June 12th, 2008 I posted my first post on my blog (I used to blog under a different url back then). I had NO idea where it was going. Starting from when I could learn to write, I was writing, and then somewhere in my 20’s I stopped. I was lost, feeling broken, and stopped doing one of things I love the most.
I wrote that first post and could not stop. The train was coming down the tracks and I’ve never looked back.
Here are 5 things I’ve learned in the past 4 years:
1. Telling my story is powerful for other people’s learning. Often times I got tired of writing and reading about myself. My gremlin felt that no one really wanted to read that much about me. That my stories weren’t “bad enough”, or maybe that I had “white girl problems”. But, what’s happened is that many people see their own life in my stories. They can either relate, or find solace in my stories. Once I realized this, I kept writing.
2. Telling my story has been scary, therapeutic and healing. There have been many posts where my stomach lurched before I hit the “publish” button. The posts where I showed my deep, human side and was especially vulnerable. But, once I got it up and read it, it’s as if it lost power over me. When people told me, “Hey- I feel that way too” made me and my problems okay. There’s always that fear that we’re not “normal”. Telling my story has squashed that feeling to pieces.
3. I still deep in my soul, want people to like me. It’s easy for me to say, “I don’t give a shit what people say about me. It’s not about me, it’s about them.” And I believe the second part of that totally and completely. But, it does still hurt when I find out that someone doesn’t like me. I’ve recently read comments that someone didn’t like my attitude, and my tone, and I’m 100% fine with that. It’s the me-as-a-person thing that still stings. Yes, I’m proud of who I am. Yes, I’m so happy I can finally say what I mean, instead of what I think people want to hear. But, I’m still that girl that wants to be liked by everyone. It’s just where I am in the journey.
4. I’ll never know who I will reach with the written word. I don’t like to look at the stats. It makes my stomach hurt, so I don’t. I know other bloggers and entrepreneurs track this and think I’m crazy for not, but my gremlin goes NUTS when I see how many people read my blog. I just found out I have an average of 146,000 page views per month. I’m nowhere near Docce, or thousands of other bloggers, and I know many of the 146,000 might be robots, but seeing that made me nauseous. But, every time I get an email that says, “I found your blog through a google search” or, “My sister sent me the link to your blog” and then go on to tell me how much I’ve helped them, it reignites my fire for writing. It’s totally worth all the hours writing, all the hours agonizing over posts, just to help one person feel better.
5. Having a “successful” blog takes time. I’ve been doing this for 4 years. I remember about a year into blogging was when I got my first comment from someone I didn’t know. And I’m pretty sure she was doing the strategic “comment on other people’s blogs to get traffic to your own blog”, but nonetheless, I was ecstatic. In the beginning, NO ONE read my blog, but I kept writing. I used it as a diary and sometimes pretended I had a million readers.
And what really is “successful” anyway? I set out to help ONE person. I decided that if my writing helped ONE person, it was successful. Funny, that first person was me and I’ve never looked back.
So, if you’re new to blogging and you love it, keep going. You’ll never know where it will take you, so listen to your gut. If it tells you to WRITE, do it. If it tells you people need to hear your story- do it.
I’d love to know what anyone else has learned from blogging, or just writing, or what you’ve learned from my blog 😉