what I've learned about blogging- a newbie's perspective


You sent for me sir?

Yes, Clarence. A man down on earth needs our help.

Splendid! Is he sick?

No. Worse.
He's discouraged.

I have to admit- I was pretty naive about what 'blogging' was.
The only blogs I knew about were family / personal blogs, or techie blogs, or movie junkie blogs.

I had a family blog in 2006, and gave it up after a few months.  I found Facebook, and decided that would be a better format for sharing what was going on with my family.

For most of 2009, I had a desperation to find a way to connect with other creative people.  Painters, decorators, people who were uber creative who could help expand my creative thinking cap.

I was talking to two of my sister in laws about wanting to work from home in a business related to interior decorating, but I also loved cooking and gardening. 
One of them said to me,
you should start a webpage!

I am so technically challenged I had no idea how I would build /start a webpage.

And then last year, a friend suggested I check out My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia.

Blogging?!  I kinda knew how to do that!
And then my whole world was blown wide open to a virtual online magazine of decorating!
Holy cow!!

My Home Ideas
Last July, I started this little project called PinkPostcard. 
I really had no idea what I was doing, and was figuring out things as I went along, mostly too shy or embarrassed to ask questions of seasoned bloggers.
And then it happened.  About two months into it, I started feeling insecure about how slowly my blog was 'growing'.  I started gauging my day on how many people had commented or signed up to follow me.

And when you're blogging about things that are personal to you- your home, your sanctuary, the thing you take pride in- and it feels like few people are jumping on board with you, while the blog that started up 3 months after you has exploded with followers, well, it gets discouraging.

Just bein' real here.

And then about a month ago, I ventured into the hostess role.

In week 3, I woke up to check on the party, and GASP!
nobody's here?

*sniff*
Later that day, I saw that we indeed did have a party, but that was a tough day.
I felt like a big fat loser.


Remember the scene in Something's Gotta Give where she's writing and crying off and on?
Yeah, that was pretty much me.  Going between discouragement and overwhelmed by the support of fellow bloggers, saying Me Too!
If you will, play this video and imagine this is me, blogging and reading your emails of encouragement:



(It's kinda long- you get the idea after about a minute)
And please please PLEASE, if you linked up in week three, don't think that I didn't absolutely appreciate you who were there- because I truly did!  I just thought that by week 3, I wouldn't be seeing an empty page after two hours of being open for business!
:(

Later that day, as I was visiting blogland, I came across a post by Donna from Funky Junk Interiors.  It brought me to tears.  I was so encouraged, I wrote her a note of thanks. 
She was incredibly kind in her words of encouragement and suggestions.  I am forever grateful.

And then, in talking to some of the friends I've made since I started blogging, I discovered something....

Everyone else felt like me at one time or another!
 Here's what I learned from my own experience thus far, and what others are saying:
  • It's an emotional roller coaster. 
  • there just aren't enough hours in the day to visit everyone you'd like to, respond to all of the wonderful comments, and meet new blogs.
  • sometimes it feels like you're back in high school and it's like trying to get the attention of the popular kids (blogs) or keep up to eventually be on that track of popularity.
  • it costs money to blog! I thought it would be a relatively "free" thing for me to do.  Uh, no. Projects cost money and so does starting a business (like Etsy- that you help promote with blogging!)
  • not having enough "good things to write about"
  • not having projects good enough
  • wondering why some blogs have huge followings and yours is feeling rather invisible.
  • some of my most favorite bloggers have all considered quitting their blogs at one point or another! 
So, I write all this to say thank you over the past week to those of you (and you know who you are!) for your words of encouragement, for helping me not to feel like a big fat loser, and that I am not alone in my feelings.  Every one of us started because we love what we blog about!  And there are those days of discouragement and feeling unworthy. 

If I can offer any thing positive as to what I'm learning, it's this:

Dear Denise: (and others in the same boat)
  • Blogging takes time and dedication.  Whether you do it for fun or as a business venture. Give yourself a break and relax.  Enjoy it!
  • Link up to parties, it's how people find you from the billion other blogs out there!
  • Go with your gut. 
  • Be personal.  (still working on this one) I started out thinking that I had to be careful about what I was writing about myself.  You know, because of all those crazy rapists that stalk blogs.  (kidding)  I don't give out anything that personal.  But we are human beings, we want to connect with people!
  • don't compare yourself to anyone else.  You have something unique to offer.  Really, you do!!
  • Teach.  You may think what you know is not worthwhile or too simplistic, but someone out there doesn't know how to do it!  It's what people want to know!
  • Learn from people who do what you do- it's free! And probably a whole lot more interesting than sitting in a classroom.

