20 Things I’ve Learned in my Four Years of Blogging

I passed my four year blogging anniversary a little while ago, and I can’t even believe it. Four years I have been rambling on about what I’ve been eating and the things that have happened in my life. That is crazy to me.

I am definitely no blogging expert, however I have learned a few things from my four freakin’ years of blogging. Here they are! In no particular order.

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1. Your first post will be the hardest you write.

It just will be. Getting the courage to write and then put that first post of yours out there for who knows who to read is the hardest. It’s difficult to break that ice. When I was writing my first post I was so uneasy because I felt like it was the first time I was really putting myself out there and giving strangers a glimpse into what was happening inside my brain. That’s scary! You are basically asking to be judged. But once it’s done, it’s easy. Now I don’t really care what people think of me or what’s going on in my brain. I just do my thing.

2. It’s okay if you don’t have a niche.

Everyone has a damn niche. And everything you read about blogging will tell you to pick your niche before you start your blog. It’s true, your blog has a better chance of being popular if you have a set niche and you focus on that subject. But I don’t have a niche and I am here to tell you, you don’t need one. Originally it was healthy living for me, or food maybe. I’m still food heavy because it’s very important to me, but probably not enough food to call it my niche. I’m not very home design savvy, or at least not enough to be giving advice to others, so that can’t be my niche. I like to look nice but otherwise don’t care very much about OMGFASHUN. I’ll tell you how to wear a cardigan but that’s pretty much all I’ve got. My beauty routine consists of towel dried hair and mascara 6 days a week so, nothing to report there. I don’t even pluck my eyebrows (I really am lucky on the hair front but this is mainly because #laziness), so I definitely can’t tell you how to highlight those. I don’t think I’m very twee (I hope I’m not at all twee). I’d love to be a travel blogger but sadly I don’t travel enough. But this is all fine because the blogosphere is oversaturated with all of those things anyway.

All I can do is be myself and tell you about my life and sometimes draw pictures. So, I guess that’s my niche.

3. It might take you a long time to find your voice or your blog’s purpose (or your niche!)

When I first started my blog I basically modeled it after every healthy living blog that I was reading because I thought that was what I was supposed to be doing. But being a

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wasn’t for me. I couldn’t keep that up for very long because it didn’t feel right. I wasn’t coming up with groundbreaking new workouts or recipes, I was copying others. But things that happen to me are unique, and that is what I want to share with the world. It took me a while to get there and I still haven’t perfected it.

4. You will look back at things you’ve written and cringe.

All the time. I can’t stand to go back and read things I wrote in my first year of blogging. I want to edit it all.

5. Your blog isn’t going to write itself.

This is disappointing. Sometimes I will have so many ideas for great blog posts in my head, but sitting down and getting it out is another story. Making the time is difficult.

6. Blogging is incredibly time consuming.

Before I started blogging I assumed it was going to be easy to throw a post up every day. From the outside it seems like it isn’t a lot of effort. But let me tell you, I have never spent less than one hour on a blog post. I might be doing it wrong, but for me, it’s very time consuming. I like doing it, but it takes a while.

7. Self promotion is my very least favourite part of blogging.

If you build it, they may not come. So you might need to tell them about it, therefore promote yourself. I feel very weird trying to pimp out my own stuff, so I still have not mastered this even though I would probably be more successful if I spent a little time on it.

8. Pinterest is both awesome and stressful.

I love Pinterest but I hate feeling like I need to make some sort of amazing pinnable image to go with every blog post I write. Everyone is making these lame pic money collages/images purely so people will pin it, and purely to gain traffic. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “content is king!” but this new way of blogging makes me feel like content isn’t king, like you can just slap up some crappy pinnable image on some crappy blog post and get a ton of traffic. Maybe that’s the smart thing to do and goes back to the self promotion thing that I’m bad at. I don’t know. But I don’t like it.

9. People really, really like lists.

10. Sometimes people will disagree with what you have to say.

Which is all good. How boring would life be if everyone agreed with what you had to say all the time?

11. You’ll need to grow a thick skin.

It’s cool if people don’t agree, but sometimes people are just jerks.

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Thankfully I haven’t attracted many trolls, but it does happen. You gotta just laugh it off. I am confident and comfortable with myself (it comes with age), so if an internet stranger wants to call me a fat chick or tell me I’m stupid, that’s fine. If my friends and family were talking shit about me then maybe I would be concerned.

12. As a blogger, you will be offered really cool experiences and/or products.

Traffic is the currency of the internet and companies want to use you to get the word out to your readers. This can be awesome. Many amazing things have come my way because of my blog. I will never, ever turn down free cookies. It’s a dream!

However…

13. As a blogger, people will ask you to write about lame things that have absolutely nothing to do with you or your blog, for free.

