I am never going to have an A** rated blog, because it is not that much of a priority to me. I am not a worker and a blogger. I am a worker, a blogger, a crocheter, a cross-stitcher, a language-learner, a journaller, a crafter, an aunty, a fiancé, a grandchild and I have a few projects/aspirations on the horizon. What I mean by that is that I have so many different avenues in my life that I can’t spend all of my free time on my blog, which means it isn’t going to look as though I do. And I am ok with that.
I rediscovered why I want to blog
A quick look through my archives made me realise what I enjoyed about blogging: putting myself out there and having my own personal little space. I’m not going to talk about why I want to put myself out there or anything but I do want to be able to have this blog to look back on in a few months or years and reread about what was so important to me at different times in my life. And while I do think that it would be nice to have tens, or hundreds, or perhaps even thousands of followers, it goes back to me creating content that I want to create, as often as I want to create it, as opposed to forcing myself to create ‘popular’ content that ends up being subpar because my heart wasn’t in it. Simply put: I blog for me.
I have to make the motivation
I touched on this earlier, but it is definitely something I need to work on. I am never going to automatically start writing a blog post the way that I automatically pick up my phone and scroll through Facebook or Instagram. Writing posts is definitely tougher than mindlessly scrolling through social media so that means I have to think about creating content when I have a spare few minutes and then actually make the effort to write, as well.
My blog isn’t going to have the content I want to create…
The ideal for my blog verses what my blog is currently like are two very different pictures. But then so are the ideal circumstances of the behind-the-scenes verses the current behind-the-scenes. I work full time and am trying to save for a wedding (and pretty awesome honeymoon!) – I also have one or two exciting projects in the pipeline at the minute. All of these facts combined means that I don’t have the resources to be able to blog about different soap or bath bomb techniques, different meal recipes, scrapbooking layouts, sewing patterns and a whole host of other DIYs. Maybe I will in the coming months, or next year, or maybe when I am officially a married woman. But at the minute, my blog is going to me more of a Bullet Journal/book review/lifestyle blog and that is OK with me!
I don’t like taking photos!
This is another reason why I took an unplanned break from blogging in September. Aside from the plugin grading my writing, making me spend more and more time on the words in my post, I realised I really don’t like taking photos to accompany my posts! There are some photos that I don’t think look too bad, if I do say so myself, but I feel like I struggle a lot to create appropriate/related photos that look good for the majority of my posts. Lighting is an issue, as is editing. I have a pretty decent camera but I never learned to use it that well, plus I have Photoshop (again, never learned to use it that well!) so I know it is definitely me and not my tools. However, I am hopefully going to try and teach myself a little bit of photography and experiment with props/methods/settings to get much better pictures!
Do you blog? What have been some of your biggest realisations/learning curves when it comes to blogging?