If you're thinking about quitting blogging because of the time commitment, or just sheer disappointment, or unworthiness, please don't!  Those of you who have been brave enough and honest enough to say so- I would sincerely miss your personality and what you bring to the blogging community.  I may not get to personally tell you that as often as I'd like, but, I would!

I have so enjoyed my 7 month journey into blogging.  I'm not considering jumping off a bridge into icy waters for the insurance money, and I'm not quitting my blog.
It's just been different than what I expected, and I never knew I wasn't the only one feeling the way I did!

I also never expected to find more supportive and thoughtful people on this journey.  It's so nice to see women helping women.

  So, sit down and pull that safety bar over your lap. 
Hang on!  Everyone else is feeling just like you do!


 


48 comments

  1. All of this is really REALLY good to know! Thanks for posting something real and encouraging!

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  2. Great post Denise! I know exactly how you feel. Some days can be quite humbling. I too have a problem with being personal and letting my personality come out- it's really hard! But bravo to you for sharing your feelings here! You keep writing and I'll keep reading.. deal?

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  3. Great post Denise! Thanks for being so open and honest! It takes a lot of guts. This post will be so inspiring for so many of us "young" bloggers.

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  4. Yes, I have to say I have felt like that at the beginning. Try to remember to not get into the competitive thing of blogging, just sharing your stuff and getting and giving inspiration! It is the best way to fly....one tip I will give is to put your follower list at the top of your blog. People shouldn't have to hunt to find it to follow you!

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  5. Thank you for this post. I was thinking about these things recently and wondering what I was doing wrong? Then I remembered that I started my blog for me and my family not for anyone else but got all caught up in it. I love creating and I love sharing it plus I love to see what others have done. That's what it is going to be about for me from now on. So I don't have very many followers but the ones I do have are awesome! Thanks again. Chris

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  6. Denise,
    Thank you so much for being so open and honest in your sharing today! I completely relate to and agree with everything you had to say! And it is so nice to know that I'm not alone in all of those feelings...the worrying that I'm not good enough and wondering if it's all worth my time! I must say, I am enjoying the ride and knowing that there are genuine people out there in the same boat makes it so much sweeter!
    Thanks again and keep up the good work! You've definitely succeeded in being personal in your post today ;) I am honored to be your follower and to participate in your parties!
    Your Pink blog sister,
    Amanda - One Girl in Pink

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  7. PS One other thing: I have your blog on my sidebar and I thought I was a follower...I mean I have your blog on my blog!! But to my surprise, I wasn't "offically" following you. Now I am....it is funny that sometimes a blog you read, you have forgotten to "follow".

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  8. Sweet Denise,
    First off, I have to say that I LOVED talking to you yesterday...2 hours was just not enough. I love that you shared your soul. You are an amazing woman with incredible talent and you shine like the brightest star. I'm so happy to call you my friend. Hugs~Val

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  9. Great post! I am new also and I have felt many of these same things. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Wise words, indeed. I really think you nailed how a lot of us feel. It's nice to know we're all in it together, right? :)

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  11. Oh Denise, I had no idea :)
    If I did know I would have given you a good kick in the you know what, well not really.
    Your awesome at what you do and so talented best of all you have an awesome personality!
    So glad your hanging in there!!!
    Take care
    Hugs
    Kristin

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  12. Hi Denise! I've been missing from blogland for a few weeks, house projects and sick kiddos and pure tiredness! But I just saw this post and thought,"Oh no!" So sorry you have felt this way! I'm way behind in linking up, but hoping your linky party sticks around! I love joining in on all the fun! And I love your blog too :-)

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  13. Love this post, and YES, we've all been there. Finding balance is what it's all about. and being true to ourselves.
    xo,
    Debra

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  14. I so know what you mean. I did finally quit. I just was living to much for what comment I would get next and spending too much money. I did enjoy it while it lasted and maybe will do it again someday. Thanks for being so honest that was really refreshing.
    Brooke

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  15. Thank you...True, encouraging and helps me want to keep giving this a try. :)

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  16. Great post! I hear ya, sister :) Found you through My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia!