When I first started blogging I pretty much accepted every opportunity that came my way because I was just excited to be offered free stuff. If I did that now my blog would turn into me shilling you things like canned peaches. I can’t tell you how many times a company has approached me and asked me to write about canned peaches. What am I going to say about canned peaches?! Or someone will email you and be like “Hey, tomorrow is national kumquat day! Can you write a post about it please?!” WTF? No.

14. Be yourself. People like it.

Just like with anything in life, you are going to run into problems if you start trying to be someone you’re not. This includes photoshopping your selfies and lying to your readers about your running times. People aren’t dumb. If you’re not being genuine, you will be found out. Just be yourself!

15. Success is not going to happen overnight.

I’ve been blogging for four years and I’m still not internet famous. I also did not make a dime from my blog until this year. So, give it time. And if your main goal is to make money, that’s going to be really obvious and your readers aren’t going to like it (*unless you’re Pat Flynn, in which case it works).

16. Other bloggers will be more successful than you.

Always. You’ll never be THE BEST, and you can’t let it get to you. Stop comparing. Just do your thing.

17. Strangers will know what is happening in your life.

I know I ask for this by writing about my life, but it still surprises me sometimes. Even with my friends, I’ll be telling them a story and they will say to me “Oh I know, I read that on your blog.” Oh right.

18. You are going to make amazing new friends, who you will feel like you already know when you meet them for the first time, just from reading their blog.

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Like Paula!

And her bunny Pants, who I also felt like I already knew because of her blog.

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19. And you will also be friends with people you’ve never met in person.

I can think of several bloggers who I have a genuine love burst for, who I have never actually met (yet!). But even without meeting them I feel like we are friends.

20. The blogging community is the best.

It really is. It still surprises me when I receive a heartfelt email or comment from a blog reader that something I wrote about resonated with them. It is such an amazing feeling and one of the main reasons why I want to blog, to connect with people. Just one comment can brighten my entire month.

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16 responses to “20 Things I’ve Learned in my Four Years of Blogging

  1. This is basically how I feel about blogging too. Except I might actually accept the canned peaches because peaches are yum. 🙂

    If they offer to you again, please accept and I will come over and make us a peach pie

  2. Awww! <3 <3 I made it on the blog!

    I wish I could bring Pants with me in June. I feel like Winnie is the only cat that she'd get along with. In other news, I can't wait till June!!

    I got an email asking me to post about the dollar shave club. I mean, I guess some pics of me shaving would be pretty awesome and perhaps even in demand, but I declined. I also get emails from local restaurants asking me to post ALL THE TIME but they have never offered me anything for it. At least a free app people!

    • Ah thanks, you just reminded me to get back to the dollar shave club and decline their offer. Or maybe I will let Evan do a guest post?

      I do feel like Pants and Winnie would get along! Winnie could show Pants a thing or two about snuggling, that is for sure.

  3. I love this! I am not a blogger but I love to read them at work. I have seen many where they start out great and real and then they turn into non stop “sponsored posts”. As a reader I will tell you, nothing turns me off more and I do not go back to those. At the same time if someone is “real” and has a fun and interesting sponsored post from time to time, I am on board. (Like your game night one..that was awesome!)

    Your blog has been my favorite for a long time because of your #14. You are yourself and you are REAL and someone I feel like I would be friends with in real life. You are not trying to be someone you’re not and many bloggers are. As a reader, we can tell!

    Anyway, you are doing it all RIGHT! I always get happy when I see there is a new post. 🙂

    • Yeah, that tends to happen a lot. I stopped reading a lot of blogs exactly for that reason. I don’t mind sponsored posts on occasion, but all the time really turns me off. And those games were probably the coolest things I’ve ever received through my blog!
      Thank you 🙂 I always get happy when I get a notification that you commented on my blog.

  4. Love the list (and your blog!!)! As a relatively new blogger, #17 still weirds me out. Though I keep my blog a secret from friends and family, a classmate recently stumbled upon it and I was mortified! I felt the immediate urge to tear everything down…But I guess I should just be happy that they care enough to read!

  5. Okay, super funny. As soon as I saw the heading “20 things”, I thought “omg I love lists”. Then I read number 9 and busted out laughing. Yes to everything but seriously on the niche thing. A niche was tough for me. I wasn’t a healthy living blogger. I’m not a weight loss blogger unless i’m losing weight. Is there a “totally uncool lifestyle” blogger niche?? If so, I AM IT. hahahaha!

  6. We aure friends 🙂
    (I never know where to put the “u,” but I know you like them in your words 😉

  7. Oh Sonja, we are forever friends 🙂

  8. I LOVE canned peaches

  9. I like your blog because it is just you writing about normal stuff. The no bullshit blog, as it were.
    I travel to TO every couple of months for meetings, and I have tried a couple of restaurants you’ve blogged about, so thanks for adding those!
    You seem like a cool chick who would be a blast to have a drink with – I hope I run into you some time on my travels.

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