Yesterday I celebrated 4 years of Fitting It All In. (And opened a giveaway – go enter!) I started this list as “Four things I’ve learned” but quickly surpassed four as I was brainstorming. So 10 it is! I’ve learned so many good lessons that translate outside the blogging world as well. Blogging is a strange, strange thing — a super fun but slightly egotistical job, a creative hobby, incredibly wide reaching and public and yet enables close relationships. It has changed a ton since I started blogging in 2010, and i’m sure it will continue to. I had no idea I’d still be blogging at this point, or that anyone would even read my blog, but I’m very grateful that you all do.
1. You can’t please everyone. It’s impossible to make everyone understand your heart. You can stress for days over the correct words to use and try to justify in the comments, but some people just won’t get it. That doesn’t mean they are bad or you are bad, it just means people are different. You can’t please everyone, so as long as you know your intentions and are confident in your beliefs, everything is fine. That’s not an excuse to be ignorent or rude, but it will help you find peace instead of staying awake at night upset that not every single person that reads your blog loves you.
2. Honesty is the best policy. Really. Don’t try to hide anything from readers — they are smart and they remember things. As much as you can, share the truth. Whether it’s what’s going on in your life or how you actually feel about a product, your readers will know when you’re lying and appreciate it when you don’t. Not everything you try is fantastic and life isn’t always roses. People know that, so share the not-so-sweet parts as well. Being human makes you more relatable.
3. Being vulnerable sets you free. I have never found more support or comfort than when I opened up about personal issues. I’ve talked about a lot of taboo topics on this blog, from depression to eating disorders to bingeing to uncertainty in career. Sure I get some flak for it, but I also get hundreds of emails from others that understand. Knowing that someone else is going through the same thing makes tough spots so much easier, and even better is knowing that what you shared helped someone else.
4. Writing is my therapy. I was never a huge writer until this blog kind of forced it upon me. It’s not that I didn’t realize that starting a blog would mean having to write, it’s that I didn’t realize how big of a role writing would start to play in my life. Whenever I’m feeling stressed, sad, or frustrated about something, I open up a new blog post and write. I fly through the words, typing at lightening speed, just getting it all out. Afterward I sometimes edit it for publishing, but often I delete it, taking my emotions with it to the trash. Writing helps me see things in a new light and get all the thoughts in my brain organized. It’s been a saving grace.
5. Blogging brings people together, and makes moving a whole lot easier. My first friends in each new city I’ve moved to have been blog readers or other bloggers that reached out to me to meet up. Becca, Julie, Matt, Robyn, Emily, Brittany, Rachel — ya’ll are wonderful, true friends that have been a blessing in my ever-changing home. It’s sort of like online dating for friends – you know that you have things in common and can immediately bond over trying a new workout class, meeting up at the local hippie food cafe, or just going for a walk. Making friends in adulthood isn’t easy, so I’m very grateful that my blog has brought me to some great people.
6. Turn down most of the pitches you receive. It’s easy to get caught up in the “Oh, cool, free stuff!” thing, especially as a new blogger. But if I accepted every pitch, I’d have a lot of crap cluttering my apartment that I never ever use. Now that I’ve established my blog a little more I feel comfortable turning down the majority of product reviews and campaigns I am offered. I don’t like spending time on things I don’t actually like, my readers can tell when it isn’t genuine, and I don’t like giving bad reviews. So I stick to things that I feel good about and would likely purchase myself.
7. Know your worth. On the same note as above, blogging has become a legitimate source of income in the past few years. It’s now becoming part of many companies’ marketing budget and campaigns are getting bigger and more complex. Do not be afraid to ask for compensation for your time!! It’s one thing if they just want to send you their newest product and you to mention it or if it’s a cause near and dear to your heart — for those things any payment is open to your discretion — but for larger projects do not immediately agree to do something for nothing. People will say no a lot and people still think blogging isn’t a real job, but that’s okay. If you want to be taken seriously, take yourself seriously.
8. Err on the side of caution. This is a big one – not everyone is as public as me, and I shouldn’t be as public as I am! The idea of blogging makes a lot of people uncomfortable, and there are many who don’t want things shared. You MUST respect their decision! I am such an open, oversharing person that I sometimes don’t even realize I could be posting something other people aren’t happy with. It’s important to ask first, and just don’t post it if you aren’t sure. And as for yourself? Keep as much identifying information private as you reasonably can. This is sort of hypocritical for a blogger, but the internet is just too dangerous these days, and we put enough out there already. I continuously work on being better about this.
9. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. In life, in diets and exercise, in blogging, don’t just follow the crowd. It’s easy to get swept up in the latest trends, and it’s 100% OKAY to find your newest love from a blogger or an article, but most of the time you should probably just stick to what works for you. I know that posting more workouts or recipes would get me more readers, but it’s not part of my regular lifestyle to do that and I don’t want to spend all my free time doing it. This isn’t my career, but it is something I work hard on. I try to post things that people are interested in, but I also want to be true to myself. My blog is a reflection of who I am, even if that means it’s kind of all over the place and it doesn’t grow as much as I’d like.
10. There is so much more to learn. Gosh, so much. In all areas. I don’t know half of the blogging business –design, ads, social sharing, etc. There are so many cool topics that other bloggers cover that I am fascinated by. I am always interested in reading new things about diet, workouts, medicine, and health. Things change, people change, research provides new direction. Soak is as much knowledge as you can and never ever stop learning.
- What’s one thing you’ve learned from blogging?
- Have you ever thought of starting a blog?