We made it! Today, I have officially been on this adventure in blogging for a year. 365 days ago, I turned 30 and in an effort to add some much needed creativity into my week and cross off “Start a Blog” from my 30 before 30 list, Hello Friday was born. Throughout the past year, 52 posts later, I’ve learned a few valuable lessons I want to share.
And, yes, I did bake Hello Friday a birthday cake—partly because I wanted to show off my stellar cake decorating skills and celebrate this day, mostly because I just wanted cake. Don’t worry, I’ll save you a piece!
1 | Don’t Compare Your Blog To Other Blogs. I have to constantly remind myself that Hello Friday is its own thing. I’m a fan of a lot of blogs—they look nice, have super creative content and top-notch design. I bet they even smell nice. And although I may not be on that blogging level, I can’t allow myself to devalue what this sweet little space, Hello Friday, has become. When I went to the Create + Cultivate Conference last year, I quickly felt overwhelmed. It seemed like I was surrounded by a lot of well-established bloggers and I let a lot of self-doubt seep in. But, As soon as I began to look at the blogging world as a community rather than competition, everything became a little lighter.
2 | Don’t Force Your Husband To Read Your Blog. When I first started Hello Friday, each weekly post felt monumental to me. I was sharing a little piece of myself—an interest, opinion, experience, idea, on the internet and hoping desperately that someone out there would read it and connect with it. I started asking my husband each week, “Did you read my blog post?” And being the thoughtful man he is, most weeks he probably did skim through it just to appease me. But, I quickly realized that his support, encouragement, and the blogging how-to book he bought me were much more important than whether or not he read my Springtime Accessorizing or Haircare Must-Haves posts—which I know for a fact hold zero interest for him. To be completely honest, he’s not my target audience. So, I’ve stopped asking and started appreciating the other ways he encourages my blogging journey.
3 | Don’t Let Fear Dictate Your Potential. Easier said than done—believe me, I know. I’ve admitted on here before, I’m scared of most things. Creating this blog was a big step towards conquering some of those fears. Throughout this year I’ve realized that taking a few risks towards realizing your goals usually boasts the biggest rewards. And even if it doesn’t, you’re bound to learn something in the process.
4 | Social Media is Important. And, I’m Not Good At Social Media. As I start my next year of blogging, my number one resolution is to be better with social media. Whether or not I enjoy it, it’s a big part of this blogging experience—promoting posts, connecting with other bloggers and readers, and finding ways to draw traffic to your blog can help make all the time, work and energy pay off.
5 | It’s OK to Be A Work In Progress. I may never have this blogging thing 100% figured out. But, all I have to know right now is that each week I enjoy sharing something I care about with you. Sure, I’d love it if I could make all the design, content and pictures I dream up in my mind become a reality. And maybe I don’t know how to do it all just yet, but here at Hello Friday we’re all about progress, not perfection.
6 | Bloggin’ Ain’t Easy. Starting a blog has been a definite commitment—it takes time and planning. And there are some weeks, after working and life, just the idea of it makes me tired. But then I think back to why I started all this in the first place. I remember that this is the little spot of creativity in my week. I think of the personal satisfaction I get when I put together a post you’ll hopefully enjoy reading—which helps put any struggle into perspective.
7 | Don’t Get Discouraged. I never really set steadfast blogging milestones for myself. Like I had to have this many followers, or readers by this date, or else my blog was a total failure. And who knows, maybe to some extent I should have? It’s easy to get wrapped up with that side of blogging though. Just because you can count page views or visits doesn’t mean you can measure your personal success by those numbers. To date, my least viewed post, My Love Letter to Chicago, is the nearest and dearest to my heart. And that doesn’t change just because my best friends and mom might have been the only people who read it.
8 | Honor the Commitments You Make to Yourself. Full disclosure, there were weeks when I put off my post to the very last minute, didn’t feel 100% motivated and sometimes wondered if anyone would even notice if I skipped a Friday post. But bottom line, when I started this blogging journey, I made the commitment of weekly posts, not only to you, but to myself too.
9 | It’s So Nice To Have An Amazing Editor. Each week, before my Hello Friday posts go live, the little lady I call Mom pours over my words and sends me edits. We’ve swapped texts, emails and calls, but without fail, regardless of how busy her week or day has been, she lends her guidance, wisdom, and grammatical prowess. Thanks, Mom.
10 | If You’re Thinking About Starting a Blog (or really any creative venture), Stop Thinking Already and Just Do It! I thought about my blog for way too long before I actually had the courage to get started. In retrospect, I wish I had just been brave enough to get the ball rolling sooner. Really, there’s no perfect time to start a new adventure in blogging. But if you’re looking for a space to be creative and share content and you’re thinking blogging is the way to go, then go for it! And, maybe you won’t always have the most amazing content, or amazing pictures, but you learn the most from just getting started and doing.
I want to say THANK YOU to you, yes, you, for reading this and any other post over the past year. And if this is the first Hello Friday post you’ve read, I hope you come back next week and the week after that. All the kind words, comments and support from readers, fellow bloggers, friends and family have really made this adventure more than I ever thought it could be.
See you next Friday! xx, Devon