The 10 Things I Learned in My First 10 Months of Blogging

My first post on the blog was dated January 14, 2017. That means I'm on my 10th month this month! I don't exactly know how to describe the journey as it wasn't always consistent (until now, I hope) but nonetheless, it taught me a thing or two (or 10!) mostly about perseverance. You know what they say, the beginning is always the hardest.

Prior to the 3rd relaunch, I was a mess of ideas in an aimless journey. All I wanted was to put up a blog and... well, that was pretty much it. I was so excited about having one that I didn't anticipate the hard work that goes along with it if I wanted my blog to be something. If you're starting up your own blog, I hope you will be guided by these 10 blogging lessons I learned along the way.

10. Branding matters. 

Every day, thousands of blogs and new sites are being put up on the web. You can't just be another lifestyle blog, another travel blog, another creative blog. Try to find your unique voice in the crazy digital noise. Say, you want to do a lifestyle blog. Maybe you want to do one that's fit for a millennial lifestyle? What about exploring unknown coffee shops that equally deserves Starbucks' hype? For travel blogs, maybe you can create your own budget-friendly itineraries and share them? What about focusing on quick weekend getaways? Let's face it, the blogs we do, they won't be truly 100% unique. But what we can do is we can spice it up a bit to have a more unique identity.

Pau Pursues Passion is a creative lifestyle blog. I, as the blogger, try my best to pursue my own creative lifestyle while thriving in the corporate world. I try to share my own learnings as I go along, hoping that it will inspire other creative individuals out there.

But you see, I'm no good with all the visual art stuff. I'm not a graphic designer, I'm nowhere near good at calligraphy or watercolor, I'm no visual artist. So, instead of all fancy visual stuff, I centered on branding and writing.

(Wanna learn more about personal branding? I've recently launched my personal branding project called Pursyou! See the first post about it here.)

9. You can jump right in without a plan, but you'll regret it.

When I started out with the blog, I was too excited about launching it and putting it out there. I was too excited to tell people, "hey, guys! I have a blog (again)!" but once it was launched, I was like, " what?" As Mark Manson said in his book, "you're in love with the result and not the process."

While it's super fun to launch and promote, all the hype driven to your blog will be for nothing if your viewers won't find anything to browse about. Also, your traffic wouldn't be consistent if the content isn't consistent, too. It pays to plan ahead and your plans need not be extravagant. Have a simple content plan that you can stick on and commit to.

Here's what I have for the blog. It's simple and personally doable.  I've read lots of tools you can use but to me, I ended up settling for Google Calendar. I realized using fancy tools won't be worth it if I can't breathe in and give life to those plans.

Look at it like this. Think of your content plan as a meeting schedule. You show up to your meetings, right? You commit to them and make sure to meet them. Your content plan should be the same. Commit to that day, work on that day. If you can make time for others, you can make time for yourself, too!

8. We all start somewhere.

Here's a simple lesson: we all start somewhere! I'm sure you look up to other bloggers as well or maybe use their blogs as references. Maybe you check out their blog and see how cool their posts and photos are. Maybe you browse through their social media platforms and get overwhelmed with their figures. All of these cool people... They started somewhere. Like you and me, they started with 0 followers and 0 views. Eventually, like you and me, the views and followers started coming in... Thanks to friends and family.

My point is, the established people of the internet didn't grow their blog and/or social media platform just like that. They worked hard for it, they strived to create good content for people (and brands) to like, and they treated their blogs as an extension of their daily lives.

This doesn't happen overnight. It might not even happen in a year (especially if you're not working on making your blog better). If you keep on comparing yourself to others and their scope of influence, the more you'll be unable to focus on your growth.

Here's a little sense of transparency. This is the blog data from October 12 to November 12, 2017. That little peak over there, that's the relaunch. It was even a sponsored post on Facebook.

If I let those figures define my progress, I'll stop this whole thing altogether. It's psychologically healthier to keep in mind that I'm just at the beginning of the journey, there's still so much to learn, and still so much to do.

7. Work for it. Work on it. 

As I said, growth doesn't happen overnight. Just like the famous sportsmen, they don't become champions and MVPs just like that. Behind the success are days of vigorous training and nights of wanting to quit. Same goes for us. If we don't work for the success of our blogs, nothing will happen. Nothing will move.

