In October 2014, I published my first-ever blog post. A blog post that was 11 years in the making and a story that desperately needed to come out.
This was the first I had heard of blogging. It was something that I never truly had any interest in. It wasn’t until my sister-in-law suggested it that I seriously contemplated starting my own.
Writing has always been my passion. It was a way for me to deal with all the things going on in my life. I hadn’t written for almost 11 years. Except for the love letters, poetry, and journal I wrote to my husband as we were dating long distance.
And so I opened a free account on Blogger and for the first time ever, I blurted my story out and into the world, not really knowing what would happen once my secret got out.
I was at the bottom looking up.
Wondering if I would ever be able to feel the sunshine again.
Wondering if my world would ever be truly happy again.
When I hit publish on that first blog post, something inside shifted. Even though I had told the entire world what had happened to me, there was no fear. I wasn’t worried about what other people would think of me. I mean, let’s be real, I was the worst critic of all and had been saying terrible things to myself, about myself, for years and years at this point. There was nothing they could say to me that I hadn’t already said.
Telling the world that you had been sexually assaulted and kept it a secret for 11 years can feel like an impossible thing to do. BUT when you have nothing to lose then there really is no other choice.
I began to notice that my young kids were picking up on the way that I was feeling about myself. Even though I was very careful about the words I said out loud, they picked up on the actions that I couldn’t hide from them. The simple things like not wearing shorts because I HATED my body were starting to show up in their everyday life.
For my husband, it was a struggle that he had signed up for. He knew about my sexual assault as I told him the first time we spoke on the phone. He felt safe and for years and years, he had watched me hate every aspect of who I was while continuously loving me. Hoping that someday that love would be what I needed to do the same for myself.
What he didn’t realize is that because he showed his love to me from the moment that we met, he had opened up that crack just enough to let the light in. He made it possible for me to be able to heal when all odds were against me. He saved my life and for that, I will be forever grateful.
Telling strangers felt safer than telling those that I was close to.
Strangers didn’t know me.
Strangers didn’t have a stake in the game.
Strangers didn’t need to stick by my side and be there when it got messy.
And so I wrote and when I hit publish, I was ready for nothing to happen. I wasn’t looking for readers. I was looking to release the pain and the words on the page had started that process.
It wasn’t until I started receiving messages from women that I realized the true power that I had released.
I was new to the area that we lived in. We had moved there three months prior. No one knew me and there was a local Facebook group of moms that I could post in. Because I wasn’t selling anything, I posted the link and let them know that I was new to town and that I had just started a blog. I would love if anyone could take a moment to read it.
These messages were filled with hope and love. They let me know that I wasn’t alone. Some of them said they also knew what I was experiencing. Some of them said they knew someone who was going through this.
It’s funny because as a survivor, you know that you are not alone but you FEEL alone. As if no one could even begin to comprehend what you are going through and so you keep it to yourself. You don’t want to be a burden and so you burden the only person that you feel deserves it, you.
There is something magical when women come together and support one another. We have this incredible power to know exactly what to say and how to help. Women are these beautiful and incredible creatures who are looking to improve the world and by doing so, they make it safe for others to share their stories.
There are many more lessons than nine that I have learned throughout my nine years of blogging but because this is year nine, that is what we are going with.
1. There is no wrong way to blog.
I have blogged in the mental health niche.
I have blogged in the business niche.
I have blogged in the blogging niche.
Each niche is unique and has its own criteria and ways of doing things, but that doesn’t mean you can do it incorrectly.
I think as bloggers, we get caught up in these rules that we think make or break blogging. These rules instead, tend to hinder us as bloggers. Rules are made to be broken and that goes for blogging.
Yes, there certainly are ways to help you build your blog faster but that doesn’t always mean that your blog is better than someone else’s. We all have stories to tell and blogging is that creative outlet that allows us to do that.
When you put your words down for the world to see, you are showing up for yourself and for those who are coming to your blog. Throw away the idea of doing it wrong and just keep showing up.
2. Showing up is the hardest part of the blogging process
When the days get hard, you don’t feel like showing up. You want to just focus on something else. Writing your blog posts or even the strategy behind sharing your blog posts isn’t the hardest part of blogging.
The hardest part is showing up and opening up that computer screen to put those words on your paper. We put ourselves on every page that we write and some days that can feel very raw. There is no such thing as constant inspiration. Life has a way of throwing us curveballs day in and day out.
