2 Years Later: The Lessons I Have Learned From Blogging That Are Far More Important Than Blogging Itself
Two years ago I started on this journey. I was inspired by all the bloggers that I started to see pop up all over Instagram and thought, “hey I can do that too”…. famous last words right there LOL! What started out as a place to share my love for creating with essential oils and my passion for non toxic beauty has turned into so much more. It has now become a dumping ground for all things going on in my life: motherhood musings, recipes I create, random thoughts that I have, products that I love... but the process also has taught and continues to teach me immensely. And while I have recently found a groove that I am happy with in this blogging life, one that does not intrude on my family life or time with my children, it has not always been like this. These last two years have been a JOURNEY in every sense of the word and I have learned true life lessons along the way, and that is what I am here to share today (and also, just for fun I’ll include some of my favorite solo photos that I have taken in the name of blogging LOL). With each post I have written, and each month that passes, I have grown and continue to grow as a person thanks to this blog.
Intellectually this new venture has kept me feeling alive, kept my mind working and always learning, something that my “forever a student” personality craves. Learning something completely foreign to you (as blogging and social media was to me two years ago), has a way of producing a buzz and excitement in your mind like nothing else. It is a very self fulfilling thing to learn a completely new “career” all on your own… and begin to see the fruits of your labor. To become a pediatric dentist I was in school from 6-27 years old and by the time I finally finished all of my schooling I no longer felt challenged. Sure, I still learn new dental techniques and attends various dental education conferences throughout the year, but I was ready for a new project to stimulate my mind and I found one in blogging. Aside from this knowledge I have learned, I have also learned a great deal about life…. and furthermore about what I truly want from this corner of my life.
Social media is, whether bloggers want it to be or not, an extension of blogging in this day and age. A website without social media extensions is like plopping your canoe out in the middle of a large lake without any paddles. With so many blogs out there today, you practically have to scream it from the mountain that you exist on the world wide web… and social media is your mountain, your window into other’s lives. So, with hesitation, I jumped into the world of Instagram and Facebook. But somewhere down this path, especially on Instagram, I got lost. I lost my vision of what I truly wanted to do with my oh so precious “me” time and I got sucked into the vortex of posting + likes + comments+ influencing. Guys… it was exhausting. I went from making genuine connections with people and checking in with my friends daily, to following rules set forth by companies and pushing my posts to perform for said companies. During this process the FUN left this whole adventure. I was spending way too much screen time on things that ultimately didn’t matter, that didn’t fulfill my overall vision of sharing healthy and non toxic living with the world (sure I was picky with my advertisements and only worked with companies that shared in my vision in part- but still in the end it was not necessary).
Now, before I go further, let me tell you about one of the most AMAZING things that has come out of this new adventure for me: the people! I have met so many other amazing women, mostly moms, who are pursuing a similar dream to mine and working so hard for it. And these amazing people that I mention, they have went out of their way to make me feel included, empowered, and special. Many of these women I have met in person or talk outside of social media with and we have been able to get to know each other on a personal level and I include them in my circle of close friends. These women are at all different stages of their blogging/influencing/social media ventures and they have their own way of pursuing their goals that works for them so what I continue to share here only applies to ME and my journey, not necessarily to everyone out there on social media/blogs.
Back to my epiphany now: I also struggled with the fact that, in my eyes, everything started to loose the creativity and originality that I once loved about taking photos and posting them to social media. Everyone began to have similar looking photos and competing as if we were all in some sort of race… that no one was really winning. And since I am all about promoting positivity on my accounts (to be clear, posting positive thoughts helps my frame of mind just as much as those who see my posts, I am NOT always holly jolly LOL), I started to feel like I was becoming somewhat of a hypocrite or “sell out” for straying away from my core values. And I am absolutely sure this effected probably no one but me, but it did start to effect ME and that’s all it took.