I spent too much idle time than I would've liked but it was necessary, I guess, because it was through it that I had a breakthrough on what I finally wanted to happen with this blog.
Taking breaks is okay. We can't always give our best if our minds are always tired, but it's best to keep in mind that our blog won't work unless we do.

6. Find what you're good at and let it lead you. 

Your blog is your little space in the vast digital world. You're sharing a piece of yourself to the world and there are sooooo many people out there, so reach the right people while being fueled to keep on keeping on by writing about what you actually like. This makes the tedious process fun because you actually like what you're working on and it won't feel too burdensome at all.

5. Self-discouraging won't get you anywhere. 

Here's the thing: it's okay to suck at the beginning. It's okay to be discouraged for a little while because these negative emotions, they need to be recognized. Ask yourself, "why am I feeling discouraged?" If your answer goes somewhere along the thought of how so many others out there are way better or are more established, then you know the solution. Scroll back up to #7: work for it, work on it! The doubts, the discouragements, they're always there. Motivation won't always be present especially if there are no immediate results (I've been frustrated about immediate results too many times)  but what you can change is your attitude towards it. Oftentimes, the support will only come from within ourselves. Go, you! You can do it!

4. Consistency is key.

So, we've already established the "work for it, work on it" lesson. We've also acknowledged that we want our blog to go places. What's our next step, then? Well, we'll have to be consistent. Create a simple gameplan for your blog. Use simple tools, or maybe use some good old pen and paper. Figure out what can work best for you and your schedule and stick to it. Be realistic and tell yourself over and over again that you should meet these specific deadlines just as you would for your actual job (or homework). Your posts need not always be lengthy for as long as you are able to commit to your given days. As for me, realistically speaking, I can only post once a week. I've established posting every Monday and though it can get tedious sometimes, I try my best to commit to that specific schedule. I don't want to give in to any excuse anymore because those excuses lead to the decline.

3. Narrow down what you want to happen.

Remember our "find what you're good at and let it lead you" lesson? This helps in narrowing down what you want to happen. Chances are, if you want to talk to everyone, you'd end up not talking to anyone at all. When I started this blog, I wanted it to be about travel. I wanted it to contain my art journey when I tried out watercolor (not a good idea). I wanted to blog about the journals and planners that I use. I wanted it to be about everything. Eventually, nothing made sense anymore because I felt demotivated. There were just too many things I wanted to happen all at once and none of them yielded any desired results. After a 2-month break, I realized what I was doing wrong -- I had no definite path. The 3rd blog relaunch was definitely pivotal because, finally, the direction is a little more defined.

2. Don't be afraid to take detours and learn new things.

Having a more defined path and a definite set of topics doesn't mean we'd close our doors to new learnings and possibly new directions. The important thing is that you learn along the way and, in one way or another, apply these learnings to the blog. If there's a need for a rebrand, go for it! If you think changing a few things will help, go for it! Eventually, these things will help us figure out what we want to happen and once that is established, it's easier to go along the way.

1. Don't do it for the views. Do it for you.

Let's face it, some niche get more attention than the others (especially here in the Philippines). If you're a pretty girl who can dress up really well, chances are, things are a lot better for you and your blog. If you're privileged enough to have good travel photos and you frequently go places, getting more views and followers is a little bit easier for you, too. This gives the impression that if you write about that niche (travel, lifestyle, fashion, makeup, etc), your blog and platforms will skyrocket. I have nothing against that and by all means, if that's your cup of tea, pursue and flourish! But if you're doing that simply for the views and the fame, it's not going to be psychologically healthy at all. Remember, blogging is about writing on a blog and sharing what you like about. It's not just about pretty clothes and good photos. If you have stories to share, then write about them. Do it for you while thinking about how it can benefit other people. 


Key takeaway:

"Blogging is a continuous learning experience. Your blog won't grow overnight and it won't work unless you do. Have a plan for your blog, work on it, and work for it. Self-doubt won't get you anywhere so keep on keeping on, be consistent, and don't do it for the views. Do it for you."

What lessons did you learn along the way on your own blog journey?  


Let me know what you think about this!