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  17. it was a pleasure to read your honest post today, it takes real courage to put it out there...how you are feeling. glad you're not giving it up! i started my blog over a year ago, but then i stopped after i got pregnant, i was just not into it at the time. i started it again a couple months ago and am really enjoying it this time around, but of course i feel the same as you at times, seems like we all do or have at one point. your blog is lovely...just roll with it and have fun :)

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  18. Such a nice post. We should all be required to write a post like this, just so everybody knows we're all in the same boat! It's great to be reminded of that. Thanks for your honesty, Denise!

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  19. Denise~
    I hear you.... loud and clear... on all of it!!

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  21. Oh goodness, I wish I had found you sooner! I was so happy to link up to your last party and rather enjoyed that I did not have to wade threw 157 linked up projects. Oh sweetie, don't compete leave that back with grade school. I started about when you did and I visited every blog that interested me and actually said "I am new if you get a chance take a look etc. I have an antiques booth so I post about stuff I already do, I never thought about the investment for someone that does not have an outlet for their projects. You know some of my favorite blogs are just about peoples lives. Your blog name is so fabulous, that is what caught my eye. Well, I am never going to miss one of your posts.

    Carol

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  22. Wow Denise... I'm a new blogger too. I've only been at it since October and then I accidentally deleted all the pictures off 1/2 my posts... I still have to figure out how to back up my blog (just in case).
    I appreciate you talking about the roller coaster. I'd really like to turn my work into some kind of business... I know I have talent I just don't have enough confidence but I'm working on it, I think this is helping.
    Anyway...thanks for your post and good luck with everything!
    Susan

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  23. I'm not srue if my comment just took, but THANK you from a newbie! I just started blogging this week! This post helps a ton.

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  24. Thought I should edit...just a tad long.

    You just put into words what most of us feel at one time or another. I just want you to know that I love your blog and ideas. I appreciate the link party and your desire to host. I say, you should keep doing your thing. Don't ever let it feel like a competition because that will take all the fun out of what you do. I think you're great! Hugs!!!

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  25. Denise, I found you from My Uncommon Slice. Oh my, you just put into words this funky cloud that's been hanging over my head. It's not that I starting blogging so everyone would pat me on the back, it's just so time consuming and.....like you said, I sometimes feel like a big loser. So glad to hear you voice these feelings! I'm almost 40 and I thought I pretty much didn't care about being "popular" but it is kind of disheartening when you read posts about someone's little one pooping in the potty and it has 147 comments and a project you slaved over for months yields 3 visits :) Thank you so much for taking the time to write this! Looking forward to checking out your blog.

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  26. Oh, Denise! I love this post. I have felt this way. I am one of those that overanalyzes everything and really feel like I am in way over my head with all the talent in blogland at times. So thank you for posting this!

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  27. Thanks so much for this post. I've really been discouraged lately and just finally, over the last few weeks, have I realized that whatever my blog will ever be or not be, if I don't have fun and make it what I want it to be, then its all pointless anyway, so I'm trying to be graceful with myself while I figure out what that looks like and accept the fact that with the time and money limitations I have, I'll probably never reach 50 readers, and I have to be okay with that. Anyway, I needed a tad bit of encouragement, so I really enjoyed your post. Thanks for the words!

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  28. lol. I have thought to myself just this week. Wow she has 550 followers and I have 150 and we both started in October of 2010...what am I doing wrong. mmmmm but then I thought to myself out of a world of 6 billion people and a gazillion blogs, 150 people choose to follow me. That is pretty darn cool. I really truly enjoyed your post and your honesty. Thanks hun! Deb
    Dejarenew.blogspot

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  29. Forgot to mention, you have another follower now... well, an RSS feed follower. Does that count? Oh, and if you have some time, could you explain the parties to me? I'm really new to all of this blog stuff. :)

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  30. ooohhh, did I ever need those words of wisdom. Thanks so much! I am book marking this post for those days when I feel like bailing! I'll be following along :-)

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  31. Hello,

    Thank you for this post. This week is my first blog anniversary and I am having fun. There are so many beautiful and talented women out there that it does get overwhelming. Sometimes not sure whether I should do it. I started it because I love decorating and found so many inspiration through other blogs.
    Thank you for your blog and being honest. You have inspired me!
    Thank you for sharing.
    Claudia

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  32. This is a great post. I blog for lots of reasons but my biggest reason is for fun. I'm trying not to allow myself to get caught up in comparing myself to everyone else.Thanks for writing a much needed post for all of us newbies . I'm now following.

