Life Lessons I’ve Learned Through Blogging
Writing a blog seems so easy and simple, doesn’t it?
I started writing my first blog when I was 15. Back then, blogs were those online journals where you’d write about your day. This blog, is completely different from the one I wrote twelve years ago. Running this one involves a lot of amazing things, meeting brilliant people. BUT, it also involves a lot of self-doubt, self-criticism and fear.
Honestly, I don’t think I even remember how it felt NOT to have this blog. It’s so much more than just me telling you which foundation I currently like or which lipstick was my favorite last month. It’s become such an important part of my life, an outlet for my creativity and sort of a tool-one that helped me grow and learn a lot of things about myself.
These are some of the Life Lessons I’ve Learned Through Blogging.
DON’T EVER UNDERESTIMATE YOURSELF
About three years ago, I was contacted by a certain clothing company. I didn’t have a ton of “followers” but I was already getting some decent traffic. I won’t lie, I was a little excited. It’s just a really cool feeling, knowing that a big brand gives you some recognition and takes time to reach out to you. The story was that the brand wanted me to write an article featuring them. For free. They also weren’t willing to send me any products, as “we don’t have an established relationship“. How am I supposed to feature a brand whose products I haven’t used? This just didn’t make sense to me. Why would I give them free advertising? I thought about it for a moment, and sent an email back, saying that I appreciate them getting in touch with me, but I can’t possibly write about a brand or a product I’ve never used before. I thanked them for the opportunity, and that was it.
That was the very first time I’ve ever said “no” to a PR-related offer (if you can even call it that). The next day, I get a reply saying “LOL you’re funny! You only have 30 Twitter followers, you really think you’re in a position to negotiate anything?” Needless to say, that response was beyond unprofessional, and it left me feeling pretty upset.
Then I got to thinking… if I clearly don’t fit certain criteria, why reach out to me? Obviously, there must have been something about my blog that they liked- otherwise, they wouldn’t try to get me to feature them, would they? That was when I learned that you should never underestimate yourself. You should always know your worth and never let others discourage you from doing what you like. I’ve invested a ton of money in this blog. I use expensive equipment and it takes a lot of time for me to create content (which I do in addition to working full-time, so I have to be very selective about the type of content I put out there). I always make sure to stay true to myself and to create the kind of content I’m proud of. While I love collaborating with some fabulous brands (and there are many of them, trust me) I will not be writing an 800-word article featuring a brand whose products I haven’t used, in exchange for a free pair of socks, any time soon.
To me, it’s not about getting free stuff or only collaborating with brands who are willing to sponsor content. It’s about staying true to myself. I don’t want to feel obligated to write about something I don’t like or wouldn’t personally use. This is why I decline about 80% of offers that come my way. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to say “no” to good things, so you can say “yes” to even better things.
TRYING NEW THINGS CAN BE FUN
Doing things that scare you, getting a little uncomfortable, is good for you. That’s when you discover new things about yourself, that’s when you grow. I was so afraid to write about some things- like opening up about my personal struggles, or giving out advice to others. It ended up being one of the best things I’ve ever done for my blog. If I didn’t find that courage to try something different, something new, I would have missed out, big time.
Another thing is that I don’t make new friends easily. I also hate networking. With blogging, I was able to learn how to do both of those things, at my own pace, on my own terms. I’ve learned how to connect with others and how to build new relationships- both on a personal and business level.
IT’S OKAY TO MAKE MISTAKES
I used to be terrified of making mistakes. I’m the type of person who’ll beat themselves up for them and I’m slowly learning to let go of that. Not being a native English speaker, I sometimes would find myself constantly questioning everything I write. Every single time I’d notice a small grammar error or a spelling mistake in a post that was already published, I’d feel paranoid. I’d literally feel my heart rate go up and a cold sweat wash over me and wouldn’t calm down until I was able to edit those mistakes out. It’s such a stupid, irrational fear.
Making mistakes is one of the only ways to learn. Whether it’d be collaborating with a brand I didn’t really feel comfortable with, creating a different type of content than usual, focusing on the wrong things, etc. Blogging is one of those things that you learn more and more about, the more you get into it. You kind of need to figure out what works best for you and you can’t do that without making a few mistakes along the way.
Do you self-critize after making a mistake? If you do, you probably know that it doesn’t make things any better- it actually makes them worse. Try to challenge your need for perfectionism and embrace your mistakes. Think of wabi-sabi- a Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection, beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. This is something that can also be applied to life, not just art. The fact that you make mistakes is what makes you authentic, so if you happen to make them, don’t beat yourself up, embrace it. Forgive yourself and move on.
YOU CAN’T WAIT FOR THAT PERFECT MOMENT TO COME
When I closed down my first blog and created Thirteen Thoughts, I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted to have nice photos, a good layout and great content. I was kind of frustrated when I first started getting into photography and discovered just how much I suck at it. I didn’t know how to tweak my blog design and was completely clueless when it came to using WordPress. I barely posted any content and kept telling myself “I’ll just wait until I get a hang of this camera” or “I’ll just wait until I get some studio lights“. Truth is, the only way for me to actually learn something, was to start. If I hadn’t put that perfectionistic thinking behind, I’d miss out on finding something that I’m passionate about, something that brings a lot of joy into my life.
You can’t wait for that perfect moment. If you wait, it’ll never come. Trust me on this one. I think that a lot us of spend majority of our time waiting. I hear people say, all the time: “I just can’t wait to get a better job“, “I will be happy when I get a bigger house” or “I will be happy when I’ll meet the one“, “I will start once I’m ready.” You can spend your entire life, saying these things.
You can spend the rest of your life waiting to start living.
My advice? Don’t. Don’t wait. If you want to do something, start now.