5 Thoughts For Blogging In The New Year

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Happy Friday, friends! I can't believe we are a week into the new year already. I always feel like a broken record over here talking about time, but seriously, it can slow down just a bit. 

Speaking of time, I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, in particular about this little space of mine. In the next few months it will be my fourth year of blogging (say what?) which seems crazy to think about in itself. 

I truly love this little space and all of the genuine connections I've made throughout this journey. I love seeing all of your comments, visiting your sites, and the companies I've had the opportunities to work with. Don't worry, I'm not backing out off this blogging world or saying a goodbye or anything, but I am going to approach this space a bit differently. 

For instance, Friday favorites, I love them. I really do. I enjoy sharing moments of my family and highlighting our week, but then I think about those weeks where maybe we didn't do too much, or maybe we wanted to have more private moments and not share the play by play with everyone. In those cases, I'm going to either not post or will share a different type of favorite, maybe similar to this one. 

I know everyone has different goals and different reasons for blogging, which I completely respect, but I wanted to break down my 5 personal thoughts for blogging in the new year...

1. Knowing When It's Ok To Say No:  I think we've all been there, we get an email from a company that wants to collaborate with us and our little blogger hearts get all happy. Yes! Someone values my space and is taking the time to recognize me. But then, we read a little further down on that email or they respond back to us wanting 3 shared images on all social media platforms, a dedicated blog post, the rights to all your images, but wait, you get a $25 shirt for free. 

I am not trying to downplay anyone who takes those offers, because I've been there, but I've also learned that my time is valuable. In order to produce quality content for an engaged following it takes time, planning, editing, and work. That's when the power of negotiation or the power of saying no comes into play. It's ok to say no. It's ok to ask if they would consider compensating you for your efforts. If they come back with their standard line that they don't have a budget, then it's up to you to decide if you should move forward with them. I think it's important for companies to recognize that our platforms are not a space for free advertisement, and that our time is valuable. To me, it's about working smarter not necessarily harder.

I think the same also goes for link ups. If I'm stressing myself out to get a post up or staying up into all hours of the night just to get it ready—maybe I should be asking myself if that particular post is worth it. You see where I'm going here. I'm planning on getting more of my time back. 

2. Who Are You Writing For: when I first started blogging it felt more carefree, less pressure, we shared our lives and people either fell in love with our families or didn't care much either way. People followed because they wanted to and weren't as concerned about a number or playing a follow/unfollow game. We as bloggers weren't as concerned about post worthy images or having the best site design. Those days feel long gone. Blogging has evolved drastically in the past few years and has proven to be very successful for many, which is great, but sometimes I miss getting back to the basics. 

I think in a way we all get inspiration from each other and ideas for blog posts come about from hearing what others have to say. It's what I love about this community, we continue to inadvertently inspire each other. I've never been a niche market kind of blogger and tend to share whatever comes to mind, which probably hurts me in a way, but that's just how it is. I can't help but question if half the things I share are really what people want to read about. Then on the other hand, I struggle with not caring so much because this is my space and a place to look back on memories. It's still a struggle for me. I think it's something I will continually have to figure out if I want to share more about our family or pull back a bit.

3. There Is No Magical Formula: there are countless blogs and posts out there that will tell you all the things you are doing wrong as a blogger and make you want to crawl in a hole and redesign everything from start to finish. I do think there are a lot of great resources out there that are very helpful and can point you in the right direction, but I also don't think anyone has cracked some code. I know about people who have a specific group of friends or family members that will automatically like their posts on bloglovin to bump them up on the explorer pages and all these little tricks and hacks that are out there. However you decide to get ahead is your decision, but I really don't think anyone truly has it all figured out.

4. Be True To Yourself: I think that comparison is the thief of all joy, so I want to encourage you to continue to do you. Speaking of comparison, I've learned that it will get you no where fast. I don't consider myself one that really compares myself to others because I realize there will always be someone more savvy than you, have better pictures than you, or in general just be more likable. That doesn't make you any less of a person because we are all created uniquely, but copying and trying to be someone you are not, will never come across as authentic. 

We see amazing pictures that inspire us to create our own versions and inspiration we can tap into that is all around us, but I also think we can get caught up in a moment. I speak for myself here when I sadly admit that it's happened to me before. We see these amazing instagram feeds with bright clear pictures that are "curated" with tons of followers. That's all fine and well if you want to dedicate your life to it or hire a team to work behind you, but I'm sorry, ain't no body got time for that over here. Short story, a year ago I attempted to do this cute hot chocolate picture in my bed with my dog snuggled up on my lap. Why? Because my feed was flooded with other accounts sitting with hot chocolate on their white beds and I felt like I needed to follow suit. I got caught up in a moment and thought to myself, I can so do that. Well, one comforter that had spilled hot chocolate all over it and a dog that needed a bath, and that's what I get for trying to copy.

I love seeing beautiful profiles and I am just as guilty of wanting to post a good pic. I genuinely challenge myself to want to take better photos because I love the photography side of things, but I also know that I can't live for post worthy moments. I don't have a perfect life with a specific filter or overall color scheme. We're messy, disorganized, and not always in focus. And you know what? I love that about my little family. In the end, companies have actually reached out to me and commented that they want to work with me because of my authentic feel and want someone that is relatable. That makes me feel so good because then I know I am staying true to myself.

5. Continue To Stay Supportive: I am a big believer in what goes around comes around. If you are nice and supportive to people, it will in turn come back to you. The same goes for blogging. If you want to engage with a supportive following then you also need to reciprocate. If you don't take the time to visit other blogs, leave comments, and build connections, then more than likely the interaction on your posts will be a reflection of that. I'm not saying you aren't going to hit post on some amazing content that won't be discovered by others, but I also think this blogging community can offer so much more if you tap into it.

This post ended up being so much longer than I intended, so if you're still with me then I hope you enjoyed it. And, you're pretty awesome!   

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