When we decide that our words are worth sharing, we can show up on our computer and get those words written. Showing up is a practice that you will need to work on. It doesn’t just happen.
Continue to show up and you will make progress. Life isn’t a race and we can forget that most days.
3. Not everyone is going to understand
Luckily, I haven’t had many people in my life that didn’t understand but there have been a few. It is those people that seem to have the biggest impact on us and can make us question what it is we are doing. Don’t let them.
Not everyone is going to understand your process.
Not everyone is going to get why you need to share your story.
It isn’t up to them to understand. It is up to you to show up, be yourself, and do what you feel is necessary to heal and thrive in your current moments.
4. The only pressure you feel is the pressure you put on yourself
There have been so many times in blogging and in life that I thought I should be further ahead than I am. I get stuck in comparison mode and think that I am somehow failing at life and business. And the thing is…
That isn’t possible.
Where you are right now is where you are supposed to be. Life isn’t a race. Show up as yourself and do the things that bring you joy. Write that blog post. Share that story. There doesn’t need to be pressure to do or be something that you aren’t yet.
5. When it’s forced, it doesn’t feel or sound good
There have been times that I have written a blog post and something just doesn’t sound right. Luckily, I have my friend, who can read it and tell me if she agrees. You just know that when you are trying to force something, it doesn’t come out the way that it should.
There is no need to force your blogging. If you don’t like the blog post that you wrote, there is nothing wrong with NOT publishing it. Just like with every other aspect of our lives, if something doesn’t feel right then don’t do it.
6. Procrastination is the fastest way to fail
Have you given up on yourself before giving yourself a chance to succeed? Success looks and feels different to all of us. However when we get stuck in our heads or tell ourselves that we just can’t do it, then we put off what we should be doing.
Procrastination is failure to show up for your dreams, your motivations, and yourself.
If you want to have a successful blog, you need to show up.
If you want to get a specific job, you need to make connections and learn what needs to be done.
If you want to be happy, you need to stop putting others ahead of yourself.
Procrastination is allowing fear to win.
7. Comparison kills creativity
We all have those people that we look up to. The ones that we admire and that inspire us.
We all have those people who do the complete opposite. We find ourselves comparing where we are to where they are. We feel deflated and defeated whenever we see or hear about them. And yet, we continue to let them into our lives and hold this power over us.
It isn’t anything that they did BUT it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a way to stop this from happening.
Unfollow people if they are on your social media. This doesn’t mean that you don’t support them but it means that you are in a place right now where you can’t do that effectively. There have been many people that I have felt this way about and I have needed to unfollow them for thirty days.
When we compare our blogs, our businesses, or even our lives to others, we give away our power. We kill all of the creativity that we have because we don’t think what we are doing is worthy. You get stuck thinking that the only way to do it is the way they are doing it and this just isn’t true.
To live a creative life means that you must throw away the idea of comparison and learn to embrace the power within yourself. Show up and be authentic. Don’t be afraid to take risks and remember that your creativity is just as magical as that woman that you envy.
8. What works for one blogger, may not work for you
This goes hand in hand with lesson one that I shared above. If you are a Pinterest lover like myself, you will see pins like…
Make $10,000 in your first 30 days of blogging
Step-by-step guide on how to get thousands of readers
Now, these are filled with great tips and tricks that you can follow BUT I want you to remember that what worked for one blogger may not work for you. That doesn’t mean that you are doing anything wrong. It means that there may be a better approach for you and your blogging.
Learning from those who are doing what you’re doing is the best way to grow and expand. Just don’t get caught up in thinking that the way they are doing it is the only way to get it done.
9. If you don’t like what you are doing, change it
I know from personal experience there are times when things need to change. When the path that I am on is no longer working for me. There is nothing wrong with changing directions. We can get caught up in thinking that we chose one thing and we need to stick with it but if we truly want to get the most out of life then we need to learn when it is time to move on.
I like to jump in with both feet before I plan things out. It is who I am and I am good with that. I know that not everyone is like that but what I want you to remember is we are constantly evolving and growing and sometimes that means things need to shift.
Don’t be afraid to say, this is no longer working for me and I need to figure something else out. Just like life, blogging is a process. A process that has ebbs and flows and that will always change.
Those are the nine lessons that I wanted to share with you today. I am behind in my blogging challenge for the month of October. I am finding things out about my body that I have never really listened to in the past and I am trying to listen to now. Anyone else with me on that?
How long have you been blogging for and what is a lesson that you have learned? I would love to hear it!