I’m a creative type, but I usually think of my creativity like a fickle houseplant. If I don’t constantly nurture it, it dies. Or at least seriously wilts.
I’ve been through two huge creative slumps in my adult life– not surprisingly, both occurred on my obscenely long school hiatuses. The first time, I spent a little over year of my life hopelessly bored, in a job and relationship that I hated, paralyzed by a fear of choosing what to do with my life and therefore choosing absolutely nothing instead. Eventually, I went back to school. My crisis was quelled on day one. I’m not even kidding, it really was that easy. I walked into the art studio and said, “Yep. This is what I need to do.”
This time, it wasn’t as easy. I already knew what I wanted to do, I just wasn’t doing it. Blogging was never my plan A, and still isn’t– but I have been blown away by this experience so far.
I am again left to ask myself, “Why haven’t I been doing this my whole life?”
I have been LOVING doing this, and while it might have initially been a way to quell boredom in an otherwise uneventful year, it has turned into my ultimate creative outlet. I have been so inspired by this experience, and the more I do it, the more I want to do it. That is how I define inspiration. It is not something that strikes you as you’re about to fall asleep or mid-shower (maybe that sometimes happen) but more often that not, I think back to something my first art school professor said to me.
“Work begets work.”
Or the less eloquent way that I put it when one of my friends was struggling with an idea for our project:
“The only way to do it is to do it.”
So I finally took my own advice, got to work, and slowly, eventually, started getting over all those things that were keeping me from pursuing this for so long.
Here are the big things that kept me from doing this (even though I really wanted to) and how I got over those fears/dispositions.
Getting Discouraged That It Didn’t Take Off On Day One
This seems like a pretty obvious one: these things take time to grow! What I kept doing though is starting a blog, writing two posts, getting no engagement, and then abandoning ship. I was sort of expecting that the internet would just do it’s thing and eventually the right people would see what I was doing. Which may be true. But you also have to KEEP doing it!! Your interaction may be low at first, but even slow progress is progress. Keep going!
Worrying That No One Cares What I Have To Say
This one is still hard sometimes (note that I’ve only really been growing this space for about 4 months– so it’s not like I have a million followers and super high interaction) so there is still that sense of questioning. Pretty much every time I post something, I question whether or not it’s actually worth putting into the world. More and more, I am learning to trust that it is, and this leads into a really important one:
Struggling To Find My Voice, And Finding a Cohesive Theme
Previous blogging experiences I’ve had were mostly just my own personal stream of consciousness. I wanted to talk about school, I wanted to talk about dating, I wanted to talk about my self-loathing tendencies… I also wanted to talk about none of those things because of the above mentioned worry that no one cared. Where was my value in the blogging world? What message did I have that was truly and genuinely ME, and simultaneously something that people actually wanted to read about?
This was a lot harder one to nail down, and there is no one way I really got over it. A lot of it had to do with gaining general life experience. A lot of it was finding my niche in the social media world (mostly through the “foodie” corner of Instagram). The more I saw what other people were doing and talking about, the more I got ideas of people liked hearing. It also gave me an idea of what was not being talked about as much as I would have liked to see.
Something we all love about the foostagraming world is the inspiration we can gain from each other by sharing meal ideas and new products that help us live a healthy life– but the more I took it in, the more I thought, “Okay, cool, but what about the whole picture? What about mental health? What about fitness for ALL bodies? What about the importance of grace and positive self-talk and stopping food guilt? Granted, a lot of people ARE going there, but I still saw a need, and a need that I became very passionate about contributing to. Finding the connection between all of these things seemed to blow to door wide open for me. If there ever was one, it was my “aha” moment.
Obsessing Over It Not Being “Perfect”
The theme, the font, the logo, the banner, the widgets– it all needs to scream ME from the very beginning. Which, is actually pretty solid blogging advice. You space should absolutely reflect your content and yourself, but none of those things are going to matter if you don’t actually have content yet.
I’ll modify my top dollar pearl of advice to say, “The only way to be a blogger is to blog.”
One advantage of just starting out is that you have a little more freedom to experiment with your blogging voice and see what gets good responses from your readers. You can tweak your layout a bit without the fear of it crashing your whole site and leaving millions of followers without your page for an afternoon. Don’t let the obsession of things being perfect keep them from being good. That’s just solid life advice. I take no credit for it.
Worrying That Everyone Will Care What I Have To Say
“But did’t you just say–” yes! I am both afraid that no one cares, but also that everyone cares and they are watching everything I ever do so I better not mess up or everyone will see… #introvertproblems
What if my blog does take off overnight and everyone reads all those posts with kind of sub-par photographs and maybe a few grammatical errors and OH GOD what if I just sound like an idiot and now a million people know that I actually have no idea what I’m talking about?!
I’m honestly not sure how to get over this one– or if I have really gotten over it (I haven’t). But I do have some advice: do it anyway. This is what I always tell myself when I get anxious and start trying to talk myself out of things I know are actually good for me. 99% of the time, I end the day glad that I did the thing I was about to talk myself out of. With blogging, this is a continuous process. I’m never not actively dealing with it. But I do it anyway!!
Other Little Bits Of Potentially Somewhat Helpful Advice For People Who Want To Blog Good And Want To Learn To Do Other Things Good Too…
- Find your niche. What do you really want to contribute to this big giant internet space?
- “‘Know thyself’ — Socrates” — Spooky Foodie. If cooking ain’t your thing even though food photos are what get the most likes on Instagram, you’ll likely never be a food blogger. You’ll either burn out quickly, or your engagement will suck because your viewers are going to value authenticity over everything else. If at the very core of your being is a floral designer than DAMNIT start a floral design blog!
- Engage with people whose space you really love. You might make some new friends, but it’s also so helpful to fill your feed with like minded folks who share a similar message. The inspiration you’ll be able to bounce off each other is truly amazing!
- Don’t be afraid to talk to people about what you’re doing. For some reason, I feel embarrassed to talk to people about my blog in person. But why wouldn’t your friends want to support your hobbies?
I’m still so new at this, so please don’t think I am some sagely Yoda woman posted up in some cave burning holy sage as I type this. These are just some things I’ve learned in the few short months I’ve been actively trying to grow this space, and I wanted to share them with you!
Are there any blogging questions you want me to address in a future post? Anything that’s holding you back? Let me know!