The 5 Lessons I Learned in One Year of Blogging

blogging

I’m back! Okay. So, the last couple weeks/month have been a little crazy, full of migraines, zero energy and nine million-thousand (that’s a lot) of things to do, but I’m back with some life lessons for you folks. Taking on this blogging adventure has been incredibly eye opening and super crazy and the least I can do is let you in on a little bit of info that may (or may not) change your life, or maybe they’ll convince you to start your own adventure.

Blogging is hard. Like, really really hard.

“No it’s not, Angela.” I hear you saying that already. “You just write about things you want to write about and get on with it.”

Haha! It is a bit like that, in a way, but there’s a whole bunch more that goes into each and every post. You have to plan and find the time to write and cook and edit and photograph and a ton of other little things and when you’re working full time like I do, it can be exhausting and incredibly overwhelming. All of these things take way more time than you think they do. Cooking for a blog needs to be planned. It’s not like you can photograph while you’re cooking on the fly. Believe me, I’ve tried. A lot. The lighting in my kitchen at night is awful and then my pictures are awful and no matter how beautiful the food may be, it just looks yellow. No amount of white balance will help that.

Giant amounts of Overwhelm and Underwhelm, very little Whelm.

“OMG YOU PUBLISHED A POST!!!” That’s pretty much how most people reacted when I started The Full Tummy. Lots of excitement, pageviews, sharing, buzz and whatnot. After a while, not matter how consistent you are, it dies down until you can hit your groove. Setting and hitting your own arbitrary deadlines is really hard because what happens if you miss them? Nothing. Absolutely nothing other than your blog post not going up. That’s all. Setting a schedule and sticking to it is very overwhelming because you have to commit to yourself that this is something you want and need to do. You know what else is overwhelming? EVERY SINGLE decision related to your blog. The layout, the colors, the pictures, the fonts, everything seems like too much at some point.

Sometimes, blogging is as underwhelming as it is overwhelming. One of the worst feelings is writing a recipe that you know is so great and that took a long time only to see 10 people like it on any given social media channel. It’s a whole bunch of “oh.” and a sad emoji. There are very few moments where you sit back and exhale the slow “yesssssssss” of success, so when you get them, you’re even more excited. It does take a lot to get used to, however.

Spend Money to Make Money is true, unfortunately.

Hosting your own site gives you a lot of freedom, but that costs money. So do programs to create certain images and content upgrades. Paying someone to do all that for you costs even more, which is why I’m taking a class to learn Adobe InDesign so I don’t have to worry about that anymore. Oh, and if you’re wondering, I’m taking Caitlin‘s course called InDesign Adventure Guide and I really think you should too. I pay for CoSchedule that allows me to schedule posts ahead of time and then forget about it all completely for a day or two while my brain recharges. I love this add-on so much because I can do all the social media posting and scheduling I can imagine and not worry about it at all for weeks!

There are plenty of things to spend money on when you’re blogging, so it’s something that you have to pick and choose wisely, but I like to believe that I’m investing in something that makes me very, very happy and other things that help make that one thing even better.

The Best Ideas Come From People You Know.

My mom can never again say that I don’t give her credit for the ideas she comes up with for The Full Tummy, or any other project I’ve ever done because here’s the truth: SHE HAS THE BEST IDEAS EVER. And so do my other family members and my friends and random people I talk to about this little project. You never know what you could be missing out on because you haven’t thought of it yet. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, and that is a big thing I’ve struggled with for years and year and years because it kinda feels like you’re not good enough to come up with the ideas on your own.

Here’s a secret: That’s not true either. We all have great ideas, sometimes they come organically, other times they’re married to ideas we get from other people. There’s nothing wrong or bad about either of them and it is soooooo unbelievably easy to get discouraged, especially in the blogging world. Talk to your people, brainstorm and laugh and joke around. That’s where all my good ideas come from, anyway.

Be Nice To Yourself.

It sounds so simple, I know. It is really hard sometimes. Let me tell you a little story about the last few weeks. I made that giant, beautiful cake after dealing with a week of migraines. Every day, some worse than the last, maybe it was just one big migraine that was spread out, who knows. I battled as best as I could to make that cake, but it about wrecked me, my patience and my desire to write and do anything related to The Full Tummy and blogging. My pharmacy switched a brand of medicine I take and I was down for the count for a long time. I should have relaxed and put the redesign and cake on the table (ha) for a while and waited until my body calmed down, but I pushed and pushed until I was a complete blob of a person.

Take care of yourself, if you’re not feeling the urge to do something, don’t do it (unless it’s necessary but that should be totally obvious). I joke with my friends that “I will never half-ass anything. It’s whole-ass or no-ass.” I don’t see the point in doing the things I love to do in a way that doesn’t show their full potential. Do good things and do them well and you’ll be so happy about it when you look back on them.

So that’s my story, you guys. Those 5 things are the biggest lessons I learned over the last year and some. I hope you’ll stay along for the ride as we venture into Year 2 of The Full Tummy!

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