Slowly, I have been crawling out of that social media vortex that I found myself in and have promised myself to never return. Yes, I want people to read my posts, see and love my Instagram photos, and interact with me + find value in my content. But guess what I LEARNED (the hard way, mind you) - I want this all to be genuine, a “like” or a “follow” means a whole lot more coming from someone that is not required to do so than from someone who does so out of necessary reciprocation (fellow instagrammers you know what I mean by this!). Plus, although I had learned the ins and outs of these social media platforms, it was not bringing me the intellectual stimulation that blogging/writing does - so I was spending way too much time on something that was not bringing me a ton of joy. So, I restructured my ways, cut back on my social media, learned how to say NO, and started focusing the time and attention I was able to on my blog alone. And let’s not forget my family in all of this - I have been working on prioritizing my time and carving out more time for my family with NO phone interruptions and it has been a beautiful thing! I have also been able to put all my acquired knowledge in the field of social media and blogging to good use as I help grow our family dental practice and one day, I hope to be able to teach other dentists how to do the same thing!
Emotionally this journey has also been a roller coaster. When a post on my blog does well I am elated to see all my hard work and time pay off. Let’s side step just a moment and define what “hard work” and “pay off” mean in my world. The work I put in for each post means” researching Google and Pinterest for good keywords to use in my writing, researching and writing my posts, taking photos for the post and social media promotions, editing the photos, creating social media graphics with these photos, and after publishing the post sharing and promoting it (mostly on Pinterest). I would say, on average, each post takes me anywhere from 3-10 hours of actual “work” time. With posting an average of 4-6 posts a month on my blog, I spend anywhere from 12-60 hours per month of my “downtime” to produce my blog content!! I could be doing so many other things with this extra time and that is why I decided recently to cut out all of the unnecessary stuff and get back to the main points that will enhance my goals. In regards to the “pay off” let’s just be clear that this comes mostly in the form of self satisfaction and pride. I do use affiliate links to various related products in my posts but I do not utilize generic ads or email marketing on my blog. Therefore financially this little blog of mine only makes $20-$50 per month on average…. barely enough to break even!
So why do I keep at it, why keep going? Remember how I talked about the fact that what I wanted was to share information with the world about clean, non toxic living - well, over 10,000 people per month read my blog (voluntarily with their own free time I might add) and enjoy the information that I have to share. While this is not a huge number in comparison to bigger bloggers out there, it is a substantial number to me, and a reason why I keep at this.
Looking back at my Google Analytics over the last two years and seeing how my posts have essentially exploded from where they once began is a beautiful and rewarding thing to see and I am a bit addicted now to be honest. Who knows, one day Color Your Health may become the go-to for those trying to switch to better beauty or clean living… just maybe! But as this is a ton of work, it can be exhausting so I make sure to take a break when necessary - in my opinion this is the only way that I can ensure that I keep my ol’ blog around for years to come. Burn out it a very real thing, and as I am only working for myself, I can take a break whenever I feel the time is right! So, this has been a long winding, word vomit post to tell you that there is a lot to learn from starting a new adventure such as this, and I am thankful for every little morsel (the good and the bad) that blogging has taught me because it has without a doubt built my character, self esteem…. and ability to say NO!
Thank you all for hanging with me over the last two years, I appreciate it immensely, you are a HUGE reason why I continue to do what I do! Keep reading below for my compilation of the 10 life lessons I have learned on this journey - all things I knew deep down but all things that this journey has truly provided real life examples to learn these lessons from!
10 Life Lessons I Have Learned From Blogging
1 - Genuine Interactions And Forced Friendliness Are Not Even Comparable
2- Say No To Things That Do Not Align With Your Vision
3- Time Is A Precious Thing- Don’t Waste It For Yourself Or Others
4 - Be Realistic And At Times Vulnerable, No One (But Your Instagram Squares) Likes Perfection
5 - In A World Of Duplicates - Spread Originality
6 - Keep Your Mind Open, There Is More Than One Way
7 - Focus Your Time And Energy On Things That Can Make A Difference
8 - Do Not Confuse “Me Time” With Working For Others
9 - Being True To Yourself Is The Best Gift You Can Give (To Both Yourself And Others)
10- Dream Big Dreams And Work Towards Them Everyday - Some Days Walking, Some Days Running, At Times Limping- But Always Moving Forward