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  33. You know I hear you - loud and clear. I'm glad we're on this journey together. :) Hang in there, babe, and don't sweat the small stuff. Sending hugs across the country! :)

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  34. Great post! I've had my blog for just about a month so it's always fun to get advice for newbies! Thanks for sharing!

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  35. Really well said, thanks so much for sharing! And by the way, really well written and entertaining!

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  36. Thank you so much for this! It's just what I needed to read after having recently started my own blog with not a lot of traffic.

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  37. What a wonderful post, I came over from My Uncommon slice of Suburbia. Yes you are so right we all do feel like that at one time or another.

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  38. wow, you took the words right out of my mouth...I'm newer at this...just started up, but I have been overwhelmed by the support of wonderful women that I don't even know. I look forward to getting to know more bloggers while I take this journey!!!...just became a follower...check mine out if you get a chance..
    love, Mariaelena

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  39. Thanks for this post, it can be overwhelming... thinking your just not good enough but like one someone said out of 6 billion people I, meyself, have 185 followers:) Now that's now bad.:)

    Rondell

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  40. I'm now a follower BTW, have a great day!

    Rondell

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  41. Hi Denise-

    xo to you for posting so openly about how you are feeling. As you can see from your comments you are not alone. I have been blogging for a little over a year now and have had my ups and downs and every one of the things you brought up have gone through my mind also.
    Try not to dwell on numbers and know that out of thousands of blogs - you have people who like what you are doing and enjoy your posts. I try to keep in mind that I can't be all things to all people - so I just gotta be me. Just keep being yourself and post about what you know and love doing. Hang in there.
    My best- Diane

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  42. Great job putting into words what so many of us are feeling! I've been blogging for less than a year and have gone from highs to lows and back again many times over! It's definitely a roller coaster! Hold tight, but be sure to enjoy the ride!

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  43. This is a great post! Just found you through Miss Mustard Seed, and I'm signing on as a new follower! I needed to hear what you had to say today, as I was wondering "what the heck am I doing this for?!" Hard to remember sometimes (when I'm staring at the numbers and hear crickets) that I actually began "this little light" to (in a way) save myself. Love what you're doing here at Pink Postcard. Thank you!

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  44. I am so glad I found your blog and I especially liked this post. I just started blogging about a month ago and over the past few days the discouragement you spoke of has started to creep in. Knowing other bloggers have gone through this is helpful. Thanks.

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  45. Thanks for your words of encouragement. I've felt a lot of the same things, esp. feeling like I'm back in high school trying to fit in! :) Really, I blog for the fun of it and not to become famous or earn money. The social aspect of blogging is what appeals to me, and trying to implement some of the other creative ideas out there in my own way.

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  46. I thank God for Kristin because she introduced me to you. I feel EXACTLY the same way! I am a new blogger who has a passion for design. I also have a full time demanding job, so I struggle with finding time for the blog and creativity. But I am glad to know that my feelings are normal. Thank you so much for taking out the time to explain your feelings. I would imagine that you have shed some light on some dark feelings. Thats what happened to me!

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  47. I can very much relate to this Denise! I started blogging as a way to sell my jewelry that I don't do anymore, and I found a whole new world of LOVE!! Kristin was one of my first blogs that I came across as well, she is so warm and welcoming! I am so glad that you are still in the journey, I know it is long and difficult sometimes, I am feeling very overwhelmed right now, but people understand and we are in the same boat. Thank you for sharing and I am so happy to have met you in this small world of blogging! :)

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  48. Thank you for posting this. I just started my blog a few days ago and am already asking myself, "What am I thinking?" There's so much to learn!
    Any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated!
    Thanks again for your post. It was encouraging to read. I think I'll read it again and again for awhile to remind myself not to get discouraged.

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