(Photo courtesy of Flickr CC)
One day towards the end of September, I opened up the homepage of my blog only to realize I was days away from coming full circle back to October. I was nearing the one-year anniversary of Españolita Blog. Time for some reflecting.
What I’ve learned from one year of blogging:
1. Pace yourself – Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint (the same goes for parenting!). For those of you who have been faithful readers since this blog’s birth, you may remember that I blogged three (yes, three!) times a week during the first few months. And, no I didn’t have a reserve of two months posts finished before launching my blog. So, that means I was pumping out about 3,000 words each week. I credit my ability to produce so much content to both my enthusiasm on the topic (at the time, just bilingual parenting), as well as my daughter’s twice-a-day nap schedule (oh, those were the good ole’ days!). A year later, my life situation has changed. Little Miss E. only takes one nap a day, time I often use to cook or clean, or take a nap myself. And, I have found my daily priorities have changed, including how much time and attention I give to my on-line activity. Since my posts tend to run longer than most blogs (around 1,000 words), I am currently able to write about once a week. That might change in the future, but for now if reflects a slower and more intentional pace of living and parenting.
2. Writing is hard, hard work – Every time I sit down to write a post I think of my former eleventh-grade American literature students. I can still hear their groans each time I assigned them essays. “This is hard!” “I don’t know where to start!” “This doesn’t make sense.” “I don’t want to!” Those are now my responses each time I sit down at the dining room table to open my laptop. The ideas are there, floating around my head. It’s just so difficult to put them in cohesive order. You know, I read somewhere once that the writing process involves are least two parts: the first time you write, you write for yourself, to put on paper (or the computer) those nebulous ideas floating around your mind; the second time, you write for the reader (i.e., you edit). That’s a lot of writing, and re-writing, and editing, and writing. And, no it’s not true what they say, that writing gets easier the more you write. It’s just hard, hard work (hence #1 and #5).
3. Don’t compare yourself to others – I feel like almost everyone has a blog. Chefs, fashion designers, sleep experts, parents, the list goes on. If you can imagine it, then there’s a blog for it. In fact, before I started blogging, I doubted whether or not I should even start one since the market seemed saturated. No one will read my blog, I’d think. I don’t know how to do cool photo editing on my computer. Blog every day? Are you crazy! Wow, her blog has the most amazing letterhead. Thankfully, a fellow mommy blogger in Spain encouraged me to “just do it.” Just start a blog, and share your story. So, that’s been my mantra since the beginning: no comparing, just sharing.
4. Be wise – Blogging began in the 1990s as a form of self-expression. The same is true today. Many bloggers, whether in the name of transparency or self-expression, or maybe it’s to attract more readers, I don’t know, share some pretty intimate details from their lives. While each blogger has his/her reasons for the information they share, and while I am not here to pass judgment, I will say that as a blogger who is also a mother, I have made the decision to think long and hard before I put any family or personal details on my blog. I find myself wanting to balance my mantra from above (share my story) with wanting to maintain my family’s privacy. This is why I leave out my husband’s and daughter’s names, as well as limit the the photographic content on the site. I can’t take back what I post, so I try my best to be a wise user of social media.
5. If it’s not fun, stop – Bottom line. And, I have done it more than once since I started the blog. At first, I felt guilty, like I had let my readers down. Or, that people would stop reading my blog. But, neither one of those things happened (to my knowledge). And, if they had, so what? As my husband, D., often reminds me, this blog is a hobby and a source of enjoyment. The minute it’s no longer enjoyable, then it’s time to take a break. I think that’s pretty good advice.
For those of you who have been blogging more than a year, I would love to hear your secrets!