Seeing your blog grow and expand is a pretty cool feeling. There are times though when it’s scary af.
You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been MIA for the past week or so. Also, you may have noticed that TT crashed and was down for several hours, then it went up and down again.
Turns out, I did end up reaching one of the blog goals that I’ve set up for myself last year. I also ended up learning a few valuable lessons. Like this one: if you run a self-hosted website that’s expanding, you should prepare yourself for huge traffic spikes.
I’ve spent the majority of the last couple of days stressing, pulling my hair out, on the phone with my host company, and sitting in front of my computer all night, looking up all kinds of “techie” things. The good news is this: I’ve learned a whole lot of things over the last 72 hours or so and, most importantly, we’re back in business.
Edit: I also wrote a more detailed post about that experience and why you shouldn’t rely on crappy hosting when growing your blog- and unfortunately, many of the hosting companies recommended by some established bloggers are horrible and only get recommended because those bloggers get paid a LOT of money to promote them. You can read more about it here and find out why and how to make a switch to a reliable web host.
Let me tell you… blogging is super fun and fulfilling. It can also get so difficult to keep up though, especially when you’re also working full-time.
YOU WILL DOUBT YOURSELF
This is one of the things that I’ve started feeling more often over the last couple of months. With a smaller audience, the conversations you have are a bit more intimate. As that audience expands though, there comes a point where you start to second-guess yourself. “Is it okay to say this?” “will they understand that this is sarcasm?” “… but maybe no one cares about this topic?” I’ve been writing my Lovin’ Lately or What’s in My Makeup Bag monthly posts for a couple of years now. When my audience was much smaller, I never second-guessed myself when writing those posts. Now, I sometimes think to myself “well… who gives a shit about what’s in my makeup bag, really?” or “who cares about what I’m liking lately, what makes me so special?”.
Of course, those feelings come and often go away pretty quickly, but it’s important to note that they’re there. This blog started as a small space, just for me. Now, when I think of TT, I think of it as OUR space because if it wasn’t for you, it just wouldn’t be what it is. It wouldn’t feel nearly as special, as it does. So, naturally, when I write, I always think of you. I happen to think that it’s a good thing, but the truth is, growing your blog can be bit intimidating, too.
GROWING YOUR BLOG: GUILT + OVERWHELM
I can’t even express the guilt that I’ve felt over the last couple of days. Not being able to post anything, not being able to bring the blog back up sooner, it was a really shitty feeling. It’s become a bit more than that though. I’ve noticed that if I’m hanging out with someone, my mind often drifts toward my blog. I keep thinking “I should be replying to emails right now, I should be editing photos, I have so much to do“.
That guilt and overwhelm is almost ever-present, once your blog starts to grow and your audience expands. Of course, this is also a part of my [slightly] obsessive personality and a mind that finds it difficult to be still at times.
Here’s a list of few things that often keep me up at night:
-fear of misspelling a word within the post, or (God forbid) an image text overlay or a post title
-not having enough time to respond to comments
-not being able to respond to all emails right away
-fear that someone won’t love a product I recommended, as much as I do
These all seem like small, silly things, but to me, they’re important. Okay, so the spelling/grammar thing can get a bit crazy at times; I sometimes suddenly remember typing a certain word and I’ll get up in the middle of the night to grab my laptop in order to double check that everything is spelled correctly. I’m not a native English speaker and when I moved to the US as a teenager, a lot of people would point out my mistakes, which was a fabulous thing since it’s one of the best ways to learn to correct those mistakes. At the same time though, I was very hard on myself and beat myself up for pronouncing a word wrong or not knowing what a certain word meant. Some of that stayed with me, which is why I panic at times.
See, the thing is, once a few of your posts get picked up by a different site or a big blog and you start getting some attention, a lot of different people start stopping by. Not everyone takes their time to get familiar with a blog author or their story, and not everyone realizes that as much as I love to write, I don’t always take myself too seriously.
Also, typos happen. I don’t religiously proof-read every single post I write. At times, when I write, I’m so excited that I publish the second or third draft before I even get a chance to thoroughly read through it a couple of times. I sometimes get comments saying things like “Enjoyed reading this post, but I did notice at least three grammatical errors and two words were misspelled, maybe you should pay more attention when you write“. Comments like these make me think that perhaps, I should take myself a bit more seriously. But where’s the fun in that? This is, after all, just a blog. And imperfections are always welcomed here.
Not responding to emails is another thing. Especially if we’re talking about responding to emails from you guys. If I happen to notice an email that’s a few days (or weeks, yes, it happens) old, that I didn’t get a chance to respond to, I get upset. I immediately think that I don’t want anyone to think I’m ignoring them, or that I’m not willing to share advice since usually, those are the kinds of emails I receive.
The last couple of days made me realize just how much this blog means to me. While I was waiting for everything to get sorted out, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else, I felt like I was missing an arm. Blogging has become such a huge part of my life and if I’m being honest, I can’t imagine my life without it anymore. And yes, growing your blog is fun, but it’s also A LOT of work and as your blog grows, there’s more and more work that needs to